11 Places to Experience Oregon

Oregon is the only state to boast an official nut, the hazelnut. If that isn’t enough to draw you to the state, we’ve got more. Gorgeous waterfalls and breathtaking lakes. Snow-capped mountains and dense forests. Quirky artists and brewpubs galore. The smallest park in the US, and the largest bookstore. Oregon is a state with many personalities, from earthy nature lover to booming partier. After a visit, be prepared to never want to leave.
By: Jennifer Frazier
Related To:

Photo By: Jamie Francis

Photo By: Amon Focus

Photo By: Amon Focus

Photo By: Christian Heeb

Photo By: Amon Focus

Photo By: Torsten Kjellstrand

Photo By: Torsten Kjellstrand

Photo By: Rob Finch

A Sweet Tooth Spell in Portland

This quirky place is much more than breakfast treats. Having attracted a somewhat cult following and tons of media coverage (No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain television show and People Magazine), Voodoo Doughnut sells fried confectionaries topped with unexpected items, like bacon or Captain Crunch cereal. It’s also the site of the Voodoo Doughnut wedding, a 100% legal marriage performed by an ordained minister. Photo courtesy of www.travelportland.com.

Rodeo Through Time in Pendleton

Scenes of the movie The Man From Utah starring John Wayne were filmed at the Pendleton Rodeo. That just shows you how hard-core and authentic this attraction is. Held the second full weekend of September each year since 1910 and marked as one of the 10 largest rodeos in the world, this rodeo is also known for its American Indian presence, including dancing, reenactments and tee pees. Photo courtesy of Travel Oregon.

Dive Deep in Klamath County

Crystal blue, clear water. It’s a vacationer’s dream. Well, imagine no more. This caldera lake, located in Crater Lake National Park, was formed around 7,700 years ago by the collapse of a destroyed volcano at Mount Mazama. At 1,943 feet deep, it’s the deepest lake in the United States and one of the most inspiring natural wonders ever. Photo courtesy of Travel Oregon.

An Illuminating Site in Newport

This historic lighthouse, built from 1871 to 1873, follows a unique light pattern: two seconds on, two seconds off, two seconds on, then 14 seconds off. Originally named the Cape Foulweather Lighthouse, the Yaquina Head stands 93 feet tall, making it the state’s tallest tower. Photo by Christian Heeb.

Paving the Way in Baker City

Leave your mobile phone in the car and step back in time to learn how the pioneers used to live. Offering living history demonstrations and exhibits, the National Oregon Trail Interpretive Center teaches visitors about the hardships of life on the trail, construction of encampments and unknown facts (wagons had odometers!). Photo by Sumio Koizumi.

A Perfect Fall in Willamette National Forest

Even if you’re more of a person of the great indoors, one who doesn’t go camping or hiking, this is one site that will transform you. Part of the McKenzie River in the Cascade Mountains, the Koosah Falls drop about 70 feet into a deep, glorious pool. With restrooms, parking and a short walk to the falls, this is one way even the most timid adventure seeker can enjoy a true natural gem. Photo by Sumio Koizumi.

Teeny Tiny Treasure in Portland

As the saying goes, good things often come in small packages. Such is the case with this urban park, Mill Ends Park. As the smallest one in the world, it is a circle of two feet across. Don’t mistakenly call it Mill’s End Park, as locals will quickly correct you and if you are lucky, tell you the legend behind this site (it includes a story of a leprechaun). Photo courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation.

Drink Up in Seaside

Oregon boasts more craft brewers per capita than any other place on earth. With liberal craft brewing laws, beer festivals throughout the year and an entire month (July) dedicated to beer, it’s easy to conclude that this state is hoppin’. Find fun restaurant signage, like this at Seaside Brewing Company, and décor at one of the many breweries and brew pubs in the state. Photo courtesy of Travel Oregon.

A Good Read in Portland

When you arrive at this mega bookstore and someone hands you a map, don’t be confused. You might need it to navigate your way around Powell's City of Books, the world's largest new and used bookstore. Filling a whole city block with more than a million new, used and out of print books, this is a reader’s dream. Photo by Torsten Kjellstrand courtesy of www.travelportland.com.

A Sign of Good Times in Portland

An identifying landmark of the city and easily one of the most recognizable, the neon White Stag sign is locally known as the Portland, Oregon sign. Each year, the stag's nose is lit, as a nod to Rudolph, during the holiday season. Photo by Torsten Kjellstrand courtesy of www.travelportland.com.

Party in the Streets in Portland

If you’re a traveler who likes to absorb the local scene and skip the touristy spots, mark your calendar with Portland’s Last Thursday on Alberta, a monthly neighborhood art walk and craft fair. Drawing crowds of around 18,000 in the summer months, this clearly is no small affair. Nor is it a predictable event. Artists, performers, musicians and local characters make this a fun street party. Photo by Robert Finch courtesy of www.travelportland.com.

Shop This Look