25 Fun Things to Do in Portland | 2024 (with Photos)

James A. Smith

James A. Smith - Chief Editor

Last Updated: January 22, 2024

Hey there! I'm James, a Portland enthusiast with a passion for exploring the vibrant city. In my article "25 Fun Things to Do in Portland | 2024 (with Photos)," I'll guide you through the best experiences the city has to offer, helping you make the most of your trip.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon, is renowned for its vibrant culture and diverse attractions.

In this bustling metropolis nestled between the Pacific Northwest's stunning natural landscapes, you'll find an array of amazing activities that cater to all tastes.

Whether you're visiting Portland for the first time or returning for more adventures, you'll find an abundance of outdoor activities, culinary delights, and artistic treasures.

From exploring iconic landmarks like Powell's City of Books to taking a stroll through the enchanting Lan Su Chinese Garden, prepare for an unforgettable adventure with these 25 awesome and fun things to do in Portland.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Visit Powell's Books

Top Choice Hotel

The Nines, Portland

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Best Time to Visit

Summer months are the best time to visit.

Average Temperature

Mild summers, cool winters, around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Transportation Options

Bikes, buses, trains, ferries – Portland's got it.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Start your day by visiting the iconic Powell's City of Books, a book lover's paradise where you can get lost in the seemingly endless shelves. After indulging in some literary delights, head over to the beautiful Tom McCall Waterfront Park, where you can unwind by the Willamette River and enjoy stunning views of the city skyline.

Don't forget to visit the vibrant and lively Pearl District, known for its art galleries, trendy boutiques, and mouth-watering food carts. Immerse yourself in the local culture by exploring the intriguing Portland Saturday Market, where you can find unique handmade crafts and indulge in delicious local treats.

What You'll Need to Bring

  1. Comfortable walking shoes
  2. Raincoat or umbrella
  3. Layered clothing for varying weather

What Not to Miss

  1. Powell's City of Books
  2. Portland Japanese Garden
  3. Multnomah Falls
  4. Explore the food scene in the Pearl District
  5. Visit the Pittock Mansion

What to Avoid

  1. Avoid driving during rush hour
  2. Avoid tourist traps
  3. Avoid visiting popular attractions on weekends to avoid crowds

1. Explore Witch's Castle in Portland's Enchanted Forest

Witch's Castle Oregon

Perched in the lush forests of Portland, Oregon, Witch's Castle is a fascinating and slightly eerie landmark that sparks curiosity and intrigue.

Moss-covered stone walls and the haunting atmosphere of Witch's Castle create an enchanting setting for exploration.

Whether you're captivated by its mysterious folklore or simply appreciate its unique architecture, a visit to Witch's Castle is sure to transport you to another world where legends and stories come alive.

2. Explore the Enchanting Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden

Nestled at the foot of Mount Hood, the Portland Japanese Garden is a tranquil oasis that exudes beauty and harmony.

Portland Japanese Gardens, considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, invites visitors to immerse themselves in its serene atmosphere.

The Strolling Pond Garden at the Portland Japanese Garden offers visitors the opportunity to meander along peaceful pathways, admire meticulously manicured landscapes, and experience the profound sense of tranquility that permeates every corner.

From its serene tea garden to its breathtaking views, the Portland Japanese Garden is a captivating destination for nature enthusiasts and peace-seekers alike.

3. Visit the International Rose Test Garden

International Rose Test Garden

Nestled atop the picturesque Portland's Washington Park the International Rose Test Garden is a haven of natural beauty and aromatic delights.

With over 10,000 roses representing 650 varieties, International Rose Test Garden is a must-visit for flower enthusiasts.

Visitors can take a stroll along the meticulously manicured pathways, breathe in the fragrant air, and marvel at the vibrant colors that blanket the landscape.

From romantic blooms to rare specimens, the International Rose Test Garden is a captivating destination for flower lovers and nature enthusiasts.

4. Explore the Wonders of Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge, located near Mount Hood, is a breathtaking natural wonder that captivates visitors with its awe-inspiring beauty.

Carved over millions of years by the mighty Columbia River, the Columbia River Gorge stretches over 80 miles, offering spectacular views at every turn.

Lush green forests, cascading waterfalls, and towering cliffs adorn the landscape, creating a paradise for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and photographers alike.

The Columbia River Gorge is also home to a rich diversity of wildlife, including bald eagles and bighorn sheep.

