The Top Cultural Must-See's in Portland

A Sign On The Side Of A Building

The Heathman is settled in the heart of Portland’s cultural district, making it an ideal home base to absorb the array of art, music and makers our Rose City has to offer. From secret doors leading directly into concert halls to a room packed full of rare books just a stroll away at Powell’s, check out some of the must-see spots in the area.

Art

Founded in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is the oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest and the 7th oldest in the country. Featuring more the 50,000 objects and artworks, the collection is distinguished for highlighting creations by the Native peoples of North America, English silver, and the graphic arts. The museum dedicates 90% of its gallery space to this permanent collections, complemented by several incredible exhibits on display on a rotating basis throughout the year.

A Clock Tower In Front Of A Brick BuildingPhoto by Portland Art Museum on Instagram

If you’re up for strolling off the beaten path, head to Kenton where you can ponder over the works at Disjecta. Offering a wide portfolio of work that ranges from visual art installations to band collaborations, this contemporary art center is worth the short drive.

The Russo Lee Gallery, located in the Pearl, is run by Martha Lee who carries on the tradition of featuring some of the best artists of the Pacific Northwest region and connecting them with the local community. Originally founded in 1986 by Laura Russo, the art haven has operated for over 30 years in the same space at 805 NW 21st Avenue.

For other local artistic endeavors, head to Travel Portland.

Theatre

Many audiences have enjoyed Broadway productions, ballet, operas, family events and more in Portland's impressive Keller Auditorium. Originally the Civic Auditorium, the workhouse theater was built in 1917 and hosts both local organizations as well as national and international touring companies.

A Group Of People In A RoomPhoto by Portland5

Portland Center Stage at the Armory is the largest theater company in town and is ranked among the top 20 regional theaters in the country. Established in 1988, an estimated 160,000 visitors attend The Armory annually to consume a mix of classical, contemporary and world premiere productions.

The Artists Repertory Theatre is on a mission to produce intimate, provocative theatre and establish a home for the diverse community of artists and audiences who are willing to take creative risks. Originating in 1982, it’s the longest-running professional theatre company in Portland.

Check out Portland Theater for a comprehensive guide to all the shows happening in town.

Music

A Sign On The Side Of A BuildingPhoto by Portland5

 

The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall boasts a glowing sign that’s as much of a Portland icon as the White Stag is. Nicknamed “The Schnitz” by locals and accessible from the Heathman by a secret door, the Concert Hall hosts a variety of performances including classical, jazz, pop, rock, folk and gospel music, dance, theatre, travel films, conferences, and weddings.

The annual Portland Jazz Festival celebrates the rich local music scene and attracts international stars to a waterfront stage. The event also includes education and outreach programs that extend into Portland’s schools and neighborhoods, as well as plenty of free performances.

Makers

A Group Of People Jumping In The AirPhoto by Portland Saturday Market on Instagram

During non-COVID times, the Portland Open Studios showcases the homes and workspaces of more than 100 local artists. Started in 1998 by a local painter, the citywide event offers an in-depth look into the creative processes used by a variety of artists from painters to photographers and printmakers.

There's nothing quite like stopping by the Portland Saturday Market at the waterfront on a sunny day. The outdoor arts and crafts bonanza is the largest market continuously operated in the country and it hosts a variety of local creations from jewelry to wall mounted bottle openers.

And of course, we keep things quirky in true Portland fashion. There are plenty of other one-of-a-kind and weird sights to be seen in town, check them out here.

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