Oregon

Rugged coastlines, fascinating volcanic mountain ranges, and crystal clear lakes: Oregon is a state full of breathtaking landscapes and natural wonders! Follow us to this unique paradise in the Northwest of America.

Oregon facts

Capital Salem
Area about 255,000 km²
Einwohner about 4.2 million
Location in the northwest of the USA
Nickname The Beaver State
State animal American beaver, Western meadowlark
Time zone UTC −8 (Pacific), UTC −7 (Mountain)

Oregon: location and population

The US state of Oregon is located in the northwest of the USA and has borders with four other states. To the north, you will find Washington, to the east, Idaho, and to the south, California, and Nevada. A coastline of more than 580 km runs along the Pacific Ocean to the west.

With an area of about 255,000 km², Oregon ranks ninth among the largest US states. However, this area is home to only about 4.2 million inhabitants. Thus, Oregon is rather sparsely populated.

The largest cities in Oregon

The majority of Oregon's population is concentrated in the Willamette Valley in the northwestern part of the state, where also the three cities of Portland, Salem, and Eugene are located. The largest cities in Oregon by population are:

City Population
Portland 648,000
Salem 170,000
Eugene 169,000
Gresham 111,000
Hillsboro 107,000

Nature and climate

Almost the entire state territory of Oregon is dominated by a mountainous landscape. With an average altitude of just over 1,000 m, Oregon is one of the nation's highest states. Everywhere you go, you'll find traces of volcanic activity that once piled up mighty mountain ranges like the Cascade Mountains or the Oregon Coast Range.

About 60 % of the entire state territory is covered with dense forest areas. Typical for the Beaver State are tree species such as the douglas fir, the giant redwood, or the ponderosa pine. Oregon is also home to unique and diverse wildlife. During your hikes, you might encounter chipmunks, beavers, porcupines, coyotes, wolves, or black bears.

Climatically, there are sometimes wide variations from region to region in Oregon. Although most of the state benefits from a mild, oceanic climate, summers in southwestern Oregon can be dry and hot. The northeast has a steppe climate, and the high elevation areas and high deserts in the east have a subarctic climate with cold, snowy winters and very dry summers.

Best time to travel to Oregon

Your best time in Oregon depends on your plans: the multifaceted state on the Pacific Ocean offers perfect conditions for surfers as well as for cyclists and hiking fans.

Oregon in spring

The Beaver State really comes alive in April! With temperatures around 15°C, you can go for long hikes in the Willamette Valley. The first rosebuds at the famous Portland International Rose Test Garden are sure to put a smile on your face, too.

Oregon in summer

Those who favor warm temperatures and little rain should visit Oregon between June and September. In the coastal region around the city of Portland, average temperatures range from 22 to 27°C – perfect for beach vacations and outdoor activities on the water.

Traveling to Oregon

Portland International Airport is by far the most important hub for air travel in Oregon, serving about 20 million passengers annually. However, the Beaver State is also home to several other airports. The airports with the highest passenger volume in Oregon are:

  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • Eugene Airport (EUG)
  • Rogue Valley International - Medford Airport (MFR)
  • Redmond Municipal Airport (RDM)

You can book flights to Portland International Airport from Frankfurt in Germany, for example, with American Airlines. Usually, a stopover in Dallas or Charlotte is necessary on your way to the west coast of the USA. If you are traveling from Singapore in Asia, you will most likely have to make two stopovers, for example, in Doha and Seattle.

You can book flights to Portland International Airport from Frankfurt in Germany, for example, with American Airlines. Usually, a stopover in Dallas or Charlotte is necessary on your way to the west coast of the USA. If you are traveling from Singapore in Asia, you will most likely have to make two stopovers, for example, in Doha and Seattle.

Travel authorization Oregon

If you are a citizen of one of the countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program (e.g., the DACH region, Japan, Australia), you are very lucky! You usually don't need a US visa to get to your dream destination Oregon. Instead, you can apply for an ESTA travel authorization. This allows you to enter the United States relatively easily and cheaply and stay there for 90 days without a visa.

ESTA – visa-free to the USA

With an ESTA, you can stay 90 days visa-free in the USA. Apply online now!

Airport transfer in Oregon

When arriving at the largest airport in Portland, you can use the following transfer options:

Taxi from Portland Airport

Portland Airport is located about 14 km northeast of the city center. A cab ride from the airport to midtown will cost you about $35 on average.

Public transport from Portland Airport

The MAX light rail Red Line is a convenient, fast, and inexpensive way to get from the airport to downtown Portland. The ride takes about 40 minutes and costs $2.50 for adults. Trains run daily between 4:45 am and 11:50 pm.

