We love Oregon for its wild coastline and cozy towns full of oddities. We think road trips are the best way to experience the beauty of Oregon, so pack up the car, and follow our lead!
PS: Depending on what time of year you travel, remember to stay abreast of wildfire warnings.
Seeing and Doing
The infamous Shanghai Tunnels.
The Peculiarium – art space founded in the 1960s, epitome of “keep portland weird”
The Hat Museum – vintage & charmingly quirky
An abandoned witch’s castle in the woods, Photos
Let your imagination run wild at The Grotto: a Catholic outdoor shrine covering 62 acres of lush gardens set atop a 110-foot cliff
Early “cabinets of curiosities” were divided into the categories of artificialia and naturalia, holding space for the marvels of both man and God. In the dreamscape dioramas of the Zymoglyphic Museum, these two categories collide.
Eating and Drinking
- Ned Ludd restaurant
- Pok Pok – legendary Vietnamese chicken wings
- Rimsky-korsakoffee house – the weirdest place to get coffee in town, in old house
- Pépé le Moko – Tiny little bar tucked down in a dark cave-like setting.
- Stunning neighborhood farm-to-table, female-owned and operated, for veggies and omnivores alike, Coquine.
- An unforgettable and intimate dinner at Nimblefish, which blends local flavors of the Northwest and Japan.
- For stylish, snacky, sexy, you’ll want Expatriate (Also they do an incredible brunch.)
- Salt and Straw for ice-cream and coffee, well-known and much-loved by locavores.
- Head out to the Willamette Valley to try local, family-run winery Sokol Blosser
- There’s so much craft beer in Portland it’s a fool’s errand to choose one (but if we had to: Little Beast Brewing)
- For coffee, most likely there’s a nationally recognized spot just around the corner from where you are at any given moment, we love Sprudge Maps for reorienting us towards good java
- French/Norwegian pastries at Maurice
- Mouth-watering sandwiches at Guero.
- A two-fer of tasty pizza and a relaxed, classic PDX atmosphere at Pizza Jerk
Road trip stops:
- Baldwin Hotel Museum – pioneers hotel unchanged in over a century, now a time capsule museum
- McMinnville – a lovely historic town in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, eat at Thistle, a great farm-to-fork restaurant.
- 1930s hot spring, with cedar log tubs, unchanged.
- Haunted Hot Springs Hotel (even just to visit, not stay)
- National Neon sign museum
- Also East of Portland, find this old-fashioned roadhouse with enormous dumplings.
- And the Time capsule Chinese medicine shop, untouched for decades before being reopened as a museum.
- Dee Wright Observatory – a most lunar experience.
- Try the chocolate wine at Shallon Winery
- If you like Steampunk, you’ll love the Powerland Heritage Park.
- Junkyard Extreme Burger & Brats – eccentric roadside burger joint nearby
- Jim Stewart’s Zymoglyphic Museum – a strange cabinet of curiosities in an artist’s garage.
- Visit the Man who lives in an airplane in the middle of a forest. Visitors info here.
- The amusingly kitsch 1950s roadside attraction, Prehistoric Gardens.
- Crazy Norweigan fish & chips nearby – cheerful roadside stop nearby
- Another kitch roadside theme park, unchanged for 50 years, Enchanted Forest
- The Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, local gem, tribal-run Native American museum (the only one) along the Oregon Trail
- Visit a forensic lab dedicated to fighting crimes against wildlife.
- The last Blockbuster video store on the planet.
- Miniature railway riding.
- Great little museum dedicated to pioneer life in the area.
- Logging-themed roadside restaurant, Camp 18
- The Painted Lady – Dine in a turn-of-the-century Victorian home in wine country
- Jetty Fishery – Pull up, choose your seafood, and have the staff clean and cook (or simply shuck) some of the freshest Oregon seafood you’ll ever have, replete with terrific views.
- Local ocean – Dockside grill & fish market
Accommodations along the way
Kennedy School Hotel, Portland