Located on the West Coast of the United States, Portland is the largest city in Oregon, and yet a haven for lovers of nature, quirky characters, charming neighborhoods, and small city life. Among the food trucks, craft beer, and historic buildings in downtown Portland, the locals thrive to keep Portland weird. In the city center are an abundance of green spaces, rose gardens, hipster cafes, street art, and amazing ice cream.
Best Things to Do in Portland Oregon
This comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Portland will help you explore the city’s weird side and see why it’s one of the most interesting places in the US. Interested in exploring Oregon? Check out our guide to the best things to do in the Beaver State.
1. Take a Photo of the Keep Portland Weird Sign
It’s a quick and easy stop, but one of the first things to do in Portland is to stop at the Keep Portland Weird sign for the obligatory photo. Located on the side of a building at 220 NW 8th Ave, this is one of the top tourist attractions in Portland.
The Keep Portland Weird sign has become a symbol of Portland’s eccentricity and independent spirit representing Portland’s unique culture and character. Think of a bird with a coffee cup, a unicyclist, or a Voodoo Doughnut. It was created by artist Dan Stiles and was first installed in 2004.
What’s really funny is that I had always thought of Austin’s Keep it Weird slogan, but I guess there are two places in the United States that want to stand out as different and I support that. Both Austin and Portland are very different from many places in the USA making both cities two of our favorites in the country.
2. Sample Sweets at Voodoo Doughnut
The debate rages on about whether Blue Star Donuts are better than Voodoo Doughnut and no time in Portland would be complete without sampling at least one. Blue Star may be a local favorite, but the wild and innovative nature of Voodoo Doughnut makes it a memorable and must-do experience.
Voodoo loves to push the boundaries when it comes to creative donut-making. Where else can you find Capt’n Crunch toppings? So truth be told, they may not be for everyone, but there is only one way to find out.
The line is always out the door but moves quickly, so straddle up for a sweet treat adventure! The best way to get into the doughnut culture of Portland is to take an underground doughnut tour. You’ll visit 4 of Portland’s donut institutions including a skip the line ticket to Voodoo Donuts. Other donut stops include Sesame Donuts, Blue Star Donuts and more: Details here.
3. Take a Portland City Walking tour
A great way to start in any city is to take a walking tour. This walking tour takes you through the soul of the city to learn about its most famous architecture. Starting in the city’s Cultural District, you’ll walk to see the many museums and plazas including including the Portland Art Museum and the Oregon Historical Society. Book it here, easy cancellation within 24 hours of departure.
Discover some of Portland’s most influential architecture, from cast iron-fronted structures to the grandly disastrous post-modern Portland Building, on this walking tour. Discuss the modern rise of radical activists, and how it is connected to the city’s history going back more than a century. Meet Portlandia, visit the Pioneer Courthouse Square, and trace Portland’s history as you walk through parks and plazas that were sites of headline-making gatherings.
4. Sample some Food Cart Pods
With more than 600 food carts located throughout the city Portland is a Mecca for food cart culture. Many of these carts are clustered together in what are known as “food cart pods.” These pods are essentially outdoor food courts where multiple food carts are gathered in a single location, often with shared seating areas and other amenities.
This Portland Food Carts and Patio Tour takes you to one of Portland’s first food cart pods to enjoy food and rinks at up to 7 different food carts. Enjoy Portlands Central Eastside neighborhood. What we love about this tour is that you get to try some Poutine, (Our Canadian staple in Portland!) But, you’ll also go around the world to try Lebanese food and Belgian waffles. The tour ends at a patio to enjoy Portland craft beer and to chat with the new friends you made along the way. .
One of the most popular food cart pods in Portland is the 5th Avenue Food Cart Pod which is home to around 30 food carts serving a wide variety of cuisines, including Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, and Korean. There are picnic tables and covered seating areas making it a great spot to grab a snack while you continue with your Portland sightseeing. More details here.
5. Browse For books at the World’s Largest Independent Bookstore
In a city that embraces the old with vigor and substance, it’s no surprise that Portland is home to the biggest new and used bookstore on earth. Powell’s City of Books is a local institution. It’s an independent bookstore that covers an entire city block of Portland’s northern downtown.