Exploring the Columbia River Gorge is an unforgettable experience, immersing visitors in nature's grandeur and tranquility.

5. Discover Tranquility and Architectural Beauty at Cathedral Park

Cathedral Park

Cathedral Park, nestled beneath the towering St. Johns Bridge, is a picturesque riverside escape.

The park offers lush green spaces, scenic views, and a stunning cathedral-like arch that creates a captivating ambiance.

Whether you're strolling along the riverbank or enjoying a picnic under the shade of the trees, Cathedral Park is a peaceful haven in the heart of Portland, Oregon.

6. Keep Portland Weird by Embracing the Quirk

Mill Ends Park

Immerse yourself in the eccentric charm of Portland's weird attractions, where the city's "Keep Portland Weird" slogan comes to life.

From the renowned Portland Weird Sign to quirky landmarks like Mill Ends Park, these unique destinations embody the city's offbeat spirit and invite you to embrace the unconventional side of Portland, Oregon.

Portland is full of delightfully weird adventures like no other city.

7. Embrace Nature at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Downtown Portland

Waterfront Park

Tom McCall Waterfront Park, located in downtown Portland, Oregon is a picturesque urban oasis nestled along the Willamette River.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park is not only a popular spot for walking, jogging, and picnicking, but it also plays host to the annual Portland Rose Festival, where visitors can enjoy vibrant parades, carnival rides, and live entertainment.

Visitors of the Waterfront Park can stroll along the waterfront, relax on the grassy lawns, or take part in various outdoor events and festivals.

With its iconic fountains, sculptures, and walking paths, Tom McCall Waterfront Park provides a serene escape in the heart of the city. This is also one of the most captivating places to visit in Portland during the night.

The waterfront park, with its picturesque river views and lush green spaces, is the perfect place to unwind, enjoy outdoor activities, and soak in the vibrant energy of Portland.

8. Check out Salt & Straw Unabashed Ice Cream

Salt & Straw Unabashed Ice Cream

Salt & Straw Unabashed Ice Cream is a unique and delightful ice cream shop in the Northwest District of Portland, Oregon that pushes the boundaries of traditional flavors.

With a fearless approach to experimentation, Salt & Straw Unabashed Ice Cream creates bold and unexpected combinations using locally sourced, high-quality ingredients.

From classic flavors with a twist to daring and innovative creations, Salt & Straw never fails to surprise and delight taste buds.

A visit to Salt & Straw is a must for ice cream enthusiasts looking for a memorable and adventurous experience.

9. Visit Washington Park

Washington Park

Washington Park, nestled in the heart of Portland, Oregon, is a sprawling urban park that offers a multitude of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy.

From the tranquil Japanese Garden and the enchanting Rose Garden to the renowned Washington Park Zoo and the Hoyt Arboretum, there is something for everyone to explore.

The extensive network of trails, picnic areas, and scenic viewpoints make Washington Park a perfect destination for outdoor recreation and relaxation.

With its stunning natural beauty and diverse attractions, Washington Park is a true gem of the Pacific Northwest.

10. Embrace the Wilderness at Forest Park Portland

Forest Park Portland

Forest Park, located in Northwest Portland, Oregon, is a haven of natural beauty and tranquility. Spanning over 5,200 acres, Forest Park is 3rd largest forest on the West Coast.

With its lush greenery, diverse wildlife, and miles of hiking trails, Forest Park offers endless opportunities for outdoor exploration and adventure.

From peaceful walks through the towering trees to challenging hikes with breathtaking views, Forest Park captivates visitors with its serene atmosphere and the wonders of the Pacific Northwest's wilderness.

11. Explore the Urban Charm of Portland's Pearl District

Portland's Pearl District

The Pearl District, located in downtown Portland, Oregon is a vibrant and trendy neighborhood that perfectly blends history, art, and urban sophistication. Formerly an industrial area, the Pearl District has transformed into a hub of creativity and culture.

Stroll along the cobblestone streets of Pearl District and admire the historic warehouses turned into Portland restaurants, stylish lofts, art galleries, and boutiques. The Pearl District is also home to lush parks and green spaces, adding a touch of nature amidst the cityscape.

With its trendy shops, renowned restaurants, and lively atmosphere, the Pearl District offers a captivating experience that embodies the spirit of modern Portland.

