Portland is a city that’s rightfully renowned for our vibrant cultural scene and artistic spirit. From world-class museums to street festivals to eclectic events, this city has adventures and explorations in store for every culture vulture. Read on to check out our picks for the best Portland museums, summer events, and other happenings.
Whether you’re a lover of fine art, science, history, food, music or the decidedly peculiar, Portland’s cultural treasures promise an enriching and inspiring experience that will leave you with unforgettable memories. Ready to plan your tour? The Hotel Zags is the ideal “home base” for your adventures! Inviting accommodations, excellent rates, and a host of unexpected amenities await your arrival. Check out our Special Offers page for all the latest Portland travel deals, and we’ll get your room ready!
Museums and Art Galleries
As the longest-running art hall in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Art Museum is home to a rich and diverse collection spanning countless eras and genres. Art lovers can immerse themselves in an extensive range of exhibits, including European and American pieces, Asian art, First Nations works, and contemporary exhibits. The museum’s vast holdings include works by world-renowned creators such as Vincent van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Andy Warhol. With its ever-changing special exhibitions and engaging programs, the Portland Art Museum inspires and captivates visitors from around the world.
1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205
For those with a passion for science and innovation, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (a.k.a., OMSI) is an absolute must-see. Situated on the bank of the Willamette River, OMSI offers interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and educational demonstrations that cater to visitors of all ages. Whether you’re exploring the wonders of outer space at the planetarium or delving into the mysteries of the natural world at the Life Sciences Hall, OMSI provides an enthralling experience that fosters curiosity and learning for every visitor.
1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214
Delve into Portland’s seafaring heritage at the Oregon Maritime Museum, located on the historic Steam Tug Portland. Step aboard this iconic decommissioned vessel and discover the captivating history of the Columbia River, and its role in the city’s development. The museum showcases fascinating artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that transport visitors back in time to the era of steam-powered navigation and the bustling waterfront. A visit to the Oregon Maritime Museum offers a unique opportunity to appreciate the vital connection between the modernity of Rose City and its nautical past.
198 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204
Immerse yourself in the rich and poignant history of the Japanese-American community at this culture-spanning hall. The museum’s exhibits portray the experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II, their resilience, and their contributions to the cultural fabric of the city. Through thought-provoking displays and storytelling, visitors will gain insights into the challenges faced by these peoples, and the importance of preserving their cultural heritage.
411 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR 97209
The fascinating tapestry of Oregon’s rich past is on full display at this intriguing spot. Immerse yourself in a fascinating journey through time, where exhibits bring to life the triumphs and challenges that shaped our dynamic state. From the earliest First Nations cultures to the pioneers and latter-day innovators, every step of Oregon’s evolution is vividly portrayed. Engaging displays, rare artifacts, and immersive multimedia experiences offer an enriching insight into the state’s diverse heritage.
1200 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205
Immerse yourself in a captivating collection of handcrafted puppets from around the globe, showcasing the artistry and magic of this ancient form of storytelling. From traditional marionettes to intricate shadow puppets, each exhibit transports you to a world of wonder and imagination. Delight in interactive shows, workshops, and behind-the-scenes insights, making this museum a can’t-miss destination for kids of all ages. Discover the rich history and artistry behind these delightful creations, and let your imagination take flight in this captivating, one-of-a-kind museum in the heart of the city.
906 SE Umatilla St, Portland, OR 97202
Prepare to be transported to a whimsical world of unusual curiosities at this eccentric exhibit space. This quirky and offbeat museum showcases the enchanting art form of “zymoglyphic” art, which features miniature dioramas of fantastical landscapes and tiny surreal sculptures. Visitors to The Zymoglyphic Museum are always enchanted by the peculiar and magical creations that spark imagination and curiosity in equal measure.
6225 SE Alder St, Portland, OR 97215
Summer Festivals and Happenings
PDX Pop Now! (Aug. 16 – 19)
For those who thrive on the pulse of Portland’s local music scene, PDX Pop Now is a must-attend event. Now in its 20th year, this nonprofit festival showcases the best of the city’s independent music artists, serving as a launchpad for emerging talents. With its commitment to accessibility and inclusivity, This year’s festival features an eclectic lineup that reflects the city’s diverse musical landscape. From indie pop to experimental beats, the festival’s electrifying performances resonate with both music enthusiasts and newcomers alike — really, anyone eager to explore Portland’s creative undercurrent.
Viking Beer Fest (Aug. 25 – 26)
Raise your tankards and toast to the Viking Beer Fest, a unique celebration that combines history, tradition, and the art of craft brewing. Held at Nordic Northwest, this festival pays homage to the rich Viking heritage while showcasing a plethora of local brews. Attendees can relish in the experience of sampling an array of meticulously crafted quaffs while engaging in Viking-themed activities and games — including axe-throwing, a costume contest, and even a beard-off! The festival’s fusion of past and present creates a spirited ambiance that transports visitors to a time of mead halls and epic sagas.
8800 SW Oleson Rd, Portland, OR 97223
International Night Market (Sept. 15 – 16)
Embark on a global culinary journey without ever leaving Rose City at the International Night Market! This vibrant event transforms the city into a bustling international bazaar, where food stalls and vendors offer an assortment of flavors from around the world. From tantalizing street food to artisanal crafts, the night market encapsulates the essence of diverse cultures that call Portland home. Immersed in the aromas and tastes of various cuisines, visitors can savor the essence of unity through shared meals and community experiences.
100 SE Alder Street Portland, Oregon 97214