As we bid adieu to another remarkable season of sunshine, here are seven reminders of why Portland is one of the best places to enjoy fall. Watching the landscape transcend into a beautiful display of vibrant colors as the leaves finally change color – it’s nothing short of stunning. In addition to the natural beauty of the Portland area, there are plenty of fun fall activities to get excited about as well.
Whether you want to experience something new or just lay back bathing in the lingering warmth from the summer months, Portland has no shortage of family-friendly activities to enjoy this fall. Here is our list of fun fall activities in Portland, OR, to enjoy solo, or with friends and family.
Peruse Pumpkin Patches
There is no shortage of pumpkin patches in and around the Portland area during the fall season. In addition to picking the best pumpkin, you and your family can enjoy hayrides, corn mazes, apple cider, and maybe even see some ghoulish creatures coming through the corn. Stop by Sauvie Island’s Pumpkin Patch where you can visit the animal barn, a specialty market of homemade goods, find your way through the Corn Maze, tour the farm, and take a hayride to pick from-the-soil pumpkins.
If you would like to shoot a pumpkin out of a cannon, experience amazing scenery, ride the slides, pick pumpkins, and see farm animals, then you must stop by Plumper Pumpkin Patch and Tree Farm. If you’re looking to combine fright with a pumpkin patch, visit Sauvie Island’s Bella Organic Pumpkin Patch and Winery where you can treat yourself to wine and cider tastings, caramel corn, or dare your friends to walk the haunted corn maze creeping with ghoulish figures! With so many pumpkin patches to explore in the Portland area during fall, you and your family are guaranteed to have fun!
Proclaimed as one of the most authentic places to get a whiff of Japanese culture, architecture, and food, outside of Japan, the Japanese Garden is one of Portland’s most cherished gems. Located in Washington Park, the garden was designed by renowned Japanese architect Professor Takuma Tono and opened to the public in 1967.
It consists of five separate gardens each of which offers a unique blend of various design elements and landscapes. The attractions include a strolling pond, a cultural village (designed by world-renowned architect Kengo Kuma), an art exhibition, a tea cafe, and more. This entire place is a living “classroom” that offers a deep insight into Japanese culture, architecture, art, and cuisine.
Capture The Spirit of Halloweentown
Located 30 miles northwest of Portland in the town of St. Helens, Halloween is celebrated with great pomp and circumstance. The movies Halloweentown and Twilight were partially filmed in St. Helens, but the town has made it a must-see experience during the Halloween season.
Experience the giant pumpkin at the courthouse plaza that stays lit all month. There’s plenty to see with a costume contest, trick-or-treating through town, the haunted hotel/haunted house, scarecrows, walking tours, haunted history, gift shop and Dark Market, Museum of Peculiarities and Oddities, the Alien Exhibit, Whispers in the Woods, and more!
Hang Out in Haunted Houses
If you are in the mood to get scared, check out some of Portland’s most frightening haunted houses. Underhill Haunted House, previously the Beneath, is 40,000 square feet of pure fear and entertainment. This year, Underhill Haunted House and Fearlandia present Season of Screams with Underhill Manor, where Madam Underhill hides dark secrets within a terror-filled mansion.
Next, dare to visit Night Terrors where all your fears and phobias come alive! Fear’s Gate leads you to the unknown where evil resides, and lastly, for the kids, Kids Monster Fest for an immersive, kid-friendly matinee experience. For Portland’s largest Halloween experience, The Fear: Haunted House will test your bravery. Its attractions include Factory 13, The Kill Floor, Blood House, Midway of Fear, and Layers of Darkness. Visitors Beware!
Go to the Columbia River Gorge
The fourth largest river in North America, The Columbia, also forms the border between Oregon and Washington. Peppered with many beautiful attractions, steeply rising mountains on both sides of the river, and a myriad of waterfalls, the Columbia river gorge offers a breathtaking avenue for families to enjoy in the fall.
Designated as a National Scenic Area, the Columbia river gorge is beautiful year-round, but once fall arrives, the beauty and sheer brilliance of this place are unmatched. Fittingly, its offerings include a remarkable mix of conifers and hardwood that create a majestic green backdrop perfectly complemented by bright colored flowers and other flora.
It’s broth weather, so get yourself and your loved ones a warm bowl of pho, or slurp up some Korean-style ramen noodles at one of Portland’s many exotic cuisine restaurants. If you respect authenticity and do not settle for anything but the best, Marukin and Afuri are the absolute best spots when it comes to South Asian Cuisine.
If we are talking about restaurants offering Vietnamese delicacies, Ha VL and Pho Hung are considered the pinnacle in the market. There is no shortage of options when it comes to enjoying Asian cuisine in the Portland Metro area. If you are looking to break out of a mundane routine and experience something different with your family, these places are definitely worth a try.
Take a Hike
With so much beautiful landscape surrounding Portland, it’s not hard to imagine that hiking is the best way to see fall in all its splendor. Get your hiking gear ready to see the colorful leaves on some of Portland’s best hiking trails. A quick 10-minute drive out of Portland will land you at the Wildwood Trail. With a healthy dense forest that takes you across Barbara Walker Crossing, this trail will amaze you with its colorful backdrop.
Hoyt Arboretum’s 30-minute loop trail will allow you to experience the vastness of trees and species that surround Portland. With over 6,000 trees, this trail will be undeniably beautiful in the Fall.
Lower Macleay to Pittock Mansion is a very popular, 5-mile trail due to the amazing viewpoint Pittock Mansion offers. On this trail, you will walk along a creek with a lush forest, pass the infamous Witch’s Castle, and end at the Mansion where views of Portland equal the beauty of the surrounding Fall foliage.
If native flora interests you, the Marquam Trail Nature Park Loop is perfect! You will see western hemlock, western red cedar, vine maple, and big-leaf maples along this breathtaking trail. The red maples explode with color during the Fall, and the Marquam Mosaic is a must-see experience.
Consider These Fall Activities in Portland
Experiencing fall in Portland can be an elevating experience for many good reasons. Besides watching the landscape bathed in an incredible display of vibrant colors, there are many fun-filled activities for you to enjoy with your friends and family. Be it hiking along the beautiful trails of Hoyt Arboretum, picking apples at orchards, enjoying your favorite fall delicacies, or hanging out in haunted houses to drive excitement into your daily lives, Portland never ceases to surprise you with enjoyable activities.