10 Awesome Things You Can Only Do In Portland

OMSI After Dark

If you had to think of an adjective to describe the city of Portland, ‘unique’ would probably be everyone’s number one choice. Portland is a great place to visit and to live. It’s famous for its offbeat spirit and unusual inhabitants, so it’s no surprise that this awesome list’s activities range from a little left of center to 100% Portland kind of weird.

10. Explore OMSI After Dark

OMSI After Dark

OMSI is Portland’s premier science museum and exhibition space, home to informative displays, educational labs and breathtaking laser shows. Naturally it’s a very popular spot to visit for children – but if you’re looking for a more grown up experience, you’ll really enjoy OMSI After Dark. Enjoy a child-free science museum visit and sample beers, wine and snacks from Portland’s favorite local artisans.

9. Browse at Powell’s

Powell's Book Store Portland, Oregon

Powell’s is one of the biggest 2nd Hand Book Stores in the world and a Portland institution. It serves five locations in the Portland Metro area and is frequented by many popular authors on their book tours. Any one of the locations is sure to be a veritable playground for voracious readers and is a must visit for any book lover in your life.

8. Eat A Grilled Cheese In a Re-Purposed School Bus

Grilled Cheese at Portland Food Cart

Portland is a prime example of the bustling food cart movement, and the Grilled Cheese Grill is one of the most popular carts in the city. Their food promises to make you nostalgic for the best parts of your childhood and its served out of a repurposed school bus – giving you some great Instagram photo opportunities.

7. Stop & Smell The Rose Garden

Portland Rose Garden

The Portland International Test Rose Garden is the oldest official continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States and features more than 10,000 roses, some of which are named after famous Shakespearean characters.

6. Get Married At The Original Voodoo Donut

Voodoo Donuts Portland, Oregon

If you really love your significant other and maple bacon donuts, say “I do!” at the well and truly weird Voodoo Donut Emporium. You heard that right, they do weddings. Yes, the doughnuts are included in the wedding package.

5. Be Entertained By Darth Vader On A Unicycle

This might seem a little crazy, but in Portland, we’re used to that sort of thing. This unique soul is known as The Unipiper and he’s something of a Portland/Reddit celebrity.

4. Visit The Most Authentic Japanese Garden Outside Of Japan

Portland Japanese Garden

This gorgeous garden was created as a way to depict friendship between the United States and Japan in the early 1960s. The tranquil space is supposedly the most authentic Japanese garden found outside of Japan.

3. Do The Great Balls Of Fire Challenge

Salvadore Molly's Great Balls of Fire Challenge

This spicy fritter eating challenge at Tiki Bar Salvador Molly’s was featured on the Travel Channel’s competitive eating show, Man Versus Food. Every year in the month of March, a portion of the profits sold from the fritter challenge goes to a charity that helps local low income residents pay their utility bills.

2. Walk/Bike/Run in an Urban Forest

Forest Park Portland, Oregon

Forest Park is a lush public park located just outside of downtown Portland. It’s 8 miles of exhilarating of trails for bikers, walkers and four legged friends alike.

1. See An Otter Play Basketball

Last year during the NBA Playoffs, an otter named Eddie at the Oregon Zoo made headlines with his great hoop skills. The exercise started out as a way to ease his arthritic joints, but he quickly became so good that he rarely misses a shot. Look out, Damian Lillard.