Even if you have no plans of picking up a novel to enjoy some light reading, you must go into Powell’s City of Books for a look around. Exploring the store is enough of an adventure in itself. Check-in and grab yourself a map so you don’t get lost roaming the aisles containing over four million books including a rare book room.
6. Portland City Cruise
We love getting on the water and when visiting Portland, a great way to take in the skyline is to get on the water. Be it kayaking or booking a Portland dinner cruise, it’s a great way to see the Steel Bridge and other Portland landmarks along the Willamette River. On a dinner cruise, you’ll enjoy a delicious three-course dinner with entertainment and narration. See the city lights as the sun goes down while dining on lo ally sourced Northwest cuisine.
Try out the best way to dine in Portland on the Willamette River enhanced by dazzling city sights and lights. Enjoy Northwest cuisine (locally sourced and prepared fresh on board), live piano music, and narration of the sights on the outer decks. More details on a dinner cruise here.
7. Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Placed along the Willamette River, which divides Portland, the Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a beautiful spot to take in the river. Throughout the day you will find locals walking and jogging the Waterfront Park Trail, taking in the views of the city, park, river and port.
Come here to not only enjoy some peace but also to visit the Oregon Maritime Museum, the Salmon Street Springs or the smallest park in the world, Mill Ends Park. You heard me right, as listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, Mill Ends Park is the smallest park in the world.
If you have arrived in time for sunset, continue on to Broadway Bridge for views of the colorful sky. Later, walk across the bridge for a night among the brewpubs in southeast Portland.
8. See the Cherry Blossoms in Bloom
One of the most popular times of the year to visit the park is during the Cherry Blossom season where the 100 Akebono cherry trees are in full bloom in the Spring season.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is also home to many events and festivals throughout the year, including the Portland Rose Festival, Oregon Brewers Festival, and the Waterfront Blues Festival. The park has a large amphitheater that can accommodate up to 10,000 people and is used for concerts and other performances.
About Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is named after Tom McCall, a former governor of Oregon who played a key role in protecting the state’s environment.
The park covers an area of about 36 acres and offers beautiful views of the river and the city skyline. It features paved paths for walking, jogging, and biking, as well as open grassy areas for picnics and recreation. There are also several public art installations, including the Salmon Street Springs Fountain, which is a popular spot for cooling off on hot summer days.
Other things to see at the park are the Japanese American Historical Plaza, the Police Memorial, and the Founder’s Stone. The Portland Farmer’s Market is held within the park every weekend from March to Christmas
9. Shop at the Portland Market
One of the best things to do in Portland on the weekend is to visit the Portland Saturday Market. Held every weekend from March until Christmas Eve, you will discover over 150 arts, crafts, and food vendors. They help make the market the largest fair of its kind in the United States.
Wake up early and partake in some fresh food shopping, or return in the afternoon to try some unique Portland eats under the Burnside Bridge. Cuisines hail from all around the world, including Thai, Nepalese, Greek and even some homegrown fresh catch and desserts.
10. Visit the Portland Art Museum
If you enjoy your art, then one of the top things to do in Portland is to explore the Portland Art Museum. Near the Portland State University campus, the art museum features work from across the globe and also focuses on Pacific Northwest Native American Art.
You could spend a full day wandering the halls and taking in several masterpieces, stunning photography and iconic prints. However, even with just an hour or two, you can still make the most of the experience.
11. Oregon Museum of Science
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) was founded in 1944 and is one of the oldest science museums in the United States. If you are looking for things to do in Portland on a rainy day, this is the place
The museum features a variety of hands-on exhibits, live demonstrations, and interactive displays that explore various scientific fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, earth science, and technology. Some of the most popular exhibits at OMSI include the Earth Science Hall, where visitors can explore a replica of a Pacific Northwest cave, and the Turbine Hall, which features large-scale demonstrations of water and electricity.
Portland at Night OMSI After Dark
For one of the coolest things to do in Portland at night, check out OMSI After Dark that takes place on the last Wednesday of each month. This is an adults only event (21+) where alcohol is served while visitors peruse local vendors and science exhibits.
OMSI also has a planetarium, where visitors can experience a variety of shows about astronomy and space science, as well as a theater that shows educational films and documentaries.
