Portland’s unofficial slogan has long been “keep Portland weird” thanks to the city’s vibrant, off-beat energy. This energy culminates in a wide variety of unique, quirky attractions spread throughout the city – here’s 10 to consider next time you’re in the area!
1. Wander To The Witch’s Castle
If you’re down for a bit of walking, consider checking out the Witch’s Castle. The stone ruins were once used as a ranger station and restrooms, but today sit empty and clothed in vines. This is both a fun spot to visit as well as a great opportunity for photos. To get to the Witch’s Castle, you’ll want to head over to Forest Park (a mere 5 or so minute drive from downtown Portland), and take a half-mile trail from the Upper Macleay parking lot to the old structure.
2. Enjoy A Treat From Voodoo Doughnut
One of Portland’s most delicious attractions is Voodoo Donuts. If you’re visiting the city, you’ll want to grab some tasty treats at this classic donut shop. An additional especially quirky fact is that Voodoo Donuts also performs wedding ceremonies (both legal and non-legal) at their locations.
3. Stop By The FreakyButTrue Peculiarium
If you’re a fan of the odd and morbid, check out this one-of-a-kind art gallery in downtown Portland. A couple of notable exhibits include life-size monster statues and a three-eyed dog sculpture. The gallery also has a gift shop with a collection of zany souvenirs you can take home.
4. See The Trolls Under A Bridge
This old railway bridge has a colorful and fun surprise hidden underneath it – a collection of trolls! The exact reason people started placing trolls under this particular bridge is unknown, but one urban legend suggests a mom started the tradition to entertain her children. Nowadays, people visit to see the troll dolls as well as leave trolls of their own. Because of the public, organic nature of this spot, this can mean the number of trolls you’ll see varies – especially since they are unfortunately stolen from time to time.
5. Explore A Submarine
It’s not every day that you get a chance to go inside an actual historic Navy submarine, but the Oregon Museum Of Science and Industry (OMSI) offers the chance to do exactly that. After a period of closure due to the pandemic, you can once again tour the USS Blueback by purchasing timed entry tickets, available online.
6. Visit Bison Coffee House
This locally-owned coffee shop showcases the rich Native American history of the land where Portland sits, making this a great option to not only enjoy a cup of delicious coffee but also support a local business.
7. Grab A Drink At Creepy’s
Tired of simply grabbing a drink at your usual bar in the evening? A visit to Creepy’s will certainly spice things up. This eclectic bar – which goes out of its way to assure us, tongue in cheek, that it is “not a clown bar” – features a variety of odd decor. The decor, as you may have guessed, does indeed include some clowns, as well as eerie portraits and vintage stuffed animals.
8. Get Your Gamer On At Ground Kontrol
Bring out your inner kid at this arcade and bar. Ground Kontrol features some classic games such as Astroid, as well as contemporary ones like The Walking Dead. While this will no doubt be great fun for families with children, the arcade’s on-site bar and laid-back atmosphere means adults will enjoy a trip here too.
9. Stay At McMenamins Crystal Hotel
If you’re figuring out where to stay when visiting Portland, you won’t find a more unique and memorable option than McMenamins Crystal Hotel. This historic hotel sits in downtown Portland. Featuring eclectic decor and music-themed rooms, you can also look forward to enjoying one of the multiple on-site bars at the hotel.
10. Visit The International Rose Test Garden
This sprawling garden features over 10,000 rose bushes of over 650 varieties, making it a truly memorable way to spend an afternoon. This is a great place to enjoy a slightly calmer few hours – take time to literally stop and smell the roses while strolling through the garden.
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