Ultimate Portland Bucket List (101 Things to Do in Portland)

Ultimate Portland Bucket List (101 Things to Do in Portland)

We moved to Portland for a year in 2017 to explore the city in depth. 1 year is always great because it’s long enough to dig into hidden gems but short enough that you’ll make yourself get out and see the city.

Jacob’s cousins have also lived in Portland for more than a decade, so we enlisted their help to put together the ultimate Portland bucket list. We couldn’t handle the gray seasons, but we’re always excited to revisit during the summer to dig into more good eats and hike in the area (there are hundreds of waterfalls hikes).

Click the links to see full posts with photos and more details on each spot. This list will continue to evolve as we discover new and better things to eat, see, and do.

101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon - the Ultimate Portland Bucket List - from the touristy spots everyone has to do at least once to the spots a little more off the beaten path. // localadventurer.com

THE ULTIMATE PORTLAND BUCKET LIST (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon)

Last updated: August 12, 2019.     Originally Created: August 3, 2015

Take a Photo Booth Photo at Ace Hotel (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon).Ace Hotel (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon).

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS

  1. The Ace Hotel – take your photo at the photo booth
  2. The Belmont Goats
  3. Glowing Greens Putt Putt
  4. The Grotto (Christmas lights during the holidays)
  5. International Rose Test Garden, Washington Park (best month: generally June)
  6. Keep Portland Weird Sign(s)

Keep Portland Weird Sign (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon).

  1. Lan Su Chinese Garden
  2. Portland Aerial Tram – for commuters to OHSU but has great views at the top.
  3. Portland Japanese Garden, Washington Park
  4. Powell’s Books

More: Where to Find the Best Views in Portland

Powells Books (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon).

  1. Mill Ends Park (World’s Smallest Park)
  2. McMenamins Kennedy School – Wach a movie or stay overnight
  3. Oregon Zoo, Washington Park
  4. Paul Bunyan Statue
  5. Pittock Mansion
  6. The Shanghai Tunnels of Portland
  7. Voodoo Doughnuts or Voodoo Too (our literal neighbor)

Their donuts aren’t great (We live next to one and hate that it smells so good but the taste always disappoints). What they do excel at is branding and it is one of those iconic Portland tourist attractions everyone visits. The lines are always crazy. It’s also popular for the gram.

More: 25 Most Popular Spots to Instagram Portland Oregon

Voodoo Doughnuts (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon).

MUSEUMS + MEMORIALS

  1. First Thursday Art Walk (or Last Thursday on Alberta Art Walk)
  2. Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (on the Vancouver WA side)
  3. Freakybuttrue Peculiarium
  4. The Hat Museum
  5. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
  6. Portland’s Children Museum, Washington Park
  7.  Portland Art Museum
  8. Stark’s Vacuum Museum
  9. World Forestry Center, Washington Park

URBAN PARKS + OUTDOORS

  1. Cathedral Park (St John’s Bridge)
  2. Council Crest Park
  3. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
  4. Eastbank Esplanade
  5. Elk Rock Garden
  6. Hoyt Arboretum, Washington Park
  7. Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain Park
  8. Mount Tabor Park
  9. Portland Rock Gym – try indoor rock climbing or join one of their outdoor field trips
  10. Rent a bike – easiest ones to find all over are Biketown.
  11. Rocky Butte Park – Joseph Wood Hill Park at Rocky Butte is the highest point
  12. Skidmore Bluffs (Mocks Crest Park)
  13. Tom McCall Waterfront Park (best during cherry blossom season)
  14. Forest Park is the largest park within city limits. Take the short hike to Witch’s Castle)

More: 21 Best Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge

Rent a Bike (101 Things to do in Portland Oregon).Rent a Bike (The Ultimate Portland Bucket List).

SHOPPING

  1. Pick Fruit at Columbia Farms (or Hood River Fruit Loop Day Trip)
  2. Portland Farmers Market at PSU (locals)
  3. Portland Saturday Market (more touristy)
  4. New Seasons Market – Like Whole Foods but on a new level.

EVENTS + SHOWS + VENUES

  1. Aladdin Theater
  2. Dive-in Movies
  3. Evergreen Curling Club – Take curling lessons
  4.  Festival of Balloons in Tigard (next one: Jun 23-25, 2017)
  5. McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
  6. The Naked Bike Ride (June)
  7. Oregon Brewers Festival (next one: July 26–30, 2017)
  8. PDX Adult Soap Box Derby (Aug)
  9. Portland Meadows (horse racing)
  10. Providence Park – Watch a Timbers Game
  11. Rose City Rollers (roller derby – 2016 international champions)
  12. Rose Quarter Moda Center
  13. Top Down: Rooftop Cinema

FOOD + DRINK

  1. Brewery Tour (or try drinking through all the Portland Breweries)
  2. 180 Xurros
  3. Apizza Scholls – our fave pizza spot so far
  4. Ava Gene’s
  5. Aviary
  6. Beast

Blue Star Donuts (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon).

