7 Ways To Keep Portland Weird at #AACRAO2022

March 22, 2022
  • AACRAO Annual Meeting
  • AACRAO Gives
  • culture
  • travel
"Keep Portland Weird" painted in gold on a black wall.
In addition to the professional development and networking opportunities available at AACRAO's 107th Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, attendees will be able to get to know the unique side of the Rose City. 

The experience begins the second one lands in the city; Portland International Airport consistently takes the title as the top domestic airport in the U.S. Travelers can look forward to showcases of local art, food, shopping, and live music when flying into PDX. 

Thanks to our friends at Visit Portland, all Annual Meeting attendees receive free access to Portland's MAX transportation system; the next adventure is only a light rail, bus, or streetcar away. The red line in the rail system takes riders straight from the airport to the city's downtown hub of activity. It also connects to stops near all six AACRAO-selected hotels and the Oregon Convention Center.

After attending the various workshops and special events, hearing from the wide selection of sessions and featured speakers, and browsing the resources and opportunities in the Exhibit Hall, Annual Meeting attendees can get creative when keeping Portland weird in true AACRAO-style:

  • Dig In


    Portland is known for its notable cuisine options, cultural dining, and food trucks galore. From local coffee shops and famous bakeries to haunted restaurants and food-coma finds, there are plenty of eaterie options on every corner.

    • Voodoo Donuts: Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, this Portland pastry spot is a staple in the community. Annual Meeting attendees can expect a free sweet treat waiting for them outside of the Oregon Convention Center.
    • Lardo: Started as a food cart venture and grew into the thriving business it is today; this eaterie features some of Portland's best sandwiches and dirty fries.
    • Creepy's: Founded with the goal of giving customers "something to look at at all times," this spot is known for its creative decor and relaxed fare.
    • Rimsky-Korsakoffee House: With shaking tables and ghost stories aplenty, the experience at this coffee house has the description of being "casually threatening."
  • Drink Up


    Portland may be famous for its beer scene, but the area's bars are unique for their experiences. Wind down your evenings at one of Portland's special spots:

    • Karaoke Hell: Dante's bar features a live karaoke band every Monday. 
    • Ground Kontrol: A two-floor adult arcade that includes live music, vintage video games, pinball machines, and beer and wine options. They also offer Rock Band Karaoke, allowing performers to play any role.
    • Wyrd Leatherworks and Meadery: Nestled in the basement of an old Portland building, this medieval-themed mead hall includes beverage options made from local honey.
    • McMenamins: A decommissioned schoolhouse that now serves as a popular pub.
    • Living Room Theaters: A downtown art house featuring indie and foreign films with a gourmet menu and full bar.
    • Laurelhurst Theater: This Portland landmark built in 1923 offers nine beers on tap, fresh pizza, and four auditoriums showing revival screenings.


  • Get Cultural 


    Portland is known for its rich culture and celebrations. From live events, BIPOC-owned businesses, and historical appreciation opportunities, there's no shortage of accessing the city's cultural moments:

  • Give Back


    Giving back is one of AACRAO's Signature Initiatives. The nonprofit that we are highlighting for this year's Annual Meeting is College Possible - Oregon, which supports students of diverse backgrounds in their collegiate journey and is one of the largest nonprofit access and success organizations. Learn more about how you can get involved.

  • Learn More


    Portland has different types of museums to choose from. Visitors can view prestigious galleries or explore the nooks and crannies of the city's strangest collections:

    • Portland Art Museum: This historic gallery is the largest in Oregon and hosts drawings, prints, photography, Asian art, Native American art, Northwest art, European art, and American art from the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum is currently featuring a Frida Kahlo and Mexican Modernism exhibition.
    • Center for Native American Art: Part of the Portland Art Museum, this collection represents the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Center for Native American Art.
    • Five Oaks Museum: Once known as the Washington County Historical Society, the museum presents pieces that explain the history of the area and the influential people that created the community.
    • Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art: Part of Portland State University, this gallery is packed with art from international artists, faculty, and students.
    • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry: Explore the massive museum that allows for live lab demonstrations, a look into the stars through the museum's planetarium, and a submarine tour. The museum hosts science talks with beer and wine for those seeking "after dark" events (21+).
    • The Hat Museum: Showcasing more than 1,000 hats, this museum is sure to blow your hat away.
    • Freakybuttrue Peculiarium: This unique spot is known for its creepy but exciting pieces, such as an alien autopsy table and Al Capone's safe.
    • The Zymoglyphic Museum: This museum includes a menagerie of natural art, decay, and curiosity. 
    • Movie Madness: A museum that doubles as a video rental store, this spot presents obscure and peculiar films.
    • Portland Chinatown Museum: The first museum to celebrate Chinese American history in Oregon, this museum shares the history of the city's Old Town Chinatown.
    • Japanese American Museum of Oregon: This collection showcase the culture and history of the Japanese American community.
    • Hellenic-American Cultural Center & Museum: This location is devoted to celebrating Greek culture, featuring art, vases, poetry, and philosophy.
    • Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education: This center focuses on informing the community of the Jewish experience and engaging in intercultural conversations.


  • Support Small


    Portland is often known as a shopper's haven as Oregon does not have a sales tax. Visitors can browse the local businesses and claim unique finds in the city's hidden gems. You can stroll the town or hit one of these neighborhoods to learn how to shop like a local:

    • Near the Oregon Convention Center: The Lloyd Center has over 150 stores, a year-round farmer's market, and is close to the downtown area.
    • Pearl District: Home of the famous Powell City of Books store, also known as the world's largest independently run bookstore, prominent retailers, and local favorites.
    • Northwest: This neighborhood is known for its century-old Victorian-style storefronts and specialty boutiques.
    • Old Town Chinatown: This spot has made-in-Portland souvenirs and home goods.
    • Alberta Arts District: Famous for its galleries, boutiques, and indie shops, this area is the perfect location for leisure shopping.
    • Hawthorne: This shopping district showcases the funky side of the city, featuring vintage shops and Portland style.


  • Wander Around


    Portland is known for its vast greenery across the city. Home of the world's tiniest park and one of the most extensive urban forests in the U.S., there are plenty of spots available to explore the city's flora and fauna:

    • Mills End Park: This mini-park consists of one tree and is only two feet wide.
    • Portland Japanese Garden: Considered one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan, the garden is unique for showcasing all four seasons.
    • Lu San Chinese Gardens: A beautiful botanic garden that is a collaboration between Portland and Suzhou, its sister city in China.
    • Forest Park: Offers over 80 miles of walkable trails; this enormous urban forest provides refuge for hundreds of native wildlife species.
    • Portland International Rose Garden: This unique spot is the oldest operated public rose test garden in the U.S. and home to over 10,000 rose bushes.


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