12. See the Sprawling Forest Park Portland
As the city’s biggest park and one of the best things to do in Portland, Forest Park must find its way onto your itinerary. Even in what is a growing city, the park is an excellent place to enjoy the fresh air and feel a world away from the bustle of downtown.
The 5100-acre park has 70 miles or trails throughout the forest and you’ll will be inundated with amazing views, whether that be Mt Hood or the Willamette River. The endless miles of trails will take you to iconic spots like the Pittock Mansion, or better yet, rent a bike and cycle some of its 29 miles that are open to cycling.
You can also book this Portland Bike Tour to explore the Willamette River, sample donuts, learn about the neighborhoods, and see the city from a different perspective.
13. Hike to the Witch’s Castle
While you are in the park, visit one of the most curious places in Oregon. Witch’s Castle is where ghosts roam under the moonlight.
Is also known as the Stone House or the Stone Cabin and was originally built as a public restroom in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), but it fell into disrepair and was abandoned in the 1960s. Over time, the abandoned Stone House became a local legend and was rumored to be haunted, with some saying that it was the site of witchcraft and Satanic rituals. Hence the name “Witch’s Castle.”
Today, it is a popular hiking destination, and visitors can explore the castle’s ruins and enjoy the scenic views of Forest Park.
The Stone House is located on the Wildwood Trail, which is a 30-mile trail that runs through Forest Park. The trailhead for the Witch’s Castle is located at the end of NW 29th Avenue, and it is accessible by foot or bike.
While the castle itself does not have any particular historical significance beyond its role as a WPA restroom, its eerie atmosphere and rumors of paranormal activity have made it a popular destination for those interested in the supernatural.
14. Tour the Pittock Mansion
One of the most prominent Portland attractions is the Pittock Mansion. The dramatic mansion was built in 1914 in the French renaissance-style. History buffs will love touring this estate where the Pittock family, who called it home, were major players in developing Portland, Oregon, into the city it is today.
Consisting of over 40 rooms and 16,000 square feet, the Pittock Mansion is well worth exploring on a guided tour. However, its location within Forest Park makes it the perfect spot to relax or have a picnic on your adventures through the woods.
You can take a tour inside to see the period furniture or you can enjoy the views of the city from the outside which offers one of the best city views of Portland.
15. Smell the Roses at International Rose Test Garden
Known as the City of Roses, Portland is home to the stunning and public Rose Test Garden. Found within Washington Park, the International Rose Test Garden boasts 500 varieties of roses sources from around the globe. The roses are sent here to test the viability and the plant’s characteristics.
Although open year-round, the garden is best seen between the months of May and September. During that time period, more than 10,000 rose bushes bloom in unison, backed by the incredible views of Mt Hood. After the garden, wander over to the iconic ice cream shop Salt & Straw for some distinctive ice cream flavors.
This half day Portland tour takes you on a guided city tour in a small group You’ll drive through the hills for city views and wander the center of Portland to the Pittock Mansion which offers the best view of Portland. It includes a stop at the International Rose Test Garden where you are free to enjoy 20 minutes on your own. Book your tour here
16. Visit During The Rose Festival
Speaking of roses, the Rose City hosts The Portland Rose Festival annually from late May and early June. The festival has been held since 1907 and is one of the city’s most popular and well-known events.
The festival features a variety of events and activities, including parades, live music and entertainment, food and drink vendors, carnival rides, and fireworks displays. The festival also includes a variety of competitions, including a dragon boat race, a rose show, and even a sandcastle-building contest.
One of the highlights of the Rose Festival is the Grand Floral Parade, which is held on the second Saturday of the festival. The parade features floats decorated with flowers and roses, marching bands, and other performers. The parade attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators each year and is one of the largest parades in the Pacific Northwest.
Another popular event during the Rose Festival is the CityFair, which is held at Waterfront Park and features carnival rides, games, food vendors, and live entertainment. The CityFair is open daily throughout the festival and is a great place to bring the whole family.
17. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
Staying with our in bloom theme, The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a botanical garden that covers an area of 9.5 acres and features over 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and other plants.
The garden was originally created in the 1950s as a display garden for the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. Over the years, the garden has expanded to include a variety of other plants and features, including a picturesque lake, waterfalls, and walking paths.
The garden is especially popular in the spring when the rhododendrons and azaleas are in bloom, creating a colorful display of flowers.
