Portland Events: The Fun Happens All Year Round
Have a look at some of activities you just can't miss out if you are heading to Portland, Oregon.
Portland, Oregon is one of the most colourful cities in the United States. Although not particularly highly populated (roughly 620,000 as per 2014), it offers various scenes to cater to all travellers and tourists alike. It is located in the northwest corner of the country and was settled in the 1830s.
Regarded as one of the cultural capitals of the west coast, Portland is filled with a vibrant music scene. It has been home to notorious artists and, music is regarded as a way of life in Portland. Besides music, there are plenty other things to do if you happen to be in or near the city. It is the kind of city that offers a bit of everything, so in a travellers lingo, it is a must-visit location. Take a look at the activities below to get a good idea of how much fun you can have in Portland!
The Oregon Zoo was originally known as the Washington Park Zoo. the zoo started thanks to a private donor that donated all his animals to the what became the zoo in 1888. This zoo is not just a normal zoo. It is home to a number of endangered species and is a great day out for all the family. The zoo is home to a number of exhibits. The African Rainforest exhibit is home to rare breads of bats, monkeys, ducks, a variety of birds, frogs, crocodiles and the list goes on!
The African Savanna exhibit is home to the larger mammals of the zoo such as rhinoceroses, giraffes and hippopotamuses. The Predators of the Serengeti exhibit includes wolves, scorpions and pythons. The Amazon Flooded Forest exhibit includes monkeys, turtles and anacondas. The Elephant Lands exhibits is of course home to a number of different types of elephants. The whole zoo is a one of a kind experience and one of Portland’s major attractions for people of all ages. If you are heading there during the festive season you will be impressed by their amazing Christmas lights!
Portland has several public parks, the Washington Park being the most outstanding. It includes an arboretum, children’s museum, rose garden, public art displays, forestry museum, archery range, Japanese garden, amphitheatre, picnic areas, memorials, tennis courts, football field, playgrounds and much, much more. It offers activities for the whole family, a quiet place for a relaxing day, and it’s a great place to get a good feel for the local scene. Washington Park covers a whopping 410 acres across a steep hillside, with elevations varying between 61 m and 265 m at its highest point.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the most symbolic cultural venues in Portland. As the name says it, it houses a variety of permanent and transient exhibits. The themes and topics covered in the exhibits range from natural science to industrial history and more. OMSI is also home to a state of the art planetarium, three auditoriums, large-screen theatres and gigantic exhibit halls with a variety of interactive presentations.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Also known as The Garden of Awakening Orchids, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of the most relaxing places you can find in all of Portland, and maybe all of Oregon. The Lan Su Chinese Garden covers roughly 40,000 square feet and is located in the Old Chinatown neighborhood in Portland. The garden offers many halls and structures commonly found in traditional Chinese gardens. These include: Celestial Hall of Permeating, Flower Bathing in Spring Rain, Painted Boat in a Misty Rain, Moon Locking Pavilion, and Tower of Cosmic Reflection. All of these rooms serve a specific purpose, and they revolve around the Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Pioneer Courthouse Square, also referred to as Portland’s Living Room, is a public square located in the center of downtown Portland. It was opened in 1984 and covers a full 40,000 square-foot area. Portland’s Living Room is one of its major attractions because it is as much a historical venue as it is a beautiful place to grab a snack. The square features a MAX Light Rail Stop, an amphitheater, outdoor chess tables, an artistic tribute, and sitting areas. One of the most popular reasons to visit Pioneer Courthouse Square is buying bricks. As a way to continue sponsoring the Square’s maintenance, bricks are sold and placed at the park with the name of the donors. However, the bricks are not laid out in any particular order so donors must look for their name walking around, head down. Just make sure you don’t run into other donors trying to find their name!
