Things to do in
Portland, Oregon

The best city for foodies in the US — a bold claim, but hit a brewery or a foodcart and you won’t disagree.

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Our most recommended things to do in Portland, Oregon

Portland: 2.5 Hour Dinner Cruise Through Downtown

1. Portland: 2.5 Hour Dinner Cruise Through Downtown

Hop onboard the vessel and be escorted to your private table. Start off with some freshly baked bread and a house salad, followed by your choice of entrée (poultry, beef, seafood, or vegetarian), and a dessert. After dinner, head out onto the observation deck to admire the city’s skyline lit up at night. Cruise along the scenic Willamette River, then pass by the impressive Steel Bridge. Along the way, learn about the landmarks from the onboard narration. 

Portland: 2 Hour Lunch Cruise Through Downtown

2. Portland: 2 Hour Lunch Cruise Through Downtown

Hop onboard the vessel and be escorted to your private table. Start off with some freshly baked bread, followed by your choice of entrée (poultry, beef, seafood, or vegetarian). After lunch, head out onto the observation deck to admire the city’s impressive skyline. Cruise along the scenic Willamette River, then pass by the Steel Bridge. Along the way, learn about the landmarks from the captain's narration on the outer decks.

Portland: Downtown Ghost Tour

3. Portland: Downtown Ghost Tour

Take a historic and memorable look at the haunted past of Portland, Oregon, with a 1-hour walking tour. Set off on an adventure through downtown Portland with a knowledgeable and experienced guide, and discover the most haunted locations in the area. Make your way to the meeting point at Lan Su Chinese Garden and look out for your guide, who will be carrying a lantern. Begin immediately with the obscure history of the City of Roses before embarking on a haunted route to 8 locations in the surrounding downtown area. Head to the waterfront, then walk the dark streets to the Old Town Pizza to hear researched stories and eyewitness accounts of personal hauntings in Portland's morbid and mysterious past. From there, the tour only gets spookier as you visit The Shanghai Tunnels to see a firsthand reminder of Portland’s shady past where men were kidnapped or “Shanghaied” and sold to ship's captains in need of sailors, and women were captured and forced into illicit work. Learn about an entire network of vice and illicit trade that began to use these tunnels for gambling, opium dens, prostitution, and kidnapping. Your guide will then choose from some of the other most haunted locations and take you to them to deliver, in gripping detail, the history and eyewitness accounts of hauntings and paranormal activity. Finally, make your way back to the final stop at Lan Su Chinese Garden, where your guide can give you a final recap of Portland's strange activity, answer any ghost questions you might have, and check out and exchange any paranormal pictures and activity caught on camera.

From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls Tour

4. From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls Tour

Discover the scenic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge on a tour with an expert guide. Explore Columbia River National Scenic Area stopping at several picturesque waterfalls typical of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Depart from downtown Portland and drive towards Troutdale, known as the Gateway to the Gorge. Enjoy the journey along the Historic Columbia River Highway, the first planned scenic roadway in the United States. Arrive at Crown Point Vista House, an overlook that sits high above the Columbia River. From there, continue along the historic highway deep into the Columbia River National Scenic Area. Arrive at the first waterfall of the day, the dramatic Latourell Falls, which plunges 249 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt.  Proceed next to the grand Multnomah Falls, which plummets to the ground from 620 feet in two major steps. Explore the Multnomah Falls Historic Lodge and stand on the easily accessible viewing platform that offers a full view of the Benson Bridge and cascading falls beyond. Next, visit the Bonneville Fish Hatchery and take a short walking tour of an impressive hatchery and sturgeon viewing center. You will also meet the local celebrity: “Herman” the sturgeon. Afterward, relax on the journey back to Portland via the Columbia River scenic route.

Portland: Underground Donut Tour

5. Portland: Underground Donut Tour

Accompany your passionate foodie guide to 4 donut institutions, where you'll enjoy a curated sample of Portland's best donuts. Savor classics like glazed and chocolate, and discover some more adventurous flavors, like lavender.  Your stops may include Sesame Donuts, Blue Star Donuts, NOLA Doughnuts, and Voodoo Doughnuts, all true donut institutions. You'll even be able to skip the line at Voodoo Doughnuts, where some people wait up to 30 minutes. On the way to the donut shops, visit some local sights including Pioneer Square, Chinatown, and the PSU Campus. Your tour guide will entertain you with interesting facts about these sites as you travel between treats.

