Top 30 Things To Do In Oregon - Updated 2022

things to do in oregon

One of the top 10 largest states in the United States, Oregon is a place of diverse character and unique beauty. The state is popular for its many culturally significant sites that travelers love exploring. The state is also gifted with nature’s finest creations of picturesque shorelines, sandy beaches, numerous tide pools, stunning river gorges, and magnificent volcanic mountains. Visitors can visit Cannon Beach, a coastal city where popular tourist destinations such as Haystack Rock and Ecola State Park are found. Gold Beach is also a coastal city in Oregon that is home to  Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, delightful coffee shops, and a beautiful stretch of coastline. Oregon, with its art and culture scene on one side and its wild natural beauty on the other, attracts travelers from across the globe. The state simply grows on you with its incredible beauty and unmatched grandeur. If you’re not convinced to visit just yet, check out this list of numerous things to do in Oregon, the USA that might persuade you.

1. Check out the exhibits at Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Walk along the 4 miles (6.4 km) of the state’s rich history at Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Witness the interpretive exhibits and presentations on this historic mining land and the early settlers who built it. Be awed by the expansive 500-acre (202.3-ha) campus that holds the remnants of the Flagstaff Gold Mine. Learn about the Oregon Trail pioneers, settlers, and miners through the life-size displays at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. If you are someone who loves a good walk and immersing in pristine nature, this popular tourist destination is your first stop in Oregon. A gift shop on site also sells fun souvenirs. 

Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Address: 22267 OR-86, Baker City, OR 97814, USA

Website: Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 5 - 8 USD

2. Enjoy picnicking at Washington Park

Reservoir 3 and gatehouse - Washington Park Portland Oregon
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ian Poellet used under CC BY-SA 3.0

One of the most popular destinations to go on a calming walk in Portland, Oregon is Washington Park. This scenic park in pristine nature is great to enjoy a picnic with your family and friends in the summer months (or any time of the year!). Have fun going around Oregon Zoo, Children’s Museum, the gardens, and the lush enchanted forests inside Washington Park. It is a place of unlimited exploration, fun, and adventure. Go on a leisure walk on the dedicated walking paths in the park enjoying the beautiful lake views and green garden views. As you walk, check out the different memorials spread throughout the park for free.

Washington Park

Address: 4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221, USA

Website: Washington Park

Opening hours: 5am - 10pm (daily)

Price: Free

3. Learn about science at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Cacophony used under CC BY-SA 3.0

With both permanent and temporary exhibits, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is an abode for science enthusiasts and children. Solve scientific puzzles at the “Innovation Stations”. Watch small kids play while learning at the Curium. Have fun playing at the Science Playground. Enjoy a fulfilling meal at the riverfront OMSI restaurant and enjoy the views. Check out the macroscopic 3D displays of rare organisms under the microscope, at the “Exquisite Creatures” exhibit in the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Even a non-lover of science will end up falling in love with this stunning place of awe. There is a gift shop available on site that offers unique treasures. 

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Address: 1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA

Website: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Opening hours: 9:30am - 7pm (daily)

Price: 9 - 20 USD

4. Know more about marine animals at Hatfield Marine Science Center

Hatfield Marine Science Center
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Visitor7 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Hatfield Marine Science Center is a fifty-year-old marine laboratory in Newport, Oregon. Learn about marine life on the Oregon coast and the issues in aquatic biodiversity at this popular destination. The center conducts hands-on activities and exhibits throughout the year to increase public awareness about marine animals and the issues they face. Learn about the unique aquatic animals of the Oregon coast, how different birds and animals settle at the coast for breeding and much more at Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Hatfield Marine Science Center

Address: 2030 SE Marine Science Dr, Newport, OR 97365, USA

Website: Hatfield Marine Science Center

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 5 - 20 USD

5. Explore the exhibit spaces at High Desert Museum

High Desert Museum, Oregon (2013) - 40
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Another Believer used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Bring life to the explorer in you at this special museum blending cultural and natural history. At High Desert Museum you can witness rare wildlife up-close, participate in camping activities, learn about how native Americans lived in the wild, attend lectures and outdoor exhibits on environmental preservation, and much more. There are also numerous kid-friendly exhibits and temporary exhibits, not to mention camp activities that you can enjoy experiencing with your little ones. If you have fallen so much in love with the museum and would love to spend more time in the wild, check out their volunteering and educational programs.

