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Portland, OR

8 Attractions in Portland That You Must Plan to Visit This Summer

Posted by 
Asmita Karanje
Asmita Karanje
 15 days ago
Photo by Zack Spear on Unsplash

Portland is both the largest and most populous city in the state of Oregon, and thus contributes highly to the US economy.

You may be well aware of the more popular attractions but it’s the lesser-known attractions that let you experience the true soul of Portland.

And on that note, here are 8 lesser-known attractions you need to check out in Portland, Oregon.

Get Lost in the Hefty Tomes of Powell's City of Books

Powell's has an air of literary authority in Portland and for good reason. Laying claim to the largest independent and used bookstore in the world, the City of Books oozes 20th-century charm.

The bookstore building looks and feels like it came straight out of the '80s. With 9 color-coded rooms, spread across 68,000 square feet, Powell's feels less like a city and more like a cathedral.

It's a shrine to books old and new and is a source of retail store strength in a vastly online world.

Spend First Thursday in the Pearl to Get a Real Taste of the City

The First Thursday in the Pearl celebration, happens on the first Thursday of every month. However, if you do manage to make it on time, prepare for an experience unlike any other. The streets light up with an array of tents, offering all sorts of goods, artistic or otherwise.

Buskers, or entire bands even, take to the streets and perform their souls out. Art galleries and exhibits are open until late in the evening and are often free of any entry charges. And if that isn't enough to satisfy you, the happy hour deals will!

Experience Portland Firsthand with the 4T Trail

The 4 Ts of traveling: Trail, Tram, Trolley, and Train. What do we get when all of these are combined? An unforgettable trip around Portland! The trek starts from the Oregon Zoo, going up to the Council Crest Park at 1073 feet, then ends in the markets of the main city.

COVID restrictions have made it such that the tram may not be available at your time of travel. However, all that means is hiking downwards a bit more than usual.

Overall, it's still a great way of experiencing Portland's natural beauty, as well as the local culture.

Explore Portland's extinct Volcano with the Mount Tabor Park

There's something immediately striking about encountering volcanic cinder cones. They're cooled down, devolved into darkish rock formations, nothing more.

Yet, there's such innate power associated with the cones, almost as if the remnants of destructive lava are still there. Maybe that's the real reason people come to Mount Tabor.

Almost as if they're visiting a less chaotic Pompeii. Maybe it's the lovely park, constructed with care to not meddle with the natural surroundings. Whatever the case, Mount Tabor will be that one adventure story for you that’s worth telling in any gathering.

Soothe Your Soul at the South Park Blocks

The South Park Blocks' trees stretch so high up, they almost form a canopy of sorts. With a variety of elm, oak, and maple trees, valued at $3.4 million, the Blocks are worth visiting in any season.

They're often referred to as Portland's "family room", giving further weight to how much they mean to the city.

Featuring farmer's markets, graduations, public art, and curated statues, it's clear that the locals love the South Park Blocks.

Relive the History at Oregon Historical Society’s Museum

The Oregon Historical Society's goal is to preserve the state's rich history, the good and the bad, and pass it on to future generations. Featuring over 85,000 different artifacts, the museum feels like a trip through the USA itself.

Memorabilia includes artifacts from Lewis and Clark's exploits, Native American artifacts, vehicles, and the like. The museum also features the famous Portland Penny.

For the unfamiliar, this is the very penny that determined this city's name in the form of a coin toss! History is wild, and with guides at the museum, you'll experience it all.

Marvel as You Wander through the Portland Japanese Gardens

Here’s an interesting fact! Portland was appointed as a sister city to Sapporo, Japan in 1958. To commemorate the occasion, Portland's officials decided that an authentic Japanese garden was necessary.

Designs for the site were done by the Tokyo University of Agriculture, bringing a genuine sense of Japanese involvement. And it shows.

The beautiful, lush gardens hold a serenity that could only have been captured by Japan's own citizens. Not only are they exquisite and endlessly expansive, but they're also a labor of love and camaraderie across borders.

Savor a warm Cup of Coffee at the Bipartisan Cafe

This coffee shop consistently comes up in recommended lists, and for good reason. The Bipartisan Cafe's coffee and pies are truly delicious without a doubt. But what really brings the place together is its surrounding neighborhood.

Montavilla's a great place to go for a walk. It's also littered with shops, in case you want to go on an unplanned shopping spree. Honestly, the best end to your trip in Portland could just be carrying around a cup of coffee and wandering the area.

It's maybe not as grand as any of the other entries on this list, but there is something quite charming about the quiet moments with a good brew of coffee

What makes Portland so fantastic is how much history has seeped into everything local. Bars, restaurants, parks, reservations, you name it and it has a deep past.

This city doesn't forget easily, and that's what makes it so fascinating.

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