12 Weird Facts About Portland Every Kid Should Know

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Keep Portland Weird! It’s the slogan locals have come to know and love dearly. But why is Portland considered to be so weird? We’ve put together Portland trivia that will drop jaws, elicit gasps and make your young Portlanders giggle. Read on to find out exactly which Portland facts have earned our city the reputation we’ve all come to embrace.

Portland has the smallest park in the world

Located near the Willamette River in downtown, Mills End Park is the smallest park in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. Tell your kiddos not to expect a swing set or slide, this grassy area has a diameter of 0.6 meters and a total area of 0.29 square meters. The park was originally intended to be the location for a light pole, which fell through so Oregon Journal columnist Dick Fagan planted flowers in the hole. It was recognized as an official city park in 1976.

Portland also has the largest urban forest in the country

Unlike Mills End Park, Portland's Forest Park, just northwest of downtown, offers families tons of room to run and play. Stretching for more than 5,200 acres and offering visitors breathtaking views of the Willamette River, Forest Park is the largest urban forest reserve in the US within the limits of a city. This beloved park is perfect for hiking, with more than 70 miles of trails. 

There is a dormant volcano in the city

Portland is one of only two cities that has a dormant volcano within the city limits. Mt. Tabor is located in SE Portland and one of Portlander's favorite spots for picnics, hikes and watching the sun rise and set. It even is home to a park where kids can play and an outdoor amphitheater.

Portland holds an annual World Naked Bike Ride

Our beloved city is all about body positivity and biking, so it's no wonder that it holds it's annual naked bike ride as a part of a worldwide protest against oil dependency every year. There's no clutching of pearls as decorated bikes, and dressed up moms and dads make their way through the city streets on two wheels in an effort to save the environment. This event is almost 16 years old!

You can find miniature horses all over Portland

The sidewalks of Portland are peppered with metal rings. As a part of the "Portland Horse Project," people leave tiny toy horses attached to themso they can be used as a catalyst for people to realize the beauty in the details of our city. Your kids will love finding them around town. Buy some toy horses that your little one can attach to a ring for someone else to find!

Portland is home to the largest independently owned bookstore in the world

Chanced are you've visited Powell’s City of Books in the Pearl District. But did you know that it has been named the the largest independently owned bookstore in the world? Families and children of all ages love walking through this giant shop, and even spending time flipping though their favorite books, while they decide which ones to buy.

The Rose City's name was decided by a coin toss

Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove, two of Portland's founders, couldn’t agree on how to name the land they had acquired, so they decided to flip a coin. The winner got to name the place after their hometown. Pettygrove, a native of Portland, Maine, won the toss. Had Lovejoy won, the city would be called Boston, like his Massachusetts hometown.

Portland is ranked one of the best places in America for vegans and vegetarians to live

Portland has always been know for being health oriented (it's often been rated the most bikeable). It's also famous for its fantastic eateries and top-notch chefs. So it should come as no surprise that in 2020, Forbes rated it the best city in America for vegans and vegetarians.  You can find a list of some of the best vegan restaurants here.

The International Rose Test Garden has over 500 types of roses

This four-acre garden is home to some of the most beautiful roses in the world. Its four acres holds over 500 types of roses? Who even knew there were that many types?

The Simpsons was born here (kinda)

Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons, was born and raised in Portland and attended Ainsworth Elementary School and Lincoln High School. Groening began animating The Simpsons in 1989 and named several of the characters after famous Portland streets and landmarks, including Flanders, Lovejoy, Powell, Quimby and Kearney. Now is the perfect time to start watching with your kids!

Home to the Wiley Unipiper

Chances are, you've likely heard of the Unipiper. He rides around on a unicycle dressed as Darth Vader (and most recently, other characters from Game of Thrones and Pokémon), playing flaming bagpipes! Brian Kidd, also known as The Unipiper, is a unicyclist, street performer, musician and local celebrity who calls our city home!

Portland has the largest roost of Vaux's Swifts in the World

If you head up to Chapman Elementary School in September expect to see a sight that will take your breath away. As the Vaux's Swifts migrate, the fly into the school's chimney to nest for the night

—Annette Benedetti


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