Things to Do in Portland

  • Explore the neighborhoods. Portland is home to an array of neighborhoods, each with its own identity. If you can take time to explore, you’ll find one-of-a-kind art experiences, shops, and restaurants.
  • Saturday Market. Open Saturdays 10-5 (and, confusingly, Sunday 11-4:30), the Saturday Market hosts the work of local artists, craftspeople, farmers, and cooks.
  • Powell’s City of Books. This square-block bookstore is probably the most universally recommended spot for Portland visitors. The world’s largest bookstore (based on shelf space) is an exhilarating place to find your next few dozen reads.
  • Find a Food Carts pod. If Portland didn’t start the food truck craze, certainly the popularity of street food and the city’s DIY ethos are a perfect fit for food trucks. Use this resource to find out what is where.
  • Karaoke. If you love to sing, or to embarrass yourself in public, or to watch your friends do so, Portland has a variety of karaoke options. Voicebox Karaoke has multiple locations around the city that allow patrons to rent their own karaoke rooms at reasonable rates, while the Alibi Tiki Bar is great for late-night singing, eating, and drinking when other places close.

Museums and Historical

  • OMSI. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is popular with children and adults, and features a planetarium, a submarine, a theater, and exhibits galore.
  • Portland Art Museum. The Portland Art Museum’s daring architecture and expansive collection of contemporary and historical art is a compelling draw.
  • World Forestry Center Discovery Museum. The WFCDM’s appeal is multifaceted: not only does it include fascinating displays about the world’s forests, it also sits in the middle of beautiful Washington Park (see below) and is close to the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Children’s Museum (also see below).
  • Forest Park and Pittock Mansion. Portland has a forest inside its city limits (Forest Park), and it’s well-worth exploring (if you brought appropriate shoes, of course; most of its trails are unpaved). For the adventurous, you can park at the Upper Macleay Trail Cornell Parking Lot, near the Adams Community Garden, and hike the Wildwood Trail up to the historic Pittock Mansion where you can learn about Portland’s history.
  • Oregon Rail Heritage Center. Learn about historic locomotives and how trains work at this underrated museum. 
  • Oregon Maritime Museum. This museum is on a steam sternwheeler sitting on the Willamette River, and it features maritime artifacts and historical exhibits.
  • Portland Children’s Museum. This museum’s primary audience is children.
  • Oregon Historical Society Museum. For the historically minded, the Oregon Historical Society Museum has information about the state’s history and exhibits about specific aspects of Oregon’s fascinating past.

Parks, Gardens, Zoos

  • Washington Park. Washington Park is west of our conference venue, and though it is smaller than Forest Park, it has varied landscape features and also contains the Japanese Garden, the Hoyt Arboretum, the Oregon Zoo, and the Children’s Museum.
  • Lan Su Chinese Garden. This beautiful and sometimes ornate garden also features exhibits about Chinese culture and history.
  • Smith and Bybee Wetlands. You can traverse the verdant Smith and Bybee Wetlands by foot or bicycle on the trails or by boat if the season permits.
  • Mt. Tabor. Mt. Tabor is an extinct volcano, and the park that sits on it includes a reservoir and a winding trail with a great view at the top.