It’s pretty well known that Portland is a strange place. Non-native Portlandians find the city a bit peculiar at minimum, and sometimes see it as one of the most bizarre places on planet Earth. Portland has embraced its unusual culture, as evidenced by the fact that you can’t drive three blocks through downtown without seeing a “Keep Portland Weird” bumper sticker. Now here’s what you might not expect: despite being one of the strangest cities around, Portland is also one of the most romantic cities in America! Of course, this is Portland’s version of romance, so we won’t be discussing the stereotypical romantic activities you can find in big cities… we’re gonna get weird with it for your Portland travel plans.

Washington Park

Let’s ease into this idea of Portland being romantic with a destination that’s universally enjoyable. I’m talking about the 410 acres of plant life, animals, and premier Portland attractions that make up Washington Park. For anyone whose romantic partner is obsessed with animals, you’ve got to check out the Oregon Zoo. The biggest attraction in Washington Park, and consistently in the top three Portland travel destinations, Oregon Zoo hosts nearly 2,000 animals spanning 230+ species and has a strong conservation programme.

But that’s not all. Washington Park features plenty of family-friendly fun, including hiking trails, playground equipment, and the Portland Children’s Museum! Once the kiddos are distracted, you and your boo can take a romantic stroll through Washington Park’s lush and classy Japanese Gardens. Take a few hours to hit the highlighted romantic attractions, or spend a whole day exploring this gorgeous park — there’s no wrong choice.

Portland Japanese garden Washington Park

Japanese garden. Photo: Laurascudder via Wikimedia Commons

Cuddle Up to Me

Cuddle Up to Me is a Portland business that offers people the chance to take a class on a subject you don’t see offered in many colleges or universities — snuggling! Now, if seeing your partner cuddle up to a stranger feels like a bit too much weirdness for you, don’t worry. Cuddle Up to Me offers partner sessions where couples can learn new cuddle techniques and improve on old ones all while snuggling one another! The staff of professional cuddlers are there to provide support, education, and soothing physical touch for those who want it.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden is a botanical paradise. Lan Su is widely considered the most authentic Chinese Garden in the United States, a designation that has earned the park hundreds of thousands of visitors. As just one example of what the park offers, Its summer series “Jazz in the Garden” allows guests to listen to chill live music while they relax in the splendor of nature. Consider attending the garden away from peak popularity hours if you want the romantic experience of a sunlit stroll through beautiful flowers with no one around but you and yours.

Lan su chinese garden portland lotus flower andrew parodi

Lan su chinese garden Photo: Andrew Parodi

Voodoo Doughnuts

Everyone pictures their wedding day differently, but a few details remain consistent between our daydreams. The dress is always gorgeous, the flowers are in bloom, the decorations are festive, and of course the local doughnut shop owner is presiding over every perfect second. Wait, what? Yes, that’s right, you can finally get married in a doughnut shop. Although Voodoo Doughnuts is most famous for their creatively delicious pastries, the shop also sells a variety of wedding packages. Each package contains fluffy pastries and cool refreshments. If getting married is a little too much romance for you, feel free to just swing by the shop and grab whichever doughnut catches your fancy.

The Witch’s Castle

Somewhere in Portland sits a roofless, long-abandoned building. Steeped in mystery and rumors of murder, The Witch’s Castle is the perfect place to have an excuse to hold each other tightly. The structure was built at an unknown time, although we are sure it wasn’t recent. Given the lore surrounding this place, you should probably avoid camping here. That said, if you’re considering where to stay in Portland for a weekend, this link will keep you covered. It may not be great for sleeping, but the Castle is an excellent place to take some couple-selfies or get some candid nature shots. Despite the rumors, you probably won’t be murdered at The Witch’s Castle, but do take care to watch for bears during the mile-long hike that takes you there.

The witch's castle portland

The witch’s castle. Photo: Finetooth via Wikipedia

Romance and weirdness are often seen as polar opposites, but Portland proves you can have your cake and eat it too. Speaking of cake, there are plenty of romantic restaurants in Portland as well — but we’ll let you find those on your own. After all, exploring a new city with your love to find a delicious bite to eat can be pretty romantic all by itself!

Find out more about Portland travel on the tourism board website

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