I think that everybody thinks that their state is the best state out of all 50, but when it comes to Oregon, it’s actually true.
There is so much to do, see, and taste throughout the state. I don’t know how I am going to cram all of the wonderful things about Oregon into a single post, but I’m going to include my top 24 things to experience in Oregon and do my best!
I mean, let’s just start with the obvious. There isn’t another city like it! There is SO much to find here, and little odds and ends around every corner. I think that’s what I like most about this city, that you never know what cafe, bookstore, boutique, or quirky shop that will surprise you around the corner. Food carts, coffee, books, bikes, and so much more!
2. Mt. Hood
Mount Hood is the largest mountain in Oregon and stands at 11,250 feet. This iconic mountain can be seen all the way from Portland! If you head up there during the winter, you can ski and snowboard on one of the 87 slopes that Mount Hood Meadows has to offer.
3. Central Oregon
This is probably one of my favorite places in the entire world. My family and I have spent so much time here over the past10-12 years. There is SO much to do here, depending on what season you are in. In the warmer months, there is some of the best golf courses in the Pacific Northwest, biking, hiking, outdoor malls, horseback riding, etc. In the colder months, it is the perfect Christmas-y scene. You can go skiing or snowboarding during the day, and cozy up by the fire at night. It’s just beautiful!
This may seem a bit odd, but this is what I mean: there are definite seasons, but none of them are too drastic. We get mild snow in the winter, a rainy and colorful spring, mild ( but warm ) summers, and gorgeous colors of the leaves in the fall. I do want to note in particular how wonderful the summers are. It’s nice and warm outside, but it isn’t heavy and humid like on the East Coast.
5. My favorite swimming hole
Okay, so this one might not be as well-known, but to those in my hometown, Three Bears! This swimming hole has three different levels that you can jump from, the daredevils going off the top ( I’m not sure how high it is, but my best guess is 50+ feet high ). The river is a great alternative to pools, especially for us blondes! This photo is mid-plunge from the top!
6. Skydive Oregon
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This is definitely going to be added to my bucket-list! Skydive Oregon is an extremely popular skydiving location. It’s suuuuuper close to my parent’s house! Since it is so close, I think it only makes sense that I give it a go! Growing up, I loved sitting out on our back patio and count the skydivers as they come down.
7. The coast
I’ll be the first to admit that the water is just a tad ( okay, very ) cold, but it’s beautiful! The water is so cold because the current along the coastline flows down from Alaska. However, the air is so clean and fresh. I love heading over for the weekend, or even just a day. This photo was taken in January. It was pretty cold, but the weather at the coast is normally pretty decent when it’s not in the valley.
This is one of my favorite things about Oregon in particular. It is never just a cup of coffee. I know this is a huge blanket statement, but almost everyone likes their coffee over there! I love that Oregon values small business coffee places more than anywhere else. After moving to the East Coast, all that is over here is Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts and NO drive-thru coffee stands. WHAT?! I miss the two local drive-thru coffee shops in my hometown. I’m coming for you!!!
Nike is HUGE. It actually originated in Eugene, hence why the Ducks and decked out in all of their different fancy uniforms every year. Thanks Phil Knight! But in all seriousness, the brand is EVERYWHERE. And if you’ve read my previous blog post, you’ll know that I have fallen victim of this brand. It’s comfortable, versatile, durable, and well made. What more could you ask for?
10. White Water Rafting
This is a blast!!! I’ve only been once, and it was so much fun! It takes a few hours, but it’s definitely worth it. For part of the time you just float down the river, but the scenery is gorgeous in central Oregon during the summer. Each raft has a guide to help steer, and for another part of the ride the guide directs the raft down some great rapids! HUGE shoutout to James for taking Sara ( who happens to be one of my closest and dearest friends ) and I along for that ride!
11. Country Music
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Because it is the greatest genre ever ( in my not-so-humble opinion ). If I’m being completely honest, I used to loathe it. It sounded so twangy and I couldn’t stand to listen to it for more than three seconds. I remember the exact moment when this changed: one of my friends was really talking bad about my hometown. I’m not sure if she was trying to make me feel bad about where I come from, but I put my foot down and I got extremely defensive. I mean, I love this place so much! I’m not sure why, but from then on country music reminded me of my hometown and I’ve loved it ever since.
