20 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Oregon

Jul 22, 2021

Oregon, United States of America, has more to offer than pretty scenery. It's also known as the "Beaver State" and is home to America's finest art, culture, and natural attractions.

You're almost certain to fall in love with at least one part of the state, and, chances are, it's something you didn't know existed. The Oregon Coast, a palm-studded stretch of stunning natural beauty, draws people from all over. You could spend a month in Portland or Bend and visit the same attractions. Instead, we recommend a journey through the state, stopping at some of the best attractions Oregon has to offer.

These top ten destinations are designed to help you sample the best of Oregon's wonderful landscape, from the emerald green Willamette River to the rolling, grassy hills of the Coast Range. The state is also home to some of the best parks and recreation areas in the country. Get your camera ready and we'll help you plan your itinerary using our list of the top tourist attractions in Oregon.

Oregon Coast

Photo of Oregon Coast
Oregon Coast: en.wikipedia.org

The Oregon Coast is home to some spectacular beaches, tide pools, and dramatic cliffs, so it's no wonder why it's one of the most popular destinations on the Pacific. Popular visitor cities include Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, Silver Falls State Park, Crater Lake National Park, and Tillamook. Whether you are looking for adventure activities or more laid back activities, the Oregon Coast offers something for everyone. Those looking to sample surfing and sailing will find plenty of chances to take the plunge. If you want a break from the beach, visit the museums and various sights or seek out historic sites.

Mount Hood

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Mount Hood: en.wikipedia.org

Mount Hood, or Mt. Hood, is a stratovolcano in the U.S. state of Oregon. At 5,251 feet (1,554 m) it is the highest point in the Cascade Range. When last erupting, the volcano created Lillith Lake. Geology: The eruption of Mt. Hood began on June 15, 1959, beginning as a series of minor eruptions. The first major eruptions followed within two weeks. The first lava flow crossed the mountain's slopes on September 24, 1959. The last major eruptions started on November 9, 1959, about three years after the lava flow began. Mt. Hood is an extremely popular tourist destination, as most of the climbing is done in summer. The mountain has more than 100 climbers' shelters on it, including a canopy tent-only cabin, some of which are open to the public.

Portland Art Museum

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Portland Art Museum: en.wikipedia.org

The Portland Art Museum (PAM) is a veritable treasure-trove of beautiful Asian art and craft. The museum has more than 27,000 artifacts on display. PAM's vast collection, which is internationally renowned and one of the best in the USA, includes items from the Yuan and Ming dynasties of China and Japan, as well as a myriad of antique items and artistic treasures from India, Korea, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Korea, China, Japan, Europe, Russia, Africa, New Zealand, Oceania, and the Americas. A visit to the Portland Art Museum should be on every traveler's agenda. PAM, open Tuesdays through Sundays, houses the world's most extensive collection of Asian art.

Hood River

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Hood River, Oregon: en.wikipedia.org

Hood River (Houde ario) is a popular small town in the northwest of Oregon. Pronounced "Hood River," the town takes its name from the Hood River River, whose surrounding river valley is a prime fishing region. Two casinos with restaurants are built on the banks of the river, and a well-developed bridge carries the freeway into town. A large number of wineries and small farmers' markets are located along Highway 35, which runs from the Willamette Valley to Cascade Locks, about 14 miles west of town. Hood River is home to a colorful pottery industry. The town's museum has displays of these pottery creations, as well as baskets and other objects collected by residents of the area.

Multnomah Falls

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Multnomah Falls: en.wikipedia.org

At 11,053 feet, Multnomah Falls is the highest free-fall waterfall in the United States, although it is not the tallest, that title going to the 4970-foot Lower Falls near Yosemite. Its name is not so much in reference to its height as to the local Native American name, Multnomah, which means'many waters' in the Chinook language. The area surrounding Multnomah Falls is beautiful and the surrounding countryside is the setting of many outdoor activities. The annual Rose Festival, which is held on the hillside above the Falls in late June, draws visitors from all over the world to take part in activities such as the Rose Queen Pageant, a water- and food-filled parade, traditional food and drink tasting, and unique live entertainment. Famous past visitors include U.S. President Benjamin Harrison and his wife in 1892, who took an interest in conservation and established the first system of national parks in the United States.

Portland, Oregon

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Portland, Oregon: en.wikipedia.org

Portland, Oregon is an American city, making it a special place to visit. It's a beautiful and exciting place, with great art, live music, and delicious food. Its streets are full of interesting sights and Portland is the perfect place for a stroll. From here you can take a tram or a bus to a great variety of places, including the waterfront and the mountains. People and culture of Portland are a mix of native Americans and Europeans, but it is the unique Pacific Northwest culture that takes center stage in the daily life of Portland. To fully experience Portland, it's important to pay a visit to Oregon's most important historical site, the Woodburner Monument, that symbolizes the strong bonds between Native Americans and early Oregon settlers. In Portland, the people are friendly and often offer advice on the best things to see or to eat. Most places of interest in Portland can be easily reached on foot, especially if you don't take a car. A great time to visit Portland is in May, during the Portland International Film Festival.

