Top Things to Do in Portland, OR

Top Things to Do in Portland, OR
With its proximity to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, as well as Mount Hood National Forest, Portland, Oregon, is a gem in the Pacific Northwest. The city hosts more than 10,000 acres of parks and natural areas, two rivers and numerous urban forests. Whether outdoor enthusiasts are looking for a quick hike or a day trip along the Columbia River, Portland has plenty to offer.

Forest Park

The 5,100-plus-acre Forest Park in northwest Portland is the largest, forested natural area within any U.S. City. The park's 30-mile Wildwood Trail is part of a 40-mile system linking Forest Park to trails along the Columbia River to Gresham, Oregon. More than 112 species of birds and 62 species of mammals inhabit the park, including northern flying squirrels, black-tailed deer, mountain beavers and long-tailed weasels. Dogs may visit the park on leashes at all times.

Forest Park
NW 29th Ave. and Upshur St.
Portland, Oregon 97210

Outrageous Jetboat Tours

From June to September, Portland Spirit hosts three different "Outrageous Jetboat" tours along the Willamette and Columbia rivers. "Heart of the Gorge" takes visitors through the Columbia River Gorge to Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Dam and Cascade Locks. "Historic Astoria" travels along the Columbia River for views of the Victorian homes, rolling hills and trolleys of nearby Astoria, Oregon. "Portland Bridges" explores 10 notable bridges along the Willamette River. Children ages 4 and up may ride along but must be at least 40 inches tall to board. All cruises depart from Waterfront Park's Salmon Street Springs Fountain in downtown Portland.

Portland Spirit
10 SE Caruthers St.
Portland, OR 97214

Shanghai Tunnels Tour

In 19th-century Portland, sea captains often arranged the kidnapping of able-bodied men and enslaved them aboard their ships, many of which were destined for China. This practice, known as "shanghaiing," utilized trap doors in saloons as well as an extensive network of tunnels beneath the city. Visitors can take 90-minute tours of these tunnels, offered by Cascade Geographic Society (CGS). Many people believe the tunnels are haunted, and CGS gives ghost tours upon request. Tours depart from Hobo's Restaurant in Old Town.

Shanghai Tunnel Tours
120 NW Third Ave.
Portland, OR 97209

Powell Butte Nature Park

An oasis for wildlife and flora in southeast Portland, Powell Butte Nature Park encompasses 608 acres of meadowland and forest. Visitors can explore an extinct cinder cone volcano near the head of Johnson Creek, or picnic along one of the park's three reservoirs. Extensive trails accommodate hikers, cyclists and horseback riders. Wildlife thrives throughout the park and includes chipmunks, raccoons, bats, coyotes, ring-necked pheasants, gray foxes and mule deer. The park is also home to many birds of prey within its groves of wild hawthorn and western red cedar. Leashed dogs may visit the park.

Powell Butte Nature Park
16160 SE Powell Blvd.
Portland, OR 97236

Article Written By Angela Brown

Angela Brown has been a book editor since 1997. She has written for various websites, as well as National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio and more than 20 fiction anthologies. Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts in theater and English from the University of Wisconsin.

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