Portland, "The City of Roses", is the largest city in Oregon and the second largest city in the Pacific Northwest. It lies about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on the northern border of the state of Oregon, straddling the Willamette (pronounced will-LAM-et) River 12 mi (19 km) south of its confluence with the Columbia River. Vancouver, Washington (not to be confused with Vancouver, Canada) is on the other side of the Columbia River. About 50 mi (80 km) to the east lies majestic Mount Hood, which forms the perfect backdrop for Portland's skyline. The city is noted for its scenic beauty, a lively music scene, a large number of microbreweries, and its eco-friendly urban planning policies.
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 has retained the relaxed air of a smaller town while still growing rapidly. The city has a surprising amount of urban amenities for a city of its size, including an impressive music and arts scene and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation, but the city hasn't developed to the point of being overwhelming. That said, in recent years Portland's growth has started to catch up with the city, with some of the worst traffic congestion in the west, a high cost of living relative to wages (though there's no sales tax), and chronic underemployment.
The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into; Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mt. Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas Fir trees, and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color. Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture here and fuel many progressive city planning practices, such as an urban growth boundary, which have made Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similar-sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive 15 mi (24 km) from downtown and be out in the countryside.
The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805; after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F. W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, WA to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns; so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.
In 1851, Portland was formally incorporated and was growing rapidly; its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco; however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.
Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Portland began to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 70s and into the 80s, Portland became a center for "counter-culture," growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 90s brought an influx of modern tech companies along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.
As in other places in the Pacific Northwest, there is abundant rainfall in the fall, winter, and spring. The rain is often a menacing drizzle or mist, meaning you'll often be wet; total precipitation in Seattle and Portland is technically less than many east coast and southeastern cities because there are fewer downpours, instead the rain opts for a near constant drizzle. A sunny day in the rainy season can seem to be very rare, and Portlanders have the unusual habit of wearing shorts and flip-flops the minute the sun comes out, even if the temperature is barely above freezing. Portland has very little snow, instead the winters are very rainy. Bring or buy an umbrella if you're in Portland between October and June. There is a myth that a large portion of "Portlanders" don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, instead preferring hoods and raincoats.
It's worth mentioning that there are really only two seasons in the Portland area - rain and summer. The rain and clouds typically last 9 months, from late September often until late June, then suddenly the clouds clear and it is hot and sunny. There is not really a gradual increase in temperatures, it's basically either 48°F (9°C) degrees and raining, or 85°F (29°C) and sunny. Prospective visitors who don't care for rain should be aware that Portland summers, although short, are quite pleasant - July through September have only a 10% chance of rain on any given day, temperatures rarely exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, and local produce (including fresh sweet cherries and some of the world's best berries) is available at farmers' markets and fruit stands in and around the city. July and August are typically the hottest months, temperatures occasionally hit 100°F (38°C) or more.
Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 701 SW Sixth Ave (at Morrison), ☎ +1 503 275-8355 (toll free: +1 877 678-5263), . M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM, Sa 10AM-4PM.
Portland International Airport (IATA: PDX)  is located 9 mi (15 km) northeast of downtown on the Columbia River. (This is also a dual-use air force base, which can cause confusion on some maps.) Most major airlines serve Portland from nearly all major airports in the United States. Non-stop air service is also available from Vancouver, BC, and Toronto, ON, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; and Amsterdam. Daily direct service is also available to Pusan, Korea. The airport also has free wi-fi.
A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $30. The MAX light rail red line, which has a stop inside the terminal, near the baggage claim area, will cost $2.40 and take you downtown in about 30 minutes. That same $2.40 will transfer you to any of the buses to get you to your final destination.
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. When returning a rental car to the airport, follow the signs to stay in the left lane. However, it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus exit. You need to curve to the right (with the rest of the highway) and not go straight. Even in light traffic, it is dangerous and illegal to immediately turn around.
Important Note Concerning Rental Car Returns:
If you need to fill up your rental car's gas tank before returning it, be advised there are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and Interstate 205 (Cascade Station). If you are heading north on 205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth (Exit 23-A) exit for the closest and most accessible gas stations to the airport.
Union Station; "Go By Train"
Amtrak provides service from Union Station, 800 NW Sixth Avenue (north of downtown), about a 15-min walk from Pioneer Square. The transit mall ends at Union Station, so local TriMet buses and the MAX green and yellow lines run by Union Station very frequently.
The Amtrak Cascades service runs two trains per day between Portland and Eugene to the south and four trains between Portland and Seattle to the north, with one of those going further north to Vancouver, BC. These trains are more reliable schedule-wise than the long distance trains and offer certain amenities not available on regular Amtrak trains, such as more space for bikes, more laptop outlets, a "Bistro Car" which serves local foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
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.
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. You can enter the south part of downtown from I-5 before it goes over the Willamette River, or you can take I-405 which 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.
As with all of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland; an attendant will do the pumping for you.
Greyhound provides bus service along the West coast as well as from points inland. The depot is located at 550 NW 6th Avenue, across the street from Union Station.
BoltBus, . Service from Seattle, WA and Vancouver, BC. Bus stop is at 647 SW Salmon St. Fares $1-20.
No useful boat lines exist, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River.
Basic road map of Portland; click to enlarge
Downtown Portland map
Portland is an easy city to bike, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.
Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into five sectors, sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "five quadrants". These quadrants are roughly divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.
SW - South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
SE - South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
NE - North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
N - North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
NW - North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.
All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.
Driving around downtown is not recommended: inconvenient, expensive and hard-to-find parking combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls and restrictions make it frustrating--even for locals. Within downtown, MAX and the streetcar are free. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 min—-faster than driving at times.
Be aware that most of the the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington is next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.
Portland is a great city for walking. Many intersections are designed with pedestrians in mind, and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps  that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade  along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade actually float on the water.
Portland is an excellent city for cycling, with a network of streets designed to be predominantly used by bicyclists. 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. Bikes can also be taken on all buses and MAX lines. The City of Portland Office of Transportation has a bicycle rental webpage .
By public transit
MAX Light Rail train
TriMet maintains bus, streetcar, and MAX light rail throughout the Portland area. There are four MAX Light Rail lines:
The Red Line, which runs from the Portland International Airport to downtown and west on to Beaverton.
The Yellow Line, which runs from the Expo Center south to downtown and the Portland State University.
The Green Line, which runs from Clackamas Town Center north and west to downtown and the Portland State University.
All of the lines go through the city's downtown, with the red and blue lines going in a east-west direction and overlapping on Morrison/Yamhill Streets, while the yellow and green lines go in a north-south direction and overlap on the Portland Transit Mall, along 5th/6th Avenues. The light rail lines run every 15 minutes for most of the day, with service every 30 minutes in the wee hours of the night. There is also a vintage trolley service on Sundays along 5th/6th Avenues on the yellow/green lines in downtown which is free to use and has conductors narrating on historic points of interest along the way.