High Desert Museum

Address: 59800 US-97, Bend, OR 97702, USA

Website: High Desert Museum

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 12 - 15 USD

6. Kayak on the Cascade Lakes

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<i>Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway - Lava Lake</i>
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Unknown author or... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Located on the east side of Deschutes County in Central Oregon, there are over 15 cascade lakes that will take your breath away with their stunning beauty and magnificence. In summer months or any other season, enjoy kayaking in these beautiful lakes and witness the most heavenly views of Mother Nature surrounded by clear water on all four sides. The views of the mountain ranges and pristine nature of Oregon are just incredible from these lakes. Go on a long ride on the scenic roads along the lakes, stop by these gorgeous bodies of water, and simply get engrossed in their beauty.

Kayak on the Cascade Lakes

Address: East Cascade Range, Deschutes County, Oregon

Website: Cascade Lakes

7. Go skiing at Anthony Lakes

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Snowsnapper used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

Anthony Lakes is an Alpine wonderland that is filled with wildflowers and stunning granite peaks of the Elkhorn mountain ranges. This beautiful destination is located in the Blue Mountains of Northeastern Oregon and is an excellent place for ski and hike trips. There are easy as well as difficult paths for hiking. The area near this 7,140-foot-high (2,176.2 m) lake near the Wallowa Mountains is a hiker’s paradise. There is a paved road along the mountain ranges near Anthony Lakes, through which you can reach the campsite for starting your hike. The hiking trail to the lake boasts an 8.2 mile (13.2 km) loop along the Gunsight Mountains. The lake is open for exploration between the months of July and October. Grab your hiking gear and enjoy a soulful adventure into the wild and pristine nature.

Anthony Lakes

Address: Oregon, USA

Website: Anthony Lakes

8. Tour around Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum

The Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum is spread across a huge space of 2 acres (0.8 ha) near the quaint town of Hood River in Oregon, USA. The museum holds one of the largest collections of still-flying planes and antique automobiles. Enjoy their extensive collection of world-class artifacts. Witness ancient aircraft come to life and old technology in action at this magnificent museum. Check out their 1917 Curtiss JN-4D Jenny aircraft in its full glory at the WAAM center. They also have a stunning collection of 130 rare vintage cars at the museum.

Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum

Address: 1600 Air Museum Rd, Hood River, OR 97031, USA

Website: Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 8 - 16 USD

9. Check out the remarkable Columbia River Maritime Museum

The Columbia River Bar is said to be one of the most perilous river passages in the history of the world. Learn the tales of history and bravery associated with the Columbia River Bar at the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Did you know tides can get as high as 40 feet (12.1 m)? Get to know how mariners handle the unpredictable perilous winter weather conditions of the state. Know about the Columbia River Bar Pilots and US Coast Guard and its remarkable history through the exhibits in this popular museum. Did you know? They have over 30,000 historic artifacts, 20,000 photographs, and over 10,000 books in the Columbia River Maritime Research Library–an impressive collection indeed.

Columbia River Maritime Museum

Address: 1792 Marine Dr, Astoria, OR 97103, USA

Website: Columbia River Maritime Museum

Opening hours: 9:30am - 5pm (daily)

Price: 3 - 14 USD

10. Admire the tranquil Portland Japanese Garden

Stone - Portland Japanese Garden - Portland, Oregon - DSC08350
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Daderot used under CC0

Know about traditional Japanese garden arts and seasonal activities at Portland Japanese Garden. Learn about Japanese gardening techniques and the art of arranging flowers. Immerse yourself in the rich traditional demonstrations, artwork, and performances held in the garden from time to time. Also, find out more about how Japanese gardening techniques became popular in Portland. Else, just enjoy a quiet and zen time strolling around the verdant garden.

Portland Japanese Garden

Address: 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, USA

Website: Portland Japanese Garden

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 7pm; Mon: 12pm - 7pm

Price: 14 - 19 USD

11. Pay a visit to The Grotto

things to do in oregon | pay a visit to the grotto
Source: quitaskinme on Instagram

A visit to portland is not complete without dropping by the Grotto. The Grotto is a 62-acre (25 ha) shrine for Mother Mary and her servants of the Order of Friar. This huge space is a place of worship, peace, and abundant natural beauty. This century-old historic shrine is the best place to visit if you are looking for a calm place amidst nature. Offer your prayers at this sacred place, explore its hidden beauty, learn about its history, and feel like a romantic poet caught inside a splendid dream at The Grotto.

