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.

Fall in Portland

Cooler temperatures bring spirited festivals and beautiful colors for the turn of the season.

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.

Portland’s Best Spots for Fall Color

Autumnal beauty abounds in Portland, and there are plenty of prime places to revel in leaf-crunching relaxation.

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
Celebration of the Chrysanthemum
Nov. 1–30, 2022

Celebration of the Chrysanthemum

Lan Su Chinese Garden $11 – $14

Chinese Symbol of Autumn: the Chrysanthemum Make way pumpkins, this is the season for chrysanthemums…

Editor's Pick
Art & Design, Cultural Communities
Editor's Pick
Christmas Festival of Lights
Nov. 25–Dec. 30, 2022

Christmas Festival of Lights

The Grotto $6 – $14

Presenting the sights, sounds and sensations of the season, The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lig…

Editor's Pick
Festival
Editor's Pick
Small Shops Big Hearts
Nov. 17–Dec. 11, 2022

Small Shops Big Hearts

Shops Citywide Free

Portland’s small business community is coming together to put the fun back into holiday shopping. …

Editor's Pick
Shopping
Editor's Pick
ZooLights
Nov. 21, 2022–Jan. 5, 2023

ZooLights

Oregon Zoo $21 – $29

Kids and adults agree: it wouldn’t be the holidays in Portland without a visit to ZooLights. In ad…

Editor's Pick
For Kids, Outdoors

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.

Portland Japanese Garden

A haven of meticulously maintained, tranquil beauty, proclaimed one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, the Portland Japanese Garden offers meandering streams, intimate walkways and an unsurpassed view of Mount Hood.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

This year-round wonder taking up an entire city block houses an authentic Ming Dynasty style garden built by Suzhou artisans. Lan Su Chinese Garden offers a peaceful escape in Portland's historic Chinatown district.

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

Take your happy hour to the next level with one of these classic Rose City cocktails, from a sophisticated Negroni to a group-sized Tiki bowl.

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.

  • Cartlandia Food Cart Pod

    This Southeast Portland “super pod” is home to a full-service bar, a family- and dog-friendly outdoor beer garden and over 30 carts representing 15 different countries (including a Voodoo Doughnut mobile van and three carts serving lobster).

  • 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.

  • Fifth Avenue Food Cart Pod

    This eclectic collection of eateries in downtown Portland is a local favorite for weekday lunch.

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.