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10 Spots In Portland That Only Locals Know About

Tom Malone/Adventure Tribune
Portland, Ore. is bursting at the seams with out-of-town tourists and incoming residents. When many people think of Portland, they think of new, trendy restaurants and hipster scenes of downtown Portlandia fame. Voodoo Donuts and Salt & Straw ice cream are all the rage these days.

But there’s another side of Portland that never makes travel news: the real Portland. The city’s shady history has provided native Portlanders with some of the coolest spots to eat, explore, and experience. So, what do true locals consider “Portland”?

Here are ten places to get you started on the path of a Portland local:

1. Huber’s Restaurant
Established in 1879, Huber’s boasts the title of “Portland’s Oldest Restaurant”. Odds are that the floor used to be lined with trapdoors that sent unsuspecting drunk loggers to their doom in the Shanghai Tunnels. Step back in time and order a Spanish Coffee; it’s a show that you’ll never forget.

2. Mount Tabor
Visit the park that sits on top of a volcano. Yes, Mount Tabor is a volcano within Portland city limits. Explore its extensive trail systems and appreciate the 360-degree views of Portland that the “hotspot” provides.

3. Original Hotcake House
Open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, this exceptionally delicious dive restaurant cooks up some of the best hash browns and chocolate milkshakes in the city. Visit this Southeast Portland legend and get your grease on.

4. Stanich’s
Since 1949, this sports bar has been a Northeast Portland staple. Every inch of the wooden walls are covered in team pennants: from the original San Francisco 49ers to the middle school basketball team down the road. This locals-only restaurant also happens to have the best burger in the city; it’s the only thing I’ve ever eaten on the menu.

5. Peninsula Park Rose Garden
“The City of Roses” didn’t just receive its name from the famous rose garden in Washington Park in the West Hills. Visit North Portland’s Peninsula Park Rose Garden and experience cultivated, natural beauty on the other side of town.

6. OMSI
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry was the dream field trip for any elementary school kids (and teacher) in the Portland area. With its interactive science exhibits, tours of a real submarine, and a surround-vision theatre screen, OMSI is the place to learn.

7. Taste Tickler
This aptly-named sandwich shop is a true hole-in-the-wall restaurant (literally in the basement of a house) that only receives local attention. Every high school kid goes there for lunch to buy a 14-inch teriyaki chicken sub. My parents used to go there during work lunch hours. (Check the frequent customer wall for my photo.)

8. Oaks Amusement Park
Reminiscent of a scene from The Sandlot, this amusement park features the only upside-down roller coaster in the city. Its rollerskate area provides hours of fun, and the carnival food is simply classic. Point of advice: ride the Ferris Wheel before you eat.

9. Saturday Market
Sure, this downtown attraction may have appeared on a few lists that aim to “keep Portland weird”, but it’s a true Portland spot all the same. In terms of people-watching, it doesn’t get better. In terms of interesting crafts, this is the place to be. Travel to the Waterfront and enjoy the adventure.

10. Sauvie Island
Though it’s a fair drive to the edge of the city, Sauvie Island provides the ultimate spot for berry-picking, pumpkin-patching, and river-swimming. Travel to the Island to get your farm fix and interact with true locals from the Portland area while you gather your crops for dinner. Or, adventure there during a hot summer day and swim until dark, and then have a bonfire.

Portland has an incredible spread of old restaurants that survived through Prohibition. The city’s urban boundary regulations ensure the survival of urban nature centers. And, the city’s history as a hub for the unique guarantees that a traveler will find something interesting around every corner. So, go out and explore Portland like a local and let us know what you find!

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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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