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Portland, OR, USA

Parks and phantoms in Portland

When you visit Portland, be sure to bring your reading glasses and peruse the aisles of Powell's City of Books, the world's largest bookstore. "Portlandia" fans will find many places from the show around town, including Mill End Park, the 2.5-foot city park that is considered to be the smallest in the country. There's a lot to see in Portland so make a weekend of it and head to these impressive places:

Reser Stadium
Drive your Portland rental car to this stadium to cheer on the Oregon State University Beavers. Located on the South side of the campus, the stadium was built in 1953 and has a capacity of 45,674. The stadium was named after Al and Pat Reser, who made a seven-figure donation to OSU athletics in 1999. Students of the "Beaver Nation" sit right behind the players, cheering them on to victory. The biggest crowd of 47,249 people had to overflow into the parking lot for a game against Oregon on Nov. 24, 2012. Don your orange and black and cheer for the Beavs!

International Rose Test Garden
Unofficially known as the Portland Rose Garden, this beautiful garden hosts test batches of roses from all over the world. The nonprofit organization was founded in 1889 to offer educational programs on rose culture and to encourage using roses in landscaping. The Portland Rose Society runs the facility and was founded when Georgiana Burton Pittock invited neighbors and friends to show their roses in a tent in her garden. During World War l, a rose hobbyist and Sunday editor of the Oregon Journal, Jesse A. Currey, was worried that hybrid roses grown in Europe would be destroyed in bombings. He convinced city officials to create a rose test garden to collect the unique plants, and soon hybridists from England began to send the roses. The Park Bureau approved the idea and the International Rose Test Garden and amphitheater was created. Currey was the first rose curator and continued as such until he passed away in 1927. Public tours are free and offered daily at 1 p.m. from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend.

Beyond Bizarre Ghost Tour
The Portland Oregon visitors Association considers "Keep Portland weird" the city's unofficial motto. Drive your Portland rental car to attend this walking tour and see just how weird it gets! At the start of the tour, visitors who purchased advanced tickets are given ghost hunting equipment that will be used to investigate along the way. You'll journey around downtown above and below ground in search of Portland's ghosts. Tours run Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the 7 p.m. session is all ages. The 10 p.m. tours are for ages 18 and up and are a little more scary and delve more into the true historical details. A fan favorite part of the tour is searching for the ghost of "working girl" Nina beneath the 1885 Merchant Hotel. Be sure to purchase advanced tickets so that you can borrow an electromagnetic field detector to hunt for ghosts. Dress for the Oregon weather and two or so hours of walking. Bring any ghost hunting equipment you may have at home, like a camera or a voice recorder. You might catch some proof of the city's spooky past!

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