In addition, TriMet maintains the Portland Streetcar line , which runs through the downtown area along 10th and 11th Avenues every 13-20 minutes, connecting the Northwest Portland, Pearl District, Downtown, Riverplace, and South Waterfront neighborhoods, plus Portland State University.
Most of downtown is covered by the Free Rail Zone, where rides on the MAX and Portland Streetcar are free as long as you board and leave within the zone. The MAX fareless ride extends across the river to the Rose Quarter and the Lloyd Center stations and west to 10th Avenue. The Streetcar fareless zone extends north to Glisan Street and south to the River Pkwy & Moody stop.
Fares will depend on how much you travel, but a two hour ticket that covers all fare zones costs $2.35, and all-day tickets are $4.75. You can purchase a ticket at any MAX station. Bus tickets are purchasable on board for $2.05 or $2.35, depending on the number of zones, exact change in cash only. Keep the ticket to show to fare inspectors, and as a transfer to other lines. An extensive system map is available for a small cost from the TriMet store in Pioneer Square.
Crime on the TriMet system is extremely rare. Cell phone chatter (it is illegal in Oregon to use a cell phone while driving), however, is a problem.
Museum of Contemporary Craft, 724 NW Davis St, ☎ +1 503 223-2654, . Tu-Sa 11AM-6PM; First Thursday of every month 11AM-8PM. $4 adults, $3 students/seniors, free on First Thursdays.
Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park Ave (across from the Portland Art Museum), ☎ +1 503 306-5198, . Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. $11 adults, $9 students/seniors, $5 youth.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), 1945 SE Water Ave, ☎ +1 503 797-6674, . Summer: 9:30AM-7PM daily; Winter: Tu-Su 9:30AM-5:30PM. OMSI is great for kids, with hundreds of hands-on activities with a particular emphasis on technology and earth sciences; you can spend a full rainy day here and not get bored. Moored in the river just outside is the USS Blueback, an old navy submarine which is open for tours (separate ticket required). There's also a planetarium and an IMAX theater which requires separate admission, but you can view the IMAX projector in operation without paying for the movie ticket.$12 adults, $9 youth/seniors (parking $2/car, IMAX theater, planetarium, and submarine tickets require separate admission).
Pittock Mansion, 3229 NW Pittock Drive (Bus 20 from Downtown to NW Barnes, followed by a 15 min moderate climb), ☎ +1 503 823-3623, . Feb-Jun, Sep-Dec 11AM-4PM; Jul-Aug 10AM-4PM; garden open until 9PM. A stunning Victorian mansion in the hills of west Portland, dating back nearly a century now and preserved just as it looked then. The mansion also contains beautiful artworks and furniture collected by the original owners.$8 adults; $7 seniors above 65; $5 youth 6-18; free for children below 6.
Portland Aerial Tram, at SW Moody and Gibbs (in South Waterfront, at the southern end of the streetcar line), . Trams depart every 6 minutes M-F 5:30AM-9:30PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su June-Sep. 1PM-5PM. An aerial tram which connects the South Waterfront neighborhood to the Oregon Health Sciences University campus on a hill to the west. The tram is sleek and offers an excellent view of Downtown and the surrounding area, with splendid views of the mountains on a clear day.Roundtrip $4, children 6 and under free.
Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave, ☎ +1 503 226-2811, . Su noon-5PM, M closed, Tu-W, Sa 10AM-5PM, Th-F 10AM-8PM. Has several outstanding collections and is regularly updated by moving exhibits.$15 adults, $12 seniors/students, children 17 and under free; free on the 4th Friday of every month 5-8PM.
Portland Underground, 120 NW 3rd Ave (at junction with Couch, Skidmore Fountain MAX stop), ☎ +1 503 622-4798 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . The Portland Underground Tour is accessible by tours run by the Cascade Geographic Society on select dates, and explores a section of the Portland Underground, a series of tunnels that links the basements of bars and hotels in the Old Town. The tours focus on the Shanghai'ing history of the tunnels, where kidnappers sold their victims to work on boats leaving port. Tours range from the historical to the paranormal.$13-26 depending on tour; $8-17 children under 12.
Portlandia, 1120 SW 5th Ave (W side of Portland Building), . Looming over the west entrance of the Portland Building is the second-largest hammered-copper statue in the U.S. (after the Statue of Liberty); a classical sculpture of a woman bearing a trident, crouching over the entryway and reaching down to welcome visitors. For its sheer size, it's surprisingly easy to miss - keep your eyes peeled for the postmodern building painted in red, blue, and tan.
Sapporo Bell, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. (at the entrance to the Oregon Convention Center). Sapporo, Japan -- Portland’s Sister City -- gave this huge friendship bell to Portland.
Pioneer Courthouse, Downtown
Portland has many unique and interesting neighborhoods to explore; these are but just the most notable ones:
Downtown Portland is the heart of the city, centered around Pioneer Square and home to modern commercial towers, new condominiums, and converted lofts, along with several museums and urban parks of interest to tourists, including Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the river. To the immediate south of Downtown is the campus of Portland State University and South Waterfront, an urban revitalization area at the southern end of the streetcar line with newly built glass residential towers.
Just to the north of Downtown is Old Town, which is where Portland was first settled and which has some historic buildings and is a nightlife center, but also contains a fair amount of social services for homeless and mentally ill. The neighborhood also holds the remnants of Chinatown which, despite a lovely archway entry at Burnside and 4th Avenue and some Chinese-inspired street decorations, is rather desolate and may prove a disappointment for visitors expecting the bustle of San Francisco's or New York City's Chinatown.
Just to the northwest of Downtown is the Pearl District, a very hip and trendy neighborhood on the streetcar line which was not long ago derelict warehouses and empty industrial space. The economic success of the Pearl has made it a frequently cited urban planning model, and it is an excellent place to hang out and people watch, eat in fine restaurants, and visit the famous Powell's Bookstore. Perhaps the best spot to people watch is Jamison Square, a city park at the heart of the Pearl that includes a popular fountain which fills a pool during the summer months that's popular with little kids. For a slightly more quiet retreat, Tanner Springs Park is just a couple of blocks north and built to resemble a piece of reclaimed wetland, with tall grasses and a nice pond. On the First Thursday of every month, all art galleries in the Pearl district open their doors for casual viewing, and many serve wine and cheese.
To the north of the Pearl, at the northern end of the streetcar line is the Northwest District, also known as Nob Hill and also on the trendy side and with a variety of retail shops, bars, and restaurants along with plenty of lovely Victorians and tree-lined streets. West of this is the West Hills, where the well-to-do of Portland have traditionally lived. Because of the geography, the streets in the West Hills are a bit of a maze, but they still make for an interesting trek; you'll find lavish mansions, ornate public staircases, and good views of Downtown.
Hawthorne Blvd, which runs east-west across the river from Downtown, has a broad selection of shops including a branch of Powell's Bookstore and the ornate Bagdad Theater Pub, and is a center of the counter-culture/bohemian community which is dissipating to make way for a variety of upscale businesses.
