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Things to do in Oregon

Things to do in  Oregon

Welcome to Oregon

The state of Oregon, tucked between Washington and California in the US Pacific Northwest, delights locals and visitors alike with its magnificent landscapes that are ripe for adventure. The state is home to mountains in the Cascade Range, including the majestic Mt. Hood, which can be seen from downtown Portland, the state's largest city. Tour Portland (aka Stumptown) from Pioneer Square to the French Renaissance–style Pittock Mansion while enjoying treats from the city's famous food carts. Then, head for the vast Columbia River, which snakes along much of the border between Oregon and Washington, creating the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Enjoy a hiking and rock climbing tour, stopping to admire waterfalls along the way; or book an adventurous white-water rafting tour. Marvel over stunning Crater Lake, Oregon's only national park and the deepest lake in the country. You can also wind surf, kayak, and Jet Ski on the Hood River. Take a break on a culinary tour across the Willamette Valley, known for a fine selection of wineries; learn to paddleboard in Corvallis on the river; join a biking or hiking tour of the hip city of Bend in summer (or ski there in winter); and head for family-friendly white-water rafting on the Rogue River in southern Oregon. Finally, lace up your walking shoes and explore the high deserts, fossil beds, and vast forests of eastern Oregon.

Top 15 attractions in Oregon

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge, one of the great natural treasures of the Pacific Northwest with its many dramatic waterfalls, channels the mighty Columbia River through the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, marking much of the border between Oregon and Washington. The gorge figures in early United States history, as it was here that the Lewis and Clark expedition completed its final stretch in 1805. Today the area is popular with hikers, windsurfers, and wine lovers.More

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall at 620 feet (189 meters) and one of the state’s top natural landmarks. The falls are made up of two waterfalls fed from Larch Mountain and are recognizable for their setting tucked into sheer rock faces. The cascades are made more fairytale-like by the Benson Bridge, which spans the top of the lower falls and provides great photo ops.More

Portland Steel Bridge

With more than a dozen bridges spanning the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, Portland is certainly a city of bridges. However, there’s one that stands out; Portland's Steel Bridge is the only telescoping, double-decker truss bridge ever built. You can ride the light rail across, admire its expanse on a cruise, or just stroll along the century-old landmark.More

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

Designed for science fans of all ages, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) features five separate halls, eight hands-on science labs, a real submarine, an OmniMax giant-screen theater, and a planetarium. The museum is a science playground, with 200-plus interactive exhibits covering subjects such as climate change, chemistry, the human body, and technology.More

Latourell Falls

One of 90 waterfalls along Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, Latourell Falls are the closest to Portland. Plunging from a height of 249 feet (76 meters, the waterfalls offer dramatic scenery and photo opportunities, while a hiking trail makes it easy to get up close and personal.More

Mt. Hood

Just outside of Portland, Mt. Hood stands at a majestic 11,249 feet (3,429 meters), making it Oregon’s tallest mountain. The dormant volcano often has steam rising from its fumaroles, adding to the serenity of the surrounding vista. Adventure-seekers who opt to climb the mountain all the way to its summit are rewarded with 12 glaciers at the peak—plus stunning views of the Cascade mountain range, and the valleys and cities below.More

Willamette Valley

A short jaunt southwest from downtown Portland, the Willamette Valley is known by wine lovers worldwide for its delectable pinot noirs, often produced in small batches. This picturesque region is also dotted with tasting rooms and is a popular spot for wine-tasting excursions from Portland.More

Portland Japanese Garden

Dedicated in 1963, the Portland Japanese Garden has long been the spot to join others—both visitors and locals—in a quest for tranquility. Meditate by a waterfall and walk the paths that lead to nine themed garden areas. Don't miss the cultural village, designed by contemporary Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.More

Oregon Coast

Stretching more than 350 miles (563 kilometers) along the Pacific Ocean, the Oregon Coast winds from the Columbia River to the California border. Multiple parks and forests grant close encounters with wildlife and ancient redwood groves, while coastal towns, beaches, and lighthouses make perfect pit stops.More

Portland Pearl District

Portland’s Pearl District lives up to its evocative title. The small neighborhood in the heart of downtown is packed with local finds, from avant-garde art galleries to craft breweries to fine dining, with many establishments housed in renovated warehouse spaces. Plus, a bike- and pedestrian-friendly trail along the Willamette River accents the Pearl’s waterfront location.More