  1. Blue Star Donuts (that blueberry bourbon basil <3 but can be hit or miss)
  2. Castagna
  3. Coco Donuts
  4. Farm Spirit (great vegan option, but we really enjoyed it as non-vegetarians)
  5. Hair of the Dog Brewing Co – Beer Advocate’s Top 50 American Breweries
  6. Heart Coffee (other local favorites: Good Coffee, Barista, Water Ave, Coava)
  7. McMenamins Bagdad Theater (BrewPub Movie Theater)
  8. Multnomah Whiskey Library (only Mondays are open to the public)
  9. Nong’s Khao Man Gai’s Chicken and Rice (regular spot)
  10. Olympia Provisions (Portlandia was filmed here)
  11. Park Kitchen
  12. PDX Sliders – the Hawthorne is our fave.
  13. Pine State Biscuit

More: Your Portland Food Bucket List

Pips Original Doughnuts & Chai Portland Oregon // localadventurer.comPips Original Doughnuts & Chai Portland Oregon // localadventurer.comPips Original Doughnuts & Chai Portland Oregon // localadventurer.com

  1. Pip’s Original – get the flight of chai tea. The doughnuts can sometimes be over-fried.
  2. Smith Teamaker Tea Flights
  3. Pok Pok (want to try making their famous wings at home?)

Pok Pok (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon).

  1. Portland Distillery Row Tour (get the passport!)
  2. Salt and Straw Ice Cream

My favorite is the strawberry honey balsamic with cracked pepper! I also saw that they opened up a location in LAPro Tip: You can skip the long lines if you buy a pint instead. They also opened up a sister soft serve shop called Wizbangbar, which got a lot of hype, but we still love Salt and Straw better.

  1. Screen Door (brunch: chicken + waffles are good, but the praline bacon – mouthwatering!)
  2. Tasty n Alder or Tasty n Sons
  3. Toro Bravo
  4. Stumptown Coffee Roasters Flagship Cafe (SE 45th and Division)

Stumptown Coffee (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon).

DAY TRIPS

  1.  Clackamas River Trail (13 miles / 25 mins)
  2. Oregon Lavender Farm (21 miles / 34 mins away)
  3. Oneonta Gorge Hike (30 miles / 35 mins away)

Oneonta Gorge Hike (101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon).

  1. Angel’s Rest Hike (26.7 miles / 25 mins away)
  2. Multnomah Falls (30 miles / 35 mins away)
  3. Latourell Falls (30 miles / 35 mins away)
  4. Elowah Falls Hike (36 miles / 36 mins away)
  5. Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls (36 miles / 38 mins away)
  6. Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (36 miles / 45 mins away, next festival: Mar 23-Apr 29, 2018)
  7. Wahclella Falls (39 miles / 40 mins away)
  8. Silver Falls State Park Trail of Ten Falls (56 miles / 1 hr 10 mins away)
  9. Trillium Lake (59.6 mi / 1 hr 19 min away)
  10. Rowena Crest (75 mi / 1 hr 20 min away)
  11. Cannon Beach (80 mi / 1 hr 30 min away)
  12. Kelly’s Brighton Marina, Oregon Coast Crabbing (89 mi / 1 h 51 min away)
  13. Timberline Lodge + Timberline Trail (62 mi / 1 hr 25 min away) – Also, best time to summit Hood: May – Mid-July

More: 15 Best Day Trips from Portland + 15 Best Weekend Getaways from Portland Oregon

[ NOTE: The majority of the hikes in the Gorge are currently closed due to the Eagle Creek Fire. It will be a while until they clear out all the dead trees. ]

DOWNLOAD THE CHECKLIST

101 THINGS TO DO IN PORTLAND MAP

Honorable mentions / knocked off the list:

TIPS FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS

  • When to Visit: High season is mid-May to Oct, low season is January to March, and shoulder season is November to December and April to mid-May according to the Portland Oregon Visitors Association.
  • Get a Car: You can get around via bikes, public transportation etc, but one of the best things about Portland is the easy access to outdoors. Check for Rental Cars here.
  • What You Need to Know About Parking: If you are paying for street parking, you always have to put your ticket on the curbside window whether it’s the driver’s side or passenger side. You can still get a ticket if it’s in the wrong place.
  • Public Transportation is Great in Portland. Between the MAX and the buses, you can get everywhere (as long as you don’t mind some walking). Some of our friends don’t own a car.
  • Pack a Rain Coat: There are a lot of rainy days, though it’s more of a drizzle than a downpour. Rain doesn’t stop Portlanders from going out.
  • There’s no sales tax in Oregon. Buy all your high ticket items here. We’re going to try to buy a new car here and definitely any new electronics we need.
  • East Portland is the Most “Hipster” Part of Portland. That’s where a lot of Portlandia is based.
  • Portland is the Beer Capital of the World. It has the most breweries in the metro area and the number of breweries continue to grow.
  • Renting a car? It’s illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon. At first it was strange, but now it’s the best and we feel spoiled!

