Portland, Oregon Culture & history

Our most recommended Portland, Oregon Culture & history

From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls Tour

1. From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls Tour

Discover the scenic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge on a small group tour with an expert guide in a luxury passenger van. Explore Columbia River National Scenic Area stopping at several picturesque waterfalls typical of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Depart from downtown Portland and drive towards Troutdale, known as the Gateway to the Gorge. Enjoy the journey along the Historic Columbia River Highway, the first planned scenic roadway in the United States. Arrive at Crown Point Vista House, an overlook that sits high above the Columbia River. From there, continue along the historic highway deep into the Columbia River National Scenic Area. Arrive at the first waterfall of the day, the dramatic Latourell Falls, which plunges 249 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt.  Proceed next to the grand Multnomah Falls, which plummets to the ground from 620 feet in two major steps. Explore the Multnomah Falls Historic Lodge and stand on the easily accessible viewing platform that offers a full view of the Benson Bridge and cascading falls beyond. Next, visit the Bonneville Fish Hatchery and take a short walking tour of an impressive hatchery and sturgeon viewing center. You will also meet the local celebrity: “Herman” the sturgeon. Afterward, relax on the journey back to Portland via the Columbia River scenic route.

Portland: Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Afternoon Tour

2. Portland: Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Afternoon Tour

Explore the beauty of these unique canyon walls and rock formations, encountering breathtaking waterfalls and awe-inspiring visas that make the Columbia River National Scenic Area one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. Your enthusiastic guides will introduce you to the most amazing places in the gorge, while providing a comprehensive narrative of this spectacular landscape and its transformative history. Your adventure will take place along the Historic Columbia River National Scenic Byway, where some of the locations you may stop include the Portland Women’s Forum, the Crown Point Vista House, Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Shepperd’s Dell.

Portland: Columbia River Gorge 3-Hour Small Group Tour

3. Portland: Columbia River Gorge 3-Hour Small Group Tour

Enjoy a half-day guided tour to discover the breathtaking landscape of the western Columbia Gorge. After pickup at your accommodation, travel down Waterfall Alley, known for having the highest density of hanging waterfalls in the world during the winter and spring. Stop at a viewpoint where you'll get a spectacular vista of the western Gorge, with the Vista House in the foreground.  You'll have 15 minutes to spend inside the Vista House, the fanciest rest stop in the world. It was built in 1918, and provides interpretive displays and sublime views. Be careful⁠⁠—sometimes the wind gusts to 160 km/h (100 mph). Stop and do a short and easy hike at a cathedral waterfall. You'll feel as if you're in a fairy tale as you walk through rainforest and discover a magnificent rock formation harboring an elegant waterfall and fluorescent-yellow lichen. As you walk through the rainforest, your guide will highlight some of the plants and animals you'll see along the way. As you drive the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway, inspired by the Axenstrasse in the Swiss Alps, admire the towering basalt cliffs as you make additional waterfall stops. Explore the tallest waterfall in Oregon during a 30-minute stop at Multnomah Falls, where you can walk up to the Benson Bridge, visit the interpretive center, or peruse the gift shop. Afterwards, you’ll head back to Portland to be dropped off at your hotel.

Portland: Afternoon City Highlights Tour

4. Portland: Afternoon City Highlights Tour

More than just a basic Portland city tour, our half-day Portland City Tour will reveal the laid-back small city feel of this fun and thriving downtown. You will experience the best Portland sites including the International Rose Garden (May through mid-October), the World Forestry Museum mid-October through the end of April on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Oregon Society of Artists from mid-October through the end of April on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Pioneer Courthouse Square, NW 23rd (the best shopping area in Portland), the Pearl District, the South Park Blocks, and N. Mississippi. Let our informative and entertaining Tour Guides show you the best the City of Portland has to offer. Let the fragrance of roses embrace your senses with over 600 roses and be delighted with the beautiful Washington Park nature, featuring some of the most amazing city & mountain views around. More than 10,000 individual rose bushes bloom in the International Rose Test Garden from late May through October, representing over 610 different rose varieties. At the World Forestry Museum you can explore forests around the world through two floors of unique hands-on exhibits. The Discovery Museum’s colorful and thoughtful exhibits include information about tree planting, wildlife, the benefits of wood, outdoor recreation, and forest careers. The Oregon Society of Artists promotes visual arts in the diverse communities of our region, with educational opportunities for artists at all levels of accomplishment. While here, we will visit the OSA Gallery which changes exhibits every month, learn about the amazing history of the OSA (which started in 1926), and view rarely seen works of art by master painters who are part of the amazing history of this important part of the Portland Community. You will be taken through NW 23rd Avenue which is the heart of the Nob Hill District and is filled with century-old Victorian and Craftsman-style storefronts housing unique boutiques alongside national retailers, interspersed with coffee shops and on-trend restaurants and bars. In short, it’s a shopper’s and diners paradise. Portland’s Pearl District is the realization of a big dream. What was once a largely abandoned industrial district is now one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city. Scattered throughout, you will find cobblestone streets, loading docks, and lofty buildings that offer a glimpse into the district’s grittier past. It is an urban renaissance with its own unique blend of artistry, productivity, and public parks like Tanner Springs Park. North Mississippi Avenue features a long stretch of vibrant shops like Paxton Gate, unique bars, music venues and restaurants (and is only a half-mile away from even more acclaimed eateries and bars on up-and-coming North Williams Avenue) and you will have time to walk around and explore this area.