International Rose Test Garden

Free, outdoors, and centrally located, the International Rose Test Garden is an easy addition to your Portland vacation. Take time to smell some of the 10,000 roses representing 650 species when you stroll through the active test garden, located in Portland’s popular Washington Park.More

Wahkeena Falls

Situated on the Oregon side of the scenic Columbia River Gorge, Wahkeena Falls cascades 242 feet (74 meters) in tiers through lush green forest. It’s one of the most popular waterfalls in the area, not only because of its beauty, but also because getting to it requires only a very short hike.More

Pioneer Square

Sometimes called Portland's living room, Pioneer Square lives up to its reputation as a place that's welcoming to all. Though not the most scenic spot in the city, this centrally-located urban hub is surrounded by shops and eateries, and offers easy access to Downtown Portland attractions, whether you're walking or taking public transit.More

Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Located in the Deschutes National Forest, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument sprawls across 54,000 scenic acres in the high plains of Central Oregon. This natural wonder was once the site of the Newberry Volcano, which erupted over 75,000 years ago (and is still seismically active). It’s now filled with lakes, lava tubes, and geographical patterns, and visitors come to the area for hiking, camping, fishing, winter sports, and more.More

Powell’s City of Books

Encompassing an entire city block in downtown Portland, Powell’s City of Books is the world’s largest independent new and used bookstore and a top attraction for book lovers visiting the city. Here you’ll find upwards of a million books, including rare finds, first editions, and autographed copies of bestsellers and little-known titles alike, all under one roof.More
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Recent reviews from experiences in Oregon

Excellent way to see beyond Portland
Amanda_B, Nov. 2022
Mt Hood Day Trip from Portland to Multnomah Falls and Hood River
Great way to see some of Oregon’s beautiful nature without venturing too far outside of Portland!
An Insider’s Adventure to Portland’s Beautiful Falls
AbrahamJob_S, Nov. 2022
Half-Day Columbia River Gorge and Waterfall Hiking Tour
Guide Carrie provided interesting insider information and tips that opens up endless ways we can explore Portland area falls and much more.
Barbara_M, Oct. 2022
Hike and Bike Tour to Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls
Wonderful experience True Oregon adventure including weather Waterfalls are awesome Guides interesting
Good getaway
Tiffany_S, Oct. 2022
Oregon Coast Day Trip: Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock
This is the perfect way to see the sights on the coast for the day!
Autumn Falls
Kimberly_J, Oct. 2022
Morning Half-Day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland
The falls, Oregon Trail, Vista House and vi seed were excellent!
Oregon waterfalls hike
Nick_V, Oct. 2022
Afternoon Half-Day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland
We get to see and hike in Oregon’s stunning waterfalls.
Chasing Waterfalls
Vyntz_H, Oct. 2022
Half-Day Columbia River Gorge and Waterfall Hiking Tour
This was a great selection of waterfalls and pitstops to make if you have never seen the wonderful waterfalls of Oregon.
Oregon Narural Landscape
Cheryl_S, Oct. 2022
Oregon Coast Tour from Portland
The beautiful natural llandscape including the falls, luscious trees and the tour guide narratives.
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All about Oregon

When to visit

The weather in Oregon is far from predictable, but much of the state is at its most pleasant in summer, particularly in July and August, when the chances of rain are relatively low (by Oregon standards) and the weather is sunny and warm. However, summer is also wildfire season in Oregon, so it’s wise to be prepared for the possibility of smoky skies well into September.

Getting around

While Oregon does have some train and long-distance bus service options, the best way to get around the massive state is by car, particularly if you want to get out and experience the great outdoors. If you don’t want to drive, there are plenty of tour options available that will take you out to the Oregon coast, the Columbia River Gorge, or the Willamette Valley wine country. Most depart from Portland.

Traveler tips

Oregon has many hot springs, and while there are a few developed hot springs resorts in the Willamette Valley, there are many located out in the forest that only charge a nominal fee for parking and maintenance. Some of the most popular include Bagby Hot Springs near Estacada (currently closed, but set to reopen in 2023), Terwilliger (aka Cougar) Hot Springs east of Eugene, and Umpqua Hot Springs in the southern part of the state.

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