15 Best Art and Cultural Attractions in Portland

Portland is a city with a huge fondness for art and culture and there are plenty of great attractions to choose from. So whether you are a book or movie geek or a classical music aficionado, here are the best Art and Cultural Attractions in Portland, Oregon…

1. Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall – a historic performing arts center offering classical music performances

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall - Portland

Located a few miles from Portland Art Museum, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is a theatre and performing arts venue that hosts prolific performances, concerts, and movie nights. It is home to Oregon Symphony, Metropolitan Youth Symphony, White Bird Dance Company, Portland Youth Philharmonic, and Portland Arts & Lectures among other Portland-based orchestras. 

Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall features an Italian rococo interior and holds a landmark status for its architectural value. It is a part of the Portland Center for the Performing Arts and the last surviving theatre building on Broadway in Southeast Portland. The theatre has wonderful acoustics and a romantic ambience. 

Address: 1037 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205, United States

Phone: +1 503-248-4335

2. Museums in Portland – the perfect way to explore Portland’s art and culture

Best museums in Portland, Oregon

Portland is home to a multitude of museums, including Merchant logo, Portland Art Museum, Oregon Historical Society Museum, The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), Museum of Contemporary Craft, and Oregon Maritime Museum. 

Located in Southwest Portland, Portland Art Museum features Asian, American, and Native American artworks and hosts touring shows and performing arts. The Oregon Historical Society Museum lies within walking distance of Portland Art Museum and features historical exhibits and 8-story-high murals.

Oregon Maritime Museum, on the Willamette River, boasts a large event space and displays naval artworks. It is based in a steam-powered ship-assist tugboat. 

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the top science centers in the country, featuring a planetarium, large-screen theatre, retired navy submarine, and different types of hands-on traveling exhibits. If you want to explore jewelry and ceramic exhibits, you can visit the Museum of Contemporary Craft in downtown Portland. 

3. Northwest Film Center – an educational media art organization that offers a variety of films and exhibitions 

Northwest Film Center - Portland

Located close to Portland Art Museum on Salmon Street in Southwest Portland, Northwest Film Center is an art venue that hosts film festivals, film screenings, guest speaker programs, workshops, and live performances among many other events. The theatre features comfortable seats and a giant screen

Northwest Film Center is more than an art theatre. It is dedicated to the native communities that resided along the Columbia River. The theatre has a vibrant ambience and wonderful acoustics. If you want to explore the history of the indgienous communities of the city, Northwest Film Center may be the best place to satisfy your curiosity. 

Address: 934 SW Salmon St, Portland, OR 97205, United States

Phone: +1 503-221-1156

4. Powell’s City of Books – the world’s largest independent bookshop where you won’t find limitations

Powell's City of Books - Portland

Located in the Pearl District of Portland, Powell’s City of Books is a bookstore selling both new and used books. The bookstore features nine color-coded rooms that house more than one million books belonging to a wide range of genres, including mystery, science fiction and fantasy, romance, politics, history, literature, and philosophy among many others. 

Powell’s City of Books is a book lovers’ sanctuary that has everything you need to quench your reading appetite. The bookstore also features a gift shop, cafe, and plenty of parking space. It is open every day between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. 

Address: 1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209, USA

Phone: +1 800-878-7323

5. Lakewood Center for the Arts – a great venue that is full of arts and rich culture

Lakewood Center for the Arts - Portland

Located near Lake Oswego in South Portland, Lakewood Center for the Arts is the artistic hub for Portlanders, featuring a curated selection of exhibits from both local and regional artists. 

Lakewood Center for the Arts features a 320-seat theater, art and dance studios, art galleries, and concert or event space. It is a two-stage art venue that hosts a wide range of theatrical performances, musicals, plays, and classical dances. 

Address: 368 S State St, Lake Oswego, OR 97034, United States

Phone: +1 503-635-3901

6. Pittock Mansion – a stunning chateau that features a stylish European architecture 

Pittock Mansion - Portland

Located high in the West Hills, Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style chateau featuring 23 well-furnished rooms and beautiful gardens. Built in 1914, Pittock Mansion was a private home for a London-born Oregonian publisher, Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana Pittock. 

The chateau is located at a height of 950 feet and is only accessible through public transport. As you stroll across the gardens of Pittock Mansion, you can indulge in mesmerizing views of the cityscape. 

Pittock Mansion has an aesthetic interior featuring Jacobethan library, Turkish smoking room, Edwardian dining room, and French-style oval drawing-room. Pittock Mansion is open to the public Wednesdays through Mondays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. On Tuesday, the mansion opens at 12 p.m. 

Address: 3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210, United States

Phone: +1 503-823-3623

7. The Grotto – one of the most serene and peaceful outdoor sanctuaries in Portland

The Grotto, is a Catholic outdoor shrine and sanctuary

Located on Skidmore Street in Northeast Portland, The Grotto is a Catholic outdoor shrine stretching across 62 acres of botanical gardens and woodland. It is a 30 feet wide cave in The National Sanctuary of our Sorrowful Mother that features a statue of the Virgin Mother carrying Jesus in her arms. 

