Nine things to do in Portland over fall break

By Tessa Rodgers | October 11, 2019 6:17pm

The Oregon Coast is less than three hours from Portland and can be just the getaway you need after midterms.

Media Credit: Paula Ortiz Cazaubon / The Beacon

Among the chaos of quizzes and midterms, you may have forgotten to notice the leaves changing color from green to vibrant orange or the sun setting sooner and sooner behind the trees. But after long weeks of reading textbooks and lectures, fall break is finally here. It’s the season for fuzzy hoodies, pumpkin-spiced everything, and wanting to stay in bed all day. For students staying in Portland over break, here are some ways to best utilize your time off.

Going to pumpkin patches over fall break is an easy way to enjoy the activities of the season without any schoolwork to juggle.

by Paula Ortiz Cazaubon / The Beacon

1. Fazio Farms Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch

Get into the Halloween spirit and start carving your pumpkins and decorating. But first, you’ll need a pumpkin. So, put on your boots and head out to the farms.

Fazio Farms invites everyone to wander through the corn maze, climb through hayland, visit the goats and pick some pumpkins. Fazio Farms features tractor hayrides, pumpkin ring toss and a haunted corn maze to get lost in. They also offer produce in their store like jam, frozen blueberries, pickles and frozen puree squash year-round that are locally grown and produced.  

Forest Park is one of the prettiest and closest places that has multiple hikes for students to do.

by Paula Ortiz Cazaubon / The Beacon

2. Hikes in Portland

Portland is blessed with incredible hiking trails just outside your doorstep. Whether it is the greenery that surrounds the city or the numerous urban parks just around the corner, Portland is bursting with outdoor adventures. Take a moment this break and escape to a pocket of forest, away from the campus bubble.   

Portland’s Forest Park is one of the country’s largest urban forest reserves with over 80 miles of trails. Walk multiple trails like Ridge Trail or Lower Macleay trail and discover a forgotten stone house or Portland’s largest fir tree

If you are interested in seeing some waterfalls, the Columbia River Gorge has many hikes with dozens of beautiful waterfalls. Wahclella Falls and Munra Falls are shorter hikes a bit farther off-campus. Enjoy some fresh air and immerse yourself in nature. 

3. Oregon Zoo

For $17.95 a person, you can explore Portland’s beautiful zoo. From swamp monkeys to polar bears, the zoo has an array of unique and exotic animals. According to the Oregon Zoo, their facility currently holds more than 230 species of animals. It is also home to 20 endangered species, including African painted dogs, California condors and Asian elephants. The zoo also has an extensive plant collection throughout its animal exhibits and specialized gardens. 

There's only one thing better than cute animals - cute baby animals. Within the last few months, the zoo has had some new additions, featuring orphaned pups, baby flamingos and a baby armadillo. 

Visitor7 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (].

4. Portland Saturday Market

If you’re in the market for local, handcrafted goods, Portland’s Saturday market is a popular destination, featuring artists, cooks and craftsmen. According to the Portland Saturday market, it is one of the largest operating arts and crafts market in the country. 

Support Portland's small business owners and explore this large gathering of artists, their handmade wares, food carts, drinks and entertainment. With jewelry, home accessories, photo art, and health rubs, this market is a great place to get unique gifts for the upcoming holidays.

5. Thrift stores

If you’re feeling nostalgic for a certain decade or look, Portland's local thrift stores are a great place to visit. The thrill of thrift stores is that there is always something new because their selection changes every week, allowing each trip to feel like a treasure hunt. 

Better Bargains Thrift Store, House of Vintage and Buffalo Exchange are just a few places located in downtown Portland to start your second-hand retail experience. They offer large and diverse selections of clothing and accessories. Buy some disco pants, denim cutoffs or a pleather vest.

McMenamins is a Portland staple. The closest one to campus is the pub/theater in St. Johns, where you can enjoy drinks if you're 21 or catch a movie in the dome.

by Paula Ortiz Cazaubon / The Beacon

6. The Movies

Take a break from Hulu and Netflix and visit the movie theatre. Combined with tasty snacks, buttery popcorn and soda, the big screen aesthetic has a unique ability to sweep you away. Watch new releases like Joker, Maleficent, Jexi, ZombieLand or Little Monsters. The St. Johns Theatre and Pub is a nifty independent movie theatre which offers cheap tickets and an authentic Portland experience. Grab a beer or a large popcorn and support your local businesses. 

7. Haunted House

A good adrenaline rush that comes with the feeling of being scared is too good to pass up. Visit a local haunted house and get spooky.

The Underhill Haunted House offers four terrifying experiences under one gigantic roof. From victorian-inspired mansion to a Clown Factory featuring IT to a Kids Monster Fest, this haunted house is sure to scare your pants off. Portland has a great selection of other spine-chilling haunted houses close to campus, houses like The Fear PDX or Fearlandia will surely get your heart racing.

The Oregon Coast is less than three hours from Portland and can be just the getaway you need after midterms.

by Paula Ortiz Cazaubon / The Beacon

8. Oregon Coast

If you’re in for a little road trip, the Oregon Coast is a captivating place, great for outdoor exploration. Take a moment and go appreciate a breathtaking oceanfront view. Visit iconic spots like Cannon Beach, Tillamook Cheese Factory, Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Oregon Dunes or the Indian Beach Trail. 

Bring a camera or a picnic and enjoy the outdoors before it gets too cold.

9. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is an iconic musical horror comedy film following the trials of newly engaged couple Brad Majors and Janet Weiss and features a mad scientist and his spooky lair of inexhaustible oddities. The Clinton Street Theater has been showing The Rocky Horror Picture show every week since 1978 on Saturday nights at midnight.

Tessa Rodgers is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at