Portland: Half-Day Tour of Multnomah Falls & Columbia River

6. Portland: Half-Day Tour of Multnomah Falls & Columbia River

Escape the hustle and bustle of central Portland for the morning on a half-day coach tour of the Columbia River Gorge. Experience the natural beauty of the Rose City’s most scenic area. Follow the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition, more than 200 years after the famous explorers. View the gorge from Vista House at Crown Point, and marvel at the world famous Multnomah Falls. Depart Portland at 08:30 AM, enjoying the downtown sights as you leave the city via one of its many bridges. Once out of the metropolitan area, drive the historic Columbia River Highway, enjoying panoramic views hundreds of feet above the river at Crown Point. Descend through the famous highway loops to pristine Latourell Falls. Continue past Wahkeena Falls to Oregon’s most famous natural attraction — Multnomah Falls and Lodge. See the Oneonta Gorge and Horsetail Falls. Return to Portland along the river level route of the Lewis and Clark expedition, taking in panoramic views of Beacon Rock, Cape Horn, and Rooster Rock along the way.

Portland: 2 Hour Champagne Brunch Cruise Through Downtown

7. Portland: 2 Hour Champagne Brunch Cruise Through Downtown

Hop onboard the vessel and be escorted to your private table. Start off with a refreshing glass of champagne, sparkling cider, or an orange juice. Then enjoy a delicious plated brunch made up of breakfast and lunch favorites, accompanied by a dessert buffet. After brunch, head out onto the observation deck to admire the city’s impressive skyline. Cruise along the scenic Willamette River, then pass by the Steel Bridge. Along the way, learn about the landmarks from the onboard narration while sipping on more champagne.

Bend: Half-Day Cascade Lakes Kayak Tour

8. Bend: Half-Day Cascade Lakes Kayak Tour

Experience a tandem kayak lake tour and enjoy the best mountainous views in Central Oregon. Meet your local guide in the heart of Bend, Oregon. Along with the rest of your group, make your way out of town and up into the Cascade mountain lakes where your kayaking adventure begins. Receive a lesson on kayaking safety measures before climbing into your tandem sit-on-top kayak.  Navigate your way through little-known caves, bays, and wetlands with the help of your naturalist guide. Keep a look out for the otters, mink, osprey and eagles that inhabit this area, and bring a camera for the best mountain views in Central Oregon. After around 2 hours of paddling and admiring your surroundings, you'll have time for a quick dip in the lakes to cool off. Prior to leaving, take in the views of mountains Three Sisters, Broken Top, and Paulina Peak. You’ll then head back to your kayaking starting point and be driven back to Bend.

Portland: Pink Trolley City Tour

9. Portland: Pink Trolley City Tour

Discover the highlights of downtown Portland and its scenic waterfront by open-air trolley. Find out more about a city of contrasts, a lively city center surrounded by stunning natural beauty, from Washington Park and the West Hills to the Willamette River and Waterfront Park. See all the many and varied attractions the "Rose City" has to offer with a narrated tour. Travel from Pioneer Square through the Old Town, as you make your way to the outer residential areas of the city. Learn more about the city along the way with live informative commentary. Take a short stop at the International Rose Test Gardens, where you can enter for free and take a short stroll. Then hop back on the bus to discover the rest of the city. Ride through the fashionable residential area of the Pearl District, with its many chic boutiques, craft breweries, and artisan coffee stores. See Trendy 21st and 23rd Avenue with their upmarket stores and shopfronts, and find out more about where else you may want to explore during your stay in the city.

Bike Portland: Bridges, Neighborhoods, Poetry, and Roses

10. Bike Portland: Bridges, Neighborhoods, Poetry, and Roses

Enjoy more time riding, with occasional stops for gardens, one-of-a-kind markets, art collectives, sculptures, bridge viewpoints, and river beaches. This tour begins in the inner Eastside neighborhoods, where you will be fitted for an easy-to-ride bike and helmet, ready for a low-key 7-10 mile ride (12-16 kilometers). Your guide will lead your group into the southeast Portland neighborhood of Ladd's Addition where you’ll visit several of the city's quadrants, ride over two bridges, and along the Willamette River. You will visit semi-secret beaches, examine unique modes of transportation, see public art of every shape, color, and texture. This ride is both like a poem and filled with poetry: you will read poetry written on murals, on sidewalks, and carved into rocks. Along the tour, you will have the opportunity to photograph and explore public art, poetry, parks and beaches; and learn about all of the modes of Portland's transportation up close.