Set at the foot and top of a 110-feet high cliff, The Grotto features a meditation hall, church, gift shop, and full-service conference center. It is home to The Chapel of Marry, The Peace Garden, and The Monastery. The Grotto is open to the public every day from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. 

Address: 8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland, OR 97220, United States

Phone: +1 503-254-7371

8. Oregon Center for Contemporary Art – a traditional center that is home to Portland’s biennial

Oregon Center for Contemporary Art - Portland

Located in the Kenton neighborhood of Portland, Oregon Center for Contemporary Art is an art venue that hosts visionary art programs for Oregonians. It is an up-and-coming center for both local and international contemporary art. 

Oregon Center for Contemporary Art features an event space, cafe, and art studios. It has hosted more than 500 shows since 2003. The offerings of Oregon Center for Contemporary Art include films, drag shows, visual art installations, and performance art pieces among others. Oregon Center for Contemporary Art is open to the public Fridays through Sundays between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. 

Address: 8371 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97217, United States

Phone: +1 503-286-9449

9. Pioneer Courthouse Square – a sophisticated public space that hosts hundreds of events, bringing society together

Pioneer Courthouse Square - Portland

Located on Morrison and Yamhill Streets in Southwest Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square is a public park that spans across a full 40,000-square-foot city block. The urban park features a large informal event space and hosts more than 300 events every year. It also features Umbrella Man, one of the most recognized pieces of public art in Portland. 

Pioneer Courthouse Square is called the living room of the city. The center of Pioneer Courthouse Square is arranged like an amphitheatre with over 25 steps serving as the seating area during musical events. It is open to the public on all days of the week from 5 a.m. to 12 a.m. 

Address: 701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States

Phone: +1 503-223-1613

10. Theaters – whether you want to explore musicals, movies, broadway shows and more, Portland is your destination

Artists Repertory Theatre - Portland

Portland is home to a wide range of theatres specializing in different forms of art. The most frequented theatres in Portland include Artists Repertory Theatre, Laurelhurst Theater, and Keller Auditorium.

Located in the Kerns neighborhood of Northeast Portland, Laurelhurst Theater is a movie theatre showing first and second-run films.

Artists Repertory Theatre, in Northwest Portland, comprises two intimate theatres specializing in classic and contemporary plays. Keller Auditorium is a performing arts venue located on Clay Street in downtown Portland. 

11. First Congregational United Church of Christ – one of the best places to visit, listed in the National Register of Historic Places

First Congregational United Church of Christ - Portland

Located in the heart of downtown Portland, First Congregational United Church of Christ is a historic bell tower church with an Italian Gothic-style architecture. The church holds a landmark status because of its peculiar Venetian architecture made from stone and sandstone. 

The 120 years old church features a 175 feet tall bell tower and acts as a cultural site for religious ceremonies, fundraisers, concerts, workshops, and other events. The church is also within walking distance of Portland Art Museum. It is open to the public every day between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. 

Address: 1126 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States

Phone: +1 503-228-7219

12. Live Storytelling Events – the perfect way to enjoy an evening out and to learn true stories

Back Fence PDX - Live Storytelling Event - Portland

Portland hosts a wide range of live story-telling events, including The Moth, Back Fence PDX, Mystery Box, and Urban Tellers. 

Urban Tellers occur several times every year at the historic Alberta Abbey. The event teaches participants to create 10-minute stories regarding breakthrough experiences of their lives which are then performed in an evening of live jazz in downtown Portland. 

Portland’s Holocene and The Secret Society organize monthly Moth Story Slams, an event that features five-minute stories on pre-announced themes. You can also attend story-telling events by Mortified at the Alberta Rose Theatre. 

13. Portland Jazz Festival – a swanky festival where you can immerse in the art of jazz

Portland Jazz Festival - Portland

Portland Jazz Festival is a series of jazz events that take place in Portland every February. The events continue for two weeks and feature live performances of local and international jazz artists. 

In addition to concerts and musical performances, Portland Jazz Festival includes education programs that take place in the schools of Portland. The event offers a vibrant jazz scene in downtown Portland every year, celebrating Black History Month. 

14. Art Galleries – the ideal activity for art lovers where you will find anything from contemporary to traditional fine arts

Froelick Gallery Contemporary Gallery Portland

Portland is famous for its vibrant art scene. Whether you are like performing arts or antique art collections, Portland has so much to offer to those with a curious eye. The city is home to some of Oregon’s most frequented art galleries like Bullseye Gallery, Blue Sky Gallery, and Elizabeth Leach Gallery. 

Blue Sky is a non-profit art gallery featuring contemporary artworks by national and international artists. Elizabeth Leach Gallery showcases the work of Northwest artists and Bullseye Gallery specializes in glass art. 

15. Multnomah County Central Library – an elegant Georgian style library surrounded by a rich decor

Multnomah County Central Library - Portland

Located in Southwest Portland, Central Library is the main branch of the Multnomah County library network. It is based in a three-story building with Gregorian architecture. The library also has a bookstore selling a wide range of Portland souvenirs. It is a book shrine with an excellent selection of literature.

Multnomah County Central Library is open every day at different timings, mostly between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

Address: 801 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States

Phone: +1 503-988-5123

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