Portland is the largest city in Oregon, and it is one of the major ports in the Pacific Northwest. The city has earned a reputation for being environmentally responsible; it is highly walkable with a good public transportation system. It also has over 10,000 acres’ worth of public parks. While the summers are warm and dry, winters tend to be cool and rainy.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) began life as the City Hall Museum in 1896. In the 1940s, it became the OMSI. It also became the first entity in the Pacific Northwest to have a public planetarium. The OMSI is now considered one of the top science centers in the United States. In addition to a planetarium, it boasts a retired Navy submarine, a movie theater with a four-story screen, several interactive labs, and a Science Playground for children six and under.
The Oregon Zoo, which was established in 1888, is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi. It has 2200 animals representing over 260 species spread over 64 acres of parkland. The animals are divided into five areas representing specific habitats like forests or an African savannah. The zoo’s best-known attraction is probably its herd of Asian elephants that includes the “toddler” Lily, who was born in 2012. Every year, the Zoo holds a winter festival called ZooLights that runs from the day after Thanksgiving to early January.
The Portland Art Museum, which was founded in 1892, is the seventh oldest art museum in the US, and the oldest art museum on the West Coast. It is also one of the largest art museums in the nation; its permanent collection includes over 42,000 works of art. Nearly half of that collection is devoted to graphic arts like posters and prints that span a 500-year period. The museum also houses Native American art, Asian art, and photographs. The Northwest Film Center, which is located within the museum, both shows movies and offers classes about filmmaking, animation, and screenwriting.
Powell’s City of Books, which occupies an entire city block and contains over a million books, is said to be the world’s largest bookstore. The books are divided into 3500 categories, so there is something for everybody. It includes a Rare Book room filled with signed first editions and other collectibles. The Basil Hallward Gallery, which is located upstairs, is home to various art exhibits and events like children’s story times, book clubs, and talks.
The Portland Jazz Festival takes place every February to honor Black History Month. The 2018 iteration will run February 15 – 25. Over 100 events will take place during those eleven days. They will include performances by established musicians and up-and-coming youngsters; some performers will be locals, and others will come from around the world. There will be homages to icons like Cole Porter. There will also be at least one event honoring Geri Allen, a jazz composer and pianist who died from cancer this past summer.
Dr. Austin Hayes is a Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon with offices in Portland.