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A quick guide to the weirder side of Portland

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A quick guide to the weirder side of Portland

story by: House of Travel

On your next visit to Portland you may see the slogan 'Keep Portland Weird' plastered all over the place. This is the unofficial motto of Oregon's largest city, and these are three words that reverberate through the streets, right into its events, attractions and the people themselves.

Basically, Portland is a pretty odd place.

Curious? Check out these unusual things to do in Portland.

The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium

On Thurman Street, you'll find the favourite stop of many a Portland traveller: the free-to-enter Freakybuttrue Peculiarium. This attraction blends the weird with the funny, and then throws the spooky in for good measure. It features interactive exhibits that cover topics from Bigfoot to the X-Files, plus it sells loads of quirky gags, horror toys and ice cream (you might not think 'ice cream' is all that weird, until you see live insect larva squirming around on top of your single scoop...).

This is more of a store than a museum, but is still a great and memorable place to visit.

The Horse Project

We thought we'd best warn you about this one in advance, because it could leave you a little bemused when you start wandering the streets and see it for yourself. 

Celebrating 10 years this year is The Horse Project, an art initiative that has taken the city by storm. Indeed, over the past century, residents and tourists alike have scoured Portland for old horse rings, which are large metal rings embedded into the ground for you to tie your horse to (you know, back when nobody had a car). When found, they tie little plastic toy horses to them, or sometimes even leave saddles, hay and other things horse-related to encourage others to tie up a wee horse. 

Yep, it's pretty strange, but also somehow quite fascinating. It draws attention to Portland's past in a very unique way, and makes for some weird photos to take home. 

The Witch's Castle

If you feel like a bit of fresh air and some nature, oh, and maybe the odd spooky ghost, drive on out to Forest Park, first established in 1948. 

This 2,000-hectare site is filled with beautiful trees, bushes and other greenery, with 129 kilometres-worth of walking trails weaving their way throughout, according to its website. It also has a creepy ruined building that is supposedly haunted. So bring your best proton pack 

It is said that there was once a feud here between two families, which led to the death of one man and the hanging of another. Now it is abandoned, though some people report seeing spectral apparitions around midnight (why spectators were in the park at midnight, we do not know) that were battling each other.

The museums of Portland

There are a number of museum attractions in Portland, though you probably aren't expecting what some of them are. 

For starters, if you pop into an otherwise regular-seeming vacuum cleaner store, Stark's, you can find the Vacuum Museum. There are 300 antiques in the collection here, including some that date back to the 1800s!

We also recommend the Hat Museum, the largest in the country. In fact, this building contains more than 1,000 different examples; again, some of which trace their origins to the 1800s. 

Lastly, Ping Pong's Pint Sized Puppet Museum is the place to visit for all things puppety. Not only are there many rotating exhibits on display here, but also numerous live shows to entertain and amaze you. 

So what are you waiting for? Head to Portland and bring back a whole load of photos you probably can't truly explain to your friends back home! 

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