What is Oregon Known For? Can You Name 18 of them?
What is Oregon Known For? 18 Things Oregonians Love About Themselves
By Kirstin Harrington
Oregon, also known as the Beaver State, is part of the Pacific Northwest. Just north of Washington State, Oregon is a popular tourist destination for a multitude of reasons. Whether the towering forests draw you in or you’ve always wanted to see Portland, there is truly something for everyone here.
Today we’re taking a look at what Oregon is known for. Why do locals love their state so much? What brings people from all around the world to this part of the west coast?
Top Things Oregon is Known For
We’re starting things off on a sweet note because who doesn’t love donuts ? A popular tourist attraction around Portland is a donut tour. This allows you to check out a variety of tasty donut shops and bakeries to try all of the doughy goodness the city has to offer.
One place that everyone should try that many locals have as their usual donut spot is Voodoo Doughnuts. The pastel pink shop will have you feeling like you’re about to step into a bakery from the 1950s.
Once you’re inside, the feeling changes completely! There is unique and eclectic artwork all over the walls. The friendly staff is happy to show off their gorgeous and edible creations! There are classic donut flavors such as bacon maple to seasonal themed shapes and flavors.
Another local food favorite is Marionberries . If you like blackberries, you have to try this delectable fruit! It’s a mix between Chehalen and Olallieberry which are generally only grown in the Pacific Northwest.
Marionberries have a sweeter profile than other blackberries. They’re typically larger in size as well. Did you know that Marionberry pie is the official state pie of Oregon? People make jam, jellies, and other tasty treats from them!
3. Tillamook Cheese Factory
We can’t write about the food Oregon is known for without talking about the savory and rich Tillamook cheese. Although we’ll talk about Cannon Beach a bit later, on your way to this beautiful destination, you’ll pass through Tillamook Forest, named after the town just south near the coast.
A group of family farms has been making tasty cheeses in the Beaver state for over 100 years! Tillamook Cheese Factory is one of the largest cheese factories in the world. Both tourists and locals can take advantage of factory tours seven days a week!
You’ll get to see how they make cheese and try a wide variety of flavors they offer.
4. Mushroom Hunting
The stunning landscape that makes up Oregon is breathtaking enough on its own. What if we told you that Oregon is known for mushroom hunting in the forest? You can live out your fairytale fantasy by foraging for mushrooms in the Beaver State.
You can find morels, truffles, and chanterelles. If you’re not too familiar with mushrooms, locals suggest going on a guided mushroom hunt. Since some species are poisonous, you’ll want to be with someone who knows what they’re doing.
5. Taprooms and Breweries
If there’s one thing locals love about their state it’s the endless options of taprooms and craft breweries. Visiting Oregon will be a haven for any beer lover in your life. One of the most popular spots is Liberty Brewery, which has been around for nearly 180 years!
The first brewpub ever opened in the state was McMenamins. This place is also one of the largest breweries in the entire country! Portland alone has over 70 breweries at the time of writing this.
Whatever type of adult beverage you like, you’re bound to find a taproom or two that has a tasty drink you’ll enjoy!
6. Bike Lanes
It’s nearly a joke at this point how bike-friendly Oregon is. Memes are made online that talk about how bikes are taking over the state. It’s true! Another thing Oregon is known for is bikeways that travel through major roads, state parks, and even mountains!
Residents of Oregon like to challenge themselves with the 70-mile-long route known as the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. This will bring you through breathtaking nature that is well worth the energy.
With traffic being excessive near Portland and Vancouver, many people choose to ride their bikes to get around. If you do this, don’t forget to pack a rain jacket!
The windsurfing capital of the world is located in Hood River. This is within the scenic Columbia River Gorge. Locals and visitors can enjoy windsurfing, kitesurfing, canoeing, paddleboarding, and other water activities here.
There are outfitters in the area that have rentals available. Some schools nearby offer lessons as well. After an afternoon of windsurfing, take a leisurely walk on a trail or enjoy touring a winery.
8. Cannon Beach
Just about anyone who lives in or visits Oregon should take a trip to Cannon Beach . Although it’s been the filming location for popular films like Twilight, it’s also a piece of nature, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.
Upon arriving, it’s hard to miss the mammoth known as Haystack Rock. This is a massive 235-foot rock that towers out of the water. Oregon is known for its tidepools, and Cannon Beach is the perfect place to do just that.
Walking to the beach will have you passing by a number of small businesses, including gift shops, coffee shops, and specialty chocolate stores. Who doesn’t love a rich truffle after a walk on the beach?
