Art And Galleries
Portland wears its culture lightly, sure, there are grand opera halls and venerable museums as guide book-worthy as any city’s but this is a place where culture seeps from the very pores of the sidewalks. That said, it’s hard to put on a production of Mamma Mia on a sidewalk, so you’d best check out these venues instead…
Portland Art Museum
The oldest art museum on the west coast, this venerable institution still has a spring in its step with a surefooted calendar of touring exhibitions (…Japanese art, animation, photojournalism from the world’s war-torn spots…) alongside a solid collection of American, Asian and especially strongest European art.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Gloriously over-the-top old-school concert hall, still raising the rafters 100 years after it was opened. The grand rococo auditorium is the venue for classical, jazz, pop, and theater performances. The Oregon Symphony orchestra is always worth catching, if they’re playing (and don’t panic – their last recital was the music from Star Trek.)
Part of the group of venues that make up Portland’s Centers for the Arts collection, the Keller is a performing arts center in downtown Portland. This is the place to look for touring musicals, family shows, comedy, rep theater and, well, all things in between. They don’t call it the ‘hard working theater’ for nothing!
Oregon Historical Society
Part museum, part public resource for all things Oregon, museum’s collection is as vast as it is fascinating. The interactive museum exhibitions bring the Pacific northwest vividly to life. Want an instant context fix? This is the pace to head.
LanSu Chinese Garden
If we’re honest, we preferred its original title – the Garden of Awakening Orchids! But this sublime and serene walled Chinese garden encloses a complete city block in the Old Town Chinatown area. The perfectly proportioned vision is a homage to China’s legendary classical gardens of Suzhou (Portland’s twin city). It’s a wonderful space complete with year-round workshops, concerts and folk art performances.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a blast. Over 200 interactive exhibits explore the world around us, and the universe beyond. From deep ocean life to high-tech innovations, the museum presents a family-friendly smorgasbord of wonderment in an approachable, fun and inquisitive way. Roll your sleeves up and play mad scientist in the lab – you know you want to! Top tip – go for the submarine tour: a 45 minute deep dive into the underwater world of a real life sub.
Located inside the Antoinette Hatfield Hall at 1111 SW Broadway Ave. The Brunish Theatre is an intimate performance space for home-grown plays, musicals and recitals.