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10 Things to Do in Oregon

Discover the best things to do in Oregon, from top attractions and events, to great West Coast experiences and stunning views.

By Kevin Litwin on September 23, 2014

Mount Hood is visible behind ripe blueberry bushes on a sunny, partly cloudy day.
Oregon / Courtesy of Oregon Blueberry Commission

Mt. Hood, Oregon Zoo are among the many places to experience:

Visit the Hood

Travel 20 miles east of Portland to view Mt. Hood, Oregon’s highest mountain. Adventurers can visit Mt. Hood National Forest that extends from the Columbia River Gorge through 60 miles of tree-lined mountains, lakes and creeks. Also available is a Timberline Trail that extends 40.7 miles and surrounds the entire mountain.

Root for the Beavers

In Corvallis is Oregon State University, whose Beavers compete in NCAA Division I athletics and have won three national titles. Football and men’s basketball games are almost always sold out and provide a great entertainment option. In addition, an on-campus LaSells Stewart Center is a performing arts venue that stages local, regional and national shows.

Root for the Ducks

The University of Oregon is proud of its two Nobel Prize recipients, 10 Pulitzer Prize winners and 19 Rhodes scholars, and these days the Eugene campus is also known for its excellent Oregon Ducks football team. The university has a well-regarded School of Music & Dance and hosts an annual Oregon Bach Festival.

Smell the Flowers

Numerous varieties of roses from throughout the world are on display at the International Rose Test Garden in Portland. The multi-acre garden has a grassy area for picnics, and Mt. Hood can be seen on clear days. There is no admission fee and an onsite gift shop has multiple items with rose themes.

Dive into Fun

On Yaquina Bay in Newport is the Oregon Coast Aquarium, a marine education attraction and one of the top tourism sites in the state. Exhibits include Sea & Me, Sea Otters, Rocky Shores, Seabird Aviary, and Turkey Vulture Habitat, plus there is a gift shop, coffee shop and a Ferry Slip Café.

Check the Time

With time pieces dating as far back as the 16th century, Conger Street Clock Museum has become a popular tourist attraction in Eugene. The owners began collecting clocks in the early 1960s, and also on display are old cameras, model cars and trains. Admission is free and it takes about an hour to see everything.

Catch a Concert

A crown jewel in Salem is Elsinore Theatre, known for its architecture along with the productions it showcases. The Elsinore opened in the late 1920s and was designed to resemble Elsinore Castle in Denmark, complete with many ornate amenities. Concerts and plays still occur at the theater and there is an old-time Wurlitzer organ.

Go Wild

Attracting more than 1.5 million people a year is the Oregon Zoo, which spans 64 acres in Portland and houses nearly 2,000 animals representing birds, mammals, reptiles and fish. There are 23 specialized displays within the zoo’s five major exhibit areas: Africa, Asia, Fragile Forests, Great Northwest, and Pacific Shores.

Hike, Fish & Camp

The only national park in Oregon is Crater Lake National Park, located in the southern portion of the state and established in 1902. The crystal blue lake is set beneath 2,000-foot-high cliffs and includes two islands, with recreation options that include biking, hiking, boating, fishing and camping. The park has a summer lodge and two visitor centers.

See Sea Lions

Travel 11 miles north of Florence to witness Sea Lion Caves, a wildlife preserve and bird sanctuary founded in 1932. It is the largest sea cave in America and home to the Steller sea lions, which inhabit the cave throughout the late fall and winter months. Public viewing hours are 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

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