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Weird Things To Do In Portland

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum

5 Fun Things to Do In Portland (Maine) During Your Cruise Port Stop

Did you collect trains as a kid?

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum will be a little like your childhood dreams coming to life.

Located on a functioning narrow-gauge railway, the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum offers an experience thats both interesting and educationally engaging.

Youll learn about the history of the railway, but youll have fun while youre doing it.

Youll be able to take a tour, climb aboard the cars, press controls in the caboose and even ride on the tracks for a three-mile journey down the waterfront.

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum is a must-do in the Portland area.

Not only is it a fascinating attraction, but its specific to the railways of the city, so you cant find anything like it anywhere else in Maine.

Address: 58 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

Enjoy Tom Mccall Waterfront Park

Tom McCall Waterfront Park is named after Oregons revered governor. The park swells with locals during lunch hour and its inevitable that youll be dodging bikers, walkers, skateboarders and young couples walking hand-in-hand.

One popular attraction along the waterfront is the Oregon Maritime Museum, this is a great stop for anyone with kids.

And if youre looking for things to do in Portland on a Saturday, swing by the Portland Saturday Market where local merchants sell unique crafts, its a great place to pick up souvenirs!

Try to time your visit to the waterfront with the spring season because this is the best spot in Portland for cherry blossoms. The 100 Akebono cherry trees that line the waterfront were gifted by the Japanese Grain Importers Association in 1990.

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Like The City Itself Portland’s Attractions Are A Little Unexpected And Always Inspiring

Its safe to say a visitor will never experience the same Portland twice. The citys top attractions are constantly evolving, creating exciting pop-ups, debuting new works and hosting events that attract both locals and visitors alike. Read on for our favorite things to do, see and experience in Portland, then check out our events calendar to help you plan your trip.

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Have Fun In Portlands Living Room

Source: flickr

Pioneer Courthouse Square is knows by the locals as Portlands Living Room. It is situated in the center of downtown and is approximately 40,000 square foot. The square has many cool features and places for friends to hang out. There is an outdoor chess table, and a fountain that looks like a cascading waterfall. In the middle of the square there is an area that looks like an amphitheatre. It is a semi-circle shape and has 24 steps that people use as seats when there is a live performance. When you walk through the square you will notice that the bricks you are walking on have the names of people on them. When the area was being developed locals could pay $15 to get their name put on a brick which would go towards the cost of construction.

Hike To The Witchs Castle

Weird things to do in Portland, Oregon

Kinda creepy, really cool. This dilapidated house is located in the southernmost end of Portlands Forest Park and is a sight to see! Right next to a riverbank, this crumbling structure has been taken over by the forest, with vines creeping up the structure.

The story behind it is that Danford Balch, his wife and their 9 children lived in this house back in 1850. Danford wanted help clearing some nearby land, so he hired a helping hand, Mortimer Stump . Well, Mortimer fell in love with 15-year Anna, which Big Daddy Danford did not approve of.

The young couple ran away to elope, but the next time Danford saw them together he drunkenly shot Mortimer in the head. Danford was arrested and later hanged , and Mary Jane continued to live in the property long after her husband was gone.

The structure was used for a few different purposes in the years after Mary Jane like a park ranger station and a restroom for trail hikers. But after being badly damaged in a storm, it was abandoned and all but forgotten about until the 1980s when high school students decided it would be a fun place to hold a kegger.

They affectionately started calling it the Witchs Castle. And with its crumbly, moss-covered appearance, its easy to see why!

While we didnt experience any strange things at the Witchs Castle, it was a neat spot to see in the midst of a beautiful forest with few people around.

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Admire St Johns Bridge

This historic steel suspension bridge is a real whopper, spanning the Willamette River and connecting two of Portlands major neighborhoods. Just as striking as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, St. Johns is a beloved city landmark.

You can drive over the bridge during a tour of Portland, or head to Cathedral Park to snap up some iconic vacation photos.

Things To Do In Portland Oregon: International Rose Test Garden

Looking for a romantic walk in Portland with your soulmate? Heres the most romantic place in the city.

International Rose Test Garden is a large rose garden with over 10,000 rose bushes under 650 varieties. And these roses normally bloom from April through October. June is the peak month. Therefore, thousands of rose lovers, couples, and families visit the garden in June.

Located in Washington Park in Portland, International Rose Test Garden was founded in 1917. That means it is the oldest continuously operated public rose test garden in the USA.

There are several sections in this rose garden. For example, Gold Award Garden features award winners and a lovely gazebo.

Also, International Rose Test Garden develops new rose varieties and miniatures.

Do you like to walk through lovely roses?

Address: 400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States Phone: +1 503-823-3636

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More Things To Do At Mcmenamins Kennedy School

  • If you have time, explore the rest of the venue. You can still glimpse relics of what it used to be like. Scope out class pictures on the walls, and if you use your imagination, youll see that the public bathrooms have a bit of an elementary feel to them.
  • Go to a movie at the cool onsite theater .
  • Depending on how scholarly youre feeling, theres both a detention bar as well as an honors bar.
  • If youre craving pizza, head to nearby Ranch PDX for some of the best deep dish weve ever had!

