If you’ve watched the TV show Portlandia with Sleater Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein and comedian Fred Arnison, you might get the impression that Portland’s weirdness is exaggerated. Here’s the thing, it’s not! The hipster capital of the United States is one of the coolest places in the country thanks to its motto of “Keep Portland Weird”. So, ticking something off your bucket list here doesn’t have to be something like an extreme sport or a mountain climb. It just has to be something you can’t do anywhere else… and there’s plenty of that!

In this article, we’ll look at 7 things you can strike off your bucket list by visiting Portland. Hopefully, it’ll really help when planning your trip to Oregon’s coolest city! 

Hike to the Witches’ Castle

So, the first spot isn’t actually in Portland itself. At least not in the centre. An easy half mile hike from the Upper MacLeay Park will deposit you at the Witches’ Castle in Forest Park. There’s a longer route, which is a whole ¾ of a mile, but it’s suitable for even the most inexperienced hikers. 

Portland Witches Castle
Portland Witches Castle

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If you’re a fan of horror and ghost stories, you might think that this was the site of a former witches’ coven or a place that these nightmare creatures were burned at the stake. The truth is, the castle has nothing to do with witches. Not a thing! It actually got the name from high schoolers who used to head up there in the 1980s. That said, the ruins of the castle do still have a fascinating but tragic history, dating all the way back to the 1800s. It’s a pretty cool way to get outdoors in Portland! 

Get a ringside spot at a roller derby bout

Ever wanted to watch women on roller skates playing a hockey like sport and knock each other over? Even if you didn’t know this existed until your read this post, of course you have! A roller derby bout is one of the most fun activities in Portland, hands down. You certainly won’t regret ticking being a spectator at this sometimes crazy, sometimes violent, but always entertaining sport of your bucket list! 

Rose City Rollers
Rose City Rollers

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Get a ringside seat and cheer on your favourite member. It may sound a bit of a silly sport, but it’s one of the most empowering and inclusive female sports out there. So, head to Rose City Rollers and take in a game! 

Stroll through the oriental gardens

Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden
Japanese Garden

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Portland has not one, but two fantastic oriental gardens which are the perfect place to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. The first is the Japanese Garden. It’s a 5.5 acre area where you can totally disconnect from the real world and enjoy the 5 different styles of garden. It’s influenced by the most important religions and architecture styles of Japan: Shinto, Buddhist, and Taoist. You could be forgiven for thinking you’re actually in Japan!

Japanese Gardens
Japanese Gardens

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If you thought the Japanese Garden was good, just wait until you discover the Lan Su Chinese Garden. The serene walled garden is said to be the most authentic Chinese Garden outside of China. High praise indeed! The garden enables you to learn a little about Chinese history and culture, as well as spending a couple of hours in a totally tranquil and peaceful place!

Hoover up knowledge at the vacuum museum

So, about Portland being weird again… You don’t have to be interested in vacuum cleaners to enjoy this quirky attraction. Let’s face it, if it only attracted vacuum enthusiasts, it probably wouldn’t still be open! 

Vacuum Museum
Vacuum Museum

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Hidden away in the corner of Stark’s Vacuum Cleaner Sales & Service, you can enjoy the vacuum museum. There are over 300 machines which take you from the invention of this humble household appliance to the present day. It may not be a regular bucket list activity, but it’ll certainly be a laugh! 

Do a food truck hop 

Portland’s food scene is one of the most vibrant and coolest in the United States. Have you really visited the city if you haven’t explored the culinary scene? We don’t think so. A food truck hop is a great way to try out the different cuisines on offer and some great street food! 

There are also plenty of places for a tasty sit-down meal, and some of them are pretty unusual. If you want to be forever immortalised on a restaurant wall (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) get a bug sundae at the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium! 

Soak up Portland’s coffee culture

Coffee at Nossa Familia
Coffee at Nossa Familia

Even more famous than the food scene is Portland’s coffee culture. There are plenty of coffee roasteries in the city and visiting them is so much more than just having an Americano or a cappuccino. You can learn about the industry, best brewing practices, and what makes certain coffees just so damn good! If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, check out BREWVANA’s Coffee, Beer, and Donuts tour. It’ll give you an insight into three Portland favourites. In fact, while we’re on the subject of BREWVANA Tours…

How about including a customized BREWVANA Tour?

BREWVANA bus & tour guests
BREWVANA bus & tour guests

As well as the Coffee, Beer, and Donuts Tour, BREWVANA can offer you a number of cool ways to get to know the food and drink scene in Portland. Enjoy tours where you’ll learn about the local craft beer brewing scene, whiskey distilleries, or even how to make fermented ciders. There are a number of private tours that you can book for just yourself and your traveling companions. Events include things like a dinner party, a walking tour of Portland, and you can even create your own tour! Check out the website for more information. 

So, if you’re ready for the weirdness…

It’s time to book your trip to Portland. We hope you’ve found our quirky list unusual, fun, but above all informative and useful! If you need any further help with booking your trip, check out BREWVANA. They’ll be happy to assist you, especially when it comes to the food and drink side of your vacation!