12. Visit Alberta Arts District

Alberta Arts District

Alberta Arts District, located in Northeast Portland, Oregon, is a vibrant and eclectic neighborhood known for its thriving arts and culture scene.

Alberta Arts District is home to numerous art galleries, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, showcasing the creativity and talent of local artists and entrepreneurs.

Visitors can explore the vibrant street art, attend art walks, and immerse themselves in the unique atmosphere of this artistic hub.

Alberta Arts District offers a delightful blend of creativity, community, and inspiration.

13. Explore Portland's Shanghai Tunnels

Shanghai Tunnels of Portland

Shrouded in mystery and intrigue, the Shanghai Tunnels of Portland, Oregon offer a glimpse into the city's dark past.

Shanghai Tunnels were once used for unsavory purposes, including human trafficking.

Today, visitors can explore the remnants of this hidden world, hearing stories of the past and uncovering the secrets that lie beneath the bustling streets of Portland, Oregon.

14. Discover the Oregon Maritime Museum's Rich Nautical Legacy

Oregon Maritime Museum

Oregon Maritime Museum, situated in Portland, Oregon, offers a unique and immersive experience of the maritime history of the region.

Housed in a historic steam-powered sternwheeler vessel, visitors can explore exhibits that showcase the rich maritime heritage, including artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays.

From learning about shipbuilding to understanding the importance of river transportation, the Oregon Maritime Museum provides an insightful glimpse into the maritime legacy of the area.

15. Visit Willamette River

Willamette River

The Willamette River, flowing through the heart of Oregon, is a majestic waterway that offers a multitude of recreational opportunities.

With its scenic beauty, the river is perfect for boating, kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing. Its picturesque riverbanks are ideal for picnicking, walking, and cycling.

Whether visitors want to unwind amidst nature's tranquility or engage in exciting water activities, the Willamette River provides a delightful escape into the beauty of the outdoors.

16. Explore Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden, nestled in the heart of Portland, is a serene oasis that transports visitors to the beauty of traditional Chinese gardens.

With its harmonious blend of architecture, plants, and water features, the garden offers a peaceful retreat where one can explore the rich cultural heritage of China.

Visitors can stroll through winding pathways, admire the intricate pavilions, and immerse themselves in the tranquil ambiance of Lan Su Chinese Garden.

17. Visit Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley, located in Oregon, is a renowned wine region known for its picturesque vineyards and award-winning wineries.

Willamette Valley boasts a mild climate and diverse soils, making it an ideal terroir for growing a variety of grape varietals.

Wine enthusiasts can indulge in tasting exquisite Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and other wines while enjoying the stunning landscapes.

Beyond wine, the Willamette Valley offers charming towns, farm-to-table dining experiences, and outdoor adventures, making it a delightful destination for all.

18. Visit Powell's City of Books

Powell's City of Books

Powell's City of Books, an iconic landmark in downtown Portland, Oregon, is a literary haven that covers an entire city block.

This bibliophile's paradise boasts an extensive collection of new and used books across multiple floors, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in a world of literature.

Lose yourself in the endless aisles, discover hidden literary gems, and immerse yourself in the joy of reading, especially in the rare book room.

Powell's City of Books is a must-visit destination that celebrates the written word and ignites the imagination of visitors from all walks of life.

19. Explore the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a tranquil oasis located in Southeast Portland, Oregon. This enchanting garden is a haven for nature lovers and rhododendron enthusiasts alike.

With its vibrant display of blooming rhododendrons, serene walking paths, and picturesque views of Crystal Springs Lake, it offers a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, unwind in the serene surroundings, and create lasting memories in this botanical gem.

20. Enjoy Portland's Paradise of Food Trucks

Food Trucks

Portland, Oregon, renowned for its vibrant food truck scene, showcases a diverse array of culinary delights, reflecting the flavors and ingredients of the Pacific Northwest.

From gourmet burgers to ethnic cuisines and delectable desserts, the city's food trucks offer a diverse and flavorful dining experience.

Whether you're exploring downtown or attending a local event in the vibrant city of Portland, Oregon, don't miss the opportunity to indulge in the delicious offerings from the many food trucks that line the streets.

21. Discover the Magic of Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Pioneer Courthouse Square, located in the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon, is a bustling urban plaza that serves as a central gathering place for locals and tourists alike.

