Underground Portland Walking Tour

Discover all the illicit, naughty, bawdy, corrupt and shady activities of Portland's not-so-proud past! This walk through Old Town and Chinatown is a treat for lovers of all things sinful and sinister . . . crime, scandal and controversial characters . . . a no-holds-barred excursion into the worst Portland has to offer. You’ll explore both the social and physical underground of the city’s sordid history including its subcultures, political underground and immoral underground. After walking the streets for about ¾ of the tour, you’ll come to the part where we show off the remains of the physical underground and clarify the myths behind the so-called "Portland Shanghai Tunnels." We’ll hand out flashlights and delve into the subterranean levels under the historic Merchant Hotel in an area which once led to these legendary tunnels. If you want to discover the true, inside stories behind 'crimping' (the real name of what is now called shanghaiing), you've come to the right place.

This tour is rated PG since some of the content is certainly not for the faint of heart.

Some of the gripping themes you’ll learn about:

• Shanghaiing - come learn the bare truth

• Tunnels - why were there tunnels under the entire city - Flooding? Moving goods? Shanghaiing?

• Crime, Corruption & Scandals - bawdy brothels, gambling rings, murder, mischief and the police pay-off system that kept the city’s squeaky wheels silent

• Portland's Subcultures - they just don't come out at night

• Present Day Issues - from homelessness to the sex industry, we leave no stone unturned

• Social Justice - or injustice, as you'll find out

• And much, much more immorality and vice!


• When: Spring/Summer 11 AM, 2PM & 5 PM daily

• Length: About 1 mile and under 2 hours

• Starting location: Inside the old Merchant Hotel Building at 131 NW 2nd Ave (near NW Davis St) in Old Town/Chinatown

• Cost: $23 or less - check online for frequent special sale discounts at portlandwalkingtours.com

• Tickets: 503.774.4522 or http://www.portlandwalkingtours.com/tours/underground-portland-shanghai-tunnels-tour/

Add to the Discussion (2)


8 years ago

I used to take my high school history students on tours of the Portland Underground and we were all fascinated. We would balance that sordid story with an enlightening tour of the gorgeous Portland Classical Chinese Garden close by, which offers free tours with admission. I highly recommend that great combo! :)


8 years ago

We recommend that all the time to our guests as well, Rick!

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