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Fun Cheap Things To Do In Portland

Picnic On Sauvie Island


If the weather is particularly nice while youre in Portland, consider making a little day trip to Sauvie Island. Just 10 miles northwest of downtown Portland, this is one of the largest river islands in the United States and much of it is farmland and wildlife refuge, and its a truly a peaceful escape from the city.

Relax at the beach, go berry picking at one of the many farms, get out on the water in a kayak, explore the island by bicycle, feel completely free at the islands clothing-optional Collins Beach, or simply watch the sunset.

Quirky Sight: Walk to the UFO on Collins Beach for an interesting sight. This saucer-like shipwreck is adorned in skillfully-done graffiti and is a colorful surprise in the middle of the thick bushes that line the beach. Just a heads up: Collins Beach is a clothing-optional spot and the UFO is often a spot where people gather to smoke weed and party. Here is the location of the UFO.

Visit The Keep Portland Weird Sign

Cost: Free

Hours: Anytime

Another cool photo spot in Portland is the Keep Portland Weird sign located across from Voodoo Donuts -Old Town. After all, Keep Portland Weird is the unofficial slogan of Portland.

Cost: Free to $13

Hours: 10an-6pm

The Lan Su Chinese Garden is located near downtown Portland. This walled Chinese Garden is a fun cheap thing to do in Portland. It opened in 2000 and many of the rocks were brought over from China. Although the plants can be found in China, they were not grown there due to import reasons. You can get in for free on Wednesdays or $13 on the other days.

Cost: Free

Hours: 9am-5pm

Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon standing at 620 feet. It is free to visit the falls, but sometimes you may need to make a reservation online. Visitors can opt to view the falls from the Visitors Center at the bottom, hike to the bridge at the middle of the falls, or head all the way to the top of the falls.

Cost: $10

Hours: Mon-Sat: 10am-5pm, Sun: 12pm-5pm

Another one of the fun cheap things to do in Portland is the Oregon Historical Society Museum. The Oregon Historical Society Museum houses over 85,000 artifacts about the history of Oregon. Established in 1898, it is located in Downtown Portland and operated by the Oregon Historical Society. This highlight of the collection is a huge Lewis and Clark Expedition Mural.

Cost: Free

Hours: Mon-Fri: 9am-4pm

Cost: Free to walk the grounds or $12 to tour the inside

Hours: Thurs-Mon: 10am-5pm

Smell The Roses At A Rose Test Garden

Portlands International Rose Test Garden is the oldest public garden of its kind with a primary purpose of testing rose varieties. Before visiting I thought I wasnt a rose girl, but these arent your typical supermarket flowers. They come in all shapes, colors, sizes and have unique names like Hot Tamale, Walking on Sunshine and Grand Amore.

PS: you could sign up for the half-day city tour that takes you to the garden plus Pittock Mansion!

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Have A Wild Day Out Oregon Zoo

Png Studio Photography

Some of the worlds cutest, ferocious and exotic critters can be seen at the Oregon Zoo!

It houses around 1,955 animals belonging to 232 different animal species ranging from insects to reptiles to big cats!

Oregon Zoo first opened in 1888 when a private collector decided to donate all his animals to the City of Portland. Many of the species found in the zoo are either endangered or threatened, but luckily the zoo has very successful breeding programs to aid their survival!

One of the recent successes has been the breeding of new African Elephants, which are always popular with park guests!

Mount Hood: Full Day Loop Tour From Portland


Youll start your day with an early morning pick-up from the hotel. Youll then be driven along a forested highway, to Mt. Hood, where youll stop to take a look at a few spectacular waterfalls! Youll be taken to the best waterfall viewing spot Benson Bridge, where youll be able to capture some incredible footage of the cascading waterfall!

Next, youll be taken to Hood River, a picturesque valley town, known as one of the best wind-sport destinations in the Portland area! Youll get a chance to watch kiteboarders and windsurfers in action, before exploring the town a little further.

Youll enjoy a bit of free time to explore Hood River, doing some shopping, having lunch and doing a little wine tasting before heading home!

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Half-price tickets to Portland shows, concerts, events

Tickets to Portland’s professional theater, concerts and sporting events can be pricey, if not down right out of reach for many. Thats one reason why Goldstar is so appealing. The company works with entertainment companies and venues to sell excess tickets to theater, concerts, comedy shows and sports. Often the ticket discounts are as Get Half-Price Tickets about Half-price tickets to Portland shows, concerts, events

Go For A Beer Tasting You Wont Soon Forget

Of all the things Portland is known for, perhaps the most notable is Portlands beer scene. In fact, Portland is often rated as the best beer city in America.

Our area of expertise? Craft beers and plenty of them.

Its almost impossible to be disappointed at most Portland breweries but there are some clear standouts you cant afford to miss.

