Keep Portland Weird: Attractions You Can Only Find in Portland

Creative, non-conformist, weird — these are just a few ways to describe Portland, Oregon.

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Creative, non-conformist, weird — these are just a few ways to describe Portland, Oregon. And there’s nothing wrong with that. This city is filled with out-of-the-ordinary adventures that make for a super-memorable vacation. Keep it quirky, and check out creative dishes served right from roadside trucks, find ghosts who may try to steal a topping from your pizza, and experience so much more in the City of Roses. Whatever you do in Portland, you’re sure to find attractions you can’t find anywhere else. Consider adding these weird and wonderful Portland activities to your itinerary.

Dance and Dine Bollywood-Style

Eat dinner in Bollywood without ever leaving Portland. Enter the Bollywood Theater, where fragrant spices fill the air and old Bollywood films play on the back wall. It’s like you’re dining in a busy street in the heart of Mumbai, India. Try something different for dinner, like chicken curry, lamb samosas, and Goan-style shrimp. Everything’s tasty at their two locations in Portland’s Northeast and Southeast neighborhoods.

Practice Yoga with Cats

A woman in gray leggings doing a yoga position with sun shining behind her and a white kitten crawling underneath her in Portland, Oregon.

Sometimes the hardest part about yoga class is just showing up. But the folks at the Purringtons Cat Lounge have thought of the best incentive yet to get people to class – cats. That’s right, in their “Purr Yoga” classes, you get to bend and stretch in the company of furry felines, all available for adoption. The first 60 minutes is spent in the active part of the practice, while the final 30 minutes is all about finding your ultimate meditative state in the company of cats.

Scary Good Pizza

Portland has its fair share of ghost stories and haunted spaces. At Old Town Pizza, keep an eye out for Nina, a spirit who stayed put when the restaurant replaced the Merchant Hotel in 1974. At McMenamins White Eagle Saloon and Hotel, all kinds of spine-tingling souls may pop up, including Sam, a former cook and bartender. On Halloween, the Lone Fir Cemetery offers its annual Tour of Untimely Departures with all sorts of spooky surprises.

A Peaceful Escape

Pagoda reflecting in a pond at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, in Old Town district in Portland, Oregon surrounded by lush greenery and a bright blue sky

Just off the riverbank in Portland’s Old Town district, Lan Su Chinese Garden gives you peace if you want to escape the craziness for an afternoon. A full city block, this pretty walled sanctuary was constructed by Chinese artists from Portland’s sister city, Suzhou. Wander about by yourself or check out the garden’s regular activities, like a tea tastings, tai chi, mahjong, or calligraphy. If you’re lucky, you’ll be there for one of the special events, like concerts, art shows, and interesting lectures.

Curb Your Cravings

A couple buying hotdogs from a food truck on the streets of Portland Oregon on a sunny day

Portland cooks think outside the box — and outside the building too. There are so many great food trucks throughout the city that you could visit one for every meal. Start the day at the Egg Carton for a FoPo Cristo, a mouth-waterin’ two slices of French toast containing a fried egg, bacon, cheddar, mustard, and strawberry jam. Want something really different? Try Norwegian food at Viking Soul Food, real Hawaiian cuisine at 808 Grinds, or awesome Mauritian bites at Chez Dodo. Everyone loves French fries, and Potato Champion serves ’em up with a twist: Try PB&J fries topped with satay sauce and chipotle raspberry jam.

With a local motto like “Keep Portland Weird,” you never know what you’re going to find, and that’s half the fun! Have a quirky spot fellow visitors should check out? Share it with us on Twitter.

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