The 10 Best Museums in Portland

Portland, Oregon, a city known for its quirky charm and vibrant culture, is also home to an array of museums that cater to a wide range of interests. From art aficionados to history buffs, there’s a museum in Portland that’s sure to pique your curiosity. Let’s dive into the eclectic world of Portland’s museums, where there’s always something new to discover around every corner.

Portland Art Museum

Let’s kick things off with the Portland Art Museum, a haven for art lovers. Established in 1892, it’s the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest and boasts an impressive collection that spans global art from ancient times to today. As you wander through the galleries, you’ll encounter European masterpieces, contemporary art installations, and thought-provoking exhibitions. It’s a place where you can easily lose track of time, immersed in the beauty of artistic expression.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

For those with a curious mind, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, or OMSI, is a must-visit. This interactive museum is a playground for the intellect, with hands-on exhibits that cover topics like technology, natural sciences, and industry. Whether you’re experimenting in the science labs or exploring the universe in the planetarium, OMSI makes learning about science an absolute blast.

Pittock Mansion

Step back in time at the Pittock Mansion, a stunning piece of Portland’s history perched high in the West Hills. This grand estate, built in 1914 for newspaper tycoon Henry Pittock, offers a glimpse into the life of Portland’s early 20th-century elite. The mansion’s beautifully preserved rooms and panoramic views of the city are sure to leave you in awe.

Portland Children’s Museum

Got kiddos in tow? The Portland Children’s Museum is their creative paradise. It’s a place where play and learning go hand in hand, with interactive exhibits that encourage children to explore, imagine, and create. Watch their eyes light up as they become little artists, builders, and scientists for the day.

World Forestry Center Discovery Museum

Portland’s lush surroundings are a testament to its deep connection with nature. The World Forestry Center Discovery Museum delves into this relationship, educating visitors about forests and sustainability. Through interactive exhibits, you’ll learn about the significance of forests and the role they play in our global ecosystem.

Oregon Historical Society Museum

History enthusiasts, rejoice! The Oregon Historical Society Museum is where Oregon’s past comes alive. The museum’s extensive collection of artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays tell the rich story of the state’s history. From the Native American legacy to the pioneering days, it’s a treasure trove of knowledge waiting to be explored.

Museum of Contemporary Craft

Artistry meets craftsmanship at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. This institution celebrates the art of making, with a focus on contemporary ceramics, glass, fiber, metal, and woodworks. It’s a testament to the skill and creativity of artists who transform everyday materials into extraordinary pieces of art.

Oregon Rail Heritage Center

All aboard for a journey into Portland’s railroading history at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center! Train enthusiasts will be thrilled to see historic locomotives and rolling stock up close. The center’s passionate volunteers are always ready to share stories and facts about Oregon’s rich rail heritage.

Portland Chinatown Museum

Portland’s Chinatown may be small, but its history is mighty, and the Portland Chinatown Museum tells its story. This cultural gem offers insight into the experiences of Chinese immigrants in Portland, showcasing their contributions to the city’s development. It’s a poignant reminder of the diverse threads woven into Portland’s cultural tapestry.

The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium

For something completely out of the ordinary, step into The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium. This museum is a Celebration of all things weird and wonderful, with a side of humor. From bizarre artifacts to interactive exhibits, it’s a place that challenges the norm and embraces the strange. You’ll leave with a smile and plenty of quirky tales to tell.


  • What are the best days to visit museums in Portland?

    Many museums offer free admission on certain days or have extended hours. It’s best to check each museum’s website for up-to-date information on special offers and the best times to visit.

  • Are the museums in Portland family-friendly?

    Absolutely! Museums like the Portland Children’s Museum and OMSI are designed with families in mind, offering plenty of interactive exhibits to engage visitors of all ages.

  • Can I purchase a pass that includes multiple museums?

    While there isn’t a universal museum pass for Portland, some museums are part of reciprocal programs that offer discounts or free entry if you’re a member of another museum. Again, it’s worth checking individual museum websites for details.


Portland’s museums are as diverse and vibrant as the city itself. Whether you’re marveling at the masterpieces in the Portland Art Museum or delving into the Peculiar at The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium, there’s a museum in Portland that will capture your imagination. These institutions not only preserve the past but also inspire the future, making them essential stops on your Portland adventure. So go ahead, immerse yourself in the art, history, science, and oddities that these top 10 museums have to offer. You’re in for an unforgettable experience!

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