Breakside Brewing: Breakside opened with a bang in NW Portland and has become so well-loved its hard to remember what we did before they came to town.

10 Barrel Brewing : Their sours are worth writing home about and the seasonal salad is dream-worthy, especially if salmon is involved.

Deschutes Brewery: The interior alone is worth the visit, so charming and rustic. This brewery is very popular and gets very busy very quickly because its the brewery everyone wants to visit. Its not uncommon for folks to wait in line for 2+ hours before being seated. Come early or have snacks to tide you over, the experience is worth it.

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Admire The Historic Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion is a sandstone chateau that was home to two of Oregons most influential residents Henry and Georgiana Pittock, in the early 20th century. It is breathtaking in its own right! Completed in 1914, this 22-room mansion features a stunning combination of Victorian and French-Renaissance-style architecture.

The mansion is an essential stop for understanding Portlands story. The property is located in The West Hills that provides beautiful views of the city, Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens.

More adventurous types can hike up to the mansion, and then enjoy a restful picnic in the lush gardens!

Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden

22 Things to Do in Portland, Oregon

The Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden is situated on the western portion of Grant Park.

Despite its name, it only contains three statues: a cheerful young girl, a boy, and their dog.

These are the characters of popular childrens author Beverly Cleary, namely Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, and Ribsy.

These statues circle a little fountain that gives the impression that theyre splashing about and having a blast, and the tiles beneath their feet are engraved with book titles.

Cleary grew up in Portland, so she used the city and its many places to see as inspiration for the settings for her many whimsical and delightful stories.

From the parking lot where Ramonas boots got mud-stuck, to the lawn Henry searched for nightcrawlers on, all the way up to the home of the Quimby family on Klickitat Street.

If you grew up reading her works, youll want to visit the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden for sure!

Address: Grant Park Path, Portland, OR 97212, United States

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See The Famous Japanese Gardens

You probably wouldnt expect to find exquisite traditional Japanese Gardens in Oregon, would you? But strangely enough, Portland is home to what has been called the best Japanese Gardens in the world outside Japan.

We visited these gardens just a couple months after returning from Japan, so our expectations were high. The gardens are truly stunning and made us wonder if we had been transported over the Pacific Ocean back to Japan!

Open year-round, these gardens are gorgeous during each season and make a nice morning or afternoon activity to escape the city and find Zen.

Cost: Tickets are $18.95 for adults.

More information: A limited number of tickets are available for daily admission. Portlands Japanese Gardens website has more information on hours and events.

Alternative: There is a smaller and lesser-known Lan Su Chinese Garden located in Chinatown that looks beautiful as well. General admission tickets are $12.95 and there is an onsite teahouse you can visit.

Fun Things To Do In Portland Oregon With Kids Of All Ages

Portland is a kid-friendly city with beautiful green parks, diverse attractions and fun activities, perfect for a weekend getaway filled with new adventures. Ride the Aerial Tram to get a unique view of the city from above, snack on fresh fruit at the farmers market, see rare animals at the zoo, and spend an afternoon at the world-renowned Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. On a sunny day, a picnic in Washington Park, followed by a mouthwatering dessert at a local café or bakery are some of the best things to do in Portland with kids. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Some restaurants are currently offering pickup only. Hours/availability may have changed.

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See A Portland Center Stage Show

Portland Center Stage is the biggest theater company in this city and its known to produce professional theatrical content for the surrounding community. Though the company was established in 1988, its home is at The Armory which was originally built in 1891. Besides the incredible entertainment, the buildings Romanesque revival architecture style is also sight to behold.

Browse The Famous Powells City Of Books

10 fun and cheap things to do in Portland OR

Powells City of Books is famous for being the largest independent bookstore in the world! And of course its located in Portland!

While this is no secret, it is still worth a stop on your first trip to Portland. With 9 rooms, 3,500 sections and nearly a million books, Powells is seriously a book-lovers dream. And even though its a popular spot, we think youll be impressed by the endless rows of literature and that signature bookstore smell.

The sheer number of books is mind-boggling, and the fact that they sell many second-hand titles makes our hearts flutter .

Insider Tip: Powells often hosts readings and book signings by authors, so check out their calendar of events.

But if youve been-there-done-that and youd like to browse some books at smaller shops, check out this list of Portlands best bookstores for lesser-known options.

Looking for more Oregon adventures? Weve now called the town of Bend home for over a year and thought it was about time to put together a giant guide to all the fun things to do in Bend, including where to eat, sleep and hang out.

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Get A Glimpse Of Life On A Submarine

Have you ever imagined how life is while you are in a submarine? Well, this Oregon city gives you the best opportunity to view life from a different angle at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The tours will have you a peek into crew life, plus you will get to look through the periscope and even touch a torpedo!