Located along Sandy Blvd northeast of downtown, Hollywood is a commercial district for the nearby neighborhoods and home to the Hollywood Theater, an ornate theater which shows a lot of independent films. There is also a popular Saturday farmers market during the warm months.
To the north of downtown between MLK Blvd and 30th Avenue, Alberta Street has much the same feel as Hawthorne Blvd; a counter-culture/bohemian community that's becoming popular with yuppies. Alberta is home to Last Thursday, said by many locals to be the alternative to First Thursday in the Pearl District and also featuring wine tasting and gallery openings, along with street vending and performance artists.
Parks and gardens
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, SE 28th Ave & Woodstock Blvd, ☎ +1 503 771-8386, . Summer: 6AM-10PM daily, Winter: 6AM-6PM daily. A display and test garden was initiated in 1950 that includes more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants. Beginning in early spring and continuing into summer, the gardens provide a magnificent display of color, giving visitors the opportunity to view many varieties rarely seen in the Pacific Northwest. During the fall, many companion trees add dramatic coloring. Spring-fed Crystal Springs Lake surrounds much of the garden, attracting many species of birds and waterfowl.$3 in the summer months (free for children under 12); free for all in the winter.
Forest Park, . Located on the hills northwest of Downtown, Forest Park is one of the nation's largest urban parks at 5,000 acres. There are many great hiking and biking trails to be found winding through this natural forest setting.Free.
St. Francis of Assisi statue at The Grotto
The Grotto Gardens, 8840 NE Skidmore St, ☎ +1 503 254-7371, . M-F 9AM-8:30PM, Sa-Su 9AM-8:30PM. A tranquil and spiritual sanctuary which hosts reflection ponds, secluded gardens, and shrines on the top of a basalt cliff. The best time to visit is during the holiday season when the grotto is illuminated with lights. The Grotto also makes for a very romantic destination for a special night out.Free.
Lan Su Chinese Garden (formerly the Portland Classical Chinese Garden), NW 3rd & Everett (in Old Town/Chinatown), ☎ +1 503 228-8131, . Summer: 10AM-6PM daily, Winter: 10AM-5PM daily. A beautiful urban retreat in the heart of Chinatown with a pond, a teahouse, pavilions, and lots of gardens. If you are on a budget, you can peek in through the ornate open windows and see much of the gardens without paying admission.$8.50 adults, $7.50 seniors, $6.50 students, children 5 and under free. (45.52565,-122.67299)
Laurelhurst Park, SE 39th Ave & Stark St, . 5AM-10:30PM daily. A beautiful park designed by a horticultural expert from the same team that designed New York City's Central Park. This park has a great atmosphere in good weather, with lots of locals and visitors enjoying the duck pond, the bike paths, and the off-leash dog area.Free.
Mill Ends Park, SW Naito Pkwy & SW Taylor. The "smallest park in the world", a title backed up by the Guinness Book of Records, Mill Ends was originally created satirically for the purpose of being "a leprechaun colony and racetrack for snails." It is located in the median of SW Naito, and consists of nothing more than a single small tree in the crosswalk on the north side of the intersection.
Mount Tabor Park, SE 60th & Salmon St, . 5AM-midnight. At the eastern end of the Hawthorne District, Mt Tabor is a forested park situated atop an extinct volcanic butte with great views of the city. The park contains a couple of reservoirs and lots of winding trails, and is also the home of the popular PDX Soapbox Derby event (see below under Do).
Pioneer Courthouse Square, SW Broadway and Yamhill, ☎ +1 503 223-1613, . This is the central courtyard of downtown Portland, a big gathering spot that's popular with tourists and locals alike. Notable features of the park are a cascading waterfall fountain, chess boards, and the Weather Machine, a machine that predicts the weather every day at noon. Many other sculptures and art elements surround the square, including Kvinneakt, the bronze statue of a nude woman that's otherwise known as the "Expose Yourself to Art" statue after a popular poster featuring a flasher (former Mayor Bud Clark) facing this work.Free.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Naito Pkwy (Between the Steel and Marquam bridges). This wide expanse of green lawns along the downtown Portland waterfront is a scenic slice of park land, with views over the Willamette River and of the skyline. At one point, this narrow stretch of land was a four-lane freeway, but growing environmental awareness led to the city replacing the freeway with this park. Along the waterfront there are a number of fountains, memorials, and gardens, including the Salmon Street Springs, a large fountain at the Salmon Street entrance that's popular with kids during the summer; the Battleship Oregon Memorial, the old mast of the USS Oregon battleship between Oak and Pine Streets; and the Japanese American Memorial Garden at the north end of the park has monuments telling the story of people of Japanese descent in the US, including the WWII internment camps. The park is also home to many festivals throughout the year, including the Waterfront Blues Fest and the carnival-like Rose Festival.Free.
Oregon Maritime Center and Museum, SW Naito Pkwy at Pine St (on the Willamette River), ☎ +1 503 224-7724, . W-Sa 11AM-4PM, Su 12:30-4:30PM. Located on the Portland, a steam sternwheeler tug boat moored in the river, the museum contains numerous ship models, maritime artifacts and memorabilia, while tours are offered of the ship itself.$5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 youth, children under 6/military free.
Saturday Market, SW 1st Ave (under the Burnside Bridge), . Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 11AM-4:30PM, 1st weekend in Mar-24 Dec. This market and craft fair, where everything sold is handmade, is the largest open-air crafts market in continuous operation in the U.S.
SW Park Pl (directly west of downtown), ☎ +1 503 823-PLAY, . Daily sunrise-sunset. Free (some enclosed attractions have separate ticketing).
Washington Park is a classic urban park, sprawling over about 140 acres and with a whole bunch of trails that take you between the strands of trees, around the hills and through the canyons - a park so large it can be easy to get lost without a map. In addition to the many attractions listed below, it also contains memorials for the Korean and Vietnam Wars, the Holocaust, and the Lewis and Clark expedition, and has beautiful vistas of Portland and Mount Hood. The MAX red and blue lines can take you to the park; the station is located at the south end of the park, outside the World Forestry Center and the Oregon Zoo entrance.
Rose, International Rose Test Gardens
Hoyt Arboretum, 4000 SW Fairview Blvd (on the western side of the park), ☎ +1 503 865-8733, . 6AM-10PM daily; Visitor Center M-F 9AM-4PM, Sa 9AM-3PM. A large arboretum with paved trails of varying lengths and over 1,000 species of trees and plants in a natural setting.Free.
International Rose Test Gardens, 850 SW Rose Garden Way (10 min on Washington Park Shuttle from Washington Park MAX), ☎ +1 503 823-7529, . 7:30AM-9PM daily. The largest rose test garden in U.S., perched on a hill overlooking Downtown and with thousands of roses planted in every possible way: rows, bushes and vines. Best to come between May and July, when it gets fragrant as everything's in bloom. There are free guided tours by volunteer gardeners at 1PM during the summer months.Free.
Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Rd (on the southern side of the park), ☎ +1 503 226-1561, . Winter 9AM-4PM daily, Summer 8AM-6PM daily. A good-sized zoo with Pacific Northwest animals, a primate house, and an Africa area, as well as a large Asian Elephant exhibit and breeding area, which is noteworthy among zoos.$10.50 adults, $9 seniors, $7.50 children (parking $2/car, discount for MAX users).
Portland Children's Museum, 4015 SW Canyon Road (on the southern side of the park), ☎ +1 503 223-6500, . 9AM-5PM daily. $9 general, $8 seniors, free for children under age one (parking $2/car).
Portland Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Dr (across from the Rose Test Gardens), ☎ +1 503 223-1321, . Winter Tu-Su 10AM-4PM, M noon-4PM; Summer Tu-Su 10AM-7PM, M noon-7PM. A haven of tranquil beauty which has been proclaimed as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.$9.50 adults, $7.75 seniors/students, $6.75 youth, child 5 and under free.
World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, 4033 SW Canyon Road (on the southern side of the park), ☎ +1 503 228-1367, . 10AM-5PM daily. Built like a giant log cabin, this museum is devoted to the science and cultural impact of Pacific Northwest forests.$8 adults, $7 seniors, $5 children, children 2 and under free.
Godzilla soapbox car at the annual PDX Soapbox Derby
PDX Soapbox Derby, Mt. Tabor Park, . A popular event which takes place annually in mid-August and is great for spectators. Some soapbox cars strive for speed and slick design while others are incredibly imaginative and hilarious creations. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy watching the races.
Portland Rose Festival, . This award-winning festival, held in early June, is Portland's largest event. The Portland waterfront is turned into a carnival for a couple of weeks, starting with Fleet Week as military ships moor alongside Waterfront Park and culminating with a bunch of festivities on the second weekend, including the centerpiece of the festival, the Grand Floral Parade held on the last Saturday. Other events include flower shows, other parades, fireworks, and dragon boat races.
Portland Timbers, JELD-WEN Field (1844 SW Morrison), +1 503 553-5400, . Portland's new Major League Soccer team, the Timbers play at JELD-WEN Field  (formerly PGE Park) and are known for their strong local support. After the game, hit the Bitter End Pub across the street from the stadium; it's a popular place to unwind for sports fans.
Portland Trail Blazers, Rose Garden Arena (1 Center Court), +1 503 234-9291, . An NBA basketball team which plays at the Rose Garden Arena. They are well known for having one of the most loyal crowds in all of sports, so make sure to get tickets before the game as it is very rare to have a game that is not sold out.
Springwater Corridor,  A 21-mile multi-use trail extending from SE Portland to the town of Boring, Oregon. It is designed to accommodate hikers, bikers, wheelchairs and horses.
Portland has a pretty good music scene throughout town, with venues holding everything from huge national acts to small underground music groups. Many local pubs and bars offer great local bands on weekends, and the city is developing a national notoriety as the nation's "indie rock capital", with many high (and low) profile independent rock music acts calling the city home. Despite its reputation for all that is hip, Portland maintains a fairly diverse range of live music options. Check out one of the two weekly alternative newspapers for comprehensive music listings; the Portland Mercury and the Willamette Week.
The 2410, 2410 N Mississippi Ave. A warehouse that has been converted to a semi-legit club that draws the biggest names in electronic music to Portland. Starting in recent years as a spot for "underground" raves, the spot has evolved and now hosts a variety of 16+, 18+, and 21+ events. The crowd is usually diverse, with 16-year-old ravers with pupils like saucers, aging wallflowers, and neo-hippies all in attendance. Check flyers at record stores for information on upcoming events.
Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St, +1 503 231-9663, . Doug Fir Lounge is Portland's slickest, upscale music venue featuring live shows almost every night of the week in the basement, a restaurant on street level and a bar in both. A decidedly hip variety of traveling and local music.
Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukee Ave, +1 503 234-9694, . A great venue revamped from an old theater hall that offers shows almost nightly, featuring local favorites as well as Northwest and National acts. Food and alcohol available.
Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell St, +1 503 284-8686, . A large ballroom with cash bar featuring many of Portland's favorite music artists and national touring acts.
Roseland Theater, 8 NW 6th Ave, (at Burnside), +1 503 224-2038, . 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 upstairs to view the show from there.
Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside St, +1 503 225-0047, . Crystal Ballroom often referred to as "The Crystal" is one of the nicest venues in town. The Ballroom is great size and has great art and period light fixtures. This is a clean, well maintained venue. The Crystal has a bar inside with upstairs balcony seating for 21+. The main floor is standing room only which makes the show much more intense. The floor gives under the weight of the crowd and can "bounce" if the crowd decides to jump in unison (to bring on an encore, for example). According the Crystal's website, at the time of its construction, the Crystal's mechanical dance floor (now fully restored to proper working order) was said to be unique on the Pacific Coast. Today, it may be the only one left in the United States.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, +1 503 248-4335, . 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.
Jimmy Mak's Jazz, 221 NW 10th Ave (between Davis and Everett), +1 503 295-6542, . Portland's unofficial home for live Jazz music.
Dante's, 350 West Burnside (at 3rd Ave), +1 503 226-6630, . Home of the weird, bizarre, and devilish live music and shows.
Rose Quarter, One Center Court, +1 503 797-9619, . The Rose Quarter hosts the Rose Garden and The Memorial Coliseum which are two major arenas. Hosting large, international level touring artists. The Rose Garden is home to the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Ticket Prices are usually higher for Rose Quarter Events.
"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 Governor Tom McCall, in a 1971 speech.
Since then, the Governor's request has been widely repeated by people who ignore it, then quote it. In recent years, Portland has been one of the hardest cities in which to find work. The official unemployment rate in the city went over 14% in March 2009. Underemployment is a rampant problem, and wages tend to be artificially low compared to the cost of living. These forces combine to make Portland a tough job market to navigate.
Reed College. Portland is home to Reed College, a small liberal arts college with a beautiful campus. The college frequently hosts educational events and lectures. The campus is worth checking out if not only for the nuclear reactor that is located there.
Oregon Health and Science University. Arguably the most prestigious research institution and hospital in Oregon, the site looks like a fortress from a distance. For fun, you can take the cable car from downtown. The institution is the largest employer in Oregon.
As in the rest of Oregon, there is no sales tax in Portland; the price you see on the tag is the price you pay. Portland is, by far, the largest metro area in the U.S. without a sales tax. (This does not apply to Vancouver, which is part of the metro area, but is in Washington State. A tax of 8.2% applies there.)
Powell's City of Books
Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, ☎ +1 503 228-4651, . 9AM-11PM daily. Powell's is a landmark in Portland, and most residents are proud to let you know that this is the biggest independent new and used 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 (Technical Books in the North Park Blocks, Portland Airport, Hawthorne--including the Home and Garden bookstore, and Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton)! The store can be imposing (get a map from the front desk), but it's a don't-miss for even the most casual reader.
Columbia Sportswear Company, 911 SW Broadway (or 1323 SE Tacoma St.'s outlet store), . 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.