Known as Portland's "living room," Pioneer Courthouse Square features a beautiful open space, charming brickwork, and a striking fountain.

Pioneer Courthouse Square hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and markets.

With its vibrant atmosphere and prime location, Pioneer Courthouse Square is a vibrant hub of activity and a beloved symbol of Portland's community spirit.

22. Visit Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo

Oregon Zoo, located in Portland, Oregon, is a beloved destination that offers a delightful experience for visitors of all ages.

Home to a wide variety of animals from around the world, Oregon Zoo provides an opportunity to observe and learn about different species in a beautiful natural setting.

With its focus on conservation and education, the Oregon Zoo not only entertains but also promotes awareness and appreciation for wildlife and their habitats.

Oregon Zoo is a place where unforgettable memories are made, connecting people with the wonders of the animal kingdom.

23. Check out the Portland Saturday Market

Portland Saturday Market

Portland Saturday Market is a vibrant and lively open-air market that takes place every Saturday in the historic Old Town neighborhood.

With a wide array of vendors showcasing handmade crafts, unique artwork, and delicious food, Portland Saturday Market is a must-visit destination.

Portland Saturday Market offers a lively atmosphere, live music performances, and a chance to support local artisans and small businesses while immersing oneself in Portland's creative spirit.

24. Visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) near Southeast Portland, Oregon is a fascinating destination that combines science, technology, and hands-on learning.

With interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, and a submarine experience, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry offers a captivating exploration of the natural and technological wonders of the world.

From discovering the mysteries of the universe to exploring the depths of the ocean, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry sparks curiosity and ignites a passion for learning in visitors of all ages.

25. Take a Trip to the Portland Art Museum

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is a cultural gem and the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest, located in downtown Portland, Oregon.

The Portland Art Museum offers a rich and engaging experience for art enthusiasts, from classic masterpieces to contemporary works.

With its thoughtfully curated exhibitions, educational programs, and community events, the Portland Art Museum serves as a vibrant hub for artistic expression and cultural exploration.

Visiting Portland Art Museum allows guests to immerse themselves in a world of artistic wonders, where masterpieces from various cultures and time periods come to life.

FAQs About Things to Do in Portland, Oregon

Let's answer some frequently asked questions about fun things to do in Portland, Oregon.

Is Portland, Oregon fun for families?

Portland, Oregon is a fun-filled destination for families, offering a wide range of activities. Kids will love riding the Portland Aerial Tram, exploring Oregon City and its historic sites, crossing the iconic Burnside Bridge, and enjoying the numerous walking trails. The Japanese American Historical Plaza provides an educational and cultural experience for all ages.

What is Portland, Oregon most famous for?

Portland, Oregon is renowned for its vibrant culture. It is most famous for the majestic Columbia River Gorge, the scenic Washington Park, the expansive Forest Park, the bustling Portland Farmers Market, the wine region of Willamette Valley, and the picturesque Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

What to do in Portland, Oregon in two days?

In two days in Portland, Oregon, immerse yourself in the city's unique offerings. Explore the hidden treasures of Powell's City of Books' rare book room, stroll through the serene beauty of Hoyt Arboretum, birdwatch at the Portland Audubon Society, cool off at Salmon Street Springs, venture to the scenic Columbia River Valley, wander through the Portland State University campus, visit the breathtaking Oregon Coast, and marvel at the whimsical Mill Ends Park.

What to do if you have one day in Portland, Oregon?

If you have one day in Portland, Oregon, make the most of your time by visiting the Hoyt Arboretum, exploring the Columbia River, admiring the street art, taking a trip to the Oregon Coast, experiencing the city's charm by visiting Northwest Portland and the West Hills, and enjoying the breathtaking views of Mount Hood.

Summing Up: Fun Things to Do in Portland

In sum, Portland, Oregon offers an array of exciting and memorable experiences for visitors.

From exploring the natural beauty of the Columbia River and Mount Hood to discovering the vibrant street art scene and embracing the city's unique "Keep Portland Weird" culture, there are countless fun things to do in Portland.

Enjoy strolling through the Pearl District, relaxing in Waterfront Park, discovering hiking trails, exploring the picturesque Willamette Valley, and indulging in the flavors of the Portland Farmers Market.

With the stunning Columbia River Gorge just a short drive away, the possibilities for adventure and enjoyment within the Portland city limits are endless.