Related:

MORE RESOURCES:

101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon - the Ultimate Portland Bucket List - from the touristy spots everyone has to do at least once to the spots a little more off the beaten path. // localadventurer.com
101 Fun Things to Do in Portland Oregon - Ultimate PDX Bucket List // localadventurer.comThe Ultimate Portland Bucket List - from the popular spots everyone has to do at least once to the spots a little more off the beaten path. // localadventurer.comUltimate Portland Bucket List - 101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon // localadventurer.com
Ultimate Portland Bucket List - 101 Things to Do in Portland Oregon // localadventurer.comOpal Creek Hike (Best Things to Do in Portland).

STAYING IN PORTLAND? HERE ARE THE BEST HOTELS

All the accommodations below have Tripadvisor’s Certificate of Excellence

READ REVIEWS AND FIND BEST PRICES

Find Best Prices at Booking.comRead Reviews and Find Best Prices at TripAdvisor // localadventurer.comFind Best Prices at Hotels.com

OTHER CITY BUCKET LISTS

Have you been to Portland?
Anything we’re missing or doesn’t deserve to stay on this list?

“Meet

ESTHER + JACOB

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They move to a new city every year and currently live in Portland, Oregon.

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This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Hey! This is a great list! Did one of you take the panorama photo at the top?

    1. Thanks, David! I did. It was from Pittock mansion. :)

  2. Fab bunch of tips! I will be in Portland on 22nd of August first time in my life.

    1. Awesome! Have fun and eat lots.

  3. Honorable mention: Get cupped at Cupping Studio in NE Portland’s Alberta Arts District! SO Portland, right?? Super cute Cupping Therapy Boutique (only costs $20 and is like a massage)

  4. WOW – Great list. We have a trip planned to Portland in July, so this is perfect as we have already been there several times. You have lots of new ideas on your list.
    Thank you!!!

  5. I live in Portland and this gave some great ideas of things for locals to do also. I would recommend Tusk, it is Ava Genes sister restaurant!

    1. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about Tusk!

  6. Amazing, have you guys ever thought about going abroad and doing a blog post? we would love to have you in Ireland!

  7. Hi, thank you for all of your recommendations! I was wondering about the photo of the natural rock slide posted within your Portland, Oregon checklist. Where is that at?
    Thanks again!
    Sabrina

    1. Hi Sabrina. You’re welcome. It’s in Opal Creek Wilderness.

      1. Hi there, the white painted bike looks beautiful but it’s actually a Portland tradition memorializing byciclists killed

        1. Thanks for letting us know! We had no idea. We replaced it a while ago but it’s still circulating in some places

  8. Thanks a lot for sharing this information. Very informative and amazing post shared. Awesome photos.

    1. Thank you for your comment, Nisha, and thanks for stopping by!

  9. Awesome! Where is the last pic where you’re sliding down a rock?!

  10. whole heartily thank you for giving out valuable information

  11. Very interesting story, its really enjoyable post and collection of photos is awesome.

  12. What a cool list! Were you able to visit Sizzle pie? they have really good pizza too! a lot of veggie/vegan options which is a dream!

    1. Thanks, April! We’ve ordered it to our home before and loved the Queen pie, but I’ve also tried it at the downtown location by the slice, which wasn’t very good. Still trying to decide how I feel about places where the fresh pies are good but the ones they sell by the slice aren’t since there are tons of pizza spots in Portland just like that.

  13. Such a fun list! This is my second time planning a trip to Portland but it seems like there’s still so much I’ve yet to see and do. Also didn’t know about that ticket display rule. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Thanks, Jasmine! We made the mistake a couple times too and luckily someone pointed it out to us before we got a ticket. :D When are you thinking of coming?

  14. Echoing, “Japanese Gardens” in Portland as one of the top things to see/visit in the city.

    Cheers and good luck in Portland!

    Carl Kruse

    1. Thanks, Carl! We really enjoyed visiting in the Spring with the Cherry Blossoms, but I hear Fall is even more amazing! :)

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