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

If you’re visiting Portland OR, here is a bucket list to help you plan your visit.

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).

101 Things to Do in Portland OregonPin

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Last Updated: February 16, 2024

The Ultimate Portland Bucket List (101 Unique Things to Do in Portland Oregon)

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.

Tourist Attractions

  1. 1.

Take your photo at the photo booth.

  1. 2.

Pet goats for free!

  1. 3.
    Glowing Greens Putt Putt

Indoor pirate-themed course for mini-golf played under black lights.

  1. 4.

Christmas lights during the holidays.

  1. 5.

(Washington Park) The best month to go is usually June.

  1. 6.
    Keep Portland Weird Sign(S)

(Flatiron District) another iconic and historic landmark.

  1. 7.
    Lan Su CHinese Garden

Admission includes the garden, Chinese Teahouse, public tours and events and activities during regular hours.

  1. 8.
    Portland Aerial Tram

For commuters to OHSU but has great views at the top.

  1. 9.
    Portland Japanese Garden

(Washington Park) Beautiful Japanese maples in the Fall.

  1. 10.
    Powell’s Books

World’s largest independent bookstore.

See More: Where to Find the Best Views in Portland

  1. 12.
    McMenamins Kennedy School

Watch a movie or stay overnight

  1. 13.
    Oregon Zoo

(Washington Park) Oldest zoo west of the Mississippi River.

  1. 14.
    Paul Bunyan Statue

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in January 2009.

  1. 15.

Historic home and one of our favorite views of the city.

  1. 16.
    The Shanghai Tunnels of Portland

The old Portland underground, mostly under Chinatown. Go on a tour to check it out.

  1. 17.
    VooDoo Doughnuts or Voodoo Too

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.

See More: 25 Most Popular Spots to Instagram Portland Oregon

Museums + Memorials

  1. 18.
    First Thursday Art Walk

Or the Last Thursday on Alberta Art Walk.

  1. 19.
    Fort VANCOUVER National Historic Site

On the Vancouver WA side.

  1. 20.

Oddities museum and unique art gallery.

  1. 21.
    The Hat Museum

90 minute tour guided by a docent who is an expert in the the history of hats.

  1. 22.
    Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

Three auditoriums, a large-screen theatre, planetarium, and exhibition halls.

  1. 23.
    Portland’s Children Museum

(Washington Park) Adult visitors must be accompanied by children.

  1. 24.
    Portland Art Museum

Free admission on the first Thursday of every month from 5–8pm.

  1. 25.

Over 100 vacuums from the late-1800s to the 1960s. Admission is free.

  1. 26.
    World Forestry Center

(Washington Park) Learn about the world’s forests and trees and sustainable living.

Urban Parks + Outdoors

  1. 27.

Located under St. Johns Bridge. Great photo op.

  1. 28.

Unpaved hiking paths, a dog off-leash area, and a cool view point.

  1. 29.
    Crystal Springs RHODODENDRON Garden

Huge trees, variety of shrubs and flowers.

  1. 30.
    Eastbank Esplanade

Pedestrian and bicycle path along the east shore of the Willamette River.

  1. 31.
    Elk ROck Garden

Great photo op. No public restrooms at the garden!

  1. 32.
    Hoyt Arboretum

(Washington Park) Open 365 days a year, free admission.

  1. 33.

Beautiful urban fountain.

  1. 34.

Check out the dead Volcano.

  1. 35.

Try indoor rock climbing or join one of their outdoor field trips.

  1. 36.
    Rent a Bike

Easiest ones to find all over are Biketown.

  1. 37.
    Rocky Butte Park

Joseph Wood Hill Park at Rocky Butte is the highest point.

  1. 38.
    Skidmore Bluffs

Mocks Crest Park

  1. 39.

Best during cherry blossom season.

  1. 40.
    Forest Park

Forest Park is the largest park within city limits. Take the short hike to Witch’s Castle.

See More: 25 Most Popular Spots to Instagram Portland Oregon


  1. 41.
    Pick Fruit at Columbia Farms
  1. 42.

Where locals go to shop.

  1. 43.

More of a touristy market.

  1. 44.
    New Seasons Market

Like Whole Foods but on a new level.

Events + Shows + Venues

  1. 45.

Revived as a classic movie and live music venue.

  1. 46.
    Dive-In Movies

Catch a movie either from the pool deck or while floating in the pool itself.

  1. 47.

Take curling lessons.

  1. 48.

Live music, balloon glow in the evening.

  1. 49.
    McMenamins Crystal Ballroom

Dance revivals were held here through the Great Depression.

  1. 50.
    The Naked Bike Ride

Happens in June. Be sure to wear a helmet!

  1. 51.
    Oregon Brewers Festival

Usually in July. It’s a craft beer destination.

