Amidst all the talk of the foodie, beer, and coffee culture, you might forget that Portland, Oregon happens to be a treasure trove of historical landmarks and standout architecture. Second only to Chicago in the highest number of LEED-accredited “green” buildings, the city is a leader in sustainable design and home to a variety of impressive architectural styles—many of which are visible among Portland’s most significant structures.
Marking the center of Downtown Portland, the Pioneer Courthouse is the oldest federal building in the region (and the second oldest west of the Mississippi). Declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977, the structure features an Italianate design, as was in fashion for many West Coast government buildings of the time. Just opposite, Pioneer Courthouse Square is known as Portland’s “Living Room” and occupies a whole city block, hosting a range of events and great opportunities for people-watching.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Pioneer Courthouse, 700 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR, USA, +1 503 833 5300
Across Yamhill Street sits the former Oregon Journal Building, renamed Jackson Tower in 1951 to honor the defunct newspaper’s founder, Charles Samuel Jackson. At dusk, the Beaux-Arts building’s 1,800 light bulbs light up, setting the top and bottom of its façade aglow—especially lovely at Christmastime alongside the square’s brightly lit tree.
U.S. National Bank Building
Not to be confused with its similar-sounding neighbor, the U.S. Bancorp Tower, the U.S. National Bank Building is noteworthy for its Roman classical style, put forth by renowned Portland architect A. E. Doyle. A century after its opening in 1917, the structure continues to house U.S. Bank’s main Portland branch and has almost entirely maintained its original condition.
Another architectural gem designed by Doyle, but in the Georgian style, the Multnomah County Public Library system’s main branch, built in 1913, was one of the first libraries in the country to feature an open-plan interior. The 1990s saw a major renovation to the interior, optimizing the space and reinforcing structural soundness.
Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR, USA, +1 503 988 5123
Portland City Hall
Portland’s Italian Renaissance-style City Hall, built in 1895, was one of the first large constructions in the Pacific Northwest to feature amenities such as centralized heating, electric wiring, and public elevators. Over the years, the building, taking up an entire city block, has housed various city offices and departments and even the Portland Public Library for a time at the turn of the 20th century. The structure’s grounds are beautiful, adorned with rose and vegetable gardens, trees, and other flora.
A movie theater so iconic that an entire Portland neighborhood was named for it, the Hollywood sits in the city’s Northeast. The theater, which opened in 1926 as a vaudeville house and silent movie theater, has its original ornate façade, offering a stunning and unusual example of Rococo architecture in America.
Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR, USA, +1 503 493 1128
Aubry Watzek House
One of the most important early modernist Portland homes, the Aubry Watzek House was designed by a 27-year-old architect named John Yeon and is now part of the University of Oregon’s John Yeon Center for Architecture. Named for a lumber baron who lived there upon its completion, the structure’s architectural merits were praised early on, earning Yeon national acclaim and even helping define Modernist architecture in America.
Aubry Watzek House, 1061 SW Skyline Blvd, Portland, OR, USA, +1 503 241 2886
Meier and Frank Building
The 15-story glazed white terra cotta Meier and Frank Building is another one that takes up a whole city block, just across from the Pioneer Courthouse. The structure, built in an Early Commerical architectural style reminiscent of yesteryear’s glamorous department stores, was originally the headquarters and flagship location of the Meier & Frank chain. Today, a Danish wind turbine manufacturer owns it.
Originally called Cotillion Hall, Portland’s Crystal Ballroom opened its doors in 1914 and welcomed crowds to its dance hall and revivals through the Great Depression. Since the ‘60s, it’s also set the scene for various high-profile concerts and shows, as well as literary events and other happenings. Legends from James Brown and Marvin Gaye to the Grateful Dead have graced the Crystal Ballroom’s stage, and you can still see live music there today.
Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St, Portland, OR, USA, +1 503 225 0047
The Old Church
Portland’s Calvary Presbyterian Church—also known simply as the Old Church—was built in 1882 in the Carpenter Gothic style and designed by local architect Warren Heywood Williams. The wood used in the construction, which mimics the look of more traditional stone gothic churches, makes the structure much better suited for its Pacific Northwest setting. Today, the Old Church is a nonprofit committed to its restoration and preservation and offers cultural and artistic programming to the public.
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave, Portland, OR, USA, +1 503 222 2031
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.