Portland lies to the far northwest of Oregon, straddling the Willamette River just south of its confluence with the Columbia River at Vancouver, Washington. Portland is the biggest city between San Francisco and Seattle, and vies with those cities as the spiritual capital of the laid-back northern Pacific coast.
The Portland Mercury is Portland's local indie newspaper available every Thursday. Local upcoming events can be found in their calendar. There is another local paper too, The Willamette Week (but you can call it the Willie Week if you want to sound cool.) It is bigger than the Mercury, a little more stuffy and conservative but a great reference for local restaurants.
Portand International Airport (PDX) - a taxi from the airport to downtown will cost you around $30, while the MAX light rail will set you back a couple of bucks, and drop you in Pioneer Square, right downtown.
Amtrak provides service to Portland from all along the west coast. The Amtrak Cascades service runs three trains a day between Eugene, Oregon to the south, and Seattle in the north. This is quicker and much more reliable than the regular trains, which can be delayed for hours on the long routes from California or Canada.
Portland's Union Station is located north of downtown, about a 15-minute walk from Pioneer Square. It is adjacent to the Greyhound bus station.
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 Highway 5. Highway 5 runs directly through downtown Portland with a number of exits.
From Boise and other points east, Highway 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 Highway 26. It cuts east towards Portland between Cannon Beach and Seaside.
Greyhound provides bus service along the West coast as well as from points inland.
No useful boat lines exist, although you can cruise up and down the river.
Portland is an easy city to bike, walk or use public transport.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. (OMSI)
Pioneer Courthouse Square.
Lots of public art, strewn throughout the city.
First Thursday of every month all art galleries downtown are free, and many serve wine and cheese.
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 International Rose Test Garden (with beautiful views of Portland and Mount Hood), a Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and a Lewis and Clark Memorial. Free (some attractions charge admission). http://www.parks.ci.portland.or.us/Parks/Washington.htm
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.
The Rose Festival begins June 3, 2004 http://www.rosefestival.org/ . The actual Rose Festival Parade (not to be confused with the similar-sounding parade in Pasadena ) is at 10 am Saturday, June 12, 2004.
Chinese Classical Garden, NW 3rd & Everett.
Japanese Garden (near the zoo)
Go shopping on funky Nowrthwest 23rd.
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 on Pioneer Square, technical bookstore on ____, 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. http://www.powells.com/
Great brunch at Henry's on SE 26th and Clinton.
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 Southeast Hawthorne, 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). http://www.mcmenamins.com/Theaters/?theater=Bagdad
Likewise the Mission Theater (1624 NW Glisan) and Kennedy School Theater (5736 NE 33rd) are part of the McMenamins Empire.
Dots on SE Clinton and 26th, a funky night spot.
Heaven coffee shop and internet cafe (free wireless if you bring your own laptop), 421 S.W. 10Th Ave.
Two Youth Hostels offer friendly and cheap acoomodation.
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 from free of any charge. Many major attractions such as Pioneer Square, PGE Park and many local parks are covered.