Had a coin flip gone the other way, the largest city in Oregon would be called Boston, Oregon. From that fateful coin flip on, the city of Portland has, for the most part, been the recipient of great fortune.
Portland lies about 70 miles from the Pacific Coast on the northern border of the state of Oregon, straddling the Willamette River just south of its confluence with the Columbia River at Vancouver, Washington. About 50 miles to the east lies majestic Mount Hood, which forms the perfect backdrop for Portland's skyline.
As the largest city between San Francisco and Seattle, Portland vies with those cities as the spiritual capital of the laid-back northern Pacific coast. However, it does so in a way that mixes big-city dynamics with small-town friendliness. In contrast to rapid-growing Seattle, until recently Portland avoided the problems that come with fast growth. Although now Portland is experiencing the same rapid growth, it has been able to keep its unique character.
Progressive city planning practices such as an urban growth boundary have made Portland a very compact and user-friendly city. Unlike other metropolitan areas, you can drive 20 miles from downtown Portland and be out in the country. Environmentally friendly practices such as recycling are part of the culture here. It is also known for taking creative and unconventional ideas to solve its problems. For instance, it tore up a downtown freeway and transformed it into Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Its light rail system, originally built in the 1980s and subsequently expanded, has won nationwide acclaim.
In recent years, the city has become known as much for its microbreweries as Seattle is for its coffee houses. There are many microbreweries around Portland, many of which have won nationwide and international acclaim.
Portland is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with an exciting blend of historic and modern architecture. The scenery can't be beat with views of Mt. Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas Fir trees, roses everywhere and stunning seasonal color. Combine this with great art, waterfront festivals, a diverse population and you have one very exciting city.
Portland International Airport (PDX) is located 9 miles northeast of downtown Portland on the Columbia River. Most major airlines serve Portland from nearly all major airports in the United States. Daily non-stop air service is also available from Vancouver, BC, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Frankfurt, Germany. Daily direct service is also available to Mexico City, Mexico; and Singapore.
A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $30. The MAX light rail will only set you back $1.95 and will take you from one end of the Portland to the other. Plus it goes right downtown. All light rail connects with the city wide bus system. You be the one to decide: MAX or taxi.
If you're renting a car, the best way to get to downtown Portland from the airport is to take I-205 south to I-84 west, then follow the signs to the City Center at I-84's terminus and interchange with I-5. This will take you over the Morrison Bridge into downtown. Renting a car for a downtown destination is not recommended: inconvenient, spendy and hard-to-find parking combined with active parking meter enforcement (8 am to 7 pm) and nonintuitive street closures, transit malls and restrictions make it frustrating even for locals. Within downtown, buses, Max and the street car are free. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times.
[Amtrak http://www.amtrak.com/] provides service to Portland from all along the west coast. The Amtrak Cascades service runs two trains per day between Portland and Eugene, Oregon to the south. Additionally, there are three Cascades trains between Portland and Seattle to the north. These trains are more reliable schedule-wise than the long distance trains.
For long distance service, Portland is served daily by the Coast Starlight, running the length of the West Coast (Seattle-Portland-San Francisco Bay Area-Los Angeles). The Starlight has earned the nickname the "Starlate", since it is usually delayed for hours running north from California. The Empire Builder (Portland-Spokane-Glacier Nat'l Park-Minneapolis/St Paul-Milwaukee-Chicago) also provides daily service eastward, and tends not to be as delayed as the Starlight.
Portland's Union Station (800 NW Sixth Av) is located north of downtown, about a 15-minute walk from Pioneer Square. It is adjacent to the Greyhound bus station. The bus mall ends at Union Station, so local TriMet Buses run by Union Station very frequently.
From Washington to the north and California as well as most of the rest of Oregon to the south, the easiest way to get to Portland is on Interstate 5. I-5 runs directly through downtown Portland with a number of exits.
From Boise and other points east, Interstate 84 leads along the Columbia into Portland. From the Oregon Coast Highway and other points along the Pacific coast to the west, the easiest approach is U.S. 26. It cuts east towards Portland between Cannon Beach and Seaside.
Portland is an easy city to bike, walk or use public transport. Much of Portland is a grid, so it should be fairly easy to navigate. In general, east-west streets are named while north-south avenues are numbered. This doesn't hold true in the North Portland neighborhood where avenues are also named, or in the hills where roads are helter-skelter.
Portland is a great city for walking. Many intersections are designed with pedestrians in mind, and Portland has a lot of street life for an American city. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland.
Several streets in Portland are designed to be predominantly for bicycle use. These streets, such as SE Ankeny, SE Salmon, SE Lincoln, and SE Clinton, are usually spaced about halfway between the main car thoroughfares in the grid of East Portland. The bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. Additionally, many major streets have striped bike lanes.
Maps of bike trails can be obtained from Metro, in the Bike There! section.
TriMet maintains Bus and Light Rail throughout the Portland area, and City of Portland maintains the Streetcar line which runs through downtown and Northwest Portland. http://www.trimet.org/
C-Tran runs buses in Clark County, Washington. Fares for TriMet, C-Tran, and the Portland Streetcar are all interchangeable. Also available is a extensive system map available for a small cost from the tri-met store in Pioneer Square
Portland is divided into five sections. Burnside Street is the north/south split. The Willamette (pronounced will-LAM-et) splits Southeast and Southwest, but the river takes a turn north of Burnside. Since mother nature wasn't smart enough to use straight lines in her planning, the city decided to split what would be the Northwest quadrant into Northwest (West of the river) and North (East of the River), then divide North and Northeast at Williams Avenue. All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) This will make it easier to figure out where things are. If you hear Portlanders talking about the Southwest or the Northeast, they're probably talking about the section of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.
Hollywood is a dense little neighborhood centered around the ornate Hollywood theater on Sandy Blvd. Ironically, the Hollywood Theater kind of goes against the Hollywood grain, and frequently shows great movies that you might not get a chance to see at more Hollywood oriented theaters. During warm months, the Hollywood Saturday Market offers fresh produce and community events.
Alberta St. has a thriving arts district between Martin Luther King and 30th.
Beaumont is a nice little neighborhood along Fremont St. in the 40s
Downtown, the heart of Portland, lies in the Southwest
The West Hills, also stretching north of Burnside in the Northwest section, are where the well-to-do of Portland have traditionally lived. You can see pretty large mansions suspended on stilts above the hillside. Because of the geography, the streets in the West Hills are a bit of a maze. If you think you won't get lost, though, the West Hills might be an interesting trek. You'll find lavish mansions, ornate public staircases from several different time periods, and a few good views of downtown. You might also want to see the Vista Bridge. This bridge was once nicknamed the "Suicide Bridge" because of the people that jumped from it during the Great Depression in the 1930's
Goose Hollow lies west across I-405 from downtown. This neighborhood is sort of a quieter, more residential extension of downtown.
Lair Hill is another quiet but attractive neighborhood south across I-405 from downtown. Look for the Great Northwest Bookstore in an old church in this neighborhood.
Multnomah Village is a nice little neighborhood in hilly SW Portland.
Burnside Triangle is the center of the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Trannsexual community in Portland. It is basically a micro-neighborhood within Downtown. Ask a local and they'll help direct you there.
Chinatown and Old Town lie north of Burnside between the Park Blocks and the river. This area has a sort of old, seedy feel. However, as the Pearl District expands its tentacles outward, the fringes of this neighborhood are experiencing some regentrification. True to the name, this is really the oldest section of Portland.
The Pearl District lies between I-405, Burnside and the Park blocks. This is where you want to go if you want to get your trendiness in. The Pearl was once a half abandoned warehouse district, but in recent years has been given a fresh new coat of make-up by those wanting to live in a more urban environment close to downtown.
NW 23rd and NW 21st have a good deal of shops and the like. Like the Pearl, this area is a bit more on the trendy side. You will sometimes hear this area referred to as the Alphabet District (because the east-west streets run alphabetically), although most people seem to call it simply "Northwest".
Oregon Zoo, Located on the western side of town off of Hwy 26, the Portland zoo is the largest of its kind in the state. Some attractions are polar bears, elephants, sea lions, monkeys, Giraffes, and various birds and insects. Admission last summer was $12 for adults, and cheaper for seniors and children. http://www.oregonzoo.org/
Saturday Market, SW 1st Ave. under the Burnside Bridge. Sa 10AM - 5PM and Su 11AM-4:30PM, 1st weekend in March to December 24. This market and craft fair, where everything sold is handmade, is the largest open-air crafts market in continuous operation in the U.S. Free. http://www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com
Pioneer Courthouse Square, SW Broadway and Yamhill, (503) 223-1613. Every day, 24 hours. Known as "Portland's Living Room," this is the central courtyard of downtown Portland. Notable sights in the square is the Weather Machine, a machine that predicts the weather every day at noon. Many other sculptures and art elements surround the square. Free. http://www.pioneercourthousesquare.org
The Public Services Building (1120 SW 5th Avenue), aka The Portland Building, is considered an architectural icon. Designed by Michael Graves and built in 1982, its coloring and embellishment marked the arrival of postmodern architecture and the end of stark glass and steel edifices. The statue in front, "Portlandia", is the second largest copper statue in the United States--only the Statue of Liberty is larger.
Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Naito Pkwy between the Steel and Marquam bridges. This wide expanse of green lawns along the downtown Portland waterfront was once a four-lane freeway. Growing environmental awareness led to the city replacing the freeway with this park. In Waterfront Park are several features: the Salmon Street Springs (see Do below), the Japanese American Memorial Garden, and the U.S.S. Oregon Memorial. Free.
Mill Ends Park, the smallest park in the world.
The Portland basketball team play at the Rose Garden.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), 1945 SE Water Ave., (503) 797-6674 . OMSI is great for kids. It has hundreds of hands on activities and you can spend a full rainy day there and not get bored. But if all you want to do is see an awesome movie check out the IMAX theater that gives you a 360 view of space travel, scuba diving, race car driving, or an Africa safari. Open Tu-Su 9:30AM - 5:30PM (after Labor Day to mid-June). Museum admission: adults $8.50, seniors (63+) and youth (3-13) $6.50. OMNIMAX theatre: separate admission charge, adults $8.50, seniors (63+) and youth (3-13) $6.50.
Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Avenue Portland, OR 97205, 503�226�2811 . The Portland Art Museum has several outstanding collections and is regularly updated by moving exhibits. 10-15$ for adults, 6$ for youths. Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Monday closed, Tuesday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Wednesday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Thursday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Friday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Oregon Historical Society, located across the street from the Portland Art Museum.
First Thursday of every month all art galleries in the Pearl district are free, and many serve wine and cheese. http://www.firstthursday.org/The Pearl as the locals call it is a newly remodeled and redeveloped area across from downtown P-town. It was old warehouses just five years ago and now it is posh high rises and condos that have trendy shops and galleries at street level. A modern new city park sits in the middle that includes a boardwalk, grass, trees, waterfall which fills a pool every half hour or so. Little kids love the water on a hot day.
Last Thursday is said by many locals to be the alternative to First Thursday Centered around Alberta St. between Martin Luther King and 30th., it includes everything from wine tasting and gallery openings to street vending and performance artist walking the streets and sidwalks.
The bronze statue of a woman on 5th & Washington is titled Kvinneakt, created by sculptor Norm Taylor. But everyone knows it as the "Expose Yourself to Art" statue, after a popular poster featuring a flasher facing this work. The flasher was a tavern owner named Bud Clark, who went on to become mayor of the city.
The running blog of Portland's public art scene, Portland Public Artwork is independent and opinionated, showing items hidden in plain site and off the beaten track. See http://pdxartwork.blogspot.com/
Washington Park, SW Park Place (off Highway 26), 503-823-PLAY. sunrise-sunset, every day. Washington Park is a classic urban park. Sprawling over about 140 acres just west of downtown Portland, the park encompasses a Japanese Garden, the Oregon Zoo, the Rose Garden (with beautiful views of Portland and Mount Hood), a Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and a Lewis and Clark Memorial. Free (some attractions charge admission).
Forest Park, (in the northwest of the city) is about 20 km2 (7.7 mi2), or 5000 acres. It is the US's largest urban park, and possibly the largest in the world. Many great hiking and biking trails to be found.
Salmon Street Springs, SW Naito Pkwy and Salmon St., in Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park. A central computer controls 185 jets of water which produce regularly changing water patterns. A popular attraction for kids, especially during the warm summer months.
The Grotto Gardens (503-254-7371) Located on the city's Northeast side the tranquil and spiritual santuary hosts reflection ponds, secluded gardens, and shrines on the top of a basalt cliff. The best time to visit is during the Holdiday season when the grotto is illuminated with lights. The is a very romantic destination for a special night out. http://www.thegrotto.org/
Portland Rose Festival. June 2-12, 2005. This award-winning festival, held in early June, is Portland's largest event. The Portland waterfront is turned into a carnival for a week as military ships moor alongside Waterfront Park. The world-famous Grand Floral Parade is on the 11th. This festival has decreased in size in recent years and now consists of a few naval vessels and a large fairground with the usual assortment of rides. In 2005, it no longer appeared to be charging admission for the whole festival week, (although had been earlier in the week.)
Chinese Classical Garden, NW 3rd & Everett. Tour recommended (12pm and 1pm) however an audio tour looks to be in the works. Don't go expecting peace and solitude. Large groups, traffic, helicopters (and on this wikitravellers visit a hendrix impersonator across the street!) contributed to a less than reverent atmosphere. If you are on a budget (time or financial) you can peek in through the ornate open windows and see much of the gardens content without paying admission. Students receive concessions. Guides can be recycled on leaving. Disembark Old Town/Chinatown on the MAX. If of interest see also Japanese Garden.
Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road, (503)226-1561. Everyday (except Dec. 25), 9AM-4PM (Sep 16 - Apr 14), 9AM - 6PM (Apr 15 - Sep 15). The Oregon Zoo is the largest zoo in Oregon, and is known for its elephant breeding program. Adults $9.50, seniors (65+) $8.00, children (3-11) $6.50. http://www.oregonzoo.org
The Rose Quarter hosts the Rose Garden and The Memorial Colisuem which are two major arenas. The Rose Garden is home to the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Many popular names in music will be performing at the Rose Quarter this spring including Korn, Bon Jovi, David Gray, Death Cab for Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, and Black Eyed Peas.
Ticket Prices are ussually higher for Rose Quarter Events.
Located on NW 6TH and Burnside Ave, Portland, OR, 97209
Roseland Theater is a great place to go see a rock show or catch a hip hop concert. It is a good size venue but still gives you that crowded rock show feel. This venue is very fun to watch a show because the crowd always gets really into the music. It gets very crowded in some parts of the theater. This theater is standing room only. However there are seats in the upstars to view the show from there. Some great acts are coming to the Roseland this spring including Andre Nickatina, Starting Line, Guster, Matchbox Romance, The Strokes, Saves The Day, Ice Cube, and Blue Oyser Cult.
Crystal Ballroom oftenly referred to as The Crystal is one of the nicest venues around. The Ballroom is great size and has great art and motifs all around. Its great when your at a show and you look around and it feels like your in an art musuem. From my experience The crystal Ballroom is one of the cleanest venues I have ever been to, they take real good care of it. It is owned and operated by the McMenamins group which is a chain of pubs, hotels and theaters throughout Oregon. The Crystal has a bar inside the venue with upstairs seating for 21+. The main floor is standing room only which makes the show way more intense. McMenamin's Ringlers Pub is located underneath The Crystal Ballroom in the same building. This feature is great if you want to get something to eat or drink before or after you see a great performance. Some big name acts are coming to The Crystal ballroom including Chris Brown, James Blunt, and Alkaline Trio. The Tickets at The Crystal are between $15-$30 ussually.
The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is located on 1037 SW Broadway.
Home to the Oregon Symphony and the Metropolitan Youth Symphony. Contains very immaculate Italian architecture in the hall. The concert hall seats 2,776 people and hosts lectures, symphonies, comedians and big name musical acts.
Portland has many nationally recogonized universities and colleges, including Reed College, Lewis and Clark College, Portland State University, and University of Portland.
Portland is the home of two Pulitzer-Prize-winning publications and a number of smaller tabloid-format newspapers of note. Due to some heated local politics the town has become a rather thorny place for journalism. Portlanders identify their politics by what paper they read (Oregonian vs Tribune, Willamette Week vs Mercury).
The Oregonian (50 cents daily, $1.50 Sundays) is a nationally-recognized, Pulitzer-winning broadsheet newspaper known for cutting-edge design (which has declined in recent years) and local-oriented coverage (the paper is distributed throughout the state and into Vancouver, WA). The paper suffers as a city guide for the out-of-towner as its arts coverage is limited, but for those interested in longer stays it is a good primer on state politics. Movie times are up-to-date and the city's only printed television schedule is included daily, with an expanded form on Sundays.
Willamette Week (free Wednesday mornings), an "alternative weekly" newspaper, recently won a Pulitzer Prize for its investigative reporting. This boomer-hipster hybrid sometimes struggles from identity freak out but is likely the quickest and most immediate help to out of towners. The papers new annual city guide "Finder" can be found around town and is specifically tailored for those new to Portland. Sometimes referred to as Willy Week or "Willy" by old-guard Portland hipsters. Left-leaning editorials and left-viewpoint news.
The Portland Mercury (free Wednesday evenings), another "alt-weekly" newspaper the Portland version of Seattle's The Stranger, this tabloid-sized hipster-focused mag has taken a bite out of the Willamette Week's advertising in recent years, meaning that those looking for movie times or rock show listings can often find them in the pages. Readers offended by foul language or grammatical inaccuracy may be frustrated by the editorial content of the paper. Sneering, anarchical leftiness is on display throughout.
Portland Tribune (free Tuesdays and Fridays), this tabloid-sized upstart has struggled since its start to find a spot between the Willamette Week and the Oregonian, the city's mainstays and the paper's main competitors. Many Portlanders will sneer at references to the Oregonian made in conversation, suburbanites who work in the city tend to favor the Tribune.
Just Out (free every other Friday), Portland's queer paper, focused on issues of the Gay and Lesbian community. In Portland, "queer" issues--the neutral term of choice--are hot topics, with rural Portlanders swinging right on issues like gay marriage and a huge majority of the rest of the city swinging to the rabid left of absolute inclusion. Visitors to Portland would be ill-advised to expound anti-gay sentiment, and those interested in Portland's queer community would be wise to snag a copy of the paper.
Most other publications would be of only passing interest to travellers but to read what locals think and feel, some of the better neighborhood papers: Northwest Examiner, Portland Observer, Skanner, St. John's Sentinel, and Portland State University Vanguard.
"We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven's sake, don't move here to live. Or if you do have to move in to live, don't tell any of your neighbors where you are going."
-Former Governer Tom McCall, 1971 interview
In the last couple of years, Portland has been one of the harder cities in the State of Oregon in which to find work. Although the unemployment and underemployment rate has been falling recently, it is still a tough job market to navigate.
Powell's City of Books, 1005 West Burnside, 503-228-4651. 9AM-11PM every day. Powell's is a landmark in Portland, and most residents are proud to let you know that this is the biggest independent bookstore in the entire world. Covering an entire city block, the store stocks over a million books in 3500 sections. And that's not counting the 5 other branches in Portland (travel bookstore at Pioneer Square, technical bookstore in the north Park Blocks, the airport bookstore, and...)! The store can be imposing (get a map from the front desk), but it's a don't-miss for anyone who loves to read.
Sellwood One word, Antique, if you love old vintage furnishings then you need to head towards Sellwood. Plus there are some great new restaurants that serve fancy Thai or Indian food without breaking the bank.
