Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

 
Another Believer

Affectionately called OMSI by the locals, this museum has gained international esteem for its innovation and educational programs.

On any given day, the museum is buzzing with grade-schoolers on a field trip, so your presence is likely to up the average age at this science museum. If you can do without some peace and quiet for a day, you’ll learn a lot from its interactive exhibits. With five halls and eight labs, the museum is chock-full of hands-on exhibits exploring everything from chemistry to paleontology (and so much more!). Don’t miss the life science exhibit on the second floor and be sure to take one of the several daily tours of the submarine parked out back. Learn all about sustainable energy and global warming, and—viewer discretion advised—check out the mind-blowing, week-by-week development of prenatal life, complete with real preserved embryos and fetuses.

Best things to see at Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The USS Blueback

If you get squeamish in tight places, this de-commissioned submarine might not be the best place for you to explore. A crew of 85 used to to live here for months at a time, and you’ll get the chance to test out the bunks where they slept (spoiler alert: they’re about as uncomfortable as they sound), touch a torpedo, and learn more about the technical workings from a submarine vet. And if you really want a first-hand experience of what it’s like to live in a metal tube under the sea, you can even spend the night during one of the museum’s camp ins.

 

Harry C. Kendall Planetarium

With its 360-degree, full-dome projection, the planetarium is a pretty spectacular consolation prize if you have no intention of ever actually going to space. Whether your interest lies in black holes or lasers, it’s the perfect place to take in a cosmic show after you’ve exhausted your scientific prowess exploring the rest of the museum.

 

IMAX Theater

With all that hands-on exploring, the museum can be an amazing (but tiring!) experience. Why not grab a snack, rest your feet, and take in a show on the four-story screen? If you’ve never experienced an IMAX film, you’re in for a larger-than-life treat. The museum offers a solid lineup of Hollywood blockbusters and documentaries, so find one that piques your interest, settle in, and lose yourself for an hour or two.

Best places to eat & drink near Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Theory

It’s easy to spend the whole day at the museum, and the museum’s on-site eatery Theory offers a variety of wood-fired pizzas, salads, and more. The restaurant has limited hours, so its best to plan your meal time before you visit.

 

Portland’s food truck scene 

Portland’s food truck scene has gained quite a reputation. The phenomenon started well over a decade ago as a way to provide cheap and delicious eats without having to shell out wads of cash in rent and has evolved into somewhat of a food revolution. Culinary specialties include BBQ, tacos, falafel, Korean fusion, and so much more. Check out the city’s food cart map to find a truck serving what you’re craving.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry directions and parking

The best way to get to OMSI

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is located in West Portland near Washington Park. By car, Hawthorne Boulevard leads right to SE Water Street. By bike, the Tilikum Crossing Bridge allows for easy access. By public transport, the A and B Loop streetcar and the MAX light rail will take you to the museum.

 

Best parking around OMSI

There is an OMSI parking lot for a fee.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry FAQs

What are the museum’s hours?

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is open:

Tuesday-Sunday: 9:30am-5:30pm

Closed Monday and on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

 

Is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry wheelchair accessible?

With the exception of the submarine, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is wheelchair accessible.

 

Are pets allowed?

With the exception of service animals, no pets are allowed in the museum.

 

What year did the museum open?

The museum opened in 1896 and was originally called the City Hall Museum. 

 

How many square feet is the museum?

OMSI is 219,000 square feet.