Shuttle from Flughafen Portland

In Portland, many hotels near the airport offer a free shuttle service. The shuttle departure point is located at the lower terminal entrance near the parking garage.

National parks and natural wonders in Oregon

Snow-capped mountains, pristine coastlines, and tree-lined hills – Oregon is full of natural wonders and breathtaking views. These five highlights are so fascinating; they more than deserve a spot on your travel bucket list.

Crater Lake National Park

When you gaze upon deep blue Crater Lake, you'll immediately understand why Oregon's indigenous people treat this place with so much respect. The deepest lake in the USA reaches down to 594 m and was formed by the volcanic eruption of Mount Mazama about 7,700 years ago.

On a boat trip on this unique stretch of water, you can get up close to the Wizard Island volcanic cone near the west shore. Always watch out for the Old Man of the Lake, a centuries-old tree trunk that has been floating upright in the water since at least the 19th century.

Painted Hills

Amid the colors and shapes of the Painted Hills in central Oregon, you'll feel like you're on another planet. The different layers were formed millions of years ago from giant oak and redwood forests as well as volcanic ash. If you look closely, you may also discover one of the thousands of fossils hidden within the fascinating rock formations.

Deschutes National Forest

Near the city of Bend stretches the dense forest area of the Deschutes National Forest. While hiking through this pristine nature, you will probably also come across the Newberry Volcano and Paulina Lake and East Lake.

In 1966, the lava field in front of the volcano, called Big Obsidian Flow, served as a training ground for the three astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission to practice walking on the moon.

Smith Rock State Park

More than 20 million years ago, Smith Rock, located in central Oregon, was formed during a volcanic eruption. Today, the striking rock is a mecca for climbers from all over the world. The ultimate challenge here is the 90 m high rock pillar called Monkey Face, waiting to be conquered by courageous climbers.

Your efforts will be more than rewarded: once you reach the top, you will have a magnificent view of the Crooked River, which meanders through a breathtaking landscape in the valley.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

The second-largest river in North America, the Columbia River in northern Oregon, cuts deep into the scenery between the mountains of the Cascade Range. Along its course, you'll encounter countless waterfalls, dense woodlands, and an abundance of wildflowers.

However, outdoor enthusiasts appreciate the river and its strong current for another reason: the Columbia River offers ideal conditions for kayaking, kite surfing, and many other types of water sports.

Top 10 sightseeing highlights Oregon

With all the Oregon highlights, you don't know where to start? These ten attractions are the most popular in Oregon and deserve a spot high on your travel list:

  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Mount Hood
  • Multnomah Falls
  • Haystack Rock
  • Wildlife Safari
  • Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
  • Pittock Mansion
  • Oregon Zoo
  • Portland Japanese Garden
  • Silver Falls State Park

City highlights in Oregon

Oregon has more than just breathtaking nature to offer. It also features amazing cities. These four are our favorites:

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City highlights Portland

Vibrant, unconventional, imaginative – you won't be able to escape the lifestyle of Oregon's largest city, Portland. The cultural hub awaits you with a multitude of art galleries and museums as well as extensive parks and hundreds of rooftop gardens.

After a long stroll through Portland, you can relax in one of the many pubs, which often serve beer from their own brewery.

Be mesmerized by these city highlights in Portland:

  • Pittock Mansion
  • Oregon Zoo
  • Portland Japanese Garden
  • Portland Art Museum
  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

City highlights Bend

Bend, at the foot of the Cascade Mountains, is not only surrounded by natural wonders. You'll even find a volcano within the city limits! Aside from the fiery mountain, Bend is all about recreation, leisure, and outdoor activities.

At Bend Whitewater Park, you'll have plenty of opportunities for boating or water sports. If you prefer to stay dry, you can leave Bend for a hike or bike ride in the Deschutes National Forest featuring the Newberry National Volcanic Area.

Don’t miss out on these city highlights in Bend:

  • High Desert Museum
  • Deschutes National Forest
  • Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint
  • Tumalo State Park
  • Lava River Cave

City highlights Salem

In Salem, Oregon's state capital, you'll immediately notice the striking Art Déco government building, topped with a gilded statue of the Oregon Pioneer.

This charming college town on the Willamette River features a variety of cultural highlights and events, including the World Beat Festival, Salem Art Fair and Festival, and Salem Film Festival.

These city highlights in Salem are a must-see:

  • The Oregon Garden
  • Hallie Ford Museum of Art
  • Oregon State Capitol
  • Gilbert House Children's Museum
  • Kay Woolen Mill

City highlights Eugene

In the college town of Eugene at the southern end of the Willamette Valley, you can enjoy an interesting mix of cultural highlights and outdoor activities.