Compound, 107 NW 5th Ave, . In the Old Town district, this Asian inspired version of Urban Outfitters is truly a funky place to get some t-shirts, bags, sneakers, comic books, vinyl toys, artwork, and more. Friendly staff. Upstairs is an amazing free gallery, with works available for purchase from cutting edge artists. Prints available too since the originals are quite pricey.
Upper Playground, 23 NW 5th Ave, . Across the street from Compound, this streetwear brand has a store and gallery located in Old Town. Known for their iconic walrus symbol, they often have some more "hip" local and Portland-themed goods that make good souvenirs. A good place to grab music flyers as well as check out some amazing contemporary urban artists.
Popina Swimwear, 318 NW 11th Ave, . Retro Swimwear brand Popina is located on the Portland Streetcar line in the Pearl District. Popina offers the Popina Swimwear Brand which is designed by Pamela Levenson and made in Oregon. Popina is known for Retro or Vintage Inspired Swimwear akin to the styles of Jantzen Swimwear which put Portland on the map as a swimwear powerhouse in the 1920's. Popina is one of 25 swimwear brands sold in the boutique.
Washington Square, in the suburb of Tigard south of Portland. The largest shopping mall in the state of Oregon, with just about everything you would expect to find.
Sellwood. Specializing in antique and vintage furnishings.
NW 23rd, north of Burnside. Part of the Northwest/Nob Hill District and one of the most densely populated shopping districts, with some funky and eclectic shops.
Hawthorne District, east side of the Willamette River. A popular shopping area, particularly the section between 34th and 39th Ave. Includes head shops, vintage clothing, used books and magazines, local clothing designers and craft stores.
Lloyd Center. A large mall just northeast of downtown near the Convention Center with dozens of stores to visit.
Clackamas Town Center, off of I-205 exit 14, . Great shopping facilities; smaller than Lloyd Center, but just as much to see. Accessible by MAX green line.
Pioneer Place, located downtown on SW 5th & Yamhill. Similar to Lloyd Center, though more upscale.
Just about any street in Downtown Portland has some neat shops, particularly around Pioneer Square and Broadway.
Pearl District. Just meandering through the neighborhood, you're sure to come across many boutiques, gift shops, and furniture stores. The areas around Jamison Square and the intersection of Lovejoy Street and 10th Avenue have the highest concentration of these fabulous shops.
The downtown core is home to a small army of Food Carts. With less overhead than the traditional indoor restaurant, you can pick up a delicious meal on the cheap and choose from a variety of foods including Indian, Mexican, pastries, and hot dogs.
Burgerville, 1135 NE Martin Luther King Blvd (multiple locations around the Portland area), . The NW's own fast food chain with a decidedly NW flavor promoting organic, fresh and seasonal ingredients. Great burgers and traditional fast food fare. Amazing seasonal items including sweet potato fries, asparagus, strawberries, blackberries, onion rings and more.
Cha! Cha! Cha!, several Portland locations. Good quality Mexican food at a middling price.
The Delta, 46th & SE Woodstock St. Southern food (chicken fried steak, jambalaya, grits, etc.) on the cheap. The food is excellent and in large portions.
Cheesesteaks & Burgers* Pioneer Courthouse Square, 701 SW Sixth Ave. Delicious Philly cheese steaks and burgers, as well as tastey home-brewed pickled eggs.
Detour Cafe, 3035 SE Division St. . Fresh and mostly organic fare in a cozy setting.
Dockside Saloon and Restaurant, 2047 NW Front, probably the best classic breakfast in Portland: perfect eggs to order, great bacon and world class golden hash browns. Pleasant waitresses, good coffee and excellent value.
Equinox, 830 N Shaver St (at Mississippi St), . Excellent variety of egg scrambles, vegetarian fare.
EuroTrash, 4262 SE Belmont, Just north of Belmont station. Mediterranean food with a sloppy American twist - Cute pink black and teal cart, fantastic for lunch and dinner. in the Good Food Here food cart lot.
Fat City Cafe, Multnomah Village. Local favorite, serves excellent breakfasts. The french toast is recommended.
Golden Dragon, SW 3rd at Stark (above Cameron's Books). Pretty good food for a cheap, dive-y Chinese Buffet. The decor is well-worn, but it still has a lot of classic Chinese kitsch character. Pick a window seat so you can enjoy the people watching while you eat.
Grand Central Bakery, 5 locations: Sellwood, Multnomah Village, on Fremont in Mississippi district, Hawthorne at 22nd, and on NE Weidler at 15th (Irvington district), . Artisan breads, pastries, soups, sandwiches and salads.
Gravy, 3957 N Mississippi Ave. Great egg scrambles and other hearty breakfast fare. Can be a long wait on weekends.
Laughing Planet, NW 21st & Lovejoy, SE 41st and Woodstock and SE 33rd and Belmont. Another great budget option. They have a number of vegetarian & vegan dishes available. Also they have a small outside dining area when the weather is nice.
Le Bistro Montage, under the east end of the Morrison bridge, . Good Portland character, with Cajun style food including mac and cheese, alligator bites, and great mud pie. Service is quirky.
New Seasons Supermarket, Five locations: Concordia, Orenco Station, Raleigh Hills, Sellwood, and Seven Corners on SE division, . Fantastic sandwiches and an awesome deli counter. You can choose your bread, meat/tofu pate, veggies, and spreads.
Nicholas' Restaurant, 318 SE Grand Ave, . Great value Lebanese food, family owned and operated where everything is made from scratch. Small seating area so there can be waits.
Pasha PDX, 19 NW 5th Ave. (between Burnside and Couch St.), ☎ 503 222 1667 (email@example.com), . Lunch M-F 11AM-3PM, dinner & dancing Th 5:30PM-midnight, F Sa 5:30PM-2AM. Persian restaurant, night club and celebrity catering. Excellent persian buffet. Now closed.Lunch buffet $8.
Olé Olé, 2137 E Burnside St. Great burritos and a good budget option.
Original Hotcake House, 1002 SE Powell Blvd. Open 24/7. A local landmark, famous for excellent food, great prices, and a quirky after-hours clientèle (after 1AM the place gets a bit rough).
"'Original Taco House", 3255 NE 82nd Ave. A local tradition serving Mexican food at very cheap prices. $5-10
Pine State Biscuits, 3640 SE Belmont St, . Excellent biscuits, gravy and bacon.
Quan Linh, 8230 SE Harrison #345, A small hole in the wall restaurant, family owned and operated, with a large variety of Chinese and Vietnamese home cooked meal. $5-10
Riyadh's, SE 14th and Hawthorne. An excellent source of affordable Lebanese food.
Taco Del Mar, various locations around the downtown area. Although more authentic Mexican food can be found around the city, this place is notable for serving up a 2-lb burrito. The ingredients are fresh and the staff are mostly laid-back hipsters. Try the fish taco (their namesake). $5
Taqueria Los Gorditos, SE 50th and SE Division St. Vegan and non-vegan food, cheap but delicious and with a very expansive menu for a taco cart, including quite large burritos. The ingredients are fresh and the staff friendly.
