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15 Hidden Gems in Portland You Need to Check Out

15 Hidden Gems in Portland You Need to Check Out

When tourists hit up Portland, it’s like a tradition to go check out Powell’s Bookstore and grab some Voodoo Donuts, right? Totally get it – those places are classics, and everyone in Portland loves them. 

But if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and want to try something different, we’ve got your back. We’ve rounded up a bunch of hidden gems in Portland that not everyone knows about or often overlooks. 

Ready for the inside scoop on the coolest spots? Keep reading for a fresh perspective on your Portland adventure.

The Witch’s Castle

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Address: Lower Macleay Trail, Portland, OR 97210, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-823-4000

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM

In Portland’s Forest Park, there’s this cool two-story abandoned spot they call the Witch’s Castle at the end of a short half-mile hike. 

Actually, it’s really just the Stone House and there’s nothing spooky like witches here. But who doesn’t love a bit of thrill and mystery, right? Plus, the place is perfect for snapping some one-of-a-kind pics and enjoying a laid-back, chill afternoon.

While exploring, feel free to examine the exterior of the house, taking in the captivating moss-covered walls and the beauty of nature. Just don’t dare enter the place – not because you’ll see witchy apparitions, but because it’s prohibited!

Angel’s Donuts 

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Address: 2805 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-284-4510

Operating hours: Sunday – Thursday: 6:00 AM – 9:00 PM | Friday – Saturday: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM

Portland has famous donut spots like Voodoo Donuts and the newer Blue Star, but this chill donut and ice cream spot on Alberta Avenue is just as awesome!

Our favorite thing about the place is its old-school vibe, serving homemade pastries, tasty ice cream, and good coffee. Everything is all up to par with our sweet tooth standards, so drop by if you’re craving something sugary. 

This one is bit of a secret since it is a less mainstream option for donuts in the city. They keep it real with classic flavors, which is a nice change from the city’s usual funky donut options. Moreover, it provides fantastic street-side tables for some prime people-watching.

Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant


Address: 2504 SE 50th Ave D, Portland, OR 97206, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-477-8778

Operating hours: Wednesday – Sunday: 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Ethiopian food is not that common in Portland, making places like Bete-Lukas Ethiopian Restaurant feel like a local hunt. With that said, the place is a fantastic spot to dive into a unique culinary experience. 

Their traditional menu features beef, lamb, and chicken. Thanks to the Orthodox Church’s fasting seasons, there’s also an abundance of vegetarian dishes with a variety of flavors.

If you decide to check it out, it’s a good idea to go with a larger group and share a variety of dishes. And don’t forget – Ethiopian food is meant to be eaten with your hands, so keep that in mind when you dine in the restaurant!

Haunted Underground – Shanghai Tunnels


Address: 226 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-222-9999

Operating hours: Monday – Thursday: 11:00 AM – 9:30 PM | Friday – Saturday: 11:00 AM – 10:00 PM | Sunday: 11:00 AM 6:30 PM

Beneath the streets of Portland lies a hidden secret – a network of underground tunnels known as the Shanghai Tunnels! These tunnels were believed to have been used during the early 20th century for transporting goods. 

There are tours available for exploring this place and seeing the reputedly haunted tunnels firsthand. However, tours are currently limited through businesses like Old Town Pizza & Brewing, which both provide access to a section beneath their building.

These tours typically navigate through accessible portions, while you learn historical facts and eerie legends. Guides share tales of “shanghaing,” (that means kidnapping!) opium dens, and ghostly encounters to name a few.

Lan Su Chinese Garden


Address: 239 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-228-8131

Operating hours: Monday – Wednesday and Friday – Sunday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

This Chinese botanical garden offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of Portland – perfect for that quick relaxation you want. Built in collaboration with Portland’s sister city, Suzhou, Lan Su is actually one of the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China itself!

Admission is required to visit the garden, but the calming experience is totally worth it (or priceless, as they say), for a day-long stroll. And don’t miss out on the tea house while you’re here; it’s a great spot to enjoy authentic Chinese tea.

Goodwill Superstore

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Address: 16255 SE McLoughlin Blvd Portland, OR 97267

Portland is proof that not all Goodwill stores are cut from the same cloth. It’s because the Goodwill Superstore on SE Grand and Stephens Street is a thrift store mecca – honestly, you just have to see it to believe it!

The huge place is packed with shelves filled with all kinds of stuff, common to any Goodwill. The best part is that they keep adding new goodies like clothes, house stuff, and electronics, making thrift shopping more fun.

And if you’re into books, this spot has your back. It might not be as massive as a downtown Powell’s Books, but the prices are way (waaaaaaay!) better. Plus, getting there is a breeze with a streetcar.

Glowing Greens


Address: 509 SW Taylor St, Portland, OR 97204, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-222-5554

Operating hours: Sunday – Thursday: 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM | Friday – Saturday: 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Glowing Greens is not your average mini golf course; it adds a twist by using blacklight to create a memorable and almost eerie atmosphere. It’s a real hidden gem in the city for both kiddos and those young at heart who love golfing

This pirate-themed mini golf spot offers both individual and group rounds, featuring 13 holes of miniature golf. That makes it a fantastic choice for a unique Portland date night, a fun outing with friends, or a family adventure.

