Described as America's most European city - Portland, Oregon has many unique views and attractions to be sought! There are a ton of activities to do in this rugged and gorgeous state. I have heard nothing but amazing things about this place and I look forward to exploring the state on foot. This is my list of must see's when you land in Portland. AKA all the places I'll be dragging Matthew to as soon as we land.
Explore Oxbow Regional Park:
Oxbow Regional Park is a gorgeous place to visit and to be one with untamed beauty that hasn't changed for hundreds of years. Exactly my kind of place. You can hike, camp and throw in a line for that perfect day on the river where cars cannot be heard and cell phones only ring if you want them to.. and if you can find reception! A few bucks ($40) gets you in for the day and for the rest of the year. The fee also allows you to enter many other parks including Blue Lake regional park, Broughton Beach, Chinhook Landing Marine Park and M. James Gleason Boat Ramp. If you're really craving that full outdoor experience we suggest packing for an overnight stay. Enjoy the night around a campfire and under a sky full of stars. It is quite the experience for that adventurous couple or even if you just want to try something different (way different) from that typical dinner and a movie date night. My ideal day here would include kayaking and picnicking. There are a few different kayak rental places there already depending on which part of the park you're in - just use google and reserve a kayak in advance as i do not know how busy it gets here on any given day. Every fall, nature puts on one of its greatest shows here; salmon returning to their spawning grounds to lay their last eggs, before dying in the waters where they were born. I would LOVE to see something like that - nature at it's work. A true spectacle that I would love to capture with my GoPro just saying.
Explore the Oregon Coast:
Oregon's coast has the most breathtaking views that you are going to find out West. So rugged, cold and incredible with that little bit of mist that gives off total mystery vibes - you know the one I am talking about. There are three different regions that make up the coast; The North Coast, Central Coast, and South Coast. The Central Coast has been said to be the prettiest of the three and would be my first choice because of the massive sea cliffs, terraces and a greater number of bays for whale watching. I can hear the breakers crashing onto the cliffs now - all we need is a whale sighting to make it all perfect. The central coast is ideal for lighthouse exploring, hiking, whale watching as well as camping - which technically all could be done on the same exact day! The Oregon coast is #dreamy
Drink in Wine Country:
Less than an hour from Portland, Willamette Valley is a carrier for more than 250 wineries! To a wine connoisseur (yours truly) that's pretty impressive! But if wine isn't your thing this quaint town also has some craft beers for you to enjoy. The Willamette Valley makes some of the world’s finest micro brews, so cheers! What's a micro beer you ask? Great question! The difference between microbreweries and breweries is a matter of scale. A 'traditional' brewery like Budlight produce millions of barrels of beer a year. According to U.S regulations, a microbrewery can make no more than 15,000 barrels of beer a year. Which that in itself is pretty interesting. This valley is a rolling farmland ripe for touring. Pick your poison and choose from a variety of activities to do with your lover. Take a long walk through a scenic covered bridge or view the magnificent Willamette Valley from the basket of a hot air balloon! The balloon ride is one of those things that satisfies all the senses and hey, a glass of wine (or 2) makes every occasion a little bit more romantic and a little less scary.. and well, you are in a place with 250 wineries ( I'm just saying!). The hot air balloon experience is something you can do April - October with flights lasting about an hour - so just go ahead and make your reservation today. Perfect for those anniversaries, birthdays, asking the woman of your dreams in marriage *wink wink. The balloon ride is said to be a wonderful experience that you will remember forever.
Visit The Lan Su Chinese Garden:
Ahh, welcome to China! Or at least the closest thing to it - being that it is the most authentic Chinese garden in the US outside of China of course. A small fee of $7 for students and $9 for adults gets you into this tranquil paradise. Lan Su Chinese Garden is a window into the Chinese culture, history and way of thinking. The garden perfectly mends Chinese tradition, architecture, art and nature into perfect harmony. The name can be translated to "The Garden Of Awakening Orchids" and you'll see plenty of those. Learn about the Chinese culture, walk the gardens, (don't forget to stop and smell all the flowers) and drink Chinese tea in the tea house. Enjoy a beautiful scenic day for less than $10. Cheap date trick 101.
Do Some Shopping:
No Sales Tax. Not now. Not ever. It honestly speaks for itself. Just go ahead and buy yourself something!! There's no sales tax - this only exists in 4 other states. Go a little crazy, I give you permission.
Then continue shopping at the Portland Saturday - Sunday market. As previously stated, shopping is amazing in Portland and handmade crafts are perhaps the best gifts, surprises and souvenirs! Portland offers a Saturday - Sunday Market and it operates every weekend March through December. This market extravaganza offers over 241 spaces for local artisans to show their skills and sell their handmade wares. Spend hours upon hours obsessing over the unique handcrafted items the locals have to offer and choose from a surplus of enticing foods that will satisfy your appetite all while listening to live music on the main stage. It's a woman's dream come true! Many tourists and locals show up every weekend and it's never the same. The Portland market is open every weekend rain or shine 11-4:30 pm.
Be Amazed By Crater Lake:
Surrounded by cliffs that are over 2,000 feet high Crater Lake is a picturesque island with a violent volcanic past! Considered to be one of the 7 wonders of Oregon, Crater Lake is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. Crater lake is the deepest in the United States and one of the deepest in the world. It was formed by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. While hiking look for the "Old Man of the Lake", a full-sized tree which is now a stump that has been bobbing vertically in the lake for over a century (wow). The low temperature of the water has slowed the decomposition of the wood, allowing the bobbing stump to survive for so long. Most visitors come to Crater Lake National Park during the months of July through mid-September, when the weather is generally mild with little precipitation. Just a heads up, the weather conditions may change quickly and a warm jacket and wool sweater are always recommended items to carry. Kinda seems worthy of a visit if I do say so myself.
Visit the Pittock Mansion:
Originally built in 1914 as a private home for The Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana. The successful newspaper publisher arrived to Oregon via the Oregon trail for a better life and this home is the foundation of his story (history!). Anything to do with history from a time we weren't around to see - I always recommend going to. It really gives you a raw insight to how life was for people in those time. I know I sound so corny right now but I always think its important to understand where we came from - as a whole. How different people were back then and how different they are today. Can you imagine meeting this man now? Ugh what would he think! Anyway - this beautiful palace is a 23-room estate situated on 46 acres and offering panoramic views of downtown Portland. It is now owned by the city's Bureau of Parks and Recreation and open for touring. $10 gets you the grand tour! Cheap, interesting and fun - my kinda time.
Walk Through The Hoyt Arboretum:
Founded in 1928 to conserve endangered species and educate the community, Hoyt Arboretum encompasses a 189 ridge-top acres with 12 miles of hiking trails. More than 6,000 specimens from around the world grow here, 63 of which are vulnerable or endangered. Beginning in April, join Hoyt Arboretum tour guides on an informative 90-minute journey through the tree and plant collections.With Oregon’s temperate Pacific Northwest climate, Hoyt Arboretum is one of the few places on Earth where such a wide variety of trees and plants can grow. Observe rare and endangered trees that you would otherwise have to travel the world to see and every season has something new to offer visitors!
September through November The fall colors - blazing gold, red, orange and yellow
December through March Discover the Winter Garden
April through May Smell the magnolias, dogwoods and cherries in bloom
June through August Native wildflowers all over the meadows or under the towering fir trees