12. Brew Fest
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I’m not even a fan of beer, but for those who are you better get your butt over here for Brew Fest! The first microbrewery in Oregon opened in Portland in 1980 and it has taken off since then. You can read the whole history of Brew Fest here.
13. Powell’s Bookstore
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Let me put it this way: on Google review, it has a 5.0/5.0 star rating with 2,556 reviews. Yeah. Essentially, it’s a bookstore that sells used, new, and out of print books. It is the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world. So if you were needing a new book to read, this is your place.
Hands down some of the best golf courses I have ever seen! The most notable being Bandon Dunes. Four absolutely gorgeous courses in one place… you can’t go wrong!
15. Food carts
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There is/was a TV show based on these. There are rumors that the food cart extravaganza started in Portland! So essentially these are trailers/carts that are parked in little parking lots and have some of the most delicious and authentic food that you can find. You can eat your way across the world in a parking lot!
16. Salt & Straw
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This may or may not be the best ice cream around. I have yet to try it, but I have plans to this Christmas break! Most of my family and friends absolutely rave about the flavors. I’m soooo excited to finally try it I can hardly contain myself!
17. Crater Lake
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Crater Lake is a fresh water lake in Southern Oregon. It is the deepest lake in the United States ( it’s depth at 1,943 ) and ninth deepest in the world. The cliffs surrounding it are almost 2,000 feet high, and the water is some of the deepest, purest blue. This place is so picturesque that it looks fake. It is definitely an icon of Oregon, make sure you make time to go and see it for yourself and learn of it’s volcanic past.
18. Blazers & Timbers
As Portland doesn’t have a professional football team, Portlanders rally behind the Blazers ( our professional basketball team ) and the Timbers ( our professional soccer team ). It really is a city-wide ( even state-wide! ) fan base and people get really really excited on game days.
19. Voodoo Doughnut
Every Portlander has been here at least once. The great thing about this place, is that all of the doughnuts are extremely unique. It is a bit touristy, but if you make it out to Portland you better make a stop. Maple and bacon, anyone??
20. Columbia River Gorge
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The gorge is a place for all sorts of activities: hiking, wind surfing, boating, golf, camping, etc. The wind gusts in the gorge make this one of the best locations to wind surf in the world.
The traffic over here is actually fantastic. Yes, you read that right. It’s very rare that there is a serious stop-and-go situation, unless there was an accident. I swear, over here there are stop-and-go situations for no reason at all. All I know is that I seriously miss the ease of heading into Portland for the night!
Rain gets such a bad rep! I LOVE the rain! It makes me feel so fresh. The air even smells better. I will admit that I’m no fan of the rain messing up my hair or getting me soaked when I am actually trying to look nice, but honestly for the most part I don’t mind it. If you use an umbrella in Oregon, we can tell you’re not a true Oregonian. You will see us braving the wind and sleet with just a hood.
23. Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls is located in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s a relatively easy hike, as most of the hike is paved for you. Once you get to the top, there is a balcony that puts you right over the top of the waterfall and gives you a fantastic view of the Columbia River.
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A great thing about Oregon is that it is super bike friendly, even Portland. There are several cities that have bike lanes on most of the streets. I know in other states that aren’t as friendly require that cyclists ride in the road. It’s not near as safe, but not impossible. I love the encouragement to go green!
Well, there you have it! This is such a brief look into my wonderful home state. Listing all of these wonderful things makes me miss home even more.
I also wanted to shout out a few of my friends who let me use their images!
Lauren Fischer: images in numbers 1, 2, 8, 9, 22, and 23.
Sara Heyerly: image in number 3.
Brandon McCullough: images in numbers 4, 14, 18, and 21.
James Roberts: image in number 10.
I am so excited to head back for Christmas. Four. More. Days. And first thing I’ll get when I get there… coffee!