Things to Do in Portland

Like the city itself, Portland's attractions are a little unexpected and always inspiring.

It’s safe to say a visitor will never experience the same Portland twice. The city’s 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.

Questions About Things to Do in Portland

What are the must-see attractions in Portland?

The answer truly depends on your interests; Portland caters to most. If you still can’t decide after perusing this page, check out this article about where to go if it’s your first visit to Portland. Been here a few times? Try our fourth-timers guide.

How can I spend three days in Portland?

This guide to spending 48 hours in Portland includes many of the top attractions in the central city. Use your extra day to visit one of Portland’s many beautiful parks or gardens and explore a Portland neighborhood.

You can also let fate be your guide. Check out our events page to find out what’s going on in Portland when you’re in town or if you’re still planning your trip you can browse events by month. If you want someone else to show you around, make sure your travel plans include a walking tour or biking tour and learn about Portland history, coffee or beer.

What are the best things to eat and drink in Portland?

What are you in the mood for? Portland’s local food scene includes hundreds of food carts representing cuisines from around the world, James Beard award-winning restaurants and plenty of options for diners with dietary restrictions.

As for beverages, Portland is well known for its coffee, but there are also teahouses scattered throughout the city. Most people know Portland’s reputation for craft beer but may not know Oregon is one of the top wine-producing states. There’s also a growing craft distillery scene.

I’m planning my first trip to Portland, what should I do?

If you’re a first-time visitor to the City of Roses, check out our guide for a perfect first trip.

Fall in Portland

Whether you're looking to get spooky or basic, fall in Portland has something for everyone.

The Spirit of Halloweentown

The historic town of St. Helens, located 45 minutes from Portland, celebrates Halloween all month long with haunted tours, costume contests and more.

Chapman Swift Watch

Every September, spectators gather to see the world’s largest roost of Vaux’s swifts swarm and spiral into the chimney of a Northwest Portland school.

The Corn Maize on Sauvie Island

The Corn Maize, located on Sauvie Island north of Portland, offers visitors eight acres of physical and mental challenges in a cornfield.

Portland on a Budget

There’s plenty to eat, drink, see and do in the Rose City — all without overspending.

The Top 10 Things to Do in Portland

Traveler favorites and quintessentially Portland attractions

Accessible Portland

Discover wheelchair-accessible and sensory-friendly attractions and activities in Portland, Oregon.

Upcoming Events in Portland

No matter when you visit, there's always something fun to see and do in Portland.

Editor's Pick
Piano Push Play

Piano Push Play


Piano Push Play invites local artists to transform old, donated pianos into whimsical works of art w…

Editor's Pick
Editor's Pick
Spirit of Halloweentown
Sept. 16–Oct. 31, 2023

Spirit of Halloweentown

Courthouse Plaza Cost Varies

The historic town of St. Helens, located 45 minutes from Portland, celebrates Halloween all month lo…

Editor's Pick
Editor's Pick
The Corn Maize at the Pumpkin Patch
Sept. 2–Oct. 31, 2023

The Corn Maize at the Pumpkin Patch

Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch $8 – $10

The Corn Maize, located on Sauvie Island north of Portland, offers visitors eight acres of physical …

Editor's Pick
For Kids, Halloween, Outdoors
Editor's Pick
Dahlia Festival
Aug. 2–Sept. 30, 2023

Dahlia Festival

Swan Island Dahlias Free

Celebrate the season of DAHLIAS. A Rainbow of Color. Stroll through almost 40 acres and a beautiful …

Editor's Pick
Outdoors, Shopping

Tax-Free Shopping

Enjoy big-box and indie shopping in the Rose City — all without any sales tax.

Portland's Gorgeous Gardens

Bask in an abundance of color during the change of seasons.

Leach Botanical Garden

Walk through verdant treetops and breathe in the scent of a four-season pollinator garden in this urban oasis in SE Portland.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Round out your floral explorations of the Rose City with a visit to Southeast Portland’s lush Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. The park boasts more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, with blooms from late February -June.

