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The attractions and points of interest that I didn’t have time to visit have been thoroughly researched (again, thanks in part to Travel Portland) and won’t blow a hole through your travel budget.Portland won’t celebrate its 200th birthday until 2045, but that doesn’t mean it’s a historical blank slate.Thanks to its prime location in the crook of the Willamette-Columbia River junction, its proximity to the open Pacific Ocean, and its resource-rich hinterland, Portland has long been a hub of transport and industry.
Oregon’s largest city has seen plenty in its relatively short lifespan.
If you’re interested in learning more about Portland’s historical and cultural journey, check out some of these tourist-friendly sights and attractions.
I can attest to Lan Su’s quiet power – I meant to zip through in 10 minutes and ended up staying for 30.
Located adjacent to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park, Portland Japanese Garden is a larger, slightly wilder cousin to Lan Su Chinese Garden. Spread along nearly 160 acres of heavily forested West Hills habitat, just above (and north of) the Oregon Zoo and World Forestry Center, Hoyt Arboretum is a nonprofit-run celebration of all things arboreal.
Built in 1914 by Henry Pittock, the publisher of The Oregonian newspaper, and now owned by the city of Portland, Pittock Mansion is a majestic great house that contains a century’s worth of historical and cultural artifacts.
It’s all the more remarkable for what happened after the Pittocks left: In 1962, a violent storm seriously damaged the then-vacant house, exposing its interior to the elements for 18 months and requiring a marathon 15-month restoration project. Calling Powell’s a bookstore is like calling the Louvre an art museum: technically accurate, but wildly understated.If you spend any time in downtown or Northwest Portland, take 15 to 30 minutes to browse the flagship location, just to get a sense of the place’s scale.If you’re a bookworm, you could easily spend your whole trip here.But you don’t need to find “Portlandia” funny, or consider yourself hip in the slightest, to have a good time here.Portland is a beautiful, cosmopolitan place with the cultural amenities of a major coastal metropolis and the laid-back ethos of a small Northwestern town.Despite rapidly rising rents in core neighborhoods, Portland is also not outrageously expensive to visit, as long as you don’t mind scouting out Airbnb rentals or staying in one of the dozens of unpretentious motels within the city limits.Portland’s plentiful food trucks, cafes, and breweries make for cheap refueling.Today, the West Coast’s long-running tech boom is transforming Portland into a vibrant back office for big Seattle and Silicon Valley companies.There’s also evidence it’s emerging as a startup hub in its own right, as increasingly aggressive angel investors and venture capitalists seek opportunities outside larger West Coast markets. Like Seattle, Portland’s population is swelling with transplants from other parts of the country and world – notably California, which has been sending economic refugees north for years.The flagship location on Burnside (on the northern fringe of downtown Portland) contains more than a million individual volumes.Four satellite locations serve outlying areas of the Portland metro area; the entire enterprise employs upwards of 500 people.