written by Kelly Rogers | 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 artform 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
A giant footwear company; a stop-motion animation studio; scientists and universities leading the way in sustainable energy. We love to celebrate the amazing brands and innovators that have made Oregon famous, with many more on the verge of greatness. It seems that everyone you meet has a day job, but is also working on something of their very own creation on the side.
3. Shakespeare—and More
Say the word Ashland and most people can think of Shakespeare, but we love this Southern Valley gem for more reasons than that. Not only is the theater scene divine, but Ashland also produces fabulous pinots, is home to numerous first-class art galleries and has shopping in abundance, as well as class III rapids.
4. Crazy Races Around the State
If Oregon is great 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 incredibly 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. Oregonians love to make a weekend out of touring and tasting, from the mom-and-pop to the estate wineries, because 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 never predictable. Sometimes the sun peeks out, but often we brave the wind and the rain or or stay inside by the fire, admiring the ocean through the window. Either way, something about just being at the coast makes us happy. Choose from a multitude of adorable little seafaring towns dotted up and down the coast. We love them all!
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 sandy beaches of the Oregon Coast. Our state is wonderfully diverse.
8. Central Oregon’s 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 some vitamin D.
9. Secluded Hikes
Hikes, hikes and more 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 Incredible Coffee Scene
We know our coffee and it has a culture all it’s own here. Coffee snobs? Probably. Roasters have become famous in our favorite neighborhood coffee shops and we love to support them.
11. Portland “Keeping it Weird”
Portland is, indeed, pretty weird. This land of hipsters, experimental doughnuts, bikes, artsy 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. We can’t get enough of this weird city.
12. The Absence of Sales Tax
The price you see on the tag is always the price you pay, a luxury held by only four other states in the country. This privilege becomes obvious to whenever we travel out of state and purchase something. You’ll hear us say, “Oh, that’s right. You guys have sales tax here,” and not in our happy voice . . .
13. Our National Park
Crater Lake National Park is our state’s pride and glory, drawing international visitors who associate this gem with Oregon itself. Not only does it boast 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 enjoy the organic farms, family owned wineries and U-pick orchards. Hood River also boasts a 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 the requisite summertime scoop of ice cream from Mike’s Ice Cream on the hill.