Grab A Drink At A Brewery

Cost: $5 and up

You cant visit Portland without visiting a Brewery. It is one of the must-do cheap things to do in Portland. I really enjoyed the tasting flight at 10 Barrel Brewing Co. but the outside area at Rogue Eastside Brewery provides for a nice relaxing atmosphere. Other worthwhile breweries include Modern Times Brewery, Deschutes Brewery, and Von Ebert Brewing.

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Oregon Rail Heritage Center

Portland is home to more working steam locomotives than any other city in the country, and youll find them at the volunteer-run Oregon Rail Heritage Center, opened in 2012. Guided interpretation, presentations, exhibits and events tell the story of Pacific Northwest railroads and, during the holiday season, light-adorned Holiday Express trains tour passengers along the Willamette River. Located near OMSI and accessible via Portland Streetcar.

Enjoy The Serenity Of The Portland Japanese Garden

Things To Do In Portland (Hidden Gems)

The Japanese Garden is another one of the top Portland attractions! Located in Washington Park, within a walking distance from the Rose Garden, this garden is an oasis of tranquility within the city.

The gardens comprise a series of five garden styles, streams, and a traditional Japanese tea house, covering over 5 acres. The gardens were influenced by Shinto, Buddhist, and Taoist philosophies. It was recently described as the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan by the former Ambassador of Japan to the United States.

A stroll through this outdoor oasis is like an exploration through The Orient!

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Taste Portlands Best Doughnuts

It seems like everyone who ventures to Portland has an Instagram pic of the famous Voodoo Doughnuts. Yep, we did too.

We were hungry and the line didnt seem *that* long, so we decided to see if these fried sweet things live up to the hype. We ended up ordering 3 different doughnuts to sample , and we took them to a patch of grass down by the river to do our taste test.

We hate to say it, but we were not all that impressed. That didnt stop us from finishing them , but in our opinion, it just didnt live up to the hype. Or, maybe they just werent our type of doughnuts

Voodoo is known for wild, over-the-top toppings like breakfast cereal , bacon, and cream fillings. Admittedly, thats not really our thing. Were less about the quirky toppings and fillings and more about the actual doughnut. Like those perfectly dense old-fashioneds. *Cue me drooling over my laptop.*

So honestly, my less than enthusiastic opinion could be mostly based on the fact that Voodoo just doesnt specialize in my kind of doughnuts.

If youre in Portland and you wanna give Voodoo a chance, give it a shot! But if you want to know where the locals get doughnuts, keep reading

Visit The Smallest Park In The World

In 1971, Guinness World Records confirmed what most Portlanders already knew Mill Ends Park is the smallest park in the world.

Clocking in at a mere two square feet, Mill Ends Park is officially recognized as the smallest park in the world. It wouldnt Portland if it wasnt weird, right?

Heres a fun fact someone once stole the sole tree from the park and felt guilty enough to return it a week later.

Regardless, this little park is a beloved Portland treasure and visiting it is one of the quirkiest things to do in Portland.

And sure, this is a quick pop over best coupled with other more interesting things to do in Portland but Id be remiss to leave this off the list! This is a photo opportunity with a world-record, who can pass that up!

Location: 56 SW Taylor St, Portland, OR 97204

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Visit The Portland Saturday Market

Think crafty locals selling everything from birdhouses to paintings, food, jewelry and musical instruments. Visiting the Saturday Market is on most peoples to-do lists because its quintessential artsy Portland.

Address: 2 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204. The Saturday Market is open Saturdays from 10 to 5 and Sundays from 11am to 4:30pm.

Grab Some Grub At A Food Truck Pod


In true hipster fashion, you wont have to look hard to find food trucks in Portland. Serving up everything from classic food truck bites like street tacos to Ethiopian specialties, youll find a food truck that tickles your tastebuds.

And if you want several options all in one place so you can do your due diligence of sampling them all, make your way to one of Portlands food truck pods. Yes, this is exactly what it sounds like. A gathering of trucks serving up tasty food!

  • Cartlandia: More than 30 different carts serving up cuisines from all over the world!

  • Pine Street Market: While not a food truck pod, this indoor food court gives you the variety that food trucks do without having to brave being outdoors on a rainy day.

  • *** Note below: More info in progress for your reading pleasure! Photos and Links to come.

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    Smell The Roses At The International Rose Test Garden

    B Brown

    A major reason why one of Portlands nicknames is, the City of Roses is the popularity of the International Rose Test Garden. Established over a century ago in an attempt to preserve European rose species during World War I, the garden is now the oldest official rose test garden in the United States!

    Located in Washington Park, the rose garden is home to more than 10,000 rose bushes! From April through to October the gardens are awash with color, with the spectacular 650 different varieties of roses in bloom.

    There are special roses with character names in the Shakespeare Garden, small roses in the Miniature Rose Garden, and award-winning roses in the Gold Award Garden!

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