Voodoo Doughnut, 22 SW 3rd Ave (at junction with Ankeny), ☎ +1 503 241-4704, . 24 hours. A uniquely Portland spot, where you can get unusual donuts and a marriage while learning Swahili. While they do have the standard cake doughnuts, the real stars are the doughnuts topped with cereal, candy bars, strawberry Quik powder, and the maple bar with bacon (yes, bacon) on it. It's also the place to get vegan doughnuts. While the vibe is cool and flavour combinations and the naming gimmicks are creative, the doughnuts themselves ain't that great. They tend to be a bit heavy and often lacking in freshness, and the cereal toppings are often soggy. If you want a sugar rush and possibly a free huge doughnut, take the Tex-Ass Challenge; eat one of their oversized glazed doughnuts in under a minute and a half and it's free. (Of course, you have to purchase it in advance!) Lines are frequently long and wrap around the block, with wait times up to two hours.
Helvetia Tavern, 10275 NW Helvetia Rd, Hillsboro, ☎ +1 503 647-5286. M-Sa 11AM-9PM. A 15-20 minute drive to a rural area west of town, but outstanding burgers, fries and onion rings. Good selection of local and national beers on tap.
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.
Chinese Delicacy, 6411 SE 82nd Ave., serves delicious Chinese food and is open fairly late.
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.
Huber’s, 411 SW 3rd Ave, Inside the Historic Oregon Pioneer Building, +1 503 228-5686, . Portland’s oldest restaurant since 1879, dinner is priced between $11.95 to 23.95; lunch menu is similar with prices between $6.95 and $12.95. Known for its turkey dinners and Spanish coffees, pour right at your table.
Kornblatt's Delicatessen at 628 NW 23rd Av. 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.
Pizzicato or Hot Lips Pizza, Pizzicato is throughout the metro area; Hot Lips 1909 SW 6th Ave. (downtown near Portland State University) and 710 NW 10th Ave (in the Pearl District). Excellent thin-crust pizza at both. At Pizzicato, try the faux-Italian options, and at Hot Lips get any of the surprisingly good veggie pizza toppings, like artichoke.
Marrakesh For a truly unique dining experience, try this restaurant. Great food and the atmosphere is truly one-of-a-kind, with the guests sitting on long, ornately decorated couches or on huge pillows on the floor and Moroccan tapestries hanging on the walls. They also make sure you get your money's worth as $18.50 buys a five-course meal.
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.
For New York-style pizza, it's hard to beat Escape from New York at 622 NW 23rd., and New York, NY, 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, 2934 NE Alberta St. and Pizza A Go-Go, 3420 N Williams Av.
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.
Salvador Molly's, , 1523 SW Sunset Bld, +1 503 293-1790, +1 503 234-0896. Pirate Cookin'! Caribbean and South American cuisine with a pirate twist. Try the Great Balls of Fire (a habanero cheese fritter), eat 5 and get your photo on the wall of fame. These were featured on the Food Network as a Top 5 Spicy Treat.
Vegetarian House, 22 NW 4th Ave., . A great oasis of Chinese food for vegetarians. Most dishes are vegan (all are vegetarian) but feature American-Chinese staples such as Veggie kung pao chicken, Orange flavored veggie chicken, fried rice (ham-, pork-, chicken-flavored), and crab rangoons. Although a little on the pricey side ($9.45 for a chicken dish), the food is delicious!
Andina, at 1314 NW Glisan St. . A Peruvian restaurant with a good selection of platas (like Spanish tapas) as well as contemporary and traditional Peruvian entrees. Live music is performed most evenings in the lounge, a popular date destination.
Basta's Trattoria, at 410 NW 21st Av., serves excellent Italian food in a rustic-style decor. The wine list is extensive, and the menu is long but not overwhelming.
El Gaucho, 319 SW Broadway Ave., (downtown) . A chain with other restaurants in Seattle and Tacoma. The steak and ambiance don't come cheaply, however, so be prepared.
Ken's Artisan Pizza 304 SE 28th Ave, . Wood Fired oven cooking amazing pizza and other superbly executed Italian dishes. Expect a wait.
McCormick and Schmick's, 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 Av. (Jake's Grill). Has now expanded across the US, 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.
Papa Haydn 701 NW 23rd Av., near downtown, or 5829 SE Milwaukie Ave., in Sellwood. If you like dessert, this is the place to go. Although the entrees aren't all that impressive, sometimes there are four different lemon desserts, not to mention a wide selection of chocolates of every kind.
Park Kitchen, 422 NW Eighth St. Pearl District. Wonderfully inventive, delicious cuisine served in a lovely setting, with a view of the park blocks.
Pazzo Ristorante, 621 SW Washington St. Downtown. 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.
Portland City Grill, 111 SW Fifth Av. (30th floor of the Unico/US Bancorp Tower), . This expensive, lavish 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. Lunch, however, is not expensive (moderate range; 11AM-4PM) and offers the same wonderful view and good food. Happy Hour is even cheaper (budget range; 4:30pm to 6:30pm) for the same good food, but much more crowded than lunchtime.
Portofino Caffè Italiano, 8075 SE 13th Av., in Sellwood. A very small restaurant with attentive service and solid northern Italian and French Riviera cuisine.
Red Star, 503 SW Alder St, Downtown, . Upscale new American classics done very well. Located below Hotel Monaco.
Ringside, 2165 W Burnside St, downtown . Portland's original steakhouse. Autographs from famous musicians, athletes and movie stars line the walls. Great steak, dimly lit and excellent service.
Southpark Seafood Grill & Wine Bar, 901 SW Salmon St. 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 excellent Mediterranean-Italian fare with a regional seafood twist.
If you're looking for a free drink while walking around downtown, look no further than the Benson Bubblers, a series of ornate drinking fountains scattered throughout the downtown area, made of copper and in one-bowl and four-bowl variations. Installed by Simon Benson in the 1910s, the fountains continuously run from 6AM-11PM daily and offer a cool drink perfect for the summer months.
Portland is often referred to as "the microbrewery capital of the world", and it's a well-earned title. 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. Portland also has more traditional nightlife drinking establishments mainly located downtown and in 'The Pearl' - you will find everything from dance clubs, gay bars, an assortment of karaoke bars and much more. Portland likes its alcohol.
Bagdad Theater and Pub, 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd, +1 503 228-4651.  2:30PM-midnight daily (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.
Bartini 2108 NW Glisan St. A cocktail bar with an extensive and interesting drink list, it has excellent atmosphere and good Happy Hour prices. As for food, they have a wide variety of fondues (including a scrumptious chocolate fondue) and other great dishes.
Belmont Station 4520 SE Stark, Belmont Station is both a store and bar/cafe. The store side hosts over 1000 bottled beers from around the world, and the cafe offers a solid lineup of sandwiches, soups, and light pub fare, as well as interesting beers on draft. The friendly and knowledgeable staff make this the place to go to explore Portland's beer scene.