But that’s not all – they have an escape room too! So, if the crew gets tired of teeing, they can crank up the excitement by diving into a real-life, locked multi-room adventure. Just a heads up – they call it Mental Trap for a reason!



Address: 710 SE 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, United States

Operating hours: Wednesday – Thursday: 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM | Friday – Saturday: 6:00 PM – 12:30 AM

If you’re up for a drink on your next Portland visit, don’t miss Voysey. This cocktail bar is literally tucked away in the basement of the Loyal Legion bar. To find it, just follow the red light and head down the unmarked staircase inside the Loyal Legion, and voila! 

The place is an intimate spot, with a capacity of around 50 people, and a creative signature cocktail menu. They even spice things up occasionally with some live music, which is the perfect touch for this hidden gem of a bar. 

Alberta Avenue/Arts District 

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Address: Alberta Arts District, Portland, OR, USA

Known as Portland’s Arts District, Alberta Avenue might not be the first spot that comes to mind for many visitors to the city. However, those who do venture there will discover numerous hidden gems. 

While it’s no secret that the area is literally like an outdoor art gallery, there are also upscale shops that can capture your interest. Take Cord, for example, an upscale boutique offering a range of high-quality items, from portable backyard fire pits to books.

Right next door is Ampersand Gallery & Fine Books, featuring a thoughtfully curated selection of unique modern art books and artworks. 

And if you’re into fine books, don’t miss Phi, which boasts a small collection of first-edition books along with some home décor items you can purchase. Perfect for that rare purchase!

Mucca Osteria


Address: 1022 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-227-5521 

Operating hours: Monday – Saturday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM

Mucca Osteria is a fantastic hidden gem for Italian food in Portland. They make all their pasta in-house and even source some ingredients from Italy. Conveniently located downtown, it’s an easy walk from Pioneer Square, so take note when you’re in the area. 

The restaurant has a romantic atmosphere, making it an excellent choice for a date night. Plus, their wines are spot-on with the food – perfect if you want that upscale feel minus the busy chatter of more known Italian food places. 

McMenamins Kennedy School


Address: 5736 NE 33rd Ave, Portland, OR 97211, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-249-3983

The McMenamins Kennedy School is not your typical hotel (uh, yes, it’s not a school school!)

It’s actually a pretty cool spot in Portland with loads of fun stuff to do.

Here, you can savor a pint in a classroom, relish an aged whiskey in detention, or catch a movie in the old auditorium. See, all school-themed, right? – the Detention Bar even sells cigars, if you’re into that!

If you’re in the mood for a movie, they have a one-screen theater with tickets as low as $5, showing classics like Harry Potter. And if your stomach’s growling, don’t worry – there’s a laid-back pub-style restaurant called The Boiler Room there too. 

Brick House Vineyards


Address: 18200 NE Lewis Rogers Ln, Newberg, OR 97132, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-538-5136

If you’re a wine enthusiast, you might be familiar with the Willamette Valley wine region. If that’s the case, then Brick House Vineyards is one of those hidden gems, just a 30-minute drive away. 

It’s definitely worth the journey to taste their delightful Gamays and Pinot Noirs. Just a quick afternoon trip here will probably make your wine-loving heart happy!

The tasting experience runs $20 for 5 wines, and keep in mind that appointments are a must to score your spot. 

But don’t fret – your reservation includes a brief tour of their ninety-year-old horse barn turned winery. The staff will also fill you in on the rich history of Brick House – while sipping wine, of course!

The Grotto


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

Contact Details: +1 503-254-7371

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM

The Grotto, also known as the National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother, is one of Portland’s hidden treasures built back in 1924. Despite being out in the open, surrounded by trees, it often slips away from lists of must-visit places in the city.

The actual shrine is down at the bottom of a cliff, but here’s the cool part: you can climb up that 110-foot cliff and check out the gardens. And from up there, you get a quick peek at the entirety of Portland. 

Come holiday season, the whole place lights up with Christmas decorations. The shrine itself is free to visit, but if you want to explore the gardens up on the cliff, there’s a little fee involved.

Jamison Square

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Address: 810 NW 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97209, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-823-7529

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 12:00 AM

Your kids are sure to have a blast at Jamison Square. Having one of the city’s best fountains, your little ones are sure to fall in love with water skyrocketing into the air. 

The highlight, of course, is a timed water feature that spills out, filling a gentle, sloping bowl before draining and starting the show all over again. It’s a water show your kids will want to watch for hours (and maybe you too!).

While they are doing so, or while playing in the water, you can kick back on the nearby lawn. After a good time in the water, you can take them for a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood and grab some delicious eats like Hot Lips Pizza, just down the street.

Washington Park Playground

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Address: Rose Garden Children’s Park, 1715 SW Sherwood Blvd, Portland, OR 97221, United States

Contact Details: +1 503-823-2525

Operating hours: Monday – Sunday: 5:00 AM – 10:00 PM

You’ve probably heard of many parks for kids to play in Portland, but some are quite overlooked like Washington Park Playground. It’s the one near the Rose Gardens in NW Portland, where your kids can let loose and burn off energy all day. 

This play structure is a kid’s dream, with tons of slides, ladders, bridges, and swing sets. You want something fun and new, bring your hyper kiddos here!

Pack some snacks and sandwiches for a picnic (there are spacious fields and picnic houses in the area). Then, venture into the beautiful, shady forests there that line the Oregon Zoo for added fun and excitement to your family day.

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