18. Stroll Through the Portland Japanese Garden
Considered one of the most authentic Japanese Gardens outside of Japan, the Portland Japanese Garden is not to be missed. We have visited a lot of Japanese and Chinese Gardens in our day and they are a beautiful place to find your Zen.It has the usual elements of an Asian garden with water features, rocks, gardens, and buildings blending all of the elements beautifully together.
When exploring Washington Park in southwest Portland, stopping by the Portland Japanese Garden is a must. Although you will find plenty of green space to explore when in Portland, the garden is a unique attraction that stands out.
Seen as one of the best Japanese Gardens in the United States, you can easily find a moment of Zen among the stunning aesthetics from wooden bridges over creeks to traditional rock gardens. Try the matcha tea as you sit in the peaceful open spaces of the Umami Cafe catching glimpses of the towering Mount Hood.
19. Old Town Chinatown
One of the best places to start your adventures in Portland is within that city’s Old Town Chinatown. As one of the most historic neighborhoods in Portland, Old Town harbors the secrets of the city’s early days, including the infamous Shanghai Tunnels.
Also known as the Old Portland Underground, these tunnels were used to connect the suppliers at the port directly to the businesses via, you guessed it, tunnels. That was until shady happenings continued to occur within the confines of the tunnels. Organized crime would not just take the produce but kidnap the port’s sailors, also known as Shanghaiing.
Over time, the historical accuracies have blurred, but a tour of the tunnels is one of the best things to do in Portland. Take this tour of Portland’s Shanghai Tunnels. This unique tour takes you through the underground passages of Portland’s Chinatown followed by 3 tasters and 1 pint of Portland craft beer.
20. hoyt arboretum
Portland has plenty of outdoor spaces and the Hoyt Arboretum is a 190-acre public arboretum that was founded in 1928. It is now home to over 6,000 trees and shrubs from around the world, making it one of the most diverse tree collections in the Pacific Northwest.
The Hoyt Arboretum features 12 miles of hiking trails and paved paths for walking, jogging, and biking. The trails wind through different sections of the arboretum, each with its own collection of trees and plants. Some of the collections include the Magnolia Collection, the Maple Collection, the Oak Collection, and the Conifer Collection.
21. Ride the Portland Aerial Tram
The Portland Aerial Tram, also known as the Portland Tram or OHSU Tram, is a gondola lift system that connects the South Waterfront district to the main campus of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) on Marquam Hill. The tram opened to the public in January 2007 and has since become an iconic feature of the Portland skyline.
The tram consists of two cabins that can carry up to 79 passengers each, traveling a distance of 3,300 feet (about 1 kilometer) and an elevation gain of 500 feet (about 152 meters). The ride takes about 3-4 minutes one way, and offers stunning views of the city and the Willamette River.
Tickets can be purchased for the Portland Aerial Tram at the lower terminal station or online. The cost of a one-way ticket is $5.10 for adults and $2.50 for seniors and children. The tram runs daily, with frequent departures throughout the day.
22. Get Outdoors at Washington Park
If you’re wondering what to do in Portland if you don’t have a car, then wonder no more. Washington Park is a sprawling urban oasis that is easily accessed with the help of Portland’s light rail.
Just 20 minutes from downtown, those visiting Portland will quickly fall in love with this open space. Bring your walking shoes, as there are 15 miles of trails to stroll while you will also have the chance to visit the Oregon Zoo and the International Rose Test Garden.
Combining your favorite exhibits with conservation and fun education, the Oregon Zoo is one of top things to do in Portland with kids. The zoo comprises five main sections featuring different continents and unique ecosystems. So your crew can circle the globe while getting an unobstructed view of the world’s most iconic animals.
When exploring the zoo, you won’t go hungry with multiple restaurants and coffee shops to choose from. Head to Growlers for pizza or order your lunch online and pick it up at AfriCafe, so your day doesn’t miss a beat. (Another great option to see wildlife is at the Portland Audubon Society.)
23. Start Your Day at Pioneer Courthouse Square
If downtown Portland had a gathering place, this would be it. The square is an urban park within the heart of the city, a spot where post-work festivities begin.
