Over 75 people move to Portland every single day. And millions more visit our city as tourists each year. That means some of our favorite local places are starting to get crowded. I mean, have you seen the lines at Pok Pok and Salt & Straw lately?
Today we’ll let you in on a few of our favorite places to visit and things to do that only Portland locals know about.
1. OMSI After Dark
He’s even scarier at night!
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry really is a world-class museum. Every year it brings incredible exhibits to town and shows really awesome movies and sporting events at its iMAX theater. But the weekend crowds can get crazy, especially during the summer months.
But do you know about OMSI After Dark? Every few weeks, OMSI opens its doors after hours for adults (21 and up only) to explore. There’s even food to sample from local restaurants and drinks, too! If you’ve never been it’s a fun way to experience the museum.
2. Huber’s Spanish Coffee
It seems like there’s new cocktail bar, microbrewery, or lounge popping up every week. But one of our favorite places to get a drink is actually at Portland’s oldest restaurant, Hubers! Hubers is downtown on 3rd Avenue between Stark and Washington.
If you go, make sure to get their signature drink, a Spanish Coffee prepared (with panache) right at your table. Check out a video of the process below– or try making one at home with this recipe.
3. Voodoo Too
The downtown Voodoo Donuts location has turned into more of a spectacle than anything else. Tourists seem to love it, but do any Portland locals actually stand in that line? If you have friends visiting, skip the scene and take them to Voodoo Too. That’s Voodoo’s NE Portland location near the Lloyd Center. The lines are much shorter (usually non-existent) but the donuts (and the decor) are the same.
4. Movies In The Park
As we wrote about in the past, no matter where you are, you’re never more than a 15-minute walk from an awesome public park. And locals know that during the beautiful summer months, there’s likely to be an awesome movie playing nearby!
Attending Movies in the Park is definitely a summer tradition for many Portland families. Last year over 40 parks hosted classic movies like The Goonies, Jaws, and newer blockbusters, too!
Most nights, there’ll be a live band playing before the movie (which starts at sunset). Make sure to get there early and grab a good spot!
Remember to bring:
- Blankets or folding chairs
- Snacks and drinks
- Light jacket or sweater if it gets chilly
5. Can’t Get Timbers Tickets? Go See The Thorns!
Good seats to a Portland Timbers game are a hot ticket. Matches against Seattle and other rivals sell out quickly (and there’s a 15-year waiting list for season tickets). But if you’re a local soccer fan, head down to Providence Park to watch the Portland Thorns of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The roster includes US National Team players like Tobin Heath and Emily Sonnett, as well as one of the best players in the world, French national Amadine Henry.
The Thorns draw almost 16,000 fans to every game (more than many men’s teams). Plus, season tickets are affordable and fun for the whole family! And as a bonus than only savvy Portland locals know about, Thorns season ticket holders get early access to buy Timbers tickets, too.
6. Last Thursday on Alberta
First Thursday is a night to see art in the trendy Pearl District. But Portland locals know that Last Thursday on Alberta is really the place to be! It’s a great community event and it’s free for everyone (including artists and vendors). There’s always music, plenty of places to eat and drink, and see the kind of stuff that makes Portland weird!
7. The Rimsky Korsakoffee House
What’s more Portland than a coffeehouse that’s actually in a house with no signs and no advertising? The Rimsky-Korsakoffee House (Portland locals and regulars just call it the Rimsky) is located in SE Portland and is the definition of under-the-radar and low-key!
It’s a great cozy spot to get coffee and dessert and enjoy live music. Just don’t tell anyone about it!
8. Hiking on Mt. Tabor
Portland locals know that some of the best hiking and trail running in the area is right on Mt. Tabor! One of the most popular urban hikes, the Blue Trail Loop is a hair over 3 miles and offers awesome views of downtown and Mt. Hood. Mt. Tabor’s also a great place to watch July 4th fireworks, too. There’s always a big crowd but there’s plenty of room to spread out on a blanket near the reservoir.
9. Use Your Multnomah County Library Card
Did you know that your Multnomah County Library can be used for much more than checking out books, movies, and CDs?
Thanks to the Discovery Pass program, you can use your local library card to visit some awesome local attractions, completely free of charge. Some of the places you can check out (pun intended) include:
- The NW Film Center
- The Portland Art Museum
10. Tanuki. Is It a Restaurant?
The sign says “This is not a Japanese restaurant.” But Portland locals know Tanuki, a tiny hole-in-the-wall near SE 82nd and Stark, serves some of the most interesting Asian inspired dishes in town. The menu is full of foods adventurous Portland locals will love, including candied loquats, jellyfish salad, kimchi, and much more!
If you’re looking for a unique night out, try Tanuki!
11. The 4 T Trail
We’ll finish off our list with another amazing urban hike on the 4T Trail. You’ll experience a variety of Portland neighborhoods by way of:
Start downtown (or anywhere along the red or blue MAX line) and take the MAX to the Zoo. Then hike to Council Crest Park and take an easy downhill walk to the aerial tram at OHSU. Ride the tram down (it’s free) and use your Trimet ticket to hop on the Portland Streetcar and back downtown.
In our experience, the hike isn’t too strenuous and most people can complete the whole adventure in a few hours. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon!
Thanks for Reading!
So that’s our list of some of the coolest things that Portland locals love to do. If we missed anything, tell us in the comments below!
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