Only-in-Portland Places to Visit

Portland, Oregon is filled with a variety of quirky, offbeat places to visit, places that are uniquely Portland. You can choose from great places to eat, places to shop, and places to simply explore. Below, we've listed some of our favorite attractions that make Portland a one-of-a-kind vacation experience.

Powell's City of Books

Powell's City of Books, located in Portland's Pearl District, is headquarters for the Powell's Books bookstore chain. The store covers an entire city block. They have over 3,500 books, including new books, used books, out-of-print books, and rare books. The books are commingled with each other, making it easy to compare prices for a specific book. Powell's City of Books also has a great selection of gifts and souvenirs.

During normal times, Powell's is open 365 days a year, with normal business hours. However, hours of operation are currently limited. Check with the store before visiting to make sure they're open.
  • Address: 1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR
  • Hours: Vary
  • Distance from us: 4.7 miles

The Grotto

The Grotto, officially known as the National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother is a Catholic shrine and sanctuary. Originally constructed in 1924, The Grotto is made up of 62 acres of scenic botanical gardens. It has plenty of trails, a chapel, numerous statues, a conference center, and a gift shop.

The main attraction is a replica of Michelangelo's Pieta. When you visit The Grotto, you'll be treated to beautiful views of Portland, quiet areas for reflection, and occasional concerts in the Chapel of Mary. Don't forget to visit the onsite gift shop, which offers a variety of unusual gifts.

Note that hours can vary by season, so check ahead when planning your visit.
  • Address: 8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland, OR
  • Hours: Daily, 9:00 AM until 6:30 AM
  • Distance from us: 6.1 miles

Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo Doughnut is an 11-store chain, based out of Portland, Oregon. Okay, so Voodoo Doughnut is not technically a Portland-only attraction, but it's based in Portland, and, we think, the best locations are here.

Portland has two Voodoo Doughnut locations: Old Town, and Davis. The Old Town location is about 5 miles away, and the Davis location is 3.5 miles away. Voodoo Doughnut specializes in unique doughnuts, typically raised-yeast doughnuts, covered in frosting and candy or sugary cereal. However, new creations are dreamed up on a regular basis, so come prepared to be surprised.
  • Address: Old Town, 22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR
  • Hours: Daily, 8:00 AM 3:00 AM
  • Distance from us: Old Town, 5.1 miles; Davis, 3.5 mile

Shanghai Tunnels

Shanghai Tunnels, also known as the Old Portland Underground, is a group of underground tunnels around Old Town Chinatown and the Willamette River waterfront. The tunnels were originally used to move goods between the waterfront and nearby businesses, thereby, avoiding busy street traffic.

There is some debate among historians over whether the tunnels were used to shanghai men and sell them to ship captains needed crewmen. There are also rumors of the tunnels being used by organized crime.

Under normal conditions, you can take a walking tour of the tunnels and get a history lesson at the same time. However, due to current circumstances, the tunnels are closed. Currently, they are scheduled to reopen sometime in September, 2021.
  • Address: 120 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR
  • Hours: Vary
  • Distance from us: 3.8 miles

Witches' Castle at Forest Park

The Witch's Castle has nothing to do with witches, but does have a background story involving murder. In the 1850s, Danford Balch hired Mortimer Stump to help clear some of the property where the Witch's Castle is located. Stump fell in love with Balch's daughter. Stump and the daughter eloped, which enraged Balch. Balch ended up killing Stump. Later, Balch was hanged for the crime, and, rumor has it, that Balch haunts the property. Anyway, the site is worth visiting just so you can say you did.

The hike to The Witch's Castle is only about a half-mile that starts in the Upper Macleay Parking lot. It's an easy hike that runs through a beautiful moss-covered forest and passes by streams and small waterfalls.
  • Address:Lower Macleay Trail, Portland, OR
  • Hours: Anytime
  • Distance from us: 6.5 miles