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21 Awesome Things To Do When You Go To Oregon

Got a long weekend to explore Portland and the Oregon Coast? Here's a step-by-step guide from a Great Northwest native (me) who's sampled a lot of what Oregon has to offer.

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Take this route for a weekend of adventure!

Design by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Using this map you'll be able to see and taste 5 distinct Oregon cities. I took a long weekend, taking Thursday, Friday and Monday off of work. While Thursday and Monday were primarily travel days (I was coming from NYC) I was still able to visit each city and spend a couple of hours taking in the sights and flavors. I spent most of my time in Portland and Newport.

1. Arrive in Portland and feast on oysters at Block+Tackle

Photograph by Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed. Design by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Thursday night: Whenever I land in the Pacific Northwest the first thing I want to do is slurp back some oysters. Block + Tackle has a great variety that's constantly changing. Their oyster menu is super helpful, listing flavor profiles, size and of course location. Pro tip: Try to make it into their happy hour when oysters are $1 off.

2. Gather your friends and grab Tacos and Margaritas at Por Qué No?

Por Qué No? has one of my favorite margaritas ever. It's perfectly pucker-inducing, with just enough salt on the rim. I usually go for the classic, but you can customize yours with their variety of fruity aguas frescas. Get the pint size; you'll regret it if you don't.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Local tip: I'd recommend going to the Por Qué No? location on Hawthorne. I'm all about dining al fresco with friends, and this location has a great patio with plenty of space. And if you're there in the summer or fall, it probably won't even be raining!

3. Eat as many donuts as possible at Blue Star Donuts.

Friday morning: Donuts are one of my favorite things to wake up to while traveling. At Blue Star Donuts they have a wide selection of donuts made from a classic brioche recipe originating in the south of France. AKA fancy donuts!! Pro tip: Get the Hard Apple Cider Fritter.

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Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Everyday they serve about 15-20 different donuts. I'd recommend getting at least three kinds, if it's your first (and maybe last) time there. You can always get your leftover donuts to go and snack on them later. I know I did!

The Washington St. location is just a quick jump to the next stop on the tour: Powell's Books.

4. Find a book and get lost in the maze that is Powell's Books.

Powell's Books is truly a destination bookstore, and the perfect place to get lost (mentally and physically) on a rainy Northwest day. While you're there, check out fellow BuzzFeeder Isaac Fitzgerald's beautiful and browsable new book, Pen and Ink.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Don't miss the Rare Books Section at Powell's. Exploring the hundreds of tattered old volumes, you can easily pretend you're sneaking around the Restricted Section of the Hogwarts Library. I was pretty sure Harry Potter himself was there, hiding under his invisibility cloak, the whole time.

5. Have a "stick to your ribs" meal at Pine State Biscuits.

Friday early afternoon: Pine State Biscuits are AMAZING! I had my first Shrimp n' Grits here and I'm pretty sure its some of the best I'll have.

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The biscuits and gravy are to die for. I got the Moneyball with shiitake mushroom gravy. That's a biscuit, gravy AND an egg. Heaven never felt so close. These biscuits will keep you full on your drive to the coast.

6. Road trip to Cannon Beach to see the famous Goonies rock

Photograph by Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed. Design by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Friday afternoon: Whenever I go to the Oregon Coast I've always got to stop by Cannon Beach. An easy 1.5 hour drive from Portland and such an iconic image of the rugged Oregon coastline, it would be a shame if you missed it. Park your car, take off your shoes and walk along the beach towards Haystack Rock. You may recognize it from The Goonies, but a real Northwesterner knows its more than just a movie location.

7. Explore the mysterious tide pools at Haystack Rock.

Look closely and you'll find a wide variety of sea anemones and starfish in all sizes and colors.

8. Build the ultimate sand castle.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Hone your skills and get prepared for Cannon Beach's Annual Sandcastle Contest. This insane contest has been going on for over 50 years, and attracts sandcastle lovers from near and far.

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10. Grab a treat for the road at Cannon Beach Bakery.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Before you head down the coast, stop by the Cannon Beach Bakery for something sweet. I opted for the Marionberry Turnover. Pro tip: When in Oregon, always go for Marionberry-flavored anything; it never fails.

11. Stop at the roadside Viewpoints.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

On your drive from Cannon Beach to Tillamook it might be annoying to keep stopping and going, getting out, and getting back in the car, but in the end you won't regret what you see.