Beyond being a meeting point, the beautiful square is vibrant throughout the year. Concerts and festivals occur almost weekly, with Tuesdays and Thursdays bringing free lunchtime concerts to locals.
However, the atmosphere in ‘Portland’s living room’ reaches its peak during the winter festival season. Festivals include Winter Lights and the Holiday Ale Festival, a celebration of the state’s best craft beers.
24. Walk Along Mississippi Avenue
If the question is what to do in Portland at night, then the answer is to head to Mississippi Avenue. Mississippi is another neighborhood in Portland that has risen to fame based on its social vibe and arts scene. The main drag, Mississippi Avenue, provides the goods with colorful quirky shops, food trucks, and homes that are now trendy restaurants.
The daytime brings plenty of walking adventures as you meander your way down the street. However, at night, this is the place to go to experience Portland’s live music scene. The standout among the bunch is Mississippi Studios.
If you are looking for a place to eat on the go pop into Probst Marketplace and choose a dish from its many food carts.
25. Take a Bike Tour
One of the best ways to get around Portland is by bicycle adn you can rent bikes to take you to all of its top attractions. Rent an e-bike to easily get around the city avoiding the hassle of parking a car, but having the luxury of battery power to make sightseeing easy.
Or you can join a bike tour to get around Portland. This bike tour takes you through Portland’s neighborhoods where you’ll see the alternative side of the city admiring street art. Take time to smell the roses and go for a ride along the river. A bike tour is a great way to experience the city at a leisurely pace.
26. Portland Festivals
Portland is known for its festival scene, with events taking place throughout the year. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may be able to enjoy one of the festivities taking place in the city. Some of the most popular festivals in Portland include:
- Portland Rose Festival – This is a multi-week festival that takes place in May and June every year. It celebrates the city’s rich history and culture with a variety of events, including a grand floral parade, dragon boat races, and fireworks.
- Portland International Film Festival – This festival showcases the best in independent and international cinema, with screenings taking place over two weeks in February.
- Portland Jazz Festival – The Cathedral Park Jazz Festival is a ten-day festival in late February that celebrates jazz music with performances by renowned musicians from around the world.
- Portland Craft Beer Festival – This festival takes place in July and features more than 100 local breweries and over 300 different types of beer.
- Feast Portland – This four-day food festival takes place in September and features some of the best chefs, restaurants, and food artisans from around the Pacific Northwest.
- Holiday Ale Festival – This festival takes place in early December and features over 50 different winter ales, ciders, and meads.
27. Take a Brewery Tour
Portland has plenty of craft breweries and one of the best ways to make new friends and immerse in the beer scene is to take a brewery tour. This East Side Craft Brewery Walking tour takes you through Portland’s inner Eastside neighborhood to enjoy its craft brewery scene. Sample different flavors and learn about Portland’s craft brew origins.
Walk through Portland’s craft brewery scene, the inner Eastside neighborhood, tasting beer samples spanning the gamut in style, flavors, and colors. Learn about the origins and future of craft beer in Rose City and America as a whole
29. Chill Out in the Pearl District
Many cities have amazing examples of rundown districts born again and old neighborhoods with a ‘rags to riches tale’. Portland’s version of this is the Pearl District. Once home to warehouses and disintegrating brick buildings, the Pearl District is one of the best places to eat and drink in Portland.
The once abandoned warehouses have been converted to chic condos with highrises cropping up yet maintaining its industrial feel creating one of the funkiest neighborhoods in Portland.
The Pearl District is home to several fantastic art galleries, cafes for your morning cup, and some of the best dining in the city when the tummy starts to grumble. Fans of craft beer will also delight in the neighborhood’s selection of delicious brewpubs, none more popular than Deschutes Brewery and Public House.
Return in the evening when the laid-back district presents some of Portland’s best nightlife.
28. Alberta Arts District – The Hippest Spot in Town
Northeast Portland once had an infamous reputation, but over the years it has transformed into an artists’ hub and a neighborhood for expression and creativity. From this, the Alberta Arts District was born.
This Eastside Craft Brewery Tour takes you on a walking tour through the Eastside industrial district to explore its distilleries, street art and coffee scene. Learn about Portland’s craft brewing history, and taste its IPAs and Belgian Bear. You will also taste Portland Ciders.
