You won’t find a Fisherman’s Wharf or a Space Needle in Portland — our tourist attractions are quintessentially local spots beloved by residents and visitors alike. (See our first-time, top sights and attractions page for some favorites.) By your fourth trip, you’ve probably checked biggies like Powell’s and the Portland Japanese Garden off your list, so it’s time to dig deeper. Visiting these lesser-known treasures will help you become a Portland pro.
This Northwest Portland destination isn’t your typical gallery-slash-ice cream shop; The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium is packed with creepy but fun features, including a bigfoot display, Al Capone’s safe, an alien autopsy table and an exhibit on spontaneous combustion. Don’t miss the “Church of Ice Cream,” which is watched over by a figurine of the blue, many-armed “god of ice cream and real estate.”
Oregon Center for Contemporary Art
Already seen the epic galleries at Portland Art Museum? It’s time to head to Oregon Center for Contemporary Art, a can’t-miss nonprofit contemporary art center in North Portland, right on the MAX Yellow Line. The 12,000-square foot (1,115 sq m) space is home to performing arts programs, community events, four artist studios and an artistic open space that showcases some of the best contemporary artists working locally and nationally.
Keep your eyes peeled for a pirate skeleton on Southwest Taylor Street because otherwise, Glowing Greens could be easy to miss. Hidden behind a discreet door and down two flight of stairs, you’ll discover a glow-in-the-dark, pirate-themed indoor miniature golf course, perfect for a rainy day (or night).
You could visit Portland every month and still not keep up with the staggering selection of great places to eat. This time around, delight your taste buds with Indian street food from Bollywood Theater. Feast on bites like vada pav (spicy potato dumplings dipped in chickpea batter, fried and served on a roll) or kati rolls (meat or paneer, egg, pickled onion and green chutney rolled in flatbread).
Bring your own ideas or leave it to your manicurist — either way, you’ll leave with 10 digits bedecked with edgy, unique and incredibly detailed nail art. Choose a Portland theme for the ultimate souvenir (and Instagram shot). Located in Southeast Portland, Finger Bang is super-popular, so book your appointment online ahead of time.
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