Fun to know: If youre not from Oregon, you might be unfamiliar with McMenamins, so allow me to introduce you to this Oregon staple This is a family-owned conglomerate of mostly historic buildings that have been converter into entertainment venues, pubs, craft beverage makers, and hotels, all with quirky vibes. Once you start looking, youll see the name McMenamins around the city quite a bit.

Educate Yourself And Your Family On The Holocaust

How to Keep it Weird in Portland

Source: ojmche

The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is a great place to visit if you wish to improve your education of the events that took place during the Holocaust. It is the largest museum of its kind in the United States and a fascinating place to visit. Originally there were two separate museums before a merger took place and the two companies decided to work completely together. Apart from the Holocaust section you can also learn about the Jewish culture and their identity in Portland.

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The Local Doughnut Choice In Portland

We were told by many locals that actually, the place to go for donuts is Blue Star Donuts.

So of course, we had to give it a whirl on our second trip to Portland. And lemme tell ya, we are fans. I saw Blue Star described by someone as doughnut flavors for grownups, and just take a look at some of these interesting flavor options:

  • Mexican Hot Chocolate

  • Cointreau Crème Brûlée

  • Blueberry Bourbon Basil

While Voodoo and Blue Star are probably the two most famous options, Portland has an uncanny amount of doughnut shops. Like, you could stay in Portland for 2 weeks and try a different one every day.

Other honorable mentions:

  • Coco Donuts
  • NOLA Doughnuts

Tip: And if youre really into these circular treats, you might want to do a doughnut tour, where you can sample bites from all the best shops in Portland.

Oregon Jewish Museum And Center For Holocaust Education

The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education is the largest museum dedicated to the history of the Jews of Oregon.

It preserves, studies, and exhibits artifacts, art, and archival materials of the Jews and Judaism in Oregon.

Aside from that, this museum offers you a chance to improve your education of what happened during the Holocaust via documented and visual exhibits.

Are you a history buff?? Then, do not miss this museum.

Address: 724 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209, United States Phone: +1 503-226-3600

Things to Do in Portland Oregon

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Hike The Columbia River Gorge

If youre looking to get out of the city and stretch your legs, head to the Columbia River Gorge. Located about one hour east of the city by car, its home to waterfalls, scenic vistas, and hiking trails. Its the largest National Scenic Area in the country and makes for a nice place to spend a day. Oregons tallest waterfall, Multnomah Falls, can be found here, as well as a hundred-year-old observatory that offers up views of the surrounding picturesque landscape.

Some suggested hikes are Dry Creek Falls , Wahkenna Falls Loop , and Starvation Ridge and Warren Lake . If you dont have a car, theres a daily shuttle available for $20 USD .

Portland is one of my favorite American cities. Its fun, eclectic, and energetic, and it has a lot to offer . It deserves far more attention than it gets from domestic and international travelers alike. If you find yourself in the PNW, be sure to spend a few days here. Your tastebuds will thank you!

Book Your Trip to Portland: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your FlightUse Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!

Pittocks Mansion View Of The Portland

Weird things to do in Portland, Oregon

Mount Hood view from Pittock Mansion

The view over Portland from Pittocks Mansion is my favourite view in the city, especially on a clear day when Mount Hood dominates in the background.

This one is also great if youre looking for free things to do in Portland as you dont need to pay anything to access the grounds of Pittock Mansion. If youre visiting during a weekend or high season, I suggest parking your car at the bottom of the hill or taking transit there and walking through the neighbourhood to reach the grounds. The houses on this route are also beautiful and have some of the most coveted views in the city.

Alternatively there is a car park on site but it can get very busy. Walk to the rear of the mansion for incredible panoramic views of the city and mountain.

If you do decide to visit Pittock Mansion, tickets are $12 for adults.

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Eat Your Way Around One Of The Best Pizza Cities In The Us

Yes, you read that right: Portland has been named one of the best cities for pizza in the United States.

This article even calls it the best, but Im not going to go there as I dont want to start an online war with my New York and Chicago friends.

Wherever you stand on its ranking, theres no arguing Portland has some pretty damn good pizza options.

We can offer rave reviews for the drool-worthy deep dish pizza from Ranch PDX. With three eateries around the city, we visited the pocket-sized location in the Woodlawn neighborhood.

They serve full pies or quarters , which we thought were a really good size. And like their name implies, each order is served with homemade ranch.

Our experience: Dont hate, but Im typically much more of a thin crust person and I dont usually do the whole pizza-and-ranch thing but hot damn. This place is delicious, and Im itching to get back. We loved the Number Four and Hawaiian .

Other Portland pizza staples:

Travel Back In Time At Pittock Mansion

This French Renaissance-style mansion was once a private home built like a castle for publisher Henry Pittock. Located in the hills outside Portland, Pittock Mansion boasts some of the best views of the city so remember to pack your camera.