  1. 52.

On the west side of Mt. Tabor, historically on the third Saturday of August.

  1. 53.
    Portland Meadows

Go see a horse race.

  1. 54.

Watch a Timbers Game.

  1. 55.
    Rose City Rollers

Roller Derby – they were the 2016 International Champions.

  1. 56.

Catch a Portland Trail Blazers game.

  1. 57.
    Top Down: Rooftop Cinema

Free 2-hour street parking.

Food + Drink

  1. 58.
    Brewery Tour

Or try drinking through all the Portland Breweries.

  1. 59.

We haven’t been yet but want to next time we visit.

  1. 60.

Our fave pizza spot so far.

  1. 61.

Get the Buzzy Babka Waffles.

  1. 62.

Tapas spot in Chinatown.

  1. 63.

Would you try pigeon?

Ecliptic Brewing Brewery Tour (+25 Free Things to Do in Portland Oregon) // localadventurer

  1. 64.

That blueberry bourbon basil <3 but can be hit or miss.

  1. 65.

Progressive fine dining.

  1. 66.

Try the lavender donut!

  1. 67.

Thai food in the Pearl District.

  1. 68.

Specializes in sour beers.

  1. 69.

Other local favorites: Good C.offee, Barista, Water Ave, Coava

  1. 70.

BrewPub Movie Theater.

  1. 71.

Only Mondays are open to the public.

  1. 72.

We frequented this spot.

  1. 73.

Portlandia was filmed here.

  1. 74.

A popular spot among locals.

  1. 75.

The Hawthorne is our fave.

  1. 76.

Made from scratch buttermilk biscuits and fixin’s.

See More: Your Portland Food Bucket List

  1. 77.

Get the flight of chai tea. The doughnuts can sometimes be over-fried.

  1. 78.

For tea flights!

  1. 79.

Popular spot for breakfast & brunch.

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  1. 80.

Get the passport so you can visit a bunch!

  1. 81.

My favorite is the strawberry honey balsamic with cracked pepper! They have expanded and have locations in LA and Vegas too.

Pro 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. 82.

Brunch: chicken + waffles are good, but the praline bacon – mouthwatering!

  1. 83.

Delicious charcuterie boards.

  1. 84.

Peruvian tapas spot.

  1. 85.

The flagship store is at SE 45th and Division.

Distillery Row Passport Portland //

Day Trips

  1. 86.
    Clackamas River Trail

(13 miles / 25 mins) Visit early, pretty crowded by mid day.

  1. 87.
    Oregon Lavender Farm

(21 miles / 34 mins away) Check out the Aromatic Herb Garden which contains numerous herbs.

  1. 88.

(30 miles / 35 mins away) Currently closed as of April 2020, due to Eagle Creek fires.

  1. 89.

(26.7 miles / 25 mins away) Great views of the gorge from Angels Rest summit.

  1. 90.
    Multnomah Falls

(30 miles / 35 mins away) A moderate, 2.2-mile hike with 700 feet of elevation gain to the top of the falls.

  1. 91.

(30 miles / 35 mins away) One of the most photogenic falls of the gorge.

  1. 92.

(36 miles / 36 mins away) Easy hike, can get a little crowded.

  1. 93.
    Horsetail Falls and PonyTail Falls

(36 miles / 38 mins away) Be careful with younger kids, trail can be a little narrow.

  1. 94.

(36 miles / 45 mins away) Vast variety of tulips and daffodils.

  1. 95.

(39 miles / 40 mins away) Day use fee of $5/vehicle/day.

  1. 96.

(56 miles / 1 hr 10 mins away) Moderate trails. As you get closer to the falls, expect muddy footing.

  1. 97.

(59.6 mi / 1 hr 19 min away) Tons of activities year round.

  1. 98.

(75 mi / 1 hr 20 min away) Landmark viewpoint, visit early to beat the crowds.

  1. 99.
    Cannon Beach

(80 mi / 1 hr 30 min away) Made famous by movies such as The GooniesPoint Break, and Twilight.

  1. 100.

(89 mi / 1 h 51 min away) Some of the best crabs we’ve ever eaten. If you chose to go crabbing, pricing is $100 for 2 hrs.

  1. 101.
    Timberline Lodge + Timberline Trail

(62 mi / 1 hr 25 min away) Also, best time to summit Hood: May – Mid-July

See More: 15 Best Day Trips from Portland

Download the Checklist

101 Things to Do in Portland Map

Honorable Mentions / Knocked off the List

Dog Mountain Hike (worth it during spring when the Balsamroots are in full bloom)

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.
  • Waterproof Shoes: Since it rains often, waterproof shoes are also great. These are our favorites!
  • 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!

Where to Stay in Portland

Planning Checklist

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

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Esther and JacobPin

Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

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