The Grotto, Oregon

Address: 8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland, OR 97220, USA

Website: The Grotto

Opening hours: 9am - 8:30pm (daily)

Price: 4 - 8 USD

12. Enjoy whale watching with Whale Research EcoExcursions

Posted by Whale Research Eco Excursions on Monday, 14 August 2017

With the help of expert biologists and marine naturalists, take a safe and comfortable whale-watching trip into the sea. Learn about their whale research and adaptation projects on this educational tour. Have fun interacting with the most friendly female grey whales during their breeding season on Ponga boats. Experience a joyful ride kayaking at the most beautiful Salmon River. Apart from Whale Watching the center also has a Whale, Sealife, and Sharks Museum, Whale Bites Cafe, and Baja tours.

Whale Research EcoExcursions

Address: 234 US-101, Depoe Bay, OR 97341, USA

Website: Whale Research EcoExcursions

Opening hours: 11am - 4pm (daily)

Price: 3 - 5 USD

13. Explore the many activities at Oregon Coast Aquarium

Oregon Coast Aquarium entrance
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user M.O. Stevens used under CC BY 3.0

Another popular activity in Newport, Oregon, right next to Hatfield Science Center, is Oregon Coast Aquarium. The compound comprises a restaurant, coffee bar, gift store, picnic spaces, and more. The aquarium is one of the most visited tourist spots in the state and always strives to create unique and engaging learning experiences about the Oregon Coast Ecosystem for its visitors. There are outdoor exhibits, tours, dive-in tours, clean-up activities, turtle-tracking, and many other activities available at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Oregon Coast Aquarium

Address: 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR 97365, USA

Website: Oregon Coast Aquarium

Opening hours: 10am - 6pm (daily)

Price: 15 - 25 USD

14. Journey to Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head Lighthouse Oregon
Source: Photo by Flickr user Bonnie Moreland used under CC0

A visit to the Heceta Head Lighthouse is a fantasy come true for many people in the world. This lighthouse is said to be one of the last few light-keeping cottages on the Pacific Coast. Built-in 1894, this stunning lighthouse stands high and romantic on a rocky shoreline of the Pacific Coast and has been guiding seafarers for more than a century. Plan a romantic night in this beautiful and historic space. Live the life of a nightwalker for a day. Gaze at the stars with your loved one from this 18th-century lighthouse that is still in use. Watch the vast sea from the top of the lighthouse at 205 feet (62.4 m) above sea level. The lighthouse still has antique wooden stairs and old furnishings today.

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Address: 725 Summer St, Florence, OR 97439, USA

Website: Heceta Head Lighthouse

Opening hours: 11am - 5pm (daily)

15. Enjoy wine tasting in the beautiful Willamette Valley (from USD 330.0)

What’s an ideal tour without a day dedicated to a wine tasting? The Willamette Valley wine tasting tour from Portland is not only a treat to your taste buds but also to your eyes. Be awed by the vast views of vineyards in this natural attraction. Learn about the countryside vineyards in the state of Oregon and enjoy a personalized wine tour with small groups of people on a minivan. Visit the three finest wineries in the locality and taste Chardonnay, Cabernet, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Franc, and more. Sip on the finest wines of the land as you enjoy the stunning views of Cascade Mountain Range and pristine nature on this full-day guided tour.

Willamette Valley Wine-Tasting Tour from Portland

Duration: 6 hours

166 reviews

16. Browse through the artifacts at Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

One of the best places for outdoor activities in Oregon is Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. This center boasts a scenic recreation area that helps tourists to spend adventurous nights in the wilderness. The center educates visitors on the tribal and mining history of the place. It has numerous historic artifacts from the beginning of mining days in Oregon. They also conduct adult and family workshops, backpacking expeditions, and much more.