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
In the banks of the Willamette River lies Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, a fantastic place to spend an afternoon filled with activities and local life. The park was opened in 1978 following the removal of Harbor Drive, and has become a local and traveler phenomenon since then. The park is named after Governor Tom McCall, whose main goal was to give and partly bring back the beauty the Willamette River had lost. All his efforts were directed towards a green Portland, filled with parks and greenways. His dream slowly became a reality, as Portland now boast some of the most incredible parks and green areas in the entire country.
Portland is packed with historical sights, and the Pittock Mansion may be the brightest gem of the bunch. The French-Renaissance-styled castle is located in the west hills of Portland, and was built in 1909 as a private home for Henry Pittock. Pittock was an English-born Oregonian publisher who is often credited for founding the newspaper The Oregonian. The manor is now owned by the city’s bureau of Parks and Recreation and is one of the most symbolic buildings in Portland. A great place to visit and find out more about local history.
Forest Park is Oregon’s biggest urban forest reserve, located west of downtown Portland. The park covers about 5,100 acres of land, and overlooks the Willamette River. It’s a great place for adventure and outdoors lovers, as it offers about 70 miles of recreational trails to walk, run or bike through.
Oaks Amusement Park
Although it is relatively small compared to modern amusement parks, Oaks Amusement Park is one of the main attractions you can find in portland. Located about 3.5 miles south of downtown, Oaks Park has been open to the public since 1905. It is commonly referred to as the Coney Island of the Northwest, as it is one of the oldest and most emblematic parks in all of the United States. The park features midway games, two dozen rides that operate seasonally, a skating rink, as well as picnic grounds and green areas.
Oregon Historical Society Museum
Located in the heart and soul of Portland is the Oregon Historical Society Museum. One of Oregon’s most intriguing venues, the historical museum holds more than 85,000 artefacts from all over the world. It’s most unique piece is the coin that decided Portland’s name. The Portland Penny was used in 1835 in a coin flip to decide the city name between Portland and Boston.
Portland Children’s Museum
If you’re taking a family vacation with your children then the Portland Children’s Museum should be your number one destination. Founded in 1946, it is the 6th oldest children’s museum in the world and oldest in the west of the country. The majestic museum covers 50,000 square feet and hosts more than 250,000 visitors each year. All of the museum’s exhibit are directed for children and accommodated to their learning curves.
The Hoyt Arboretum is part of the Forest Park reserve. The impressive arboretum sits atop of a ridge in the hills west of downtown Portland. The arboretum is a great place for exercise and learning as it features twelve miles of trails, a visitor center, picnic areas, sitting areas, indoor classrooms and volunteer tour guides.
World Forestry Center
The World Forestry Center was established in 1964 as a free educational institution designed to educate people about the trees and plants native to the west coast of the United States and eventually the entire world. The forestry center involves citizens of all ages and is one of the most engaging activities you can find during daylight.
Portland Art Museum
Portland is home to the oldest art museum in the west coast: the Portland Art Museum. This majestic museum also stands 7th oldest in the whole country and is also amongst the top 25 largest museums in the United States. The art museum features a center for Native American art, a center for Asian art exhibits, and an outdoor public sculpting garden amongst other things. Great place for art lovers that like to work with their hands instead of just sitting back and analysing it.
The Portland Trailblazers
If you are in Portland watching a Trailblazers game live is a must do. The Portland Trail Blazers have been Portland’s professional local basketball team for decades now, and many believe their on-court attitude is derived from that of the local Oregonians. Filled with emotions that range from extreme happiness to tearful dread, a Portland Trailblazers will show you the true spirit of Oregonians.
Portland International Raceway
If you’re in Oregon during racing season you cannot miss a visit to the Portland International Raceway. All speed fanatics (and even those who are not) know it is one of the premiere tracks in all of North America and attending a race there would be a once in a lifetime experience.
Overall Portland is a great destination for all travellers and tourists. With a range of activities that go from relaxing to extreme adventures and trails, Portland is a dreamy place that will leave you with some of the best memories of your life.
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