Crater Lake

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Crater Lake: en.wikipedia.org

Created over 2 million years ago as a crater volcano, Crater Lake is one of the most picturesque of the High Cascades in the Pacific Northwest. The clear, slightly salty water and vast expanses of forest attract tourists, who flock here year-round. It is particularly renowned for the abundant wildlife, including eagles and otters, as well as the spectacular color variations in the lake, which is one of the largest in the U.S. as it was created over a period of 20,000 years as it slowly refilled. Surprisingly, Crater Lake is not reached by road; the only way in is by boat on the historic U.S. Boat Run, a small fleet of long-haul boats operated by boat tours. Visitors are limited to about 450 per day, with a two-hour stop at Ruby Beach to swim, picnic, and enjoy the views. Once you're in the water, explore the various outlets (narrow passageways into the lake) or hike the craggy rim and enjoy the views of the lake from the remains of some 300 lava flows. If you want to get a closer look, you can take boat cruises that run out to the islands. For those who want to stay awhile, you can check out the mountain lodge with the most spectacular view of Crater Lake at Kalmia. Located at 1,800-foot elevation and wrapped around the rim of the lake, it has a beautiful stretch of lawn overlooking the lake, a great restaurant, and a large covered hot tub.

Lake Oswego

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Lake Oswego, Oregon: en.wikipedia.org

Situated about 150 miles south of Portland, Lake Oswego is part of the Sandy and rocky Butte Creek Plains, a prime natural habitat of the Oregon Trail. Its 45 square miles include spectacular views of the surrounding Blue Mountains and, after a long hiking or biking adventure, the scenic Lake Oswego, a deep, freshwater lake that is one of the largest in the state. A trail along its southwestern shore is one of the main attractions in Lake Oswego. This boardwalk makes a 12-mile loop through a natural trailhead and includes a wetland area with a small museum, as well as numerous plant and animal species along with a number of interpretive signs. Once at the park, guests are free to explore on their own through a network of trails, many of them suitable for wheelchair use.

Portland Aerial Tram

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Portland Aerial Tram: en.wikipedia.org

This is one of the earliest permanent suspension bridges in the world and one of the few that has not been destroyed. The Portland Aerial Tramway (Portland Aerial Tram), built in 1917, is actually an aerial tramway on a trestle extending from the western end of the Steel Bridge over the Willamette River. On its first run in 1917, a crowd of 45,000 people gathered to watch the ceremony at its opening, but the tramway was a financial failure and was never reopened for public use. It was, however, in use for three months before being demolished in 1919.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival: en.wikipedia.org

Established in 1961, Oregon Shakespeare Festival is considered one of the best regional Shakespeare festivals in the world. It is based at the nationally recognized Shakespearean theater of the same name in Ashland, a small town in the northwest corner of the state. The production is of the same scale as the Bard's theater and holds productions every summer and fall in its venues in nearby Forest Grove and in Ashland, including the famous Cascades Theatre. A highlight of any visit is a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream or a Falstaff production. As with most arts festivals, especially Shakespeare festivals, this event attracts thousands of theater lovers every summer.


Photo of Astoria, Oregon
Astoria, Oregon: en.wikipedia.org

Located in coastal Central Oregon, the village of Astoria occupies a spectacular rocky peninsula surrounded by towering cliffs that reach a thousand feet above the ocean. The views from here are breathtaking, and there are endless hiking trails on the rocky outcroppings. In the morning the locals take the ferry to take advantage of the beautiful beaches and look for sea animals. In the afternoon most go to the glass factory in nearby Galice and make the trip there. There is not much to do in Astoria other than relax and see the beautiful scenery and read a book.

Astoria Column

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Astoria Column: en.wikipedia.org

The white Portland landmark known as the Astoria Column was built in 1936 to commemorate the golden jubilee of King George V. Made up of 182 tons of concrete and 830 tons of steel, the spiral column is the world's second-tallest, rising to more than 200 meters. Its shape resembles an enormous letter "O", with the central tower about 13 meters tall and the base about a third of that size. A panoramic observation deck on the 125-meter upper platform is only open to paid visitors. The rest of the space is used by a city-owned restaurant, but is otherwise open to the public free of charge. Underneath the viewing platform, visitors can experience a truly unique shopping experience thanks to the Art Deco design of the World's Largest Ocean Liner, the Norwegian freighter SS Astoria, now turned into a sculpture museum. There's also a special tram tour that takes guests up the 300-meter-long gallery to view the giant ship from various points and angles.

Sunriver Resort

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Sunriver, Oregon: en.wikipedia.org

Sunriver Resort is a luxurious resort on the shore of the Coquille River in northeast Oregon. Guests can choose between seven ritzy resorts (including two hosted by hotels) or explore what the resort has to offer, from whitewater rafting and high-altitude hikes to skiing and golf. Whether you're seeking relaxation or adventure, this will be a fun vacation.