For example, you can challenge your endurance on mile-long hiking and biking trails around the city, as well as admire the artwork at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

These city highlights belong on your travel bucket list in Eugene:

  • Shelton McMurphey Johnson House
  • Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
  • Museum of Natural and Cultural History
  • Cascades Raptor Center
  • Hendricks Park

Road trip in Oregon

The best way to travel the magnificent Beaver State is on a road trip. Follow us to a series of Oregon highlights that will blow your mind!

Oregon Coast Trail

Whether by car, by motorcycle, or on a bike tour – the coastal route that runs directly along the Pacific Ocean is a must if you want to get to know Oregon and its people.
Along the 585-kilometer route, you'll encounter rugged cliffs, roaring waves, long dunes, evergreen forests, and charming seaside towns.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach, Oregon's picture-perfect sand beach, is located near Portland on the border to Washington. The unique contrast of dark rocks and the cobalt blue waters of the Pacific will remain in your memory for a long time.

Multnomah Falls

The huge Multnomah Falls are one of the most visited natural wonders in the Pacific Northwest of the USA. The waterfall, fed by underground springs, plunges 188 m into the depths and passes through five layers of lava rock.

Whale-Watching near Newport

You can see the giants of the oceans just outside the city of Newport. Whale-watching boat tours depart from the coastal town several times a day and bring you up close to the world's largest marine mammals.

Mount Hood

The dormant volcano Mount Hood is the highest elevation in Oregon at 3,425 m. Located near Portland, the mountain is a popular destination for snowshoeing, snowmobiling, or skiing in the winter months. In summer, you can play golf or relax at Trillium Lake.

Instagram hotspots Oregon

Oh, how beautiful it is in Oregon! You'll definitely have to show your friends and family – we've already tracked down the best places for the perfect Instagram photo.

Here are our top 5 Instagram hotspots in Oregon:

  • Multnomah Falls
  • Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
  • Smith Rock
  • Portland Pubs
  • Haystack Rock

Cuisine in Oregon

Oregon's innovative food scene is one of the culinary trendsetters in the USA. Many award-winning chefs and restaurants originate from the idyllic state on the West Coast, where the calendar of events also revolves around food – from the Oregon Truffle Festival in January and the Oregon Cheese Festival in March to the Feast Portland gourmet festival in September.

In Oregon, you'll find a multitude of microbreweries producing top-notch craft beer. And that's not all: Oregon's hillsides are also home to outstanding wines. There are as many as 17 vineyards in the Beaver State, which is especially known for its Pinot Noir.

Typical regional specialties in Oregon also include:

  • Marionberries and Marionberry pie
  • Dungeness crabs
  • Moonstruck Chocolates (By the way, the sweet treats from the Portland chocolate company are also perfect as a gift for Valentine's Day!)
  • Tillamook Cheese (Tip: It's best to take the free tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory and try the freshest Tillamook cheese on site).

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Oregon fun facts

You just can't get enough of Oregon? We've found some more exciting fun facts from the Beaver State:

  • Oregon's state motto, "She Flies With Her Own Wings." reflects the self-reliance and entrepreneurial spirit of its residents.
  • The company Nike is the largest sporting goods manufacturer in the world since 1989. Founded in 1964 in Eugene under the name of Blue Ribbon Sports, it was renamed Nike in 1971. Nike's corporate headquarters is still located in the state of Oregon.
  • Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, was born in Portland.
  • Portland is the city with the highest density of tattoo studios in the USA.

Immigrate to Oregon

Do you dream of setting out every day on new expeditions through the beautiful landscapes of Oregon? Then the following tips will give you some ideas on how to make your dream a reality.

Working in Oregon

Oregon is among the largest producers of timber in the United States. Other major agricultural products in the US Northwest include sod, fruit, grains, wine, and Columbia River salmon.

In addition to the formerly dominant forestry and agriculture, Oregon's economy is also developing more and more around the technology businesses in the so-called Silicon Forest. Companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo!, and Xerox are based here, for example.

Living in Oregon

According to the Cost of Living Index, living in Oregon is about 13% more expensive than the average in the United States. Especially for housing costs, you have to dig deep into your pocket in Oregon. In the largest city, Portland, housing is 80% more expensive than the national average.

However, you can save around 5-10% on your everyday purchases because, unlike most other US states, Oregon does not have a sales tax.

Moving to Oregon with a Green Card

There are various ways to obtain a Green Card for the USA, e.g., through a job or family members in the States.

We recommend you to participate in the Green Card Lottery because this way, you can expect much shorter waiting times. The lottery of 55,000 Permanent Resident Cards per year only involves a few requirements and offers you excellent chances for a life in the USA.

Green Card CheckAre you eligible?