There’s also plenty of local art to look at and purchase if you find anything to your liking.
9. The Oregon Trail
Depending on your age, you may have played the iconic computer game “Oregon Trail.” While the game is nostalgic, the real Oregon Trail is something Oregon is known for. It’s 2,170 miles long and stretches all the way from the Beaver state to Missouri!
Settlers in the 1800s packed their buggies and got their horses ready to head toward the Pacific Northwest in the hope of a bright future. It’s a place tourists go to today to immerse themselves in history.
You can travel on the trail on foot, horseback, or wagon! There are museums and plenty of educational opportunities during a visit here.
10. Birthplace of Nike
If you have a sneakerhead in your family, they’ll love the fact that Oregon is known for being the birthplace of Nike. This brand is one of the most famous athletic brands on the planet. It originally started as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964.
Creators Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight wanted to introduce a running shoe that was more comfortable for those who love running long distances. Today, Nike is popular all around the world and it all started in this Pacific Northwest state.
11. The World’s Smallest Park
If there is one thing Oregon is known for it’s the great outdoors. A park created in the 1940s by Dick Fagan is officially the smallest park in the world. Fagan noticed an empty spot where the city removed a light post and decided to plant an evergreen tree.
When the juvenile tree died, people kept replacing it. The smallest park, Mill Ends Park, is located in Portland. It is just 452 square inches in size! It’s a great place to check out if you’re ever in the city.
12. Mount Hood
It seems like anywhere you turn in Oregon you can find a mountain. The highest mountain in the state is Mount Hood . It towers 11,000 feet into the sky and is one of the most easily recognizable mountains on the West Coast.
Around Mount Hood, you will find over 10 glaciers, endless amounts of hiking trails, and ski resorts. Surprisingly, Mount Hood is actually an active volcano that has a small chance of erupting by 2050.
13. Crater Lake
Speaking of beautiful places outdoors that Oregon is known for, let’s head over to Crater Lake. This picturesque location has the deepest lake in the country with a maximum depth of nearly 2,000 feet!
The water in Crater Lake is entirely from snow melt and rain, making it incredibly clean and clear. It’s worth the trip to see the mesmerizing blue water.
You can observe the lake from the Scenic Rim Drive or brace yourself and jump into the chilly waters of Crater Lake! Either way, you won’t soon forget this natural wonder.
14. Columbia River Gorge
One of the main attractions of Oregon is the Columbia River Gorge. This is an 80-mile stretch of unspoiled beauty. Along the gorge, you can find famous waterfalls such as Multnomah Falls and Latourell Falls.
People visit the area to enjoy water activities such as kitesurfing. You can also visit the locks and see Chinook salmon in their natural habitat. Whether you’re planning on visiting the colder or warmer months, this is truly a sight to see.
Perhaps taprooms and breweries aren’t your cup of tea. Take a trip to the Willamette Valley. Oregon is known for its endless wineries and vineyards. Willamette Valley spans over 150 miles along the Willamette River.
The state’s wine industry is essential to the local economy. You can tour vineyards, attend wine tastings, and more here.
Alright, we’ve mentioned the famous city numerous times and if you think of one city in Oregon, it’s likely Portland . While locals have mixed opinions about the “weird” metropolis, it’s definitely a place Oregon is known for.
The city’s unofficial motto “Keep Portland Weird,” is plastered over buildings, on T-shirts, and more. Portland offers delicious coffee from Stumptown Roasters, Washington Park for outdoor attractions and the dazzling International Rose Test Garden.
It’s definitely a city worth visiting to immerse yourself in the progressive, hipster-esque vibe that is Portlandia.
17. Deschutes National Forest
There are over 360 state parks in Oregon and 11 national forests. Deschutes National Forest spans nearly two million acres of dense woodland. Residents and tourists enjoy hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and more here. Mount Bachelor and Three Sisters are popular locations within the forest.
One of the best parts about this place is the wildlife. You can camp in the woods and be mere feet away from bald eagles, massive elk, and skittish deer.
18. Famous People
Easily the most famous person Oregon is known for is Matt Groening. If you don’t know him by his name, you’ve definitely seen his work. Groening is the creator of the hit show The Simpsons.
Lisa Brennan-Jobs is a Harvard graduate, the daughter of Apple’s Steve Jobs, and a fellow Oregonian. Born in Eugene, actor Eric Christian Olsen is another famous person from the Beaver State.
Lisa Rinna, Holly Madison, Esperanza Spalding, and James Beard are a few more notable names.