What is Portland Known For?
What’s Portland famous for? A lot! But because we don’t want to overwhelm you, we are going to limit our list to the city’s most famous attractions.
The Saturday Market
Portland is a hodgepodge of everything that’s hip in the US right now, and you can find it all at the Saturday Market. It’s a colorful event that runs on Saturdays and Sundays in Portland’s historic Chinatown. You’ll find everything from food and drinks to crafts and more from local artisans.
Food Truck Scene
Almost every city has a food truck scene, but the best food trucks in Portland, OR are totally unique. There are food trucks and carts offering five-star meals and desserts from countries around the world.
Are you craving Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Italian, or a mishmash of cultural flavors? There’s probably more options than you know what to do with. And to make finding the perfect truck to whet your appetite a breeze, there are apps like Truckster.
If you love the outdoors, Portland is known for having fantastic trails, gorges, waterfalls, gorgeous parks, and more. But if you’d rather experience the beauty of the outdoors indoors, you need to try out the Hoyt Arboretum. It’s huge and contains various flora from different continents. Simply put, it’s Portland’s own Garden of Eden.
Thriving Art Scene
Portland is the origin of several talented creatives, like Matt Groening, Elliot Smith, Gus Van Sant, and others. More artists are being born in the city every day and it’s evident in the works that come out of the Oregon College of Art.
The school’s Centrum Gallery and Retail Craft Gallery showcase the works of various artists. You can also visit the Museum of Contemporary Craft or simply stroll through the Alberta Arts District to view its amazing murals.
Portland is famous for its local breweries. Each brewery is different and offers something unique, from heady black beers to organic IPAs. Take a tour of the breweries and you are bound to find several with something special to please your taste buds.
But if beer is not your preferred poison, you should head to Distillery Row, just east of the Willamette River. It’s a neighborhood of distilleries and you’ll find everything from gin and vodka to whiskey and brandy from various brands.
Most of the distilleries are open to tours, which is the perfect opportunity to sample the unique craftsmanship of each distillery.
Coffee Like No Other
How do you like your coffee? If you are a fan of quality roasts, you should know that Portland's coffee is some of the best in the US. Stumptown is probably the city’s most famous roaster, selling to people in New York and other states.
Other famous Portland roasters are Coava, Courier Coffee, Extracto Coffee, and Coffeehouse Northwest.
Aside from the food trucks and carts, Portland also has regular brick-and-mortar establishments that feed the masses. Check out Laurelhurst Market for an epic meat dinner that even Vikings would envy, or visit Le Pigeon for something fancy.
And if you’re craving desserts, Voodoo Donuts, Crave Bake Shop, and many more are waiting to load you with enough tasty treats to keep you grinning all day.
As long as you are in Portland, going hungry or running out of cuisine options isn’t likely.
Portland is one of the few cities committed to going green. Because of this, cycling is very popular. Since there are so many scenic bike trails, you’ll definitely have a great time exploring the city from behind handlebars. It’s also a great way to burn off some of the calories from sampling Portland’s numerous food trucks and foodie joints.
Portland is known for its vibrant culture, activism, and commitment to social justice. Liberal politics in Portland tend to prioritize issues like environmental sustainability, LGBTQ+ rights, racial justice, affordable housing, and healthcare access. The city has a strong tradition of grassroots activism and community engagement, with residents actively participating in protests, advocacy groups, and local politics to promote progressive policies and challenge systemic inequalities. Liberal politicians in Portland, both at the local and state levels, often champion policies that aim to create a more inclusive and equitable society, making the city a hub for progressive thought and action in the Pacific Northwest. So whether that is your particular cup of tea or not, it’s definitely something to consider, when considering Portland.
Willamette Valley Wines
Portland is known for its micro-brewing and distilling scene, but the city has more than just beer and liquor. Portland sits right in the middle of one of the nation’s most famous wine countries- the Willamette Valley. The Willamette Valley houses a number of smaller microclimates, with differing elevations, temperatures, soil content, etc. These microclimates allow the winemakers to grow a huge variety of different types of grapes, making a seemingly endless menu of wines to try. Find tasting rooms right in town, or travel within an hour from the city and go explore the vineyards themselves. And don’t worry, this isn’t Napa Valley, you can leave the suit and tie at home.
As self appointed foodie gurus, we of course have to mention Voodoo Donuts. Portland is where it all started. Since opening in a rented storefront back in 2003, Voodoo Donuts is now pushing their pink boxes of donuty-delight at 17 locations in six different states. They blew the doors off the donut making business with their unconventional flavors and quirky appeal. Bacon strips and maple icing on a donut? Who would have thunk it! So even though Voodoo Donuts can be found all over the country now, they just hit different in their origin city of Portland. Maybe because they’re both a little…weird.
Now that you know a few things that Portland is known for, head on over to experience these activities and more firsthand. And don't forget to support the local food trucks!