Inspiration is everywhere in Oregon — from wild rivers, to fertile farmlands, to rugged landscapes and beyond. So it’s no wonder that this state is filled to the brim with creative makers. Many of them take their craft to the next level, elevating production and sharing their goods with the world. Fortunately for Oregon visitors, there are plenty of ways to see these makers in action. In support of National Travel and Tourism Week’s “Made in America” campaign, here are a few favorite tours that feature locally made products.
For more than 150 years, Pendleton Woolen Mills has been a staple in wardrobes. You can learn about the brand’s long history and witness the weaving process during a free tour of the Pendleton Mill Store in its namesake city in Eastern Oregon. The city of Pendleton is known for an annual rodeo, as well as talented makers who create cowboy hats, boots, saddles and more. Portland’s KEEN Footwear doesn’t offer public factory tours, but the world headquarters space is still pretty inspiring.
Famed Medford-based Harry & David produces premium foods and gifts that showcase Oregon’s farm-fresh bounty. Explore the bakery, candy kitchens and packing facilities on a guided tour. Every Friday in Portland, Seven Smith Teamaker hosts a tour of its manufacturing facility that includes tea tastings. Though Cascade Record Pressing doesn’t hold public tours, you can check out its prized work at Tender Loving Empire record store.
Not all tours are created equal, but Bob’s Red Mill is known for being fun. Tour the manufacturing facility in Milwaukie with a “grain guide” and sample fresh-baked goodness. Nearby Franz Bakery in Portland welcomes tour groups from September through June and provides special parting gifts. On occasion Tofurky in Hood River hosts public activities at its LEED-rated facility that produces world-famous vegetarian foods. Tillamook Creamery on the Oregon Coast recently unveiled its new center, where visitors take self-guided tours with interactive kiosks and plenty of cheese samples. Nearby at Bay City Fish Peddler, watch oyster shuckers in action at the production facility.
A Central Oregon favorite for 30+ years, Goody’s Chocolate and Ice Cream offers short (but sweet) tours of its working factory in Bend. At Creo Chocolate in Portland, a behind-the-scenes tour includes the opportunity to make your own chocolate bar. Also in Portland, Ranger Chocolate hosts factory tours every other Saturday afternoon, concluding with drinking chocolate or a wine and chocolate pairing. On the factory tour of Aurora’s Pacific Hazelnut Farms & Candy Factory in the Willamette Valley, visitors learn about harvesting and processing hazelnuts (also known as “filberts”), Oregon’s official state nut.
Oregon winemakers are proud of their work, and many of them offer production tours. At Sokol Blosser Winery in Dayton, tour-goers can walk through the limited access LEED-certified barrel cellar. Nearby Stoller Family Estate’s Elevated Experiences incorporate heightened sensory components. Ponzi Vineyards in Sherwood hosts several themed tours of the four-level gravity flow winery. King Estate Winery in Eugene offers complimentary educational tours at 5 p.m. daily. Or pick up speed on a custom wine-bike tour with MountNBarrel in the Gorge. For many more options, search for wineries that offer tours at OregonWine.org.
Harvest season is an aromatic time at the Rogue Farms hopyard in Independence, also home to a tasting room, and makes for a special stroll. At Rogue’s headquarters in Newport on the Coast, brewery tours are offered daily. In Central Oregon, Deschutes Brewery organizes four daily tours of its famed Bend operations, seven days a week. The Gorge’s Full Sail Brewing and Double Mountain Brewery, both in Hood River, host free tours on Saturdays. To go behind the scenes of multiple breweries in one trip, join a shuttled tour in the Rouge Valley, Portland or Bend.
- SakéOne in Forest Grove is the leading brewer of craft saké in America.
- Freeland Spirits in Portland offers tours of its female-run facility.
- Willamette Valley Pie Company in Silverton has tours on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
- Yamasa in Salem hosts tours by appointment of its soy sauce factory.
- Wild Rivers Coast, Great Umpqua, South Willamette Valley and East Gorge food trails include a number of public tours.