The Grotto

This serene woodland sanctuary in Northeast Portland features 62 acres (25 hectares) of lush botanical gardens. No matter what time of year you visit, the Grotto offers calm, peace and introspection, transcending boundaries.

Museums & Historical Sights

Portland is full of landmarks and attractions where you can learn about the city's history and culture.

Date Night Ideas

Plan a magical evening with your special someone, from romantic restaurants to booze-free fun.

Date Night Ideas in Portland

Planning a romantic evening in Portland? We have date night ideas, activities and adventures for couples with all sorts of interests.

Restaurants With a View

Whether atop the city's tallest buildings or nestled next to a river, these Portland restaurants with a view offer a feast for the eyes (as well as the appetite).

Portland’s Signature Cocktails

Portland is home to expert mixologists and one of America’s most vibrant craft cocktail scenes — sip your way through the city’s signature drinks.

Top 5

Food Cart Scene

Portland is home to hundreds of food carts and food cart pods, including these five favorites.

  • Cartopia Food Cart Pod

    The Cartopia pod is home to a wide variety of food carts and a covered, heated seating area. Most carts are lively late into the night, staying open until midnight Tuesday to Thursday and even later on the weekends.

  • Portland State University Food Cart Pod

    Located on the south end of the Portland State University campus, this food cart pod offers cuisine from around the world. For seating, head to the shady, tree-lined South Park Blocks nearby.

  • Rose City Food Park

    Rose City Food Park is a food cart pod that features covered, heated seating; a family-friendly, dog-friendly, bike-friendly atmosphere; a beer garden and more.

  • Third Avenue Food Cart Pod

    With plentiful riverfront seating at nearby Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, these longtime downtown food carts are a lunchtime favorite, offering cuisine from Mexico, Egypt, Thailand, Vietnam and more.

  • Prost Marketplace

    Long standing food cart pod with covered seating, adjacent to Prost! and beloved by everyone from locals to Conde Naste writers.

Top Family-Friendly Attractions

Enjoy hands-on science at OMSI, elephants at the zoo, indoor activities for kids and more.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

With interactive science labs, a planetarium, a giant-screen theater, a retired navy submarine, traveling exhibits and "After Dark" events, OMSI lures all ages.

Oregon Zoo

Located near downtown Portland in Washington Park, the Oregon Zoo is home to more than 2,600 animals.

Kid-Friendly Regional Attractions

Trips outside the city promise all-ages entertainment. Here are four must-see attractions within two hours of downtown Portland.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Find the best things to do based on your interests.

Keepin' It Weird

A round-up of Portland's eccentric events and attractions.

Umbrella Optional

5 Fun Things to Do When It Rains

Don't a little "liquid sunshine" stop you from enjoying Portland.

  • Pioneer Place

    This shopping center occupies four city blocks in the heart of downtown Portland, offering tax-free shopping at over 100 stores, an expansive food court, bars and a movie theater.

  • Powell’s City of Books

    From humble storefront beginnings in 1971, Powell’s has grown into an iconic Portland destination. Occupying an entire city block, the world’s largest new and used bookstore offers frequent author talks, a rare book room and a coffee shop.

  • OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry)

    OMSI's five enormous halls bring science to life with hundreds of interactive exhibits and displays. You can experience live lab demonstrations, see a movie on a four-story-tall screen, explore the stars in a planetarium and even tour a submarine.

  • Portland Art Museum

    The renowned Portland Art Museum is the oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest. Located in the heart of downtown’s Cultural District, the museum’s campus includes an outdoor sculpture court, permanent galleries and special exhibitions.

  • Cinema 21

    Originally a single-screen theater and now a three-screen multiplex, Cinema 21 specializes in art-house, foreign and classic films and serves beer, wine and pizza along with concessions classics.