12. Reach dairy nirvana at the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Photograph by Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed. Design by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Friday evening: Come to the Tillamook Cheese Factory and take a self guided tour, aka eat a ton of samples of cheese. Their famous loaf is available in all their flavors. This is the time to bulk up.

Get cozy with a grilled cheese sandwich.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Craving something warm and cheesy? The answer is the Centennial Grilled Cheese at Tillamook's Creamery Cafe, made with their Sharp Cheddar and Vintage White Medium Cheddar on sourdough. I opted for the classic combo and got it with tomato soup.

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Share some ice cream...or don't.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Every time I'm back in the Northwest I stock up on Tillamook's ice cream by the gallon. Its just so creamy and dreamy I can't resist. And with local flavors like Oregon Strawberry and Marionberry Pie how can you?!

I shared the 5 scoop sampler with a waffle dish. Which is the way to go. My favorite flavor as usual was their Chocolate Peanut Butter, but a close second was their Oregon Hazelnut and Salted Caramel. Once you've awoken from your ice cream coma take the short ride to Netarts Bay before sunset.

Each batch of sea salt is meticulously collected from the bay, heated and left to slowly drain. The process is careful and precise. Nothing is done with speed so that each batch of salt crystalizes perfectly without shattering. Watching Ben talk about his salt is like watching Santa talk about the next snowfall. Its passionate and awe-inspiring. Who knew salt could be so magical? After your time in Netarts Bay start your drive to Newport.

14. Grab a seat and watch the epic sunset at Netarts Bay.

Photograph by Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed. Design by Chris Ritter / BuzzFeed

Local secret: Head down Netarts Bay Rd. to enjoy the sunset on the bay. After the sun goes down stop into The Schooner for a drink and fish and chips. Click here to find local sunset times.

16. Grab a Coors, cause we're going crabbing!

Not an ad, just a lifetime of experience: My family has been going crabbing on the Oregon Coast for years, and one thing I've learned is that Coors are more or less essential to a successful crabbing trip.

Crabbing on the Oregon Coast is a unique experience you'll remember for the rest of your life!

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Find some crabbing pots, get out on a little dingy and get on the water. The Great Northwest is best explored on or near the water. Today and probably tomorrow you'll be catching Dungeoness Crabs.

If you don't have your own boat or crabbing pots they're easy to rent. We rented ours through the Embarcadero. When crabbing use chicken or mink as bait, that way those pesky seals won't bother you. Pro tip: The best crabs can be found in Yaquina Bay near the center slough. Make sure you don't get beached in the low tide!

17. Get a tour of Rogue Brewers on the Bay.

Oregon is famous worldwide for its beer, and there's no better place to learn about the process than Rogue Brewery, on Yaquina Bay. You can sample 40 beers on tap and a selection of unique pub-only and limited-edition "nano-brews." Get a tour of the facilities for just $5, with a tasting, or $1 without.

18. Finish the night with a rager of a bonfire on the beach.

Ryan Oskin / Instagram / Via Instagram: @ryanoskin

Saturday evening: Pile up the logs and light that on FIRE!! To make it authentically Northwest get some Oregon Sinfire cinnamon whiskey to pass around the fire. Local secret: When you get hungry order from the Shiloh Inn at Newport. It may be a hotel restaurant but their tuna melts and burgers are perfect for dinner on the beach.

19. Nurse your hangover with breakfast at Pig n' Pancake.

Sunday morning: Pig 'n Pancake is an Oregon Coast institution and the best place to end your weekend. Found only on the coast (well there's one in Portland) you just HAVE to go there every time. For me it symbolizes waking up on the Pacific Ocean. I'd HIGHLY recommend getting the Dungeoness Crab Eggs Benedict. More of a sweet breakfast person? Try anything with the Oregon strawberry compote.

20. Roll up your sleeves and explore the Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Lauren Zaser / BuzzFeed

Sunday afternoon: The Hatfield Marine Science Center is a great place to take kids or to stroll around while you wait for your tour to begin at Rogue Brewery. Ever wonder what a sea cucumber feels like? Head for the touch tanks.

21. Extra time? Take a stroll on Newport's Historic Bayfront.

Get a crazy assortment of salt water taffy at Newport's Candy Shoppe to enjoy on your journey home. Local secret: Feeling psychedelic? Walk upstairs to Jambo World Crafts and prepare to get mesmerized in the their black light poster gallery.

Wave goodbye to the coast and head back up to Portland for your Monday flight out.

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