Check out the historical exhibits about 20th-century life in Portland, and admire the flamboyant architecture as you stroll through the rooms.

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Visit Save The Pt Boat Museum

The worlds last working PT boat from World War II can be found here in Oregon. This historic torpedo vessel has been restored and can often be seen powering along the Willamette River.

The living memorial has a small museum dedicated to war memorabilia and the restoration journey. Tours and rides are available on selected dates throughout the year.

Portland Tourist Traps To Avoid

Keeping Portland Weird during Covid

#1. Voodoo Donuts

Voodoo is a tourist trap, there I said it. Revoke my residency if you must but dont shoot the messenger.

The famous pink boxes were once synonymous with Portlands respect to quirky things like donuts with cereal on top.

But today? A sign of an overly-eager tourist.

Mind you, I completely understand that most first time visitors will inevitably visit Voodoo Donuts .

But brace yourself this place has become a tourist trap. Youll find better donuts at Blue Star and Pips.

#2. The Portland Spirit

The Portland Spirit was founded in the early 1990s and Im sure most Portlanders have taken a ride one time or another. But the food is mediocre, the drinks overpriced, and the boats seem tired.

Overall, I dont think folks partake in this experience more than once because its too expensive for what it is. Save your money and time.

#3. Ice skating at Lloyd Center

Ask any Portlander and Im sure theyll regale you with a story of ice skating at Lloyd Center as a kid. Its what a lot of us do!

The ice skating rink in Lloyd Center is perhaps most notable thanks to Tonya Harding, an Olympian from Portland that used to train here.

But today the mall just feels tired, even with the recent renovation. You can easily skip a visit to the Lloyd Center while visiting Portland.

#4. Chinatown

Ill get hate for this, I can already feel it but Im just being real. Chinatown is not worth the trip unless you want to be blown away at the sight of homeless encampments.

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Oregon Historical Society Museum

ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock

The Oregon Historical Society Museum is situated in downtown Portland.

It opened in 1898 and has since been telling the tales of the state, from its first settlers to those who live here now.

It has earned its spot among worthy points of interest, especially given its housing of an important artifact to the city, but also thanks to the 85,000 or so artifacts related to local history onsite.

Within the halls of the Oregon Historical Society Museum sits the Portland penny, which was flipped to decide the name of the city.

The two options were Boston or Portland, and well, we know who came out the winner!

Other great things to check out are a sandal that is 9,000 years old, the replica of a ships hull, and the library.

With all the manuscripts, artifacts, films, books, and photographs to see, youll leave with a much deeper understanding of this lovely state.

Address: 1200 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States

Does Portland Have The Best Coffee In The Country Judge For Yourself

Portland consistently ranks as one of the top 3 best coffee cities in America .

And I can tell you from firsthand experience that Portlanders are downright spoiled with good coffee options.

Its hard to accept a mediocre cup of joe when you live in a place like Portland which is why I highly recommend drinking as much coffee as you can while youre visiting the city and whatever you do, DONT go to Starbucks .

In fact, one of my favorite things to do in Portland with out of town guests is to start every morning at a different cafe and have them rank them.

So far, these are the clear crowd favorites:

Stumptown Coffee: Stumptown is considered the most iconic coffee shop in Portland, this gem has spread to several locations across the country. Swing by to see why locals maintain a steadfast devotion to Stumptown regardless of all the new cafes that have cropped up over the years.

Coava Coffee Roasters: Coava roasts its own beans, which are so well known that many Portland cafes choose to use them exclusively. Specializing in pour-overs and espresso, rather than latte art, this is the place to go if you want a great cup of coffee with a focus on the beans.

The baristas are some of the friendliest Ive come across and take great pride in sharing their knowledge of the days beans.

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Day : West Side In Portland

On the first day of our Portland travel guide, we head to the West Side where much of the citys affluence can be found. Well visit the ever-charming Alphabet district, the ritzy Pearl, soak in some views on the Waterfront, and much more.

Lets start out in Northwest Portland aka the Alphabet District. Aside from inspiring many Simpsons character names, this neighborhood is known for its bright, multicolored houses and Portlands best shopping.

Along the main drags of 21st and 23rd Street, youll find lots of little shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars.

Moving along, we make for the Pearl District next via Burnside St. The Pearl was once of the decrepit parts of town, full of abandoned warehouses and squats nowadays, its the most glamorous part of the city, synonymous with the luxury redevelopment phenomenon.

Granted, there are a lot of cool galleries and restaurants in the Pearl. Be sure to pop in Wieden+Kennedy to see their small gallery and then grab a drink at the 10 Barrel Rooftop. The legendary and unmissable Powells Bookstore is also on the edge of the Pearl.

As we continue down Burnside, we make a right on Broadway until we reach Pioneer Square. This is the main public square in the city and regularly hosts community events.

Many of Portlands top points of interest are within a few minutes walk as well. These include the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and Portland Art Gallery.

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