Based around Alberta Street, you will discover a youthful community of art galleries and homegrown boutiques. What will come as a shock to no one is that the district comes with an abundance of murals and is the best spot for street art in Portland. Come with no plan and simply get lost walking the streets, hitting up some great brewpubs, cafes or street vendors along the way.
30. Enjoy Cocktails At A Rooftop Bar
If you don’t make it to the Pittock Mansion for a view of the city, make sure to enjoy a cocktail at one of its rooftop bars. Like many cities, Portland has a number of great rooftop bars, here are a few for you to choose from.
- Departure Rooftop Bar: Located on the 15th floor of the Nines Hotel, Departure offers stunning views of downtown and the surrounding mountains. The bar features an Asian-inspired menu and a variety of signature cocktails.
- Revolution Hall: Situated on the roof of the historic Washington High School building, Revolution Hall offers a spacious outdoor patio with breathtaking views of the city. The bar serves up a variety of local beers and cocktails, and also hosts live music and events.
- Tope: This rooftop bar is located atop the Hoxton Hotel and offers sweeping views of the city skyline. The menu features Mexican-inspired dishes and a variety of creative cocktails.
- Altabira City Tavern: Located in the Lloyd District, Altabira offers a large rooftop patio with stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains. The bar features a rotating selection of local beers and an extensive menu of American cuisine.
- Century Bar: This rooftop bar is located in the heart of downtown and features a spacious outdoor patio with views of the city skyline. The bar offers a variety of craft cocktails, wine, and beer, as well as a menu of small plates and snacks
Day Tours from Portland
While there is no shortage of things to do and see within the city, the surrounding areas offer endless options for a perfect day trip. From hiking in the Columbia River Gorge to wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, there’s something for everyone within easy driving distance from Portland.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a foodie, or a history buff, these day trips will leave you with unforgettable memories of the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty and charm. So pack a picnic, hop in the car, and let’s explore some of the best day trips from Portland, Oregon!
31. Columbia River Gorge
Following the immersive Historic Columbia River Highway, venturing to Columbia River Gorge is the perfect choice for those seeking a day trip from Portland. Spanning 80 miles along the mighty Columbia River you will get the full fix of Oregon’s spectacular scenery and soaring canyons.
Although you will have an abundance of epic lookouts along the way, make sure to leave time for the trip to Multnomah Falls. The Insta-famous waterfall is worth braving the crowds for, thanks to the memorable 542ft drop into a cascading pool. You can reach the falls by following the 5-mile Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail, which passes a total of 6 mesmerizing falls.
Book this highly rated Columbia River Gorge Waterfall Tour for an afternoon at the Columbia River Gorge including, Multnomah Falls, the Portland Women’s Forum, the Crown Point Vista House, Latourell Falls, and Shepperd’s Dell.
32. Timberline Lodge
Along with the Columbia River Gorge, a trip to Timberline Lodge is a great way to experience the world around the Portland city limits. 90 minutes from Portland, the Timberline Lodge is the base for many outdoor activities.
On the edge of the monstrous Mount Hood, this is the place to go for year-round skiing and big mountain hiking trails. Better yet, save the energy and ride the gondola up to 7000ft with epic views of the summit.
After the return journey, cozy up in front of the Timberline Lodge’s fireplace and have dinner at what feels like the top of the world.
Want the lowdown on hiking around the Portland area, from the Oregon coast to the Cascade Range? Check out our guide on the best hikes in Oregon.
33. Willamette Valley Wine Tours
Taking a wine tour from Portland to Willamette Valley is a great way to explore the region’s vineyards and wineries, which are known for producing world-class Pinot Noir wines. Willamette Valley is home to over 500 wineries, so it’s a good idea to research which ones you’d like to visit ahead of time or you can book a wine tour to make things easier. Some popular wineries include Domaine Serene, Stoller Family Estate, and Adelsheim Vineyard.
Willamette Valley is a large area, so it’s important to plan your route in advance to ensure that you can visit all of the wineries on your list. There are several wine tour maps available online that can help you plan your route.
Many wineries require reservations for tastings, so be sure to book in advance to secure your spot. You can usually book tastings directly through the winery’s website or by calling them.
This half day wine tour takes you to the Willamette Valley for wintery hopping to sample its famous Pintos. Visit three tasting rooms with a stop for lunch along the way on this small group tour.
