From its western border along the Pacific Ocean to the Snake River on the east, Oregon is bursting with natural beauty, entertainment options, culture, and history.
Whether you enjoy resting and recharging in the city or discovering new experiences outdoors, Oregon has a lot to offer you. In this article, we are sharing some of Oregon’s best places to visit and fun things to do.
Fast Facts About Oregon
Land area: 98,300 square miles
Population: 4.1 million (in 2017)
Highest point: Mt. Hood
Nickname: The Beaver State
Motto: She Flies with Her Own Wings
Urban adventures in Oregon for those who love city life
Oregon has a rich history influenced by Native American, Spanish, French Canadian and British cultures. Oregon’s capital is Salem and 48 miles away is Portland, the state’s largest city. If you are interested in delving deeper into Oregon’s history and culture, you might enjoy visiting these places:
Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, OR
The Willamette Heritage Center includes fourteen historic buildings which house permanent and temporary exhibits, as well as a library and textile learning center.
Address: 1313 Mill St SE, Salem, OR
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Cost: Adults – $8.00, Senior Citizens $7.00, Students with ID – $5.00, Youth (6 to 17 years old) – $4.00, Children 5 and under: Free
Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland, OR
Originally purchased for $24.00, this square became the heart of downtown Portland and the site of one of the oldest courthouses in the western United States. The Pioneer Courthouse Square hosts 300 different events throughout the year, including parades and festivals.
Address: 701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR
Hours: 24 hours a day
Portland Children’s Museum
If you are traveling in Oregon with kids, the Portland Children’s Museum offers many fun things to do. Along with exhibits, the museum offers various studios for hands-on activities, a reading room and outdoor adventures, as well as special camps and classes.
Address: 4015 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR
Hours: Every day from 9am – 5pm
Cost: Adults – $11.00 and they must be accompanied by at least 1 child between 0 and 12 years old, Senior Citizens $10.00, Children under 1 year old: Free
Food in Oregon
Over the years, Oregon’s history and a blend of cultures have given them a multifaceted cuisine, with highlights that include seafood and European dishes. Here are a few outstanding places to eat in Oregon:
Salty’s Waterfront Grill in Portland, OR – Located right on the Columbia River, Salty’s Waterfront Grill serves up seafood, which includes dungeness crab, salmon, halibut, oysters, clams and much more.
Address: 3839 NE Marine Drive Portland, OR
Marco Polo Global in Salem, OR – Excelling in its area since 2001, Marco Polo Global offers a family-friendly environment and a generous selection of dishes from Asia and Europe.
Address: 300 Liberty St. SE Salem, OR
McMenamins in both Portland and Salem, OR – With restaurants, breweries and pubs all across Oregon, McMenamins is a great place for couples and singles to visit. They serve their own carefully crafted beers, wines, spirits, ciders and coffee, along with delicious meals.
Addresses: McMenamins Boon’s Treasury – 888 Liberty St. NE, Salem,OR and McMenamins Barley Mill Pub – 1629 S.E. Hawthorne, Portland, OR
If you want to sample the best of Oregon’s cuisine, consider booking a food tour in downtown Portland.
Outdoor Adventures for those who love nature
Oregon’s landscape is varied – there is the Pacific coastline, the Cascade Mountains and their forested valleys, and a desert that is located in the southeastern corner of the state.
If you enjoy outdoor activities, here are some of the best things to do in Oregon:
John Day Fossil Beds
The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument has well-preserved layers of fossils, as well as beautiful scenery. The park includes the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and three geographically separate units: the eroded claystone hills of Sheep Rock, layers of fossil soil in the Painted Hills and the towering cliffs in Clarno.
Hours: All outdoor areas are open to the public during daylight hours.
The Thomas Condon Paleontology Center has the following hours: In the summer it is open from 9 am – 5 pm daily, in the spring and fall from 10 am – 5 pm daily, and in the winter it is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 am – 5 pm.
Mt. Hood stands a little over 11,000 feet tall. Its majestic slopes and the Mt. Hood National Forest surrounding it offer an abundance of scenic views, hiking trails, camping and picnic areas, as well as six different ski areas including a winter resort named Mt. Hood Meadows.
Hours: The best time to explore Mt. Hood and the surrounding wilderness is between May 15 and October 15.
Cost: All visitors must carry a completed wilderness permit during their visit. Permits are free and available at trailheads.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
The Siuslaw National Forest grows along miles of Oregon’s Pacific coast. Just feet away in the ocean, intertidal ecosystems thrive in protected marine gardens. The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area provides a unique view of all this beauty. It is the highest viewpoint accessible by car on the coast and when the day is clear, you can see 37 miles out to sea and approximately 70 miles along the coast.
The nearby Siuslaw National Forest has campgrounds, picnic areas, hiking and mountain bike trails, as well as a variety of ranger-led programs and guided walks.
Hours: Cape Perpetua Scenic Area and the Siuslaw National Forest are open to the public 7 days a week all year round.
Cost: Everything is free except certain campgrounds and special events. If you plan to camp or participate in an event, check with the visitors center at Cape Perpetua to see if there are any applicable fees.
After you have explored Oregon’s natural treasures and enjoyed its urban adventures, remember to put a pin in your adventure map so that you can remember and share all your memories of the trip.