Written By SansSensibility
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Anyone who has traveled to Portland will tell you it is a very eclectic town. From sporting events to world class symphonies and from festivals to the great outdoors – it’s easy to see why those who live there have little reason to go anywhere else. Here are the top 5 things to experience in Portland.
#1. The Rose Festival (July)
At the heart of Portland’s popular culture for more than a century, the Rose Festival has its roots in tradition with inspired programming that embraces both the contemporary and the nostalgic. Visionary city leaders started the festival during the first decade of the 20th Century to put Portland on the map and brand it “the summer capital of the world.” Little did they know that more than a hundred summers later the Rose Festival would be world-famous – both for its remarkable, award-winning events and as a leader in celebrating community values like volunteerism, patriotism and environmentalism.
#2. The Bite (August)
Every August Portland hosts The Bite on the Tom McCall waterfront. The three-day event highlights Oregon’s top chefs, best wineries, breweries, cider makers and distillers. It’s a must for every avid foodie and epicurean.
#3 Multnomah Falls (and the Columbia Gorge)
A waterfall as magnificent and memorable as any in the country is located just a 30- minute drive outside of Portland. Visiting Multnomah Falls, a 611-foot-tall roaring, awe-inspiring cascade of icy water, lets you experience the power and beauty of nature up close and with ease.
According to Native American lore, Multnomah Falls was created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. Although you can see the top portion of the falls from the highway, to view both tiers you have to walk to the viewing area located in a carved-out opening in the rock face. Tilting your head up in the narrow rocky confines of the steep cliffs, you get a mind-boggling perspective on the sheer magnitude of the falls.
A network of hiking trails climbs from lowland forests to windy ridges on both sides of the Gorge. The Columbia River itself hosts the best boardsailing conditions this side of Hawaii, and the nearby snowcaps of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams offer downhill and cross-country skiing well into spring.
#4 Mount Hood
There’s a lot to check out when you’re 11,000 feet above sea level: deep forests, glassy lakes, meadows and valleys that grow wildflowers in spring and perfect fruit in fall. Or you can stay indoors – A historic lodge or vacation rental isn’t a bad place to sit in an overstuffed chair and read a book by the fire. If you enjoy skiing or snowboarding, Mt. Hood has the longest ski season in North America so there’s fun to be had no matter what time of year you visit Oregon.
#5 Cannon Beach (June)
Master artists create monumental sculptures that are washed away with the next high tide in a 52-year tradition at Cannon Beach, Oregon. Dozens of teams of master sand sculpture artists, amateur groups and families construct remarkable creations in the sand. The Masters Division teams compete for cash prizes and construct large, elaborate creations, often utilizing construction forms similar to those used for pouring concrete in order to accomplish their monumental size.
Although the sand sculpture contest on Saturday is the highlight of the weekend, visitors will find plenty of other activities to keep them busy. Weekend activities include a dinner, parade, concert, beach bonfire and a 5K fun run and walk. The Cannon Beach Sandcastle Contest was recognized as an Oregon Heritage Tradition by the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department. Make lodging reservations early for this popular weekend as hotels typically sell out all rooms in advance.
Whether you want to Hike, bike, ride or float through miles of unspoiled wilderness, or eat and drink your way through rolling vineyards, Portland has everything you could want.
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