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

Address: 721 NW 9th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, USA

Website: Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

17. Be amazed by the architecture of Vista House

Posted by Vista House At Crown Point on Sunday, 3 June 2018

One of the most prominent historic buildings in Oregon, USA is Vista House which was built in the year 1917. This century-old place has served as a resting place for travelers of the Columbia River Gorge. Vista House is a stunning architectural structure that is still being preserved by a non-profit voluntary community called Friends of Vista House and Oregon State. Go on a building tour around this stunning place guided by volunteers.

Vista House

Address: 40700 Historic Columbia River Hwy, Corbett, OR 97019, USA

Website: Vista House

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

18. Go stargazing at Oregon Observatory

The Oregon Observatory has the largest telescope collection in the country and is one of the favorite places for the stargazing community of the United States. The observatory is located in the Sunriver Nature Center. It is open for both night sky viewing and daytime solar viewing. You can also witness the sights of Bend as well as central Oregon at the observatory.

Oregon Observatory

Address: 57245 River Rd, Sunriver, OR 97707, USA

Website: Oregon Observatory

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 11am - 2pm, 9pm -11pm; Mon: 11am - 2pm

Price: 5 - 10 USD

19. Be amazed by Thor's Well

Thors Well
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user John Fowler used under CC BY 2.0

Thor’s Well is a gigantic naturally formed hole on the Oregon Coast. The well is said to have been a cave dug by the ocean itself with its waves and currents. During high tides, Thor’s Well is a magnificent sight that looks as if the sea is draining itself into the cave. This is the reason why this natural attraction is sometimes referred to as the “Drainpipe of the Pacific”. It is definitely a natural wonder and a must-see sight in Oregon, whether during warmer months or the cold season!

Thor's Well

Address: Highway 101, Yachats, OR 97498

20. Discover the stunning John Day Fossil Beds

The John Day Fossil Beds is recorded proof of the existence of life and its evolution on planet Earth for over 40 million years. The colorful beds, the working laboratory, and the exhibits at the John Day Fossil Beds Thomas Condon Paleontology Center are indeed a great place to explore the pre-historic past of ancient plants and animals, learn about climate change, and much more.

John Day Fossil Beds

Address: 32651 OR-19, Kimberly, OR 97848, USA

Website: John Day Fossil Beds

Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)

21. Witness the spectacular Multnomah Falls (from USD 85.0)

Experience the chilling grandeur of the Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge. Witness the spectacular sights of the Historic Columbia River National Scenic Byway in this guided tour. Other falls in this tour include the Latourell Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. This tour also covers some of Portland’s prominent historic sights such as the Portland Women’s Forum, Crown Point Vista House, the Shepherd’s Dell, and much more.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge Falls Tour from Portland

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

414 reviews

22. Take a thermal bath at Bagby Hot Springs

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Travis Thurston used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Escape from the hustle and bustle of city life and head to Bagby Hot Springs. This unique space in Oregon is located amidst a national forest with bathtubs and hot springs for visitors to simply relax. Soak yourself in a hot thermal herbal bath at this energizing place and enjoy a comfortable stay at Mount Hood National Forests’ private logged decks. There are options for community soaks as well as individual baths at this place. Outdoor adventures such as hiking and horseback riding are also available.

Bagby Hot Springs

Address: Clackamas County, Oregon, US

Price: 5 - 24 USD

23. Check out the structures at Fort Rock Valley Homestead Museum

2017-07-12 Fort Rock 07
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Kingofthedead used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The homesteaders of Oregon were known for their positive attitude and fond tales of community living. Although this community did not grow much financially, they have always been seen as an inspiration for community lifestyle and family values. The Fort Rock Valley Museum was founded with the sole intention of preserving the rich history of the Homestead Era. Check out the ancient homes and structures of this phenomenal historic period.

Fort Rock Valley Homestead Museum

Address: Old Fort Rock Rd, Fort Rock, OR 97735, USA

Website: Fort Rock Valley Homestead Museum

Opening hours: Thu - Sun : 11am - 5pm (closed from Mon - Wed)

Price: 3 - 5 USD

24. Discover Portland's Shanghai Tunnels

Go on one of the infamous underground tours and witness Portland’s Shanghai Tunnels which were created during the period of Shanghai trade in the city as early as the 1850s. Learn about the notorious maritime history of Portland from the city’s intriguing hidden world. Excite your minds with the unique tunnel architecture, the structures of the underground holding cells, trapdoors, and much more on this stunning tour of these hidden structures.

