9 of the best things to do indoors in Portland, Oregon > Oregon

Portland, Oregon is known for its beautiful scenery, hiking trails and outdoor lifestyle.

It’s also known for rain — the city gets about 36 inches of rain a year.

But Portlanders are smart and have created an indoor culture of coffeehouses, donut shops and craft breweries to keep happy whatever the weather.

You could easily spend your days trying them all, but here are nine more reasons you’ll be wishing for rain.

the nine

The Nines is all about luxury and comfort — Photo courtesy of The Nines

Located in the historic Meier & Frank building, this luxury hotel is such a cozy place to hide away for a few days. If you can bear to leave your beautifully decorated room, there are plenty of cozy spots to explore, like the library — filled with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves — and an indoor atrium surrounded by art.

Don’t forget to visit the two world-class restaurants – Departure, on the top floor, offers modern Asian cuisine, the city’s largest sake selection and fantastic views, while Urban Farmer is all about local, sustainable fare. Luckily, the Nines’ fitness center never closes, so you can work off some of those calories.

Twisted croissant

The display case at Twisted Croissant is full of impossible choicesThe display case at Twisted Croissant is full of impossible choices – photo courtesy of Lois Alter Mark

Okay, you might be better off not knowing about this little gem because you want it to become your morning (or afternoon, or anytime) routine. Each croissant at Twisted Croissant takes three days to make – and about five minutes to eat. You’ll try to slow down to really enjoy the flavor, but it gets harder and harder as you taste each flaky layer.

There’s a pain au chocolat that puts others to shame, but there are also baked goods like the banana maple croissant donut and the pumpkin praline cruffin that will get you excited. Since these choices are just too challenging, don’t be surprised if you end up ordering one of each. We’re sorry.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Test your engineering skills at OMSITest your engineering skills at OMSI — photo courtesy of Lois Alter Mark

The museum’s official title, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, belies the sheer fun you’ll have there, so locals simply refer to it as OMSI.

Five halls are filled with more than 200 interactive activities and exhibits. You can put on goggles and do a chemistry experiment, get shaken up in an earthquake simulation, solve real puzzles and design your own city. Warning: You may have to fend off some small children for your turn.

Umami Cafe, Portland Japanese Garden

Sip tea at the Umami Café in the Portland Japanese GardenSip tea at the Umami Cafe in Portland Japanese Garden — Photo courtesy of Portland Japanese Garden

This world-famous Japanese garden is beautiful even when the weather is bad, but on one of these days it’s best enjoyed at Umami Café, his authentic Japanese tea house.

Inspired by Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-dera Temple, the cafe’s design, which hovers over the hill, provides a beautiful setting for a traditional tea ceremony. You can choose from a carefully curated selection of teas along with sweet or savory accompaniments, and you’ll feel so relaxed you’ll want to make this a daily habit.

Portland Art Museum

Installation view from "Paige Powell: The Ride" (2015) at the Portland Art MuseumInstallation view of Paige Powell: The Ride (2015) at the Portland Art Museum — Photo courtesy of the Portland Art Museum

Not surprisingly, this museum is considered Oregon’s premier cultural institution. Representing a wide variety of diverse communities with a mission of inclusion for all, the Portland Art Museum is home to more than 42,000 objects reflecting the history of art from ancient times to the present day.

With more than 112,000 square feet of gallery space, the Portland Art Museum ranks among the top 25 art museums in the country, making it a great place to while away a rainy day. It also has a cozy café and a museum shop.

pine street market

Pine Street Market is Portland's premier food hallPine Street Market is Portland’s first food hall — Photo courtesy of Pine Street Market

The city’s premier food hall hits the spot, housing some of Portland’s favorites under one roof. This roof happens to be on top of the famous Carriage & Baggage Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Whatever your craving, from Pleasure Burger to Kotsu Ramen to Pine Street Tap Room, you’ll find it here. Fast becoming the place to meet friends or just to satisfy a craving, Pine Street Market is poised to make history of its own.

Powell’s City of Books

Powell's City of Books is a reader's paradisePowell’s City of Books is a reader’s paradise — photo courtesy of Travel Portland

Known as the largest independent bookstore in the world, Powell’s flagship shop takes up an entire city block and houses one million new and used books. Nine color-coded rooms are categorized into 3,500 sections, so it’s impossible not to find something you want to read. More specifically, it’s impossible not to find dozens of books to read, so keep room in your suitcase.

Visit the Rare Book Room (open weekends), grab some bookmarks with suggested reading lists, and settle into your shopping in the café or one of the inviting nooks and crannies. For readers, what better place to spend a cold, wet day than this Portland landmark.

Made Here PDX

Shop handmade items from local manufacturers at MadeHere PDXShop for handcrafted items from local manufacturers at MadeHere PDX — Photo courtesy of Travel Portland

If you can’t visit Portland’s Saturday Market, MadeHere PDX is a great indoor option to find the best locally made handcrafted goods.

Portland is a maker’s paradise, and 150 of them are represented here. Here you can find everything from unique jewelry and housewares to sauces and soaps. These are the real souvenirs to take home from a city where creativity reigns supreme.

Hotel Zags

The tool shed at Hotel Zags has everything you need for a rainy (or sunny) dayThe tool shed at Hotel Zags has everything you need for a rainy (or sunny) day — Photo courtesy of Hotel Zags Portland

What makes boutique Hotel Zags so special when the weather is bad is the unique tool shed, along with a game room that has everything from a pool table to a life-size Connect Four.

The tool shed is like a clean version of your garage, storing all manner of outdoor gear like bikes and skateboards, as well as things to keep you entertained indoors, including a guitar, cameras, and Nintendo Switch. Best of all, guests can borrow everything for free.

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