Bailey's Taproom, 213 SW Broadway, ☎ +1 503 295-1004, . 4PM-midnight. Offers 20 constantly rotating taps, plus one beer engine, encompassing the entire range of beer styles with emphasis on Oregon breweries. Located in downtown Portland, convenient to most hotels, mass transit, events, nightlife, restaurants and welcome to both microbrew fanatics and the uninitiated. One of the most eclectic selections of beer around and encourages enthusiasm for the unfamiliar. (Closed Sundays)$10.
Clinton Street Theater Pub shows a great assortment of esoteric films and the world's longest running Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The Delta Cafe on SE Woodstock, serves messy Barbecue Pork sandwiches, lemonade in a jar, mixed drinks and 40 oz Mickey's.
Dots, SE Clinton and 26th. A funky night spot.
EastBurn, 1800 E Burnside St, ☎ +1 503 236-2876. Cool building and great atmosphere. Hanging swing chairs, heated patio and downstairs bar with skee ball. The food is higher end, but not pricey and full bar with big wine list and great beers on tap make this spot a local favorite.
Hair of the Dog Brewing, 61 SE Yamhill St, +1 503 232-6585, . A microbrewery that achieved a weird sort of notoriety for high-alcohol-content beers, including "Dave," which had an astonishing 29% alcohol by volume. (It's no longer produced.) Originally not a brewpub, a recent relocation closer to the Willamette River has added a taproom (W-Su 2PM-8PM), and its beers can also be found around town at such places as Higgins and the Horse Brass.
Hopworks Urban Brewery, 2944 SE Powell Blvd,  One of the newest additions to the Portland brewpub scene. They emphasize sustainable practices business model. Hoppy beer with a distinct flavor.
Horse Brass Pub, 4534 SE Belmont St, . Another English-style pub that also serves a range of English-style food. An "old-world" atmosphere, reasonable prices, an huge beer list, free darts, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff make this a great place to relax with a pint and catch up with old friends. The smoke in here used to reach epic levels on weekend nights before Oregon's smoking ban took effect.
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, 1728 NE 40th Ave (also a NW location at 2327 NW Kearney St). 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. Very child-friendly, so be aware of unsupervised toddlers darting around between the tables. Entrees are creative and of high quality.
McMenamins,. Opening with its original location in 1983, The Barley Mill Pub, McMenamins now boasts over 50 locations in Oregon and Washington, which include the Bagdad Theater and Pub, Mission Theater and Pub, and the Kennedy School. Not all locations have theaters.
Mission Theater 1624 NW Glisan St, and Kennedy School Theater 5736 NE 33rd Ave, are part of the McMenamins Empire. Cinema 21, 616 NW 21st Ave,  A non-chain, non-McMenamins owned cinema brew pub showing more foreign, documentary and experimental film. Laurelhurst Theater  and Clinton St Theater  are other cinemas serving beer, wine and food.
Red and Black Cafe, 400 SE 12th Ave, . A Worker owned collective in SE. Usually carries at least one craft beer from Captured by Porches, a local microbrew which is prevalent around the punk rock community. Everything, including the beers are vegan. If you are not in the mood for alcohol try their daily brewed iced teas in flavors like lemon ginger mate, and nettle peppermint, or their cold pressed coffee. Cheap eats too host to Portland's best Vegan Reuben.
Rogue Ales Public House, 1339 NW Flanders St, +1 503 222-5910, . Best burger and fries downtown, and more beers than you can handle.
Teardrop Lounge, 1015 NW Everett St,  One of the more upscale, inventive cocktail spots in PDX. The great drink concoctions have been written about in many national publications.
Bula Kava House. Newly opened, friendly atmosphere. Kava kava is a mildly sedating drink from the South Pacific. Definitely worth a try if you're in Portland since the South Pacific is quite far away. Great place to relax and socialize in a semi-authentic atmosphere, all the while trying something entirely new and exotic.
Coffee People, . Now available only at a small handful of locations inside Portland International Airport, it used to be Portland's answer to Starbucks' empire, except with real milkshakes, and better coffee. Try a Velvet Hammer if you need caffeine.
Pied Cow, 3244 SE Belmont St, Phone: +1 503 230-4866. A great coffee house in Portland. No other place like it. If you visit for the summer, you must come to this place. It's a great experience.
Ristretto Roasters, 3520 NE 42nd Ave (note that the shop is on the side street across from the school even though the address is on 42nd), . Great, hard-core coffee roaster where craft is more important than flash. This small coffee shop roasts its own coffee in a visible back room. Be sure to take some home as there are not many places that do such a good job with their roasting. Free Wi-Fi on site. In 2008, Ristretto Roasters opened its second, larger location and coffee lab, 3808 N Williams Ave, +1 503 288-8667.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, four locations; SW 3rd and Pine, SE 35th and Belmont, Ace Hotel on SW Stark and 11th, and SE 45th and Division. One of the most celebrated and appreciated local coffee roasters in a city known for good coffee, Stumptown is credited for having beans that taste as fresh as a good home roast. Frequent customers include a quirky assortment of hipsters, yuppies, artists and the like. Many other coffee shops around town sell exclusively Stumptown coffee, and beans can be purchased whole at any of the three locations, as well as more gourmet grocery stores such as Wild Oats and Whole Foods.
World Cup Coffee and Tea, on 18th and NW Glisan, in Powell's City of Books downtown and the Ecotrust building in the Pearl District. Great locally owned company whose on-site coffee roasting has won awards. Serves organic, sustainable coffees in a great and comfortable atmosphere. One of the best coffee shops in Portland.
Hostelling International Portland-Hawthorne, 3031 SE Hawthorne Blvd, ☎ +1 503 236-3380, .
Hostelling International Portland-Northwest, 425 NW 18th Ave (at NW Glisan St), ☎ +1 503 241-2783, . A lovely and clean hostel in a couple of pleasant old buildings. Kitchen, internet access, and the staff are very friendly and relaxed. You can't beat the location for the price; a fairly quiet side street in a nice neighborhood near downtown.Dorms $23-$28, private rooms $52-$65.
McMenamins White Eagle, 836 N Russell St, ☎ +1 503 335-8900 (toll free: +1 866 271-3377), . Dormitory bunks at $30, full rooms at $40, queen rooms at $50-60.
ThirftyLodge, 949 E Burnside St, ☎ +1 503 234-8411, . Cheap motel, across the street from the Jupiter Hotel. Part of Travelodge.
Embassy Suites Portland Airport, 7900 NE 82nd Ave, ☎ +1 503 460-3000, . Conveniently located at the entrance to the Portland International Airport.
Fulton House Bed & Breakfast, 7006 SW Virginia Ave (South Portland/One block west of Willamette Park), ☎ +1 503 892-5781, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Located in the southwest part of the city, one block from beautiful Willamette Park on the Willamette River and just minutes from downtown Portland.$125-$175.
Hilton Garden Inn Lake Oswego, 14850 Kruse Oaks Dr, Lake Oswego, . Large spacious and recently renovated hotel located in the beautiful Lake Oswego region of Portland.
