Northwest Portland Hostel

Centrally Located – in the Heart of Portland

Keep Portland Weird

Thursday, March 3, 2011

If you visit Portland you’ll find bumper stickers and whole house walls covered with the slogan ‘Keep Portland Weird’. “Why? What’s the secret behind it?”, I was asking myself when I first came to Portland. After 1 year in Bridgetown or better Beervana, I know the mystery. There is always something strange and crazy right around the corner.

Here are 6 weird things to do in Portland:

Line up at VooDoo Doughnut
“The magic is in the hole!” Without ever having made doughnuts before, Tres Shannon and ‘Cat Daddy’ Pogson have created a local doughnut empire with Voodoo Doughnuts. Their world-famous Bacon Maple Bars, Grape Apes and Cereal-Topped Doughnuts have a cult following and it’s a must-do when you visit Portland.


Go Zoo Bombing
Zoo bombers are adults and adolescents who race each other on kiddie bicycles (and sometimes tricycles) down the hills next to the Oregon Zoo. They go pretty fast, which means scrapes and bruises are common. It’s one of the most dangerous things to do in the city, and some kids get seriously hurt. The regular zoo bombers leave a pile of minibikes at their meeting point in front of 13th Street and Burnside. The group meets every Sunday at 8:30pm. If you’re up for the challenge, you can find more information at


Art Cars
You will see these cars around Portland and have to do a double take. Watch the cars and see the stories that inspired these moving works of art… Art cars.


The Woodstock Mystery Hole
Take an adventure down into the world-famous Woodstock Mystery Hole. It’s a small hole, with a huge imagination, where you’ll discover strange inscriptions, eerie tunnels and “The Door That’s Never Been Opened.”


Ride a Bike at the World Naked Bike Ride
In 2010 about 13.000 people participated in the ride. The ride leads through almost all neighborhoods of Portland – Eastside and Westside of the Willamette River. There are several after parties to connect with real Portlanders. This year it will be on June 11th.


That’s no lady – that’s Darcelle! Portland’s most famous drag queen has been entertaining audiences for 40 years with her, er his, gender-bending cabaret. His real name is Walter Cole and he is Old Town’s favorite cross dressing entertainer. You can catch him four nights a week!


Don’t worry those are not the only weird activities to experience in Portland. Here are more things I have done to solve the mystery of the slogan:
Go to CD stores, sell your clothes at Buffalo Exchange, eat vegan at one of the numerous food carts, hang out in one of the independent coffee shops, stop by at the 24h Church of Elvis,dance at the 80s Party at the Crystal Ballroom, go to the Last Thursday on Alberta Street, visit Hawthorne Blvd, go for a walk and find street-art, see the Zombie Walk, taste the beer of over 40 micro breweries, and most important ride a bike.Ride it through the city, dress up in a costume and go to one of the almost daily bike events such as mystery ride on Friday nights. You’ll meet unique Portlanders and see people in all kinds of costumes and bikes. If you can make it here, be in town for Pedalpalooza.

Finally, watch ‘Portlandia’ and find out why young people go to Portland to retire. A 6-part IFC original short-based comedy series was created, written by and starring Fred Armisen (SNL) and Carrie Brownstein.

“Keep Portland Weird” is more than a bumper sticker around here… It’s a way of life! Come and find out!

Photos: Tanja Beer

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *