Portland, Oregon Travel Guide
Portland, Oregon Summary
- Beautiful nature abounds: lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and the famed Mt. Hood
- Great food, and many restaurants focusing on sustainable, organic, and local ingredients
- Cultural depth, with multi-ethnicity neighborhoods and various cultural events
- Laid-back attitude
- Gardens, like the Portland Japanese Garden nestled in over five acres of Washington Park
- Clean city streets as the result of multiple environmentally friendly initiatives
- Shopping, including the largest shopping mall in the state in Washington Park as well as vintage and boutique stores throughout other districts
- Active music scene, from huge, well-known acts to underground groups
- Very bike- and pedestrian-friendly downtown area
- Mild, cool but dry summers; no temperature extremes
- Best of the best when it comes to beer and wine
- Array of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and even skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Hood
- Just over an hour's driving time from the beautiful Oregon coast
- Gray and gloomy during winter months
- Relatively common marijuana use (a pro for some!)
What It's Like
Arguably one of the U.S.'s most environmentally friendly cities, Portland offers visitors an extensive public transit system and sustainable options in nearly every part of the city, from restaurants, to hotels, to public parks. Along with this eco-centered push comes an "urban growth boundary," making Portland extremely compact and navigable.
It's no accident that Portland's most popular attractions are nature-oriented, from the zen Portland Japanese Garden to numerous hiking paths (such as Oneonto Gorge, just 15 minutes east of the city in Mt. Hood National Forest).
But for less outdoorsy types, Portland also offers more typically urban highlights, including some of the nation's best breweries, restaurants, and museums. Widmer Brewing Company on Mississippi Avenue offers daily tours (with free goodies, like samples and a pint glass souvenir!).
Where To Stay
Hotels are sprinkled throughout the entire Portland downtown and surrounding areas, but most are concentrated in the districts immediately west of the Willamette River. If you're coming to Portland for an event or festival, you'll likely want to stay around the Pioneer Courthouse Square -- the largest outdoor venue in the city, where hundreds of festivals are held every year. Business travelers may want to stay within the Lloyd District -- Portland's commercial district, home to the Oregon Convention Center.
Luckily, Portland offers visitors a clean and effective public transit system, so if you opt for a less expensive hotel on the outskirts, you will be able to easily access downtown areas.