Part of what makes Portland so amazing is how accessible it is to other amazing places in Oregon and Washington. If you are making the trip to Portland, don’t be afraid to rent a car and get out of the city to see the real heart of Portland and Oregon!
Columbia River Gorge
The Gorge is, to be a little punny, absolutely gorgeous. No matter how many times I visit, I am absolutely awed by its natural beauty. Just 30 minutes outside Portland, the Gorge feels like-you are being transported to a different world. If you do one thing outside the city, make it the Gorge.
The Vista House
While the Vista House is definitely an attraction of its own, it’s popularity is often overshadowed by nearby Multnomah Falls. Personally, I think the Vista House is a far more scenic (and less crowded) attraction than the falls. The Vista House is beautiful in its own right, but it also offers the most jaw-dropping view of the Gorge.
Hood River is a small town with so much to offer. Also situated along the Gorge, Hood River is paradise for those who like waterskiing, wake boarding, kayaking, and other water sports. Hood River is also home to a handful of amazing breweries, such as Double Mountain, Full Sail, and pFriem. Not to mention that Hood River is absolutely cute as a button.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a sucker for little mountain towns. While Mt. Hood doesn’t really have the resort towns that you find in Colorado, it offers a wealth of outdoor activity and amazing scenery. When you are done snowboarding at Ski Bowl, head up to Timberline Lodge for some hot chocolate by the fire. Even though my friends told me to stop talking about this because it was getting annoying that I brought it up in every conversation, I’ll say it anyway… Timberline was where they filmed the exterior shots for The Shining, one of the best films of all time.
Oh Corvallis, how I love you. Corvallis is the home of Oregon State University (Go Beavs!) and is one of the cutest towns you could ever hope to find. I lived in Corvallis for about 5 years and loved every moment of it. Spend a day walking around the beautiful OSU campus and enjoying amazing eats like Block 15, Local Boyz, Sky High Brewing (their nachos are to die for), or Nearly Normal’s. Corvallis is the best. Seriously.
I have written a million times about Bend and I will write a million times more. Suffice to say, Bend is more than worth the journey from Portland.
Venture less than an hour outside Portland and you will be in the heart of wine country. Perhaps more commonly known as the Willamette Valley, there are dozens upon dozens of wineries dotting the beautiful valley. Oregon is a region famous for its wine and there are some real standouts. Thrillist did an awesome article on some of the best wineries in the area and I fully support all their choices.
It is so essential to your Portland trip to explore the surrounding areas. Portland is an amazing city in an incredible state.