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 2300 N Hayden Island Dr, ☎ +1 503 283-8000, .
Hotel Fifty, 50 SW Morrison St (Downtown on the waterfront), . Renovated in 2008. Convenient to downtown and MAX train stops.
Hotel Vintage Plaza, 422 SW Broadway, ☎ +1 503 228-1212, . Luxury hotel with free daily wine tasting in the lobby.
Inn at Northrup Station, 2025 NW Northrup St, . Boutique all-suite hotel with modern decor, a rooftop deck, and kitchens.
The Jupiter Hotel, 800 E Burnside St, ☎ +1 503 230-9200 (toll free: +1 877 800-0004), . Crisp, modern guest rooms, cutting edge entertainment, food 21/7 fashion, spa style rub-downs, make up Portland’s only cultural boutique hotel. While there, The Doug Fir is not to be missed. All day eats and drinks. Seem to have loaner bicycles.
The Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd Ave, ☎ +1 503 249-3983 (toll free: +1 888 249-3983, firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. A decommissioned elementary school converted into a hotel by the McMenamins's group who also have several other converted buildings in the Portland area. Each room was made from one-half of an old classroom with items like blackboards, coatrooms, and so on still in place. The hotel has a full restaurant with its own bar and large outdoor patio. Be sure to try the Cajun Tater Tots! There's also a second-run movie theater (free with hotel stay) with a bar/cafe and table service. Also on site are the Concordia Microbrewery, Detention Bar (smoking allowed), Honor's Bar (non-smoking), Cypress Room (smoking allowed), and an outdoor soaking pool. Free Wi-Fi and great artwork throughout.$115-$145.
Marriott Portland City Center, 520 SW Broadway, ☎ +1 503 226-6300 (fax: +1 503 227-7515), . Located in the heart of downtown Portland. Just steps from the best shopping, museums, dining, and nightlife. Two blocks from MAX Light Rail, for convenient metro-area access. 10 mi from Portland International Airport.
McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 SW Halsey St, Troutdale, (toll free: +1 800-669-8610), . Housed in the former county poor farm, 15 mi east of downtown Portland. The hotel rooms ranging from suites and family rooms to hostel dorms.
Oxford Suites Portland - Jantzen Beach, 12226 N Jantzen Dr, ☎ +1 503 283-3030, .
The Park Lane Suites, 809 SW King Ave (near NW 21st and Burnside), ☎ +1 503 226-6288 (toll free: +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.
Le Pensione Guesthouse Style Bed and Breakfast, 1039 SE 37th Ave, ☎ +1 503 351-4831, . Stay in fun Hawthorne area close to great shopping, restaurants, entertainment in a beautifully detailed 1892 Victorian. Huge king room, single room and very large bath. Amenities include gourmet coffee, fluffy robes, private entrance, microwave, mini-fridge, Dr. Hauscka bath products, luxury spa across the street.
Rodeway Inn Airport, 9723 NE Sandy Blvd, ☎ +1 503 255-1400, .
Ramada Mall 205, 9707 SE Stark St., ☎ +1 503-252-7400 (email@example.com), . Located minutes from Portland Airport (PDX) on Stark St and I-205 near Mall 205 in South East Portland.
Whispering Woods Resort, 67800 E Nicklaus Way, Welches, ☎ +1 503 622-3171, . Each fully-furnished and tastefully-appointed one-or-two bedroom condominium includes everything you’ll need to enjoy the serenity of your Oregon vacation. Spacious living rooms invite you to relax and share the adventures of the day, while full kitchens and dining rooms host family and friends for a special meal or quick snack between the morning round of golf and an afternoon of fly-fishing.
The Benson Hotel, 309 SW Broadway, ☎ +1 503 228-2000 (fax: +1 503 471-3920), . A grand historic hotel located downtown.
Embassy Suites Portland Downtown, 319 SW Pine St, ☎ +1 503 279-9000, . Is in the renovated Multnomah Hotel and has a good location and nice decor for the money.
Hotel Monaco, 506 SW Washington St (at 5th Ave), ☎ +1 503 222-0001, .
The Governor Hotel, 614 SW 11th Ave, ☎ +1 503 224-3400, . Historic Four star hotel.
The Heathman Hotel, 1001 SW Broadway, ☎ +1 503 241-4100, . Chosen as one of the “World’s Best Places to Stay” in Portland, Oregon.
While traveling in Portland, exercise the same caution you would in any other urban area. Portland is a fairly safe city, especially for its size in the United States. There are areas to be wary of, mostly at night, which include Old Town, 82nd Avenue and Sandy Blvd. If you're just going past it in a car, cab, or by train, you should usually be fine, but be aware of the crime on the train at night as well.
Two area codes cover the Portland metropolitan area: 503 and 971. All ten digits must be dialed when dialing local numbers in the Portland area.
Multnomah County Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, ☎ +1 503 988-5123, . M,Th-Sa 10AM-6PM, Tu-W 10AM-8PM, Su noon-5PM. Issues one-hour guest passes for Internet terminal use. Numerous branch libraries scattered around Portland (see library locations and hours ). Free wi-fi available to public while the libraries are open. Wi-fi shuts off ten minutes before the libraries close and stays off until the library next opens.
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).
Just Out, . 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 left for 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.Free every other Friday.
The Oregonian, . 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 (Friday A&E is comprehensive), 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.$1 Daily, $1.50 Sundays.
The Portland Mercury, . 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. Free Wednesday evenings.
Portland Tribune, . This broadsheet-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.Free Tuesdays and Fridays.
Willamette Week, . 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.Free Wednesday mornings.
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.
Multnomah Falls, (25 miles East of Portland on Interstate 84). The falls is 620 ft (189 m) high and features a paved trail to the top for those willing to make the trek. The view is worth it. For a scenic drive travel East 15 miles on Interstate 84 to exit 18, take the Historic Columbia River Highway 9 mi (15 km) to the turnoff for Larch Mountain, go 14 mi (23 km) up East Larch Mountain Road to parking lot, short walk to Sherrard Point for viewpoint, drive back to the highway, then continue about a mile to Crown Point, then 9 miles to Multnomah Falls. There are a number of smaller falls along the way, which freeze in the winter. To get back to Interstate 84 continue East to the next freeway entrance.
Oregon Wine Country. 25 mi (40 km) or so southwest of Portland lies some of the most scenic vineyards on the west coast. There are over 100 wineries in this area, from small mom and pop operations with tiny one room tasting areas all the way up to tasting rooms that rival some of Napa's finest. Oregon is particularly famous for its Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris varietals; the climate is considered perfect for these grapes and the area has gained world wide note as one of the premier wine regions on the planet.
Officers Row Vancouver WA, (Across the Columbia river via I-5 or I205 about 15 min from the PDX airport). Pearson Field, the oldest continuous operating air field in the U.S., is now a museum with beautifully restored southern houses used by many well known people such as General George Marshall. You can walk for hours from the Officers Row to Pearson Airfield to Fort Vancouver and down to the Columbia River passing the oldest apple tree in Washington State.