In the city on the northwestern outskirts of Oregon, you should definitely not miss the following attractions.
Cultural sights in Portland
- Shanghai Tunnel: Once upon a time, this great city, now known as Portland, was a place on the river where a lot went on. Did you know that Portland is also known as the “Forbidden City of the West”? This goes back to the time between around 1850 and 1941, when the so-called Shanghaiing is said to have been carried out in the Shanghai Tunnel. Young, strong men were made drunk and then captured and sold to captains, on whose ships they then had to work without pay. Probably one of the less moral and certainly not at all friendly ways to get a crew.
According to localbusinessexplorer, the Shanghai Tunnels or the Portland Underground consist of tunnel passages that connect the old town of Portland (Chinatown) with the central downtown area of Portland. The basement floors of many bars and hotels in the city center were connected to the promenade of the Willamette River by the tunnels, so that the supplies from ships docked there could be brought directly to the basement for storage. These catacombs can be visited today as part of various guided tours. There is also a museum to learn more about this part of Portland’s history, where decency and morality were in short supply, at least in the Shanghai Tunnel.
- Portland City Hall: Portland City Hall is the seat of the city council. In addition to being home to the city council, it is also a historically interesting building from 1895 that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Must-see museums in Portland
- Pittock Mansion: The Pittock Mansion, built in 1914, tells the story of Portland’s transformation from a pioneering city to a modern, industrialized city through the history and legacy of one of its most influential families, the Pittocks. The house was saved from demolition in 1964 by committed citizens. Today the manor house and the surrounding property are accessible as a museum. The Pittock Mansion impresses with its impressive architecture and 23 rooms full of antiques and works of art. Pittock Mansion hosts changing historical exhibitions that allow visitors to learn more about the lives of residents of the city, Oregon, and the United States. Pittock Mansion is especially beautiful at Christmas time when the house is festively decorated.
- Portland Art Museum: The Portland Art Museum was founded in 1892 and is the seventh oldest museum in the United States and the oldest of its kind on the west coast of the United States. The museum has an exhibition area of 22,000 square meters and over 42,000 exhibits. The focus of the collection is, among other things, works of art by artists who pursued their art in Oregon. But also French art, exhibits from the arts and crafts and more works by internationally known artists can be found there. If you love art, you should definitely get your money’s worth here while marveling at the works of art. Because Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso are just a few internationally known names whose art you can experience in the Portland Art Museum.
- Oregon Historical Society: The Oregon Historical Society offers an interactive exhibit that makes the history of Oregon and America visible and accessible. On three floors there are permanent and traveling exhibitions, in which rare documents and artifacts are shown. An excellent opportunity to learn more about the people, places and events that shaped the history of Oregon and America.
- Oregon Museum of Science and Industry: The OMSI is located on the banks of the Willamette River and opened in 1944. It is a technology museum that houses several science areas, including the Turbine Hall, which houses a steam turbine, and several laboratories for chemistry, lasers and other fields. The absolute highlight, however, is the USS Blueback (SS-581), a submarine that lies in the river in front of the museum and can be viewed.
- Pioneer Courthouse: The Pioneer Courthouse is located in the heart of downtown Portland right on Pioneer Courthouse Square. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the courthouse is the most important 19th century government building in the Pacific Northwest that survived into the 21st century. Visitors can marvel at the building with its ornate corridors and dignified courtroom and dome, and see the many exhibits that tell the story of the building and the people who worked here.
- World Forestry Center: Located in Portland’s beautiful Washington Park, this 20,000 square meter Discovery Museum promises an entertaining stay for young and old. Visitors can learn and be entertained here at the World Forestry Center. You will learn more about the importance of trees and forests in our lives and the importance of ecological sustainability.
- Eyes Gallery: The Augen Gallery was founded in 1979 and has been exhibiting works by internationally known artists for over 35 years. The artists come from the region, but also from other parts of the country.
Portland’s cultural offerings
Portland, Oregon has a lot to offer culture lovers too. Home of the Oregon Symphony, Portland Youth Philharmonic, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, White Bird Dance Company, and Portland Arts & Lectures is the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Live performances, art house films and music can also be found in the Alberta Rose Theater to be enjoyed. The theater is located on Northeast Alberta Street. And also the various festivals, for example in the areas of beer and film and that Portland Institute for Contemporary Art are always worth a visit, along with many other offers, if you are planning a trip to the city on the north-western edge of Oregon.