From Portland: Northern Oregon Coast Day Trip

5. From Portland: Northern Oregon Coast Day Trip

Walk the beaches and an old growth forest along the Oregon Coast, and discover technological relics as you drive the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway with a small group led by an interpretive guide. This day trip is a customized tour along a rugged section of Oregon's northern coast. You’ll travel northwest of Portland, as your guide takes you through the farmland of Tualatin Valley, a sub-valley of Willamette, one of the richest valleys in the world, known for its hazelnuts, berries, Christmas trees, and Pinot Noir.  You'll have the option of making history-related stops near the town of Tillamook or spending time in Cannon Beach to check out Haystack Rock, boutique shops, restaurants, cafes, and art galleries.

From Portland: Multnomah Falls & Columbia River Gorge Tour

6. From Portland: Multnomah Falls & Columbia River Gorge Tour

Escape the hustle and bustle of central Portland for the morning on a half-day coach tour of the Columbia River Gorge. Experience the natural beauty of the Rose City’s most scenic area. Follow the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition, more than 200 years after the famous explorers. View the gorge from Vista House at Crown Point, and marvel at the world famous Multnomah Falls. Depart Portland at 08:30 AM, enjoying the downtown sights as you leave the city via one of its many bridges. Once out of the metropolitan area, drive the historic Columbia River Highway, enjoying panoramic views hundreds of feet above the river at Crown Point. Descend through the famous highway loops to pristine Latourell Falls. Continue past Wahkeena Falls to Oregon’s most famous natural attraction — Multnomah Falls and Lodge. See the Oneonta Gorge and Horsetail Falls. Return to Portland along the river level route of the Lewis and Clark expedition, taking in panoramic views of Beacon Rock, Cape Horn, and Rooster Rock along the way.

Portland: Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Morning Tour

7. Portland: Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Morning Tour

Millions of years ago, during the formation of the Cascade Mountain Range, lava and other pyroclastic matter flowed west from what would be the Cascades all the way to the Pacific Ocean, creating a thick shell of basalt rock that covered Western Oregon. Then, during the Pleistocene Ice Age, roughly 15,000 years ago, water from the Lake Missoula Flood carved out the Columbia River Gorge as hundreds of cubic miles of water, ice, rock and mud rushed from present-day Montana to the Pacific Ocean. Explore the beauty of the canyon walls and rock formations, breathtaking waterfalls and awe-inspiring visas that make the Columbia River National Scenic Area one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. Our enthusiastic guides will introduce you to the most amazing places in the Gorge while providing a comprehensive narrative of this spectacular landscape and its transformative history. Your adventure will take place along the Historic Columbia River National Scenic Byway, where some of the locations we may stop include, Portland Women’s Forum, Crown Point Vista House, Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Shepperd’s Dell. Perched atop one of the most panoramic overlooks in the Columbia River Gorge, Vista House provides an unrivaled, majestic view. Often referred to as “The Crown Jewel of the Columbia River Gorge,” Vista House was built between 1916 and 1918 as a memorial to Oregon pioneers, a scenic viewpoint, and a comfort station for those traveling on the newly constructed Historic Columbia River Highway. Built with expertly carved sandstone and stunning marble, then finished with bronze lining and amber-green opalescent art glass windows, Vista House and the view it offers are sure to amaze and inspire you. Latourell Falls plunges 249 feet (76 m) over a massive wall of basalt and then rushes through the forest into the Columbia River. The falling water of Latourell is framed by some of the most perfect columnar basalt formations in the Pacific Northwest that are adorned with a large florescent patch of yellow lichen and shrouded in brilliant green flora. We’ll venture down to the punch-bowl pool below the falls, where you’ll hear the tremendous rush of water and feel the cool mist that it creates. You’ll easily realize why this special place is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon. Multnomah Falls is fed by underground streams that originate miles above on Larch Mountain. This ancient 620 foot (189 m) waterfall is divided into two sections; the upper falls plummets an impressive 542 feet into a pool and again drops 69 feet to form a creek that runs into the Columbia River. Multnomah Falls is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States and the highest in Oregon, and is Oregon’s number one natural attraction, drawing over 2.5 million visitors a year from around the world. At the base of the waterfall sits the Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, a full-service day lodge complete with a restaurant, gift shop, snack and espresso bar.

