Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour

Things To Do In Portland – Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour

Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour

The Shanghai Tunnels are one of the most exciting attractions in Portland. The tunnels transport goods and people between the waterfront and the downtown area. The tour of the Shanghai Tunnels is a great way to learn about Portland’s history.

The Portland Underground Tour is also a popular attraction in Portland. The tour takes visitors through some of the city’s oldest buildings, including warehouses and saloons. Visitors will also learn about Portland’s history of prohibition.

Both of these tours are a great way to learn about Portland’s history and see some of the city’s most exciting attractions.

History of Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour

The Shanghai Tunnels are a series of tunnels used to transport goods and people between the waterfront and the downtown area. The tunnels were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

The Portland Underground Tour is a tour of some of the city’s oldest buildings. The tour includes warehouses, saloons, and other historic buildings. The tour was started in the 1990s.

Today the Shanghai Tunnels are used mainly as a tourist attraction to explore. During the height of its operation, an estimated 2,000 people a year were shanghaied through Portland’s underground tunnels. According to experts, many unfortunate souls never made it out alive. Many were beaten, starved, and left for dead deep within the tunnels. Gangs used the tunnels for their hideout and would often drag their victims down into the tunnels to keep them from talking to the police. 

Both of these tours are a great way to learn about Portland’s history. The Shanghai Tunnels look at how the city developed, while the Portland Underground Tour looks at the city’s prohibition history.

What You’ll See at Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour

The tour begins with a short video that provides guests with background information about how these tunnels were used and other things to do in Portland, Oregon. After the film concludes, visitors will head out on a guided tour of the tunnels.

Some of the stops on this tour include: 

The Oregonian Newspaper Building – Built in 1878, this building is one of the few remaining examples of Romanesque Revival architecture in Portland. It was also home to Oregon’s first daily newspaper.

Merchant Hotel – Opened in 1881, this building was once one of the most luxurious hotels in Portland. It is now home to several businesses, including a bar and restaurant.

The Shanghai Tunnel – This is the main attraction of the tour. This tunnel was used to transport goods and people between the waterfront and downtown.

The White Eagle Saloon – This saloon was one of the most popular drinking establishments in Portland during prohibition. It is now home to several businesses, including a bar and restaurant.

How Much Does Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour Cost?

The cost for the Shanghai Tunnels tour is $19.50, and the tour lasts just under an hour.

The Portland Underground Tour costs $15 per person, with group rates available. This tour is about 90 minutes long.

Activities and Events at Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour

The Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour is also the site of several annual events, including the following:

Oregon Pirate Festival: features live entertainment, games for children, vendors selling pirate-themed items (including costumes), artists creating paintings related to pirates of maritime life in the 1800s, and a variety of food vendors.

The Haunted Lantern Tours: the tours are intended for adult audiences and feature ghost stories, interesting facts about Portland’s history, and the chance to see some historic buildings in a new light.

The Ghost Tours: these tours take visitors through several buildings that were part of Portland’s underground past. Visitors will learn about how people used to live during this period, as well as some of the darker aspects of Portland’s history.

Portland Underground Film Festival (PUFF): PUFF is an annual film festival that features films from around the world and local filmmakers. The festival was started in 1996.

Portland Underground Music Festival (PUMFest): this music event is held every April and features live performances from local bands and national acts. PUMFest began in 2001 with a performance from Maceo Parker, former saxophonist for James Brown’s band.

These activities and events are great for visitors interested in Portland’s history and those looking to attend an annual event.

Things Not to Do at Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour

While the Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour tours are open to all visitors, there are a few things not to do during your visit.

  • Do not touch any walls or objects in any of these underground areas as you will leave behind oils that could damage them over time.
  • Avoid touching items displayed at exhibits or inside shops as they may be delicate and need to be handled with care.
  • Do not run or shout in the tunnels as this can disturb other visitors and staff.
  • Do not attempt to climb on any of the tour equipment or exhibits, as this can result in injuries.

Following these simple tips will help ensure that everyone has a great time during their visit to the Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour.

What to Bring to Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour

Comfortable shoes are ideal for the Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour tour. The tunnels have uneven surfaces and can be challenging to navigate in high heels or other types of footwear that do not provide good support.

Visitors should also bring a flashlight during their visit, particularly if they want to go on one of the haunted lanterns or ghost tours.

  • If you are visiting in the fall or winter, be sure to bring a coat and warm clothing as it can get chilly underground.
  • Cameras are allowed on tour, but visitors should be aware that flash photography is not permitted in some of the areas visited.
  • Sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses are also recommended for visitors spending time outdoors.

The Shanghai Tunnels provide a unique glimpse into Portland’s past, giving visitors a look at how the city developed over time.

Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour Tips and Warnings

  • Tours will be canceled if it is raining, snowing, or there are high winds at the time of your visit. Call ahead for additional information on weather-related delays.
  • The tunnels are not handicap accessible, so be sure to check ahead of time if you have any special needs or concerns regarding your ability to walk through the underground areas.
  • Tour hours may change without notice, especially during peak months and times, so call ahead before planning a visit at these locations.
  • Bring cash with you as some of the gift shops and food vendors located in the Shanghai Tunnels do not accept credit cards.
  • No smoking or drinking is allowed in the tunnels.
  • An adult must accompany children under the age of 12.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive early during their visit as tours can get crowded quickly, and it is difficult for late arrivals to find space in one of these historic tunnels.

How to Get at Shanghai Tunnels/Portland Underground Tour

Visitors should take the MAX light rail to the Skidmore Fountain station. The tour’s entrance will be on your right-hand side.

If you are driving, there is a parking lot located near the entrance of the tunnels.

Visitors can also get to these underground areas by using public transportation or walking from downtown Portland since they are only two blocks away from Skidmore Fountain.

Visitors can also use Uber or Lyft to get from downtown Portland to the underground tours.

Address: 120 NW Third Ave., Portland, OR 97209

Phone: (503) 505-8480


The Shanghai Tunnels website:

The Portland Underground Tour website:


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