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. Until recently Portland avoided the problems that come with fast growth. Although Portland is now experiencing rapid growth, similar to Seattle, 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 10 miles from downtown 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 public transportation system, TriMet  includes the MAX light rail system. MAX, which has won nationwide acclaim, was originally built in the 1980s.
In recent years, the city has become known as much for its microbreweries, much like Seattle's reputation for its coffee houses. There are many microbreweries around Portland, many of which have won nationwide and international acclaim.
It is also known for being the home of Ward Cunningham, inventor of the "wiki".
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.
A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $30. The MAX light rail, which has a stop right at the airport terminal, will only set you back $2.05 and will take you from one end of the Portland to the other. Plus it goes directly into 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 (8AM-7PM) and nonintuitive street closures, transit malls and restrictions make it frustrating--even for locals. Within downtown, buses, MAX and the streetcar are free. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—-faster than driving at times.
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.
Amtrak 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. 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.
Greyhound provides bus service along the West coast as well as from points inland. Nov 10th seattle to portland greyhound return: $28.50
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. 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. In the Alphabet District in NW Portland, the streets are named alphabetically as they go north starting with Burnside. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. The Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers a scenic walk. Parts of the esplanade actually float on the water.
Portland is an excellent city for cycling. It has been rated by Bicycling Magazine as the best city in the U.S. for cycling. It has 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.
TriMet and other Public Transport
TriMet maintains Bus and MAX Light Rail throughout the Portland area. There are three MAX Light Rail lines:
The Blue Line, which runs from Hillsboro east through Beaverton and downtown to Gresham.
The Red Line, which runs from the Portland International Airport to downtown and west on to Beaverton.
The Yellow Line, which connects downtown to the Expo Center.
Fares will depend on how much you travel, but a one-way ticket that covers all fare zones will cost $2, and an all-day ticket will cost $4.25, although when you get on the MAX they rarely check for payment. A lot of people go on it without being checked for fares. However, if an inspector (in a neon yellow vest and TriMet uniform) catches you without proof of fare, you can receive a ticket for $94-250
In addition, the City of Portland maintains the Portland Streetcar line , which runs through the downtown area, connecting the Northwest Portland, Pearl District, Downtown, Riverplace, and South Waterfront neighborhoods, plus Portland State University.
Most of downtown is covered by Fareless Square, where TriMet bus, MAX Light Rail, and Portland Streetcar fares are free.
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 doesn't care much about straight lines, 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 Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about the section of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.
St. Johns, near the confluence of the Willamette and the Columbia, is more like a small town than a neighborhood. It has a nice line of storefronts.
University District, home to the University of Portland, sits on a scenic bluff overlooking the Willamette River. This mostly residential neighborhood benefits from a very distinct "college-town" feel.
Albina and Mississippi Avenues host a budding lively little neighborhood. The lead singer of Modest Mouse lives just off of the renewed Mississippi commercial district as does James Mercer of The Shins who owns a home in Mississippi Street corridor.
Sellwood once was a rival of Portland. It was later annexed and is now a thriving little neighborhood of its own along with Westmoreland.
Hawthorne Blvd. has a good collection of shops as well as a branch of Powell's Bookstore and the ornate Bagdad Theater. It is the center of the counter-culture/hippy/bohemian community.
Belmont St., while not as major as Hawthorne, also has a decent collection of shops, restaurants and entertainment. The greatest concentration of businesses is around 34th Ave.
Division St. also has a good deal of sites and activities.
The Clinton District, on Clinton St. at 21st and 26th, is a nice little neighborhood center with some decent food and a theater.
The neighborhood along Woodstock Blvd., centered around 45th, is more oriented towards residents.
82nd Ave. used to be one of the seedier parts of Portland, but that is changing as new homeowners move in and new businesses open. It is a good place to go for anything ethnic, especially Asian.
Ladd's Addition was an early planned subdivision, and is a deviation in the grid pattern. It's one of the few places in Portland that you might get turned around easily. It is mostly elm-lined residential streets, but there are a few businesses around Ladd Circle in the middle as well as on the outskirts of the neighborhood.
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
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.
Irvington is a beautiful neighborhood north of NE Broadway. It is known for its historic homes, and is primarily residential.
Kerns is an inner eastside neighborhood straddling E Burnside Street. It is most notable for a thriving restaurant row along 28th Avenue between Glisan Street and Stark Street.
Laurelhurst, an older residential neighborhood sitting on the borders of NE Portland, is known for its mansions, the expansive Laurelhurst Park, elegant old houses, and yearly Greek Festival which takes place at the Greek Orthodox Church on Glisan St., between 32nd and 31st.
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. Other attractions include Lair Hill Cafe and the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM).
South Waterfront is an expansion of the downtown south of the Ross Island Bridge. It includes newly build glass residential towers, the aerial tram and the expanded campus of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU)
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. Also true to the name, it's the best place to get anything Asian if you don't feel like going out to 82nd. The neighborhood is also a second center for the the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transsexual community.
The Pearl District lies between I-405, Burnside and the Park blocks. The Pearl was once a half-abandoned warehouse district, but in recent years has been renovated by developers to attract those wanting to live in a more urban environment close to downtown. Some attribute the name to Thomas Augustine, a local gallery owner, who suggested that the buildings in the warehouse district were like crusty oysters, and that the galleries and artists' lofts within were like pearls.
NW 23rd and NW 21st have a variety of retail shops, bars, restaurants, and even a couple of grocery stores. (Like the Pearl, this area is a bit more on the trendy side.) Parking is sometimes diffcult so use public transportation if you can. You will sometimes hear this area referred to as the Alphabet District by newcomers because the streets that run east-west are named alphabetically beginning with Ankeny Street, although most long time residents call it simply "Northwest." This area is also known as Nob Hill.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, SE 28th Ave & Woodstock Blvd 503-771-8386 The development of a display and test garden was initiated in 1950 by the Portland Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society. The more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas, and companion plants in the Garden have all been donated by volunteers and interested individuals, or purchased with specially donated funds. Beginning in early spring and continuing into summer, they 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.
Chinese Classical Garden, Located in Old Town/Chinatown at NW 3rd & Everett, . Tour recommended (noon & 1PM) however an audio tour looks to be in the works. Beautiful urban retreat in the heart of Chinatown with pond, teahouse, pavilions and lots of gardens. 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.
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.
The Grotto Gardens, +1 503 254-7371, . Located on the city's Northeast side the tranquil and spiritual sanctuary 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 is a very romantic destination for a special night out.
The Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse at SW 3rd Avenue, designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox in collaboration with Portland architecture firm BOORA, is visible as visitors approach downtown Portland via Washington Street. A canopy conceals a small grove of trees that grow on the roof, making the building one of Portland's most iconic buildings. It was designed with sustainability in mind; it exceeded Oregon's building energy codes by approximately 30% at the time of construction.
Mill Ends Park, the smallest park in the world.
Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Rd., +1 503 226-1561, . 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.
Pioneer Courthouse Square, SW Broadway and Yamhill, +1 503 223-1613, . Daily, 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.
Portland Duck Tours, Phone: 877-GO-BY-DUCK, . Amphibious land & water tours of Portland.
The NBA's Portland Trailblazers basketball team plays at the Rose Garden.
The Public Services Building, 1120 SW 5th Avenue (also known asThe Portland Building). 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.
Saturday Market, SW 1st Av. (under the Burnside Bridge), . Sa 10AM-5PM and Su 11AM-4:30PM, 1st weekend in Mar-Dec 24. This market and craft fair, where everything sold is handmade, is the largest open-air crafts market in continuous operation in the US. Free.
Washington Park SW Park Place directly West of downtown. Daily sunrise-sunset. Washington Park is a classic urban park, sprawling over about 140 acres. The park encompasses the beautiful and relaxing Japanese Gardens, the Oregon Zoo, the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, the Portland Children's Museum, the International Rose Test Gardens, as well as the Hoyt Arboretum which offers miles of hiking trails. It also contains memorials for the Korean and Vietnam Wars, a Holocaust memorial and a Lewis and Clark memorial. Beautiful vistas of Portland and Mount Hood. Free (some attractions charge admission).
For further information call Portland Parks and Recreation 503-823-PLAY
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), 1945 SE Water Av., +1 503 797-6674 . Open Tu-Su 9:30AM-5:30PM (after Labor Day to mid-Jun). 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. 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) $6.50. However, with museum admission, this is one of the very few places in the world where you can actually view the IMAX projector in operation (located at the end of hallway).
Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Avenue +1 503 226-2811 . Su noon–5PM, M closed, Tu W Sa 10AM–5PM, Th F 10AM–8PM. The Portland Art Museum has several outstanding collections and is regularly updated by moving exhibits. 10-15$ for adults, 6$ for youths.
Oregon Historical Society, located across the street from the Portland Art Museum. $10 adult, $8 discount.
First Thursday of every month all art galleries in the Pearl district are free, and many serve wine and cheese . 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 sidewalks.
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.
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. 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.
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 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.)
Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road, +1 503 226-1561, . Daily (Sep 16-Apr 14) 9AM-4PM, (Apr 15-Sep 15) 9AM-6PM (Closed Christmas Day, Dec 25). The Oregon Zoo is the largest zoo in Oregon, and is known for its elephant breeding program. Adults $9.50, seniors (65+) $8, children (3-11) $6.50.
Sadly, the well known Church of Elvis closed in 2001. If you still need to get married, head over to Voodoo Doughnutat 22 SW 3rd Avenue near Berbati's Pan. Voodoo Doughnut offers not only the standard cake and old-fashioned doughnuts, but also doughnuts topped with cereal, candy bars, strawberry Quik powder, and even a maple bar with bacon on it (menu here)! Voodoo is also known to locals as The Place to get vegan doughnuts, which are delicious to vegans and non-vegans alike. If you want a sugar rush and possibly a free huge doughnut, take the Tex-Ass Challenge. Eat one (yes, only one--but it's a biggie) of their oversized glazed doughnuts in under a minute and a half and it's free! (Must be purchased in advance.)
Portland Beavers Baseball, . The Portland Beavers, AAA affiliate of the San Diego Padres, play in beautiful PGE Park from April to September. Tickets are cheap and the games are exciting for all.
Portland Timbers Soccer,  is also played at PGE Park. The Timbers Army is the unofficial supporters' group. They have been chastised by the local media recently for their boisterous and sometimes profane cheering. 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 International Rose Test Gardens, Best to Come in May-July, largest rose test garden in US.
Springwater Corridor A 21-mile multi-use trail extending from SE Portland to the town of Boring. It is designed to accomodate hikers, bikers, wheelchairs and horses.
Living Room Theaters,  at SW10th and Stark, just south of the Pearl district, is a new concept in movie theaters and will reinvent your views of what movies can be. Six small theaters, all equipped with digital projection, seat just 40-50 people in comfortable lounge chairs to watch the best in independent and cutting-edge cinema. With a full service bar and kitchen that will serve you drinks and treats right in the theater, it is a truly amazing way to see some of the world's best films. The lounge and coffee bar is open all day and includes free Wi-Fi internet access. With tickets only $4.50 on Monday and Tuesday nights, the swanky atmosphere is not dampened by high prices. Phone 971-222-2010 or visit their website for more information including what's playing, menus, and directions.
Portland has a pretty good music scene throughout town. Music venues hold huge national acts to small underground music groups. Many local pubs and bars offer great local bands usually on weekends. The city is developing a national notoriety as the United States' "indie rock capital", with many high (and low) profile independent rock music acts calling the city home.
Doug Fir Lounge, Burnside, . Doug Fir Lounge is Portland's hottest music venue featuring live shows almost every night of the week, a restaurant and bar open 7 am to 4 am 7 nights a week.
Rose Quarter, One Center Court, . The Rose Quarter hosts the Rose Garden and The Memorial Coliseum which are two major arenas. The Rose Garden is home to the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers. Ticket Prices are usually higher for Rose Quarter Events.
Roseland Theater, Located on NW 6TH and Burnside Av., . 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, . 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.
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 performance. Some big name acts come to The Crystal Ballroom. In the 1960s, the Crystal was the ultimate rock palace. Bands like the Grateful Dead (twice), Ike & Tina Turner, Country Joe & the Fish, and Buffalo Springfield (with Neil Young and Stephen Stills), and a hundred others thrilled audiences at the big ballroom. Since reopening in 1997, the Crystal has hosted George Clinton, Dick Dale, James Brown, Michael McDonald, Billy Idol, Gregg Allman, the Wailers, and Robert Cray, as well as contemporary favorites including Medeski, Martin & