Mike’s Likes: Oregon Edition
What’s up, familia? Mike from mitú here bringing you another Mike’s Likes – the series where I show you guys all the places, people, and things that I, well… like!
Now I’m a California boy, born and raised. I love L.A. more than anyone I know. But believe me when I tell you that the moment I stepped foot in the PNW (Pacific Northwest for those of you out of the loop) I had found my home away from home. My first visit to Oregon was in 2017, and I loved it so much I had my bachelor party there a year later! I don’t know if it’s the crisp air, the lush trees, or the crazy flavors in all of their incredible food but something makes this state special. There’s just a vibe in Oregon that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s a magical place that somehow feels totally civilized and totally wild at the same time. And if you think I’m being dramático, take a trip and see for yourself!
“But Mike, I don’t know anything about Oregon,” you say. I was once like you. Completely unaware of the beauty and joy that lies outside of the big city life of L.A. So I’ve put together this travel guide for all of you out there that want to explore everything Oregon has to offer. It’s got a little bit of everything, whether you’re into gorgeous scenes of nature or some of the best food and drink you’ve ever experienced. So follow me as I guide you through the whimsical, wonderful world of Oregon!
Portland Japanese Garden
Portland is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “Oregon,” so I wanted to be sure to choose just ONE spot in the city to make sure I showed the rest of the state some love. But of all the cool things to do in Portland, the Japanese Garden is by far my favorite. Not only is there a ton of unique plants and architecture at the Cultural Village, but you can grab some tasty Japanese tea and snacks at the tea house before heading out for more Portland expeditions!
When it comes to Mexican food and culture, we typically think of the southwestern states like California and Arizona. But nestled in the Willamette Valley of Oregon is a little taste of Mexico in a city called Woodburn. Woodburn became a major hub of Mexican immigration in the 1950’s and has remained a vibrant and diverse city for the last 70 years. In fact, each summer they put on a festival known as Fiesta Mexicana featuring food, music, and shopping for handmade items such as Guadalajaran clay masks.
Given the choice between busy cities and the great outdoors, I will almost always choose city life. I’ve never been much of a hiker or camper and I never understood the obsession with great views. That is, until I went to Crater Lake. The deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake is probably one of the most incredible natural sights I’ve ever seen. The water is impossibly blue and there are several hiking trails that offer beautiful views of the lake. If you’d rather kick back and relax while taking in those sweet views, look for upcoming info on the Crater Lake Trolley tours that take you on a narrated sightseeing tour around the perimeter!
With so many wonderful cities along the west coast and in the Willamette Valley Oregon, it might be easy to overlook Central Oregon. Big mistake. Bend is a wonderful little city where you can float the Deschutes River in the summer or ski in the winter, but one thing remains the same: Parrilla Grill. A solid little burrito joint that’s been serving Bend for 20 years, Parrilla Grill uses only fresh ingredients in all their food. Locally sourced salmon and meats along with the freshest veggies make this place a must-stop location for anyone visiting Oregon!
If you’re from the East Coast, you know what it’s like to see remnants of the first American settlers in old, hallowed halls. But here on the West Coast our history is a bit more wild, and Oregon is a huge part of how the West was won. I’m a major history geek, so when I heard there was one of the oldest settlements in the American West I was hooked. Along the coastline and a major part of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, Astoria is full of historical sights. You can literally feel the history in every corner of the city. From forts, theaters, and bridges there’s a ton of structures that have been around for centuries! Plus, for all your foodies out there, the seafood scene in Astoria is unreal! Honestly, fresh smoked fish hits different when you’re eating it right on the waterfront!
Like I said, the great thing about Oregon is the perfect blend of wild and civilization, and I think Multnomah Falls is a perfect symbol of this. Just a short drive outside of the busy city of Portland you’ll find this majestic waterfall in all of its natural glory. You can even take a shuttle from Portland if you’d rather not deal with parking. If you want to get a little closer, you can take a short hike up to Benson Bridge and get face to face with the falls. You know I’m all about looking good and eating good, so if you’ve got some extra time make a reservation to enjoy a meal at the lodge or buy some swag at the gift shop! Pro Mike’s Likes tip: the gift shop also sells lots of goodies made with the tasty marionberry, an Oregon delicacy that was actually cultivated by Oregon University in the fifties!
There you have it! The perfect Oregon trip for anybody who’s ready for a vacation unlike any other! Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go book my next Oregon trip ASAP.
Until next time, keep liking…and I’ll keep Miking!
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