NW 23rd, north of Burnside. Part of the Nob Hill District that host funky and eclectic shopping and restuarants and bars; a hotspot on a Thursday and Friday night. One of the most densely populated shopping/eating districts in Portland.
Columbia Sportswear Company, 911 SW Broadway or 1323 SE Tacoma Street (outlet store, much cheaper prices). Columbia produces outdoor sports wear with an emphasis on cold and rainy weather clothing. You may need some sort of rain protection if visiting during the fall, winter or spring. Portlanders look upon umbrellas with mild disdain.
Hawthorne District, east side of the Willamette. Head shops, microbreweries, and craft stores.
Lloyd Center, for those who love to shop. Dozens of stores to visit and you're bound to find something you'd like.
Clackamas Town Center, off of I-205 exit 14. Great shopping facilities, smaller than Lloyd Center, but just as much to see.
New Seasons supermarket, . They make the best sandwiches and have an awesome deli counter. You choose your bread, meat/tofu pate, veggies, and spreads. Quality that you've never seen before. Everyone will love it. Five locations and more on the way, Concordia, Orenco Station, Raleigh Hills, Sellwood, and Seven Corners on SE division.
The downtown core is home to a small army of Food Trailers. With less overhead than the traditional indoor restaurant, you can pick up a delicious meal on the cheap. Choose from a wide variety of ethnic foods including Indian, Mexican, and hot dogs.
A staple in Seattle, Taco Del Mar serves up a 2 lb. burrito for around $5. The ingredients are fresh and the staff are mostly laid-back hipsters. Try the fish taco (their namesake). Various locations around the downtown area. Better, more authentic Mexican can be found scattered about the city.
The Delta at 46th & SE Woodstock Street. Southern food (chicken fried steak, jambalaya, grits, etc.) on the cheap. Reed College is nearby and, as such, The Delta is often populated by vaguely poor but very interesting people. The food is excellent and in large portions.
Grand Central Bakery,  has 5 bakery cafes in metropolitan Portland area: Sellwood, Multnomah Village, on Fremont in Mississippi district, Hawthorne at 22nd, and on NE Wiedler at 15th (Irvington district). Famous for artisan breads, pastries, soups, sandwiches and salads.
El Grillo. A great dive (although recently remodeled) Mexican joint on SW Broadway between US Outdoors and Stripclub (a Portland landmark). Great fish tacos for $1.50. Butts up against Mary's, so the bathroom is in the club, and seedy characters exit the stripclub discreetly through the restaurant, making your dining experience more interesting.
Cha! Cha! Cha!, Several Portland Locations, good quality mexican food at a middling price.
Ryadh's, on SE 14th and Hawthorne is an excellent source of affordable Lebanese food.
Byways Cafe, 1212 NW Glisan St. A very '50s-style diner in the middle of the trendy Pearl District, with spectacular breakfast eating and enormous portions. Get a serious blast from the past, and enjoy the food too.
Excellent thin-crust pizza at Pizzicato or Hot Lips Pizza. At Pizzicato try the faux-Italian options, and at Hot Lips get any of the surprisingly good veggie pizza toppings like artichoke. Pizzicato is throughout the metro area; Hot Lips is at 1909 SW 6th Ave. downtown near Portland State University and in the Pearl District at 710 NW 10th Ave.
Flying Pie Pizzeria has been voted one Portland's favorite pizza restaurants for the past decade by hungry locals and media critics alike. They have stores located in SE Portland, Gresham and Lake Oswego.
For New York-style pizza, it's hard to beat Escape from New York at 622 NW 23rd., and New York, NY at 7737 SW Barbur Blvd. uptown. The restaurants are shrines to New York, unlike their chain-restaurant counterpart, Pizza Schmizza, (also quite good and spread throughout Portland). Also worth checking out are Bella Faccia at 2934 NE Alberta St. and Pizza A Go-Go at 3420 N Williams Ave.
Kornblatt's Delicatessen at 628 NW 23rd Ave. serves up a mean corned beef sandwich, better than most of what you'll get on the West Coast, not to mention their famous bagels. Outside tables in the summertime add to the pleasure.
Portland is famous for its bread, and the bakery that started it all, Pearl Bakery, anchors the Pearl District. The bread is rightly acclaimed as the best in town, and you can eat in and get a variety of sandwiches or even excellent breakfast pastries. 102 NW 9th Ave., in the Pearl District.
Mio Sushi, near NW 23rd St., is a great and constantly crowded place to eat sushi. It's also pretty reasonably priced. The sushi is fresh and even when crowded the service is pretty quick. 2271 NW Johnson St.
Montego Bay Authentic Jamaican Cuisine, 1239 SW Jefferson St serves excellent Caribbean specialties in a very informal atmosphere. Adventurous eaters will love it. The Curried Goat is excellent.
Basta's Trattoria, at 410 NW 21st Ave., serves excellent Italian food in a rustic-style decor. The wine list is extensive, and the menu is long but not overwhelming. Try the ragout over rigatoni or the lamb.
Portofino Caff� Italiano is a very small restaurant with attentive service and solid northern Italian and French Riviera cuisine. 8075 SE 13th Ave., in Sellwood.
Pazzo Ristorante, downtown, has both an excellent location near several movie theaters and the shopping district and solid Italian-Pacific Northwest fusion cuisine. It gets quite crowded on Friday and Saturday nights, however, so be forewarned. 621 SW Washington St.
For a more bistro-like atmosphere Southpark Seafood Grill & Wine Bar is located in the southwest corner of the shopping district and near a few movie theaters and the main Portland Center for the Performing Arts facilities. The food is, again, excellent Mediterranean-Italian fare with a regional seafood twist. 901 SW Salmon St.
McCormick and Schmick's has now expanded across the U.S., but way back when it was just four (now five) Portland fresh-seafood restaurants. They still serve fresh seafood, too, and it's excellent almost any way they prepare it. Downtown at 235 SW First Ave. (McCormick and Schmick's Seafood Restaurant), 0309 SW Montgomery St. (McCormick and Schmick's Harborside at the Marina), 401 SW 12th Ave. (Jake's Famous Crawfish), 611 SW 10th Ave. (Jake's Grill), and in Beaverton at 9945 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. (McCormick's Fish House and Bar).
El Gaucho, a chain with other restaurants in Seattle and Tacoma, serves what The Oregonian sometimes calls the best steak in town and has one of the darkest interiors in town. The steak and ambiance don't come cheaply, however, so be prepared. 319 SW Broadway Ave., downtown.
Ringside is El Gaucho's local competition, also an on-again, off-again champion of the Portland steak contest. It, too, is dark, but fully local and noisier. Expect to spend here as well. 2165 W Burnside, downtown.
For a more ethnic experience, Plainfields' Mayur is well-known for both good Subcontinental food and good overall experience, in a big house at the edge of the West Hills. 852 SW 21st Ave., near downtown.
If you like dessert, Papa Haydn is the place to go. Although the entrees aren't all that impressive, sometimes there are four different lemon desserts, not to mention a plethora of chocolates of every kind, on the menu. Either at 701 NW 23rd Ave., near downtown, or 5829 SE Milwaukie Ave., in Sellwood.
Portland City Grill located on the 30th floor of the Unico/US Bancorp Tower at 111 SW Fifth Avenue Portland, Oregon 97204. This expensive, lavishing restaurant has been made into one of the most romantic spots in Portland. If you are lucky enough to get a table or smart to reserve a table next to a window, you can enjoy your meal overlooking the great city of Portland. The menu offers only the finest selection of steak and seafood and you get as good as you pay (IT WILL DEFINITELY BE VERY GOOD!!!) Enjoy an upscale dining at the Portland City Grill.
Take advantage of the Northwest's famous microbrews - small breweries that serve their own (and other's) craft beers. A world away from the generic beers that are the mainstay of America (comparable to 'real ales' in the UK).