Portland's Shanghai Tunnels

Address: 120 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209, USA

Website: Portland’s Shanghai Tunnels

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 11am - 9:30pm; Fri - Sat: 11am - 10pm; Sun: 11am - 6:30pm

Price: 12 - 20 USD

25. Go white water rafting with South Coast Tours

Go on the best fishing and rafting tours on the Oregon coast with South Coast Tours. South Coast Tours organizes guided outdoor activities such as surfing, fishing, white water rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding, and much more. South Coast Tours is the best choice for nature lovers to experience water sports and river activities. You can also try their guided van tours, snorkeling activities, and kayak fishing expeditions. They also conduct surfing lessons.

South Coast Tours

Address: 300 Dock Rd, Port Orford, OR 97465, USA

Website: South Coast Tours

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 7:30am - 4pm ; Sun: 7:30am - 12am; Mon: 12am - 4pm

26. Hike Proxy Falls Trailhead

If you’re a nature lover, including hiking in the Proxy Falls Trailhead at the Three Sisters Wilderness to your list of outdoor activities is a must. Check out an old lava flow as you enter the conifer forest. Enjoy the stunning views of the Lower Proxy Falls in the western junction and the creek bed uphill on the eastern side. Escape into the unmatched beauty of the Willamette National Forest as you head back to the trailhead. You will require the Proxy Falls Trailhead Pass to go on a hike.

Proxy Falls

Address: Lane County, Oregon

Website: Proxy Falls

Price: 5 - 10 USD

27. Check out the upscale Pearl District (from USD 85.0)

Portland is a famous city known as the “City of Roses” across the globe. Enjoy the beauty-filed sights of Portland’s one and only International Rose Test Garden. Get amazed by over 650 varieties of roses in this garden. Visit the historic Pittock Mansion and the Portland Courthouse Square. Get mesmerized by the lush, green beauty of the Lan Su Chinese Garden as well.

Portland Morning City Tour

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

108 reviews

28. Connect with nature at Portland's gardens

Go on a meditative tour around Portland’s Japanese and Chinese gardens, including the popular Lan Su Garden, and become one with Mother Nature. This is a half-day tour across the well-maintained lush gardens of Portland. In this guided tour you will get to know about the history of garden design, philosophy, and how gardening can be a meditative process. Know about the different issues associated with the creation and maintenance of natural beauty in urban space during this walking trip. The trip fee is inclusive of everything from travel, mid-day snacks, and garden admissions.

29. Visit Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum (from USD 27.0)

Witness the large collection of aviation and space artifacts at Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum. The museum contains historic aircraft from the Second World War and the Vietnam War era. You can also see the world’s largest wooden aircraft called Spruce Goose from the Vietnam era at this museum. Check out their collection of aircraft and helicopters at the Space building and also learn more about aviation through their 3D theater. The museum allows for free tours twice a day and it is located at a convenient distance from Portland.

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum Admission

Duration: 2 to 5 hours

30. Go around Portland and peruse the vast collection at Powell's Books (from USD 37.0)

In this sightseeing tour across the famous city of Portland, you will get to witness the popular and scenic places of the city such as Washington Park, OMSI, the Pearl District, Pioneer Square, and of course, Powell’s Books store. Get intoxicated by the scent of over four million used and new books at this historic giant bookstore that occupies an entire city block. This is a flexible and fully customizable guided tour that comes with a feel-good factor of contributing to breast cancer awareness and research with every ticket you purchase.

Portland Hop-On Hop-Off Tour with Gray Line

Duration: 2 hours

75 reviews

Oregon, a state for lovers of the wild

In this sightseeing tour across the famous city of Portland, you will get to witness the popular and scenic places of the city such as Washington Park, OMSI, the Pearl District, Pioneer Square, and of course, Powell’s Books store. Get intoxicated by the scent of over four million used and new books at this historic giant bookstore that occupies an entire city block. This is a flexible and fully customizable guided tour that comes with a feel-good factor of contributing to breast cancer awareness and research with every ticket you purchase.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Sharadha is a happy 'paw'rent to beautiful GSDs - Max n Tuffey. At times, when she is not too busy pampering her furry kids, she is trying her best to stay fit, write and travel. She loves...Read more

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