Things to Do in Portland

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

What's Open?

As Portland begins to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, check our list to see which attractions are ready to welcome you when, and how they're ensuring safety.

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.

Top Attractions

Some of the most popular things to do in Portland include visits to gardens, museums and the world’s largest independent bookstore.

Forest Park

With 70 miles of trails within Portland city limits, 5,156-acre Forest Park is a popular escape for runners, equestrians and hikers alike.

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.

Bridges of Portland

Learn the history and key features of the city’s 12 Willamette River crossings.

Top Family-Friendly Attractions

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

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

With a planetarium, a giant-screen theater, a retired navy submarine, traveling exhibits and “After Dark” events, OMSI has lures for all ages.

World Forestry Center Discovery Museum

Tree- and forest-lovers of all ages can learn about sustainability and experience a Portland icon at the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum.

Kid-Friendly Regional Attractions

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

Top 5

Portland's Favorite Parks

Of the city's more than 275 public parks, these five are some of the most locally loved.

  • Mt. Tabor Park

    This popular park features expansive views, picnic areas, natural-surface and paved paths, a dog off-leash area, a playground and a performance stage, plus tennis, volleyball and basketball courts.

  • Cathedral Park

    Once a fishing and seasonal living site for Native American tribes (and a landing site of Lewis and Clark), this park offers fishing, a boat ramp and canoe launch, an off-leash dog area, paved paths and picnic tables.

  • Washington Park

    Washington Park is one of the oldest, most popular parks in Portland. It features 15 miles of trails and more than 400 acres of trees, gardens, playgrounds and attractions.

  • Laurelhurst Park

    Surrounding a scenic lake, Laurelhurst Park was the first city park named to the National Register of Historic Places. It offers picnic and play areas, a dog off-leash area and a horseshoe pit, plus basketball, tennis and volleyball courts.

  • Peninsula Park Rose Garden

    Opened in 1909, this formal French garden was the city’s first public rose garden. The verdant park is home to an iconic fountain, a bandstand and a public pool.

Tax-Free Shopping

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

Portland on a Budget

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

Food Markets in Portland

Choose from a delicious array of food purveyors at these local food halls and marketplaces.

Portland Mercado

With a neighborhood grocery, meat market, coffee shop, food cart pod and more, the Mercado is one of the city’s most delicious destinations.

Pine Street Market

A modern food hall in Portland's Old Town features both local favorites and new ventures from international chefs, creating a kind of permanent food festival.

Portland Saturday Market

Open every Saturday from March–December, Portland Saturday Market is the largest arts-and-crafts fair in the U.S.

5 To Try

James Beard Award Winners

Experience fine dining, Portland-style, at these decorated local restaurants.

  • OX Restaurant

    Ox finds inspiration in the wood-fired grilling tradition of Argentina, and with it, the culinary heritage of Spain, France and Italy. They feature local meats and fish, as well as seasonal produce.

  • Beast

    Helmed by James Beard Award-winning chef Naomi Pomeroy, this French-influenced eatery serves prix fixe, multi-course meals at communal tables.

  • Canard

    From the team that created Le Pigeon and Little Bird comes Canard — a café by day and a wine bar (that also offers great cocktails and bar snacks) by night.

  • Paley’s Place Bistro & Bar

    Paley's Place offers Pacific Northwest regional cuisine, served in the warm and inviting setting of a Victorian home.

  • Pok Pok

    A Portland classic that began as a food cart and went on to international renown, Pok Pok celebrates the food and culture of Thailand and Southeast Asia.

Museums & Historical Sights

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

Portland's Gorgeous Gardens

The City of Roses is named so for a reason, offering dozens of beautiful public gardens.

Peninsula Park & Rose Garden

Discover outdoor fun for the whole family — plus thousands of blooms — at Oregon’s oldest public rose garden.

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.

Portland International Rose Test Garden

With great views of the roses and the skyline, the Portland Rose Garden in Washington Park is a must-see.