Bagdad Theater and Pub, 3702 SE Hawthorne, +1 503 228-4651.  2:30-midnight every day (depending on feature). The Bagdad is one of the great things about Portland: a 700-seat second-run movie theater serving a selection of regional craft brews you can drink while you watch. Add on top of that a good selection of pizza (slice or pie), sandwiches, and other brew-pubby foodstuffs, and you've got a great place to blow an evening. Movies start around 5:30PM, and run about every two hours after that. $3 (admission; beer and food extra).
Likewise the Mission Theater (1624 NW Glisan) and Kennedy School Theater (5736 NE 33rd) are part of the McMenamins Empire.
The Delta Cafe on SE Woodstock, serves messy Barbecue Pork sandwiches, lemonade in a jar, mixed drinks and 40oz Mickey's.
Dots on SE Clinton and 26th, a funky night spot.
Coffee People,  with locations throughout the city, is Portland's answer to Starbucks' empire, except the coffee is better. Try a Velvet Hammer if you need caffeine.
Silverado, Stark and 12th in SW. Gay bar, strippers. Always a fun crowd.
Rose and Raindrop, 532 SE Grand. A vaguely English-style pub. Very relaxed, many places to sit and accommodating of large (6-8 people) groups. A good selection of beers and food.
Horse Brass Pub, 4534 SE Belmont.  Another English-style pub that also serves a range of English-style food.
Red and Black Cafe, 2138 SE Division.  A Worker owned collective in SE.
Pied Cow, 3244 SE Belmont St, +1 503 230-4866. A great coffee house in Porland. No other place like it. There's an article featuring it and other great coffee houses. If you visit for the summer, you must come to this place. It's a great experience.
Go to Laurelwood Public House & Brewery (1728 NE 40 th Avenue) for the quintessential Portland Brewpub experience. Enjoy beer crafted by award-winning Brewmaster Christian Ettinger along with excellent food in a family-friendly setting. The garlic fries are not to be missed, desserts are huge and appealing, and the Laurelwood Spinach Salad is the best salad in Portland. Entrees are creative and of high quality. There is also a NW location at 2327 NW Kearney Street.
Fireside Coffee Lodge 1223 SE Powell Blvd. What would a trip to Portland be with out 24-hour coffee with WiFi? Lots of sandwiches and breakfast from Midnight. http://www.firesidecoffeelodge.com/
The Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd  is a decommissioned elementary school converted into a hotel. On site are a restaurant, a number of bars, a movie theater, and a soaking pool.
The Park Lane Suites, 809 SW King near NW 21st and Burnside. +1 503 226-6288; +1 800 532-9543 boasts apartment-like suites with kitchens (stove, refrigerator, coffee-maker, and dishwasher). Rooms also include a living room and comfortable beds. The hotel is located near the "Alphabet District" and PGE Park (the minor league baseball stadium). It's a short bus ride on the 15 to downtown. Rates are reasonable.
Portland is home to one of the largest community wireless networks based on the works of The Personal Telco Project. Check to find one of nearly 100 spots you can log onto the Internet free of any charge. Many major attractions such as Pioneer Square, PGE Park and many local parks are covered.
Portland is very safe for a city of its size. However, it is advisable to be cautious when walking alone during the night, particularly in Old Town/Chinatown, portions of North Portland and in Outer Southeast neighborhoods.
As in other places in the Pacific Northwest, there is abundant rainfall in the autumn, winter, and spring. However, the rain is usually a fine mist or fog; total precipitation in Seattle and Portland can be less than other cities on the East Coast. Nonetheless, a sunny day in the rainy season can seem to be very rare. Bring or buy an umbrella if you're in Portland between September 25th and June 25th. Wear a rain jacket if you don't want to stand out so much as a tourist.
It is rumored that the one day which has never had recorded rain is July 12. All other days, be prepared. (But July and August do only have a 7% chance of rain on any given day.)
Portland has a pretty vibrant lesbian and gay community. Most of the gay bars are found either in Oldtown/Chinatown or along Stark Street between SW 12th and 10th, but Portland gays and lesbians aren't really cooped up in a ghetto like in most other cities. Try counting the number of rainbow flags or HRC stickers you see while you're in Portland.