Walk through the grand plaza and step into Oregon's past. Located in Portland's cultural district, The Oregon Historical Society has bountiful collections of historical artifacts, photographs, moving pictures, maps and more. Many exhibits are interactive, and the atmosphere is friendly. The museum is very well-maintained and curated in a way to provide easy navigation, it appears as though you are living history as you navigate your way through the interior. The center's shop is full of Native American jewelry, baskets and pots. The book collection covers all of the Northwest's history for adults and children.
Another testament to Portland's cultural diversity, this museum has quite a collection of interesting historical material relating to Oregon Jews. Exhibits focus on Judaism in the state and around the world. In the Footsteps of Columbus is one of the many must-see permanent exhibits here, it narrates an account of the Jews of Greece. Reading material is also available at the on-site library. Many historians as well as patrons who are fond of cultural experience are sure to admire the collection at this museum.
This is Hollywood, revisited. Perhaps not the California version, but Portland's own little corner of the Hollywood District. The surreal exterior of this fine movie house, which bears a strong resemblance to a Walt Disney castle, makes it worth a visit. The renovated theater boasts a lavish decor, cheap admission to second-run films, cushy seats and all the snacks you can inhale. Enjoy an afternoon or evening of pure childlike entertainment. The charming setting makes the place perfect for a movie with family but it also very popular for date nights.
In a ride that lasts all of four minutes, experience one of the most exhilarating journeys you will ever make. The Portland Aerial Tram is a transportation marvel that soars high above this thriving city at 22 miles (35.40 kilometers) per hour. With every 'ooh' and 'aah' that this spectacular view evokes in you, the tram cabins rise 500 feet (152.4 meters). The only aerial tram to grace the airspace of the United States, second only to New York's Roosevelt Island Tramway, the Portland Aerial Tram traverses the area between the city's South Waterfront District and the Marquam Hill neighborhood. Both cabins have an occupancy of 79, and the tram system operates on a load-and-go principle, meaning faster turnaround rides.
Mild-mannered Portland was once one of the toughest ports of the Pacific. In the 1890s, it was the "shanghaiing" - kidnapping a man and selling him into bondage - capital of the world. After passing-out at one of the many taverns lining Portland's waterfront, prisoners were held in a series of underground tunnels. Although historians have questioned the veracity of these claims, the tunnels remain a source of intrigue. The Shanghai Tunnels are open for tours every week, so be sure to get the right date and time to explore this nugget of Portland's dark history.
The McMenamins Kennedy School is a North Portland fixture. Long abandoned by the education system, it now serves as a guest house for rather older learners. The theater at the school has a beautiful interior that is covered in murals, the seating is comfy and the acoustics as well as light accents leave no room for complaints. The theater also has a small pub on site where you can grab drink or a tasty meal to go with your movie. There are even special showings designated for small children, so the whole family can join the fun.
Portland is a sternwheel steam tug, built for the Port of Portland in 1947. The tug is now docked at the Williamette River near downtown Portland and also houses the Oregon Maritime Museum. This historic tug uses paddlewheels to provide propulsion, one of the last few boats built with such a system. Tours of the tug and the museum within are available and the tug also has a library, a gift shop and a children's corner.
This vintage video game and pinball arcade is a trip through time– you will find a black lit wonderland of 80s video games that still costs a single quarter. DJs or bands entertain on most nights, with a small cover charge on band nights. Climb the ornate staircase to the largest collection of pinball machines in the area or try out iconic games like Mortal Kombat II and Pac-Man.
Housed inside the iconic confines of the Roseland Theater, Peter's Room offers a more intimate stage setting for concert bands. This sub-theater is located in the basement of the original Roseland Theater, consists of a fully-stocked bar and offers reasonably-priced bar eats such as meatball subs, burgers, nachos and chips. Admission is typically on a first come, first serve basis, so head here early to find a spot closer to the stage. Occasionally, Peter's Room at Roseland will also stream live ongoing concerts from the Roseland Theater stage for patrons who have settled at the bar.
p:ear Gallery showcases the artworks of the young talented artists in p:ear's youth rehabilitation program. It also highlights works of gifted local artists as well. Open only on the first Thursday of every month, this gallery offers a platform to these young talents. They also get to earn from a sale of their work. Drop in to check their exhibits and buy an artwork to help a good cause.
Do away with mainstream tourist traveling and embrace the way Portland should actually be experienced - on foot. Conducting walking tours with a difference, Know Your City tours highlight the city's quirks that make it so special. From special 'People's History of Portland Tours' that tell the story of this city from an outsider's lens to sing-along tours that make their merry way through Portland's musical riches, Know Your City has something for everyone. An expert, fun-loving guide is on board, making the experience more enjoyable. Private tours suited to your group's needs and expectations can also be arranged, on request. Tours run from May to mid-September, Thursday to Sunday. While the tours are free, a good tip is always welcome!