Eugene, Oregon

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Eugene, Oregon: en.wikipedia.org

Although Eugene is best known for its University of Oregon, its main attraction is not education but the surrounding natural beauty. Craggy mountains, forests, grasslands, and deserts are all a part of the Willamette National Forest, the largest urban national forest in the United States. The mountain streams and beaches, and the volcanic history of the Cascade Range, attract outdoorsmen and hikers to the area. The city's cultural amenities and events include the Museum of Natural History and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Eugene also has a special relationship with music, particularly jazz. The Oregon Symphony, currently in its 60th season, performs at the Oregon Convention Center, as does the well-known group Nouveau Swing, one of only three swing bands in the world to have a permanent residency in the U.S. Eugene is served by the Lane County Regional Airport, as well as a few smaller airports.

Portland International Airport

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Portland International Airport: en.wikipedia.org

Portland International Airport is located near the center of the state in the city of Portland and is the largest commercial airport in Oregon. Portland is home to the University of Oregon, and is the principal seaport of the Willamette Valley. Visitors to Portland can connect to other popular destinations in the United States via two other regional airports located at the city's edge: Portland Airpark Airport and PDX Northwest (Aloha Field). Adjoining the airpark, PDX Northwest (ALOHA Field) serves regional travelers, but doesn't have as many services.

Cascade Locks

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Cascade Locks, Oregon: en.wikipedia.org

Cascade Locks is a small, scenic town on the Columbia River, near the foot of the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. It was named for the lock and dam at the mouth of the river, which in turn was named for the beautiful falls of the river in the upper Gorge. Cascade Locks has developed into a tourist town with hotels, restaurants, and a visitor center, where many of the interesting sights of the Gorge, such as Multnomah Falls, are accessible. Outdoor activities in the Gorge include hiking, mountain biking, and boating. Be sure to visit some of the many monuments to the Corps of Discovery, including the historic Discovery Point. Although the town itself is small, there are many activities to keep you occupied, including white-water rafting and fishing. Perhaps the biggest attraction, however, is the Columbia Gorge Discovery Museum and Museum House, which includes a series of preserved and reconstructed Oregon and Native American homes. Another significant part of the town is the Garfield Forest, which is one of the largest natural preserves in the region. Large trails and bike paths make it ideal for a hike, and it's great for bird-watching. Several comfortable restaurants and a couple of pubs with outdoor seating can be found in the area.

Klamath Falls

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Klamath Falls, Oregon: en.wikipedia.org

Klamath Falls is best known for its powerful attraction, the Steamplant Power Plant, the largest electric generating station in the Northwest. But the town is also home to the International Rose Test Garden, a magnificent display of almost 100,000 rosebushes in blossom during late spring and early summer. The vast, sandy beaches on the Pacific Ocean are among the area's main attractions. Although fishing is the most popular activity here, tourists can also visit the quaint, slightly gothic, and enchanting Lost Coast. With wide, white sandy beaches, crashing surf, and great views of the Pacific, it is a popular tourist destination. The Lost Coast Visitor Center is a visitor's first port of call.


Photo of Yachats, Oregon
Yachats, Oregon: en.wikipedia.org

Yachats is a lovely tiny town on the Oregon coast. Established in 1888, it was once the largest lumber port in the Pacific Northwest and in 2000 it officially became the tourist center of the Pacific Ocean. Because of its location on the Oregon Coast, it is a prime destination for travelers who are interested in surfing, mountain biking, bird watching, hiking, and fishing. An area highlight is the beautiful Salmon Bay Coastal Reserve, where an original Siuslaw River Bridge remains intact and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A popular destination for fishing, angling, and surfing, the Oregon coast offers the opportunity to see sea lions and gray whales. To get to Yachats, you can take a flight from Portland or the surrounding area to the Yachats-Coos Bay airport.

Willamette Falls

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Willamette Falls: en.wikipedia.org

Idaho native Walt Criddle met 19-year-old Camilla Cummings on an adventure vacation to a wilderness lodge in Alaska in the summer of 2002. They were destined to be together, eventually settling in Willamette Falls, Oregon. Their goal was to live an independent, sustainable lifestyle on a small plot of land. Walt and Camilla opened up a ranch, where they started farming and then a restaurant. One of the farm's most popular products is berries: several varieties of wild blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries thrive in the Willamette Valley.

Oregon Coast Aquarium

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Oregon Coast Aquarium: en.wikipedia.org

The Oregon Coast Aquarium offers a number of marine-life exhibits, the most famous of which is the underwater tunnel walk through coastal kelp forests in the largest undersea living exhibit in the world. In addition to the experience, the aquarium has a restaurant, hotel, and gift shop, along with displays of local marine-life. It's located on the Oregon Coast, between Newport and the popular town of Lincoln City.