7 Peculiar, Unusual & Weird Museums in Portland for Children & Adults

In Portland, Oregon, a treasure trove of eccentricity awaits those with a taste for the unconventional. From the bizarre to the downright extraordinary, Portland’s array of weird museums offers a peek into the city’s offbeat soul. 

These off-kilter institutions defy conventional notions of what a museum should be, inviting visitors to explore the strange and unexpected. 

Each museum boasts its own peculiar charm, whether it’s showcasing Bigfoot sightings, delving into the city’s dark past through underground tunnels, or celebrating the artistry of hat-making. 

In a city known for its quirkiness, these weird museums stand out as shining examples of Portland’s unique cultural landscape.

Top 7 Best Weird Museums in Portland for Adults

Portland, Oregon, renowned for its rich culture and eclectic charm, is home to some of the quirkiest and most intriguing museums you’ll find anywhere. 

Catering to the adventurous and curious adult crowd, these museums offer experiences that are as unique as they are memorable.

Here are the top 7 best weird museums in Portland for adults:

1. The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium

The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium

Step into a realm where the ordinary takes a backseat to the bizarre at The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium. 

This museum is not just a collection of oddities; it’s an immersive experience that challenges perceptions and sparks the imagination. 

Visitors can wander through halls adorned with artwork depicting everything from mythical creatures to extraterrestrial encounters.

Interactive exhibits beckon guests to test the limits of their curiosity, while displays of Bigfoot memorabilia and alien artifacts offer tantalizing glimpses into the unknown. 

Whether you’re a skeptic or a true believer, The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium promises a journey into the weird and wonderful.

Ratings: 4.3/5

Address: 2234 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97210, United States

Phone: +1 503-227-3164

Ticket Cost: $7-10

Open Hour: Monday to Sunday, 12-7 PM

2. The Shanghai Tunnels Museum

 The Shanghai Tunnels Museum

Beneath the bustling streets of Portland lies a hidden world shrouded in mystery and intrigue. The Shanghai Tunnels Museum offers a glimpse into this clandestine realm, where illicit activities once thrived in the shadows. 

Visitors can explore the labyrinthine passages that once served as conduits for the nefarious practice of shanghaiing kidnapping men to serve as sailors on distant ships. 

As you venture deeper into the tunnels, chilling tales of deception and desperation unfold, painting a vivid picture of Portland’s dark past. 

The Shanghai Tunnels Museum is a haunting reminder of the city’s forgotten history and a testament to the resilience of those who endured its shadows.

Ratings: 3.7/5

Address: 226 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209, United States

Phone: +1 503-222-9999

Open Hour: Mondday to Saturday, 11 AM-9:30 PM, Saturday- 11 AM-6:30 PM.

3. The Peculiarium

The Peculiarium

Prepare to be delighted, amused, and perhaps slightly unnerved at The Peculiarium, a one-of-a-kind museum that defies categorization. 

Here, the lines between art, science fiction, and sheer eccentricity blur in a spectacle that is as entertaining as it is bizarre. 

From the moment you step through the door, you’re greeted by an eclectic array of oddities that pique the curiosity and tickle the funny bone. 

Interactive exhibits beckon visitors to engage their senses and challenge their perceptions, while the on-site cafe offers a menu of treats that are as strange as they are delicious. 

Whether you’re drawn to the macabre or simply seeking a break from the ordinary, The Peculiarium promises an unforgettable experience that is equal parts whimsical and weird.

Ratings: 4.3/5

Address: 2234 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97210, United States

Phone: +1 503-227-3164

Ticket Cost: $10

Open Hour: Monday to Sunday 12-7 PM

4. The Museum of the Weird

 The Museum of the Weird

Enter a realm where the boundaries of reality are stretched to their limits at The Museum of the Weird. 

This museum is a veritable cabinet of curiosities, showcasing a vast collection of artifacts and phenomena that defy explanation. 

From ancient relics to modern-day mysteries, each exhibit offers a tantalizing glimpse into the unknown, inviting visitors to question their assumptions and embrace the enigmatic.

Whether you’re intrigued by cryptozoology, fascinated by the paranormal, or simply curious about the unexplained, The Museum of the Weird promises an immersive journey into the realms of possibility and imagination.

Ratings: 4.2/5

Address: 412 E 6th St, Austin, TX 78701, United States

Phone: +1 512-476-5493

Ticket Cost: $12

Open Hour: Tuesday to Monday 10 AM-7 PM

5. The Hat Museum

The Hat Museum

Start on a sartorial journey through time and culture at The Hat Museum, where headwear takes center stage in a celebration of style and craftsmanship. 

This unique museum offers a comprehensive look at the art of hat-making, from its humble beginnings to its status as a cultural icon. 

Visitors can explore a vast collection of hats from around the world, each telling a story of tradition, innovation, and personal expression. 

Whether you’re a fashion aficionado or simply appreciate the finer details of design, The Hat Museum offers a captivating glimpse into the history and artistry of one of humanity’s oldest accessories.

Ratings: 4.5/5

Address: 1928 SE Ladd Ave, Portland, OR 97214, United States

Phone: +1 503-319-0799

6. The Center for the Unexplained

The Center for the Unexplained

Challenge your preconceptions and expand your horizons at The Center for the Unexplained, a museum dedicated to exploring the mysteries of the universe. 

Here, visitors can immerse themselves in exhibits that delve into the realms of UFOs, psychic phenomena, and other phenomena that defy conventional explanation. 

From ancient legends to modern-day encounters, each display offers a thought-provoking journey into the unknown, inviting visitors to question their beliefs and explore new possibilities. 

