Oregon is a beautiful state in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Its largest city is Portland, which is at the intersection of the state's two biggest rivers - the Columbia and the Willamette.
Oregon is home to the Oregon Trail, not the game that taught you about dysentery, broken axles, and the dangers of fording rivers, but the actual thing. You can experience the trail's end at Oregon City. Oregon has become more urban over the past half-century, while still remaining true to its great views of the Pacific Ocean. Salem is the state capital.
THE REGIONS OF OREGON
There are six distinct regions worth visiting in Oregon. The Portland Metro Area, the Willamette Valley, the Oregon Coast, the Columbia River Gorge, Eastern Oregon, and Southern Oregon.
The Portland Metro Area is the most populous area in Oregon, with over 2 million people. It includes Portland and its suburbs.
The Willamette Valley, which makes up the fertile heart of Oregon includes great wine, great food, and laid-back atmosphere. Major landmarks of the region include Eugene and state capital Salem.
You might recognize the Oregon Coast from thousands of car commercials. Tortuous Highway 101 is used constantly in commercials with its cliffs overlooking the ocean giving the perfect background to sell any car, whether a Vespa or a Hummer. Its coast is one of the most beautiful in the country and can't be missed. Welcoming oceanside locales include the charming Astoria, the tourist haven Seaside, scenic Cannon Beach, dune-filled Florence?, and the breweries and aquariums of Newport?.
The Columbia River Gorge? and northern Oregon is one of the most beautiful areas of the state. Be sure to see Hood River?.
Eastern Oregon? is a region of extreme weather variation and small-town values. It includes some of the best skiing in the United States. Check out the Deschutes Brewery in Bend?.
Southern Oregon? feels like California's hemp-woven hippie hat. A bit more like its neighbor to the south, the region still has the Oregon eccentricity and charm. Take in the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland and have a wilderness adventure in Grant's Pass.
National Parks of Oregon
Crater Lake National Park
EATING IN OREGON
Oregon is a state that has its own very special sets of food and drink. Due to its reputation as the beer mecca of the United States, if not the world, brew pubs are found in almost every medium and large city in the state.
If you need your food fresh or organic, Oregon is a great place to be. Farmers markets are found across the state in city squares, making the place a great destination for "locavores."
Oregon has quite a few local restaurant chains that offer a great taste of Oregon at a low price.
Laughing Planet - An organic Mexican food place with dinosaurs on every table for the children. The burritos are large enough to make a meal each, and the quesodillas are overstuffed with flavor. A great place to go, no matter what your age (although you may get annoyed by the screaming children if you go in the afternoon). Locations in Portland and Eugene.
Burgerville USA - A chain of burger joints that extend all the way north into southern Washington and down south to Albany. This place tries to portray itself as a 50s-style diner, an effort that it succeeds at intermittently. It succeeds in making great food with all northwest-grown ingredients. Particularly noted are its seasonal choices, such as the Walla Walla onion rings or the sweet potato fries. Check out the milkshakes for the best you've ever had from a fast food stop. Located around the state.
McMenamin's - The defining chain of the state of Oregon. One of the originators of the brewpub movement in the early 80s, the chain has expanded from Portland to take over most of the state. The atmosphere in these restaurants is always positive and laid-back, and a great all-ages stop. The food usually is mediocre, but the beer is great. The chain is also known for its venues like the Bagdad Theater in Portland's Hawthorne district, the Kennedy School Theater, and the Crystal Ballroom, one of Portland premiere music venues. You can't say you've truly been to Oregon unless you've been to a McMenamin's. Locations across Oregon.