From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls and Mt. Hood Tour

8. From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls and Mt. Hood Tour

Explore the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood National Forest on board a luxury passenger van. Enjoy picturesque Pacific Northwest scenery on well-maintained trails with an expert guide. Depart from downtown Portland and drive towards Troutdale, known as the Gateway to the Gorge. Enjoy the journey along the Historic Columbia River Highway, the first planned scenic roadway in the United States. Arrive at Crown Point Vista House, an overlook that sits high above the Columbia River. From here, go deeper into the Columbia River National Scenic Area to the first waterfall for the day, the dramatic Latourell Falls. This waterfall plunges 249 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt. Depending on the season, a short walk will take you closer to the falls. Proceed next to the grand Multnomah Falls, which plummets to the ground from 620 feet in two major steps. Explore the Multnomah Falls Historic Lodge and stand on the easily accessible viewing platform that offers a full view of the Benson Bridge and cascading falls beyond. Next up is Hood River, known as the "Windsurfing Capital of the World", where you can explore and grab some lunch. After, set out heading south, through the Fruit Loop orchards and lavender farms. If time permits, you may even make a brief stop at one of the farm stands. Then, climb about 6,000 feet in elevation to Timberline Lodge. This National Historic Landmark sits proudly against Oregon’s highest peak, Mount Hood. Take a walking tour at the lodge and enjoy the Cascade Mountain Range views from the lodge’s patios, before a relaxing journey back to Portland.

Portland: Morning City Highlights Tour

9. Portland: Morning City Highlights Tour

More than just a basic Portland city tour, our half-day Portland City Tour will reveal the laid-back small city feel of this fun and thriving downtown. You will experience the best Portland sites including the International Rose Garden (May through mid-October), the World Forestry Museum mid-October through the end of April on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the Oregon Society of Artists from mid-October through the end of April on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Pioneer Courthouse Square, NW 23rd (the best shopping area in Portland), the Pearl District, the South Park Blocks, and N. Mississippi. Let our informative and entertaining Tour Guides show you the best the City of Portland has to offer. Let the fragrance of roses embrace your senses with over 600 roses and be delighted with the beautiful Washington Park nature, featuring some of the most amazing city & mountain views around. More than 10,000 individual rose bushes bloom in the International Rose Test Garden from late May through October, representing over 610 different rose varieties. At the World Forestry Museum you can explore forests around the world through two floors of unique hands-on exhibits. The Discovery Museum’s colorful and thoughtful exhibits include information about tree planting, wildlife, the benefits of wood, outdoor recreation, and forest careers. The Oregon Society of Artists promotes visual arts in the diverse communities of our region, with educational opportunities for artists at all levels of accomplishment. While here, we will visit the OSA Gallery which changes exhibits every month, learn about the amazing history of the OSA (which started in 1926), and view rarely seen works of art by master painters who are part of the amazing history of this important part of the Portland Community. You will be taken through NW 23rd Avenue which is the heart of the Nob Hill District and is filled with century-old Victorian and Craftsman-style storefronts housing unique boutiques alongside national retailers, interspersed with coffee shops and on-trend restaurants and bars. In short, it’s a shopper’s and diners paradise. Portland’s Pearl District is the realization of a big dream. What was once a largely abandoned industrial district is now one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city. Scattered throughout, you will find cobblestone streets, loading docks, and lofty buildings that offer a glimpse into the district’s grittier past. North Mississippi Avenue features a long stretch of vibrant shops unique bars, music venues and restaurants and you will have time to walk around and explore this area. On Saturday visit the PSU Farmers Market is a world-class farmers market that contributes to the success of local food growers and producers, and creates a vibrant community gathering space. The PSU Farmers Market will only be visited on our Saturday Morning Portland City Tour and you will have time to walk around and explore the market.

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Frequently asked questions about Portland, Oregon

What top attractions are a must-see in Portland, Oregon?

What are the best day trips and excursions from Portland, Oregon?

The best day trips and excursions from Portland, Oregon are:

Multnomah Falls

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Other Sightseeing Options in Portland, Oregon

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What people are saying about Portland, Oregon

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 200 reviews

Our guide I think his name was Michael was very informative and knew a lot about the history of the local area. He kept the tour very interesting and was helpful answering questions I had . He even dropped us off at our Hotel instead of the pick up point . I really appreciated that so we didn’t have to do the 20 minute walk back .

This tour is a must see. The MULTNOMAH FALLS is absolutely stunning. The whole tour was perfect. Out tour guide was excellent and very knowledgeable with this History of the area. We took the half day tour and at 67, was able to keep up which I was worried about but did it. Highly recommended!!❤️❤️

Had a great time and Adam did an amazing job sharing his knowledge on everything and anything Oregon. The amount of history he shared was truly impressive. He definitely made the trip totally awesome!

Enjoyable trip in a comfortable van to 4 waterfalls with interesting knowledge from the guide at each stop. Well worth the cost.

It was great and Gunner was an excellent guide. Very knowledge and communicated very well.