Where to stay in Portland
There are several worthy areas in Portland to stay, from Mississippi to Old Town, while southeast Portland provides many budget options. Below, we have listed three hotels to suit each budget.
Budget – With a vintage vibe and exposed brick, the Society Hotel is a top choice among budget travelers. Within walking distance of the Pearl District, a mouthwatering food scene, and Northwest Portland, you’ll have it all at your fingertips. Check rates and Reviews on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
Mid-Range – In Portland’s Northwest District, Park Lane Suites & Inn brings fantastic amenities at a great price. With a beautiful interior, well-equipped kitchen, and plush sofa, you’ll feel right at home. When you’re ready to explore Portland, the Lan Su Chinese Garden and Powell’s City of Books are steps away. Check rates and reviews on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
Luxury – With a rooftop terrace, indoor pool, and enormous suites, the Hampton Inn & Suites will be the perfect home in Portland. Within the Pearl District, you are close to all the action in the city center, the best Portland restaurants, and the Portland Art Museum. Check rates and reviews on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
Unique – Jupiter Hotel – We stayed at this hotel and loved its quirky vibe. A mid-century motor inn turned boutique hotel in the heart of Portland just minutes from downtown, and the Rose Garden Arena. Check rates and Reviews on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
Where we Stayed: We also stated at The Benson a historic landmark hotel in Portland that was founded in 1913. With a European flair it is a Four Diamond hotel. Check rates and reviews on TripAdvisor / Booking.com
How to get to Portland
The major arrival point for Portland, Oregon, is through the city’s major airport. Portland Airport is 9 miles from downtown Portland and the best way to travel is on the MAX light-rail train. The trip takes just under 40 minutes to complete, starting at 4:45 am, with the last train at 11:50 pm. Tickets cost $2.50 for adults.
Taxis and ride-share services provide alternatives. Depending on traffic, a trip takes anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes. Costs for a taxi hover around $35.
Shuttles are another common option. Some Portland hotels provide free shuttle transfers.
Amtrak also connects to Portland via several western USA cities.
Getting around Portland
One thing that quickly becomes noticeable as you travel around Portland is just how great bicycles are and how bad the car traffic is.
That doesn’t mean you should rule out hiring a car when in town. In fact, to enjoy the coast and the mountains on either side of the city, then you’ll need four wheels.
However, with great public transportation, you can get almost anywhere within Portland.
Bus – The TriMet bus system operates over 80 lines throughout the city. You can plan your journey on their website and attain arrival times and details of each stop. Beware that there are fewer services in the evening and the vast majority end after 1 am.
Light Rail – If you are downtown, then using the MAX light rail and the Portland Streetcar are two easy ways to get around. The light rail is reasonably extensive and easy to use. For trip planning, you can download the app on the TriMet website.
To make life easier and cheaper, grab a Hop Fastpass Card. Use all forms of transport without having to worry about cash.
Bicycle – Portland has an abundance of bike lanes and a strong bike share system. Drivers here are also more aware of their two-wheeled counterparts than elsewhere in the States. The bike-share system is called Biketown. Have your pick of 1500 bikes stationed at 180 different locations throughout the city.
Car Rental – Local traffic has an infamous reputation and can slow down your adventures around Portland. You can compare car rental prices for Oregon at RentalCars.com
SmartPark garages are a great option for when you can’t find a spot to park. But in general, you will want to save your car for day trips further afield.
Taxis – Cabs are readily available at all hours, while Uber and Lyft operate in great numbers.
Best time to visit Portland
Thanks to the impressive nature, there really isn’t a bad time to visit Portland. Sure, it can get pretty cold in the winter, yet the soaring mountains provide ample exciting opportunities from skiing to mountaineering.
However, with an abundance of urban spaces and flowers blooming in unison, spring is the best time to visit Portland. The cherry blossoms come to life and the city’s atmosphere awakes from the winter slumber.
Summer and fall present also presents great travel opportunities. The urban parks pack out in the summer with festivities and markets galore. While in the fall, the foliage is worth the price of entrance all by itself.
Now that you’ve explored Portland, why not check out another outstanding Oregon city? Explore our guide to the best things to do in Bend