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The Best Museums in Portland, Oregon

The Best Museums in Portland, Oregon

Picture of Sarah Lantz
Updated: 12 December 2015
Whenever you travel anywhere, sometimes the best experiences are within the museums. Portland’s got a load of unusual and interesting museums that inspire and indulge countless curious minds, and here we’ve put down a list of our favorites.

Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum has a variety of American, Native American, European, Asian, and Northwest art as well as photography and silver collections. It’s a good place to spend an afternoon in Portland if you’re running out of things to do. They also host exhibitions like the ‘Gods and Heros’ exhibit from Paris of neoclassical paintings, and an ‘Ai Weiwei’ exhibit of bronze sculptures representing the traditional Chinese zodiac.

Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave Portland, OR USA +1 503-226-2811

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a popular place to take the entire family. The museum does a great job with interactive exhibits and certainly inspires curiosity in the young and old alike. Their submarine tours are quite popular; they host a U.S. non-nuclear, fast-attack USS Blueback (SS-581) submarine that you can board. They also have a spectacular planetarium featuring shows on black holes and constellations.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 SE Water Ave Portland, OR USA +1 503-797-4000

Museum of Contemporary Craft

With a growing collection of 1,300 objects since 1937, the Museum of Contemporary Craft is a unique place to spend a few hours in Portland. The collection includes mediums of ceramics, clay, fiber, glass, metal, and wood made in the Pacific Northwest and all over. They also host exhibitions like ‘Alien She,’ focusing on how the 1990s punk feminist movement Riot Grrrl impacted artists and cultural producers who are working today.

Museum of Contemporary Craft, 724 NW Davis St Portland, OR USA +1 503-223-2654

Pittock Mansion

A Portland mansion that was home to pioneers Henry and Georgianna Pittock from 1914 to 1919, the Pittock Mansion is an unusual and interesting place to visit while in Portland. With an eclectic and rich architectural and interior design done in a Turkish, French, and English style, Pittock Mansion is absolutely engrossing. It’s located on 46 acres of land only 1,000 feet above downtown Portland. You can also picnic in the garden and enjoy a spectacular city view while visiting.

Pittock Mansion, 3229 NW Pittock Dr Portland, OR USA +1 503-823-3623

World Forestry Center Discovery Museum

A 20,000 foot museum located in Portland’s Washington Park, these exhibitions on forests and forestry are interactive and hands-on. Learn about Pacific Northwest forests and the ecology of forests to supplying water and providing habitats. The second floor of exhibits deals with global forests and the diversity of forests through various regions of our planet. You can take a virtual Trans-Siberian Railway journey across Boreal forests, take a boat tour through China while learning about population pressures on China’s temperate forests, and explore the treetops of the Amazon rainforest.

World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, 4033 SW Canyon Rd Portland, OR USA +1 503-228-1367

By Sarah Lantz