written by Kelly Hervey | featured photo by Talia Galvin
1. Beer. Duh.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming. In 2016, Oregon had 230 brewing companies and 261 brewing facilities in seventy-three towns and cities across the state. Beer has become an Oregon art form with new breweries popping up everywhere and even more brewfests to attend. It’s no wonder we have such a hard time selecting a beer once the bartender tells us what’s available on tap.
2. Entrepreneurs Around Every Corner
Outdoor apparel companies; animation studios; scientists and universities pioneering new technology in sustainable energy. We love to celebrate the brands and innovators that have made Oregon the silicon forest.
3. Shakespeare—and More
Mention the town Ashland and many Oregonians think of Shakespeare. We love this Southern Valley gem notably for its world-class theater, but Ashland also produces fabulous wines, is home to numerous distinguished art galleries and has shopping in abundance, as well as class III rapids.
4. Crazy Races Around the State
If Oregon is good at anything, it’s coming up with an insane race that requires a weird team name, costumes and, on occasion, has you running through the night. Oregon is full of active people who love to show their passion for the outdoors by participating in events such as the Hood to Coast Relay, Bend Beer Chase, Pole Pedal Paddle and the World Naked Bike Ride. Races typically end with a pint of Oregon brew in your hand.
5. Our Own Little Wine Country
Oregon has wineries—and lots of them—from the Columbia River Gorge to the Willamette and Rogue River Valleys. Wineries are better when viewed and tasted up close, from the mom-and-pop to the large estate wineries. What’s better than taking in the Oregon scenery while sipping a glass of pinot with friends?
6. Coastal Vacays When We Need Them Most
Oregonians know that the weather at the coast is unpredictable. Sometimes the sun peeks out, but often we brave the wind and the rain or or stay inside by the fire, watching waves through the window. Either way, something about just being at the coast is calming. Choose from a multitude of seafaring towns up and down the coast.
7. We Have it All (Mountain, Coast, Desert and Valley)
Where else can you have the best of all terrains, from the Cascade Range to the Fossil Beds of John Day, from the Willamette Valley to the beaches of the Oregon Coast. Our terrain is diversity incarnate.
8. Central Oregon Sunshine
In the middle of the state, you’ll find dry respite from the damper climes of the Willamette Valley and Oregon Coast. People come come from all over to enjoy the year-round recreation and soak up vitamin D.
9. Secluded Hikes
Oregon is covered in protected lands that offer us gorgeous, winding trails in abundance. Many run along rivers, through canyons and up steep mountain peaks, taking us to secluded waterfalls and lakes all, with superior views.
10. The Coffee Scene
11. Portland “Keeping it Weird”
Portland is, indeed, pretty weird. This land of hipsters, experimental doughnuts, bikes, ubiquitous murals and “the dream of the ’90s” is home to much of Oregon’s population. Portland always guarantees a good time with an endless selection of eateries, eclectic shopping districts, concert venues and river walks.
12. No Sales Tax
The price you see on the tag is always the price you pay—a luxury offered in only four other states in the country. This tax status becomes obvious whenever we travel out of state and buy something. . .
13. Our National Park
Crater Lake National Park is our state’s reflecting pond, drawing international visitors who associate this gem with Oregon itself. Not only does it have a historic Roosevelt-era lodge, but Crater Lake has become a notable photography destination and host to some pretty neat events. Enjoy a 32-mile drive along the rim of the deepest lake in the United States, book passage on a tour boat to Wizard Island or hike to the water’s edge and gaze into the meditative depths of the ancient caldera formed 7,000 years ago.
14. Weekend Trips to Hood River
Hood River has become a favorite weekend destination for Oregonians, nestled in the scenic Columbia River Gorge. We go there to visit organic farms, family owned wineries and U-pick orchards. Hood River is also known for its world-renowned kite and windsurfing culture, notable breweries such as Full Sail and Pfriem and a historic Mission-style hotel straight out of the Roaring Twenties. No visit is complete, however, without a scoop of ice cream from Mike’s Ice Cream on the hill.