Whether you’re a skeptic or a true believer, The Center for the Unexplained promises an enlightening and engaging experience that will leave you pondering the mysteries of existence long after you’ve left its halls.




Ticket Cost:

Open Hour:

7. The Vacuum Museum

The Vacuum Museum

Take a trip through the evolution of household technology at The Vacuum Museum, where vintage vacuum cleaners take center stage in a celebration of innovation and design. 

From the early days of manual suction to the sleek, high-tech models of today, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of cleaning technology. 

Visitors can marvel at the ingenuity of inventors past and present as they explore displays of vacuum cleaners from around the world. 

Whether you’re a history buff, a design enthusiast, or simply curious about the inner workings of everyday objects, The Vacuum Museum offers a unique and entertaining journey through the annals of domestic engineering.

Ratings: 4.2/5

Address: Unnamed, Portland, OR 97232, United States

Phone: +1 503-232-4101

Ticket Cost: $25-$30

Open Hour: Monday to Saturday 9 AM- 5 PM

Practical Tips to Visit the Weird Museums in Portland

Exploring the weird museums of Portland can be an unforgettable adventure, but it’s essential to approach your visit with a sense of curiosity and an open mind.

Here are some tips to make the most of your experience:

Research Before You Go

Research Before You Go

Dive deep into the peculiar offerings of each museum by researching their themes, notable exhibits, and any special events or attractions they may feature. 

Understanding the background and context of the museums will help you appreciate the eccentricities awaiting you.

Look for online reviews or articles to gain insights from other visitors’ experiences, which can inform your expectations and highlight must-see attractions within each museum.

Check Operating Hours and Admission Fees

Before setting out on your adventure, ensure you’re aware of each museum’s operating hours and admission fees. 

While some museums may operate on regular schedules, others might have seasonal variations or limited opening hours. 

Additionally, familiarize yourself with any discounts or special offers available, such as student or senior rates, to maximize your savings.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Keep an open mind and prepare to encounter the unexpected when visiting weird museums. These establishments often feature unconventional exhibits that challenge conventional norms and perceptions. 

From peculiar artifacts to avant-garde art installations, be ready to embrace the unexpected and revel in the delightfully strange.

Respect the Exhibits and Rules

While you immerse yourself in the world of weirdness, remember to respect the exhibits and adhere to museum rules. 

Many displays may be fragile or sensitive to touch, so refrain from handling them unless explicitly permitted. 

Additionally, follow any photography or filming guidelines to preserve the integrity of the exhibits and ensure a positive experience for fellow visitors.

Engage with the Exhibits

Engage with the Exhibits

Take full advantage of the interactive elements and immersive experiences offered by each museum. 

Whether it’s participating in hands-on activities, listening to audio guides, or attending guided tours, actively engaging with the exhibits will enrich your understanding and leave a lasting impression. 

Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification from museum staff to deepen your appreciation of the weird wonders on display.

Ask Questions

Cultivate your curiosity by asking questions and seeking insights from museum staff.

With their expertise and passion for the subject matter, they can provide valuable context, share intriguing anecdotes, and offer behind-the-scenes knowledge that enhances your museum experience. 

Take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the exhibits and satisfy your thirst for knowledge.

Keep an Open Mind

Approach your museum visit with an open mind and a sense of wonder. Embrace the diversity of perspectives and ideas presented within each museum, even if they challenge your preconceptions or push the boundaries of your comfort zone.

By remaining open to new experiences and viewpoints, you’ll enrich your journey through the weird and wonderful world of Portland’s museums.

Plan for Downtime

Pace yourself during your museum exploration to avoid sensory overload and fatigue. Schedule breaks between visits to relax, reflect, and recharge before delving into the next eccentric enclave. 

Whether it’s enjoying a leisurely meal at a nearby cafe or strolling through a scenic park, take time to rejuvenate your mind and body between museum excursions.

Support the Museums

Show your appreciation for the unique experiences offered by weird museums by supporting them financially. 

Consider purchasing souvenirs or merchandise from museum gift shops, as these funds often contribute to the maintenance and development of exhibits. 

Additionally, spread the word about your museum adventures through social media, reviews, or word-of-mouth recommendations to help raise awareness and attract fellow aficionados of the weird and wonderful. 

Your support ensures these museums can continue to inspire and enchant visitors for years to come.


Are weird museums in Portland suitable for children?

Yes, some weird museums in Portland, such as the Portland Insectarium, are suitable for children and offer engaging exhibits like terrariums filled with spiders and insects.

Do weird museums in Portland often offer discounts for admission?

Yes, some may offer discounts for certain groups or on special occasions.

Can visitors take photographs inside the museums?

Yes, most of the museums allow to take photos but it depends on the museum’s policies.

Are there age restrictions for visiting weird museums in Portland?

Some museums may have age restrictions for certain exhibits, but generally, there are no strict age limits for entry.

Are weird museums in Portland known for their conventional exhibits?

No, they are known for their unconventional and eccentric exhibits.

Photo of author

Bob Potenza

As a dedicated Museum Curator, Archivist, and Historian, you possess a profound passion for preserving and showcasing the rich tapestry of our collective past. Your expertise in curating exhibitions that breathe life into history, your meticulous archival skills in safeguarding invaluable artifacts and documents, and your deep understanding of historical contexts make you an invaluable guardian of our cultural heritage. Your commitment to unraveling the secrets of the past and sharing them with the world enriches our understanding of history, ensuring that the stories of those who came before us continue to inspire and educate generations to come. LinkedIn

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