Insider tips: Planning a trip to Portland

Bucket List Journey mission is to give every person in the world the tools and inspiration to live their bucket list. Annetter is an obsessed new experience collector, her passion is for checking the world off her bucket list one adventure at a time. You can check her Portland's Bucket list here.

What should I do on my first trip to Portland?

From waterfalls to walking tours, there’s plenty of fun things to do in Portland, but there’s a couple that you absolutely shouldn’t miss. The International Rose Test Garden is an absolute must not only because it’s the oldest public garden of its kind, but also because there are most that 10,000 rose bushes with many varieties you have never heard of! Multnomah Falls is another highlight for your trip. Though the 611 foot waterfall is technically not in Portland city limits, it’s a daytrip away that won’t disappoint.

What are some hidden gems to see in Portland?

Most people know about Voodoo Donuts and the Keep Portland Weird sign, but did you know that they have a Vacuum museum and an aerial tram? Starks Vacuum Museum will be a quick and quirky stop, though it does have over 300 vacuum cleaners lined up against the walls dating back to the 1800s. The aerial tram is only a four-minute ride, but during those minutes you will get to see some of the most spectacular city views from 500 feet in the sky.

How much time should I spend in Portland?

About four-days in Portland will get to all the major highlights, but to really delve deeper into the districts give yourself at least 7 days (especially if you want to do a couple day trips!)

What food is Portland known for?

Portland is filled with dining options, but what you can't leave Portland without doing is visiting one of the over 500 food trucks that they are known for. One of my favs was Potato Champion who serves Belgian style fries and Poutine.

What is the best way to get around Portland?

Though Portland has a great light rail and busy system, renting a car would be best, because the city is spread out with some distance in-between attractions. This is especially true if you want to do some day trips.

What are the best months to visit Portland?

Portland can get pretty cold in the Winter months, which always makes exploring a city a little trickier, so the best time to visit is in the Summer (July through August). A lot of what makes Portland great is it’s outdoorsy activities, which you’ll be able to enjoy a lot more with the warmer weather.

What is the Pearl neighborhood known for?

Each neighborhood has its own vibe, but one of my favorites is the Pearl district. It was formerly a section filled with old warehouses that have now been turned into shops, galleries and restaurants. If you are a foodie, like me, you'll want to spend days dining in all the great eateries!

What are the best neighborhoods for food?

Every district has it’s food perks, and I already mentioned the Pearl District for restaurants, but another one not to miss is Division district. There you'll find the perfect mix of pizza parlors, cafes and a variety of Asian restaurants to tempt your palate.

What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?

If you're into funky and artsy shops then head over to the Alberta Arts district. There you will find everything from hip vintage clothing to stylish galleries to relaxing spas.

What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Portland?

When I visit, I like to stay right in downtown Portland, because there's a lot to do and it's easily accessible to many attractions. You can walk to the Portland Art Museum, Powell's Books and the riverfront. Plus, there are many light rail stops in downtown, so it's easy to pop onto a train and visit other areas.

Other Sightseeing Options in Portland, Oregon

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What people are saying about Portland, Oregon

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 913 reviews

It was a small group in the tour which made for a relaxing and enjoyable trip. The guide was knowledge and told about each area we traveled through and especially the areas we stopped at. She gave many recommendations for lunch so we have a hard time choosing but with it being Sunday some were closed. She kept us on time by tellling how long we had at each stop. I would recommend this adverture to all travelers.

Great tour full of valuable information and tons of recommendations for the city. Beau was really helpful about more than just donuts! Would do the tour again!

Beautiful places to see. Tour took us at times that were less crowded and drove along scenic roads instead of main highways. Would recommend!

The tour was a very good scenic view of waterfalls. The tour guide was very knowledgeable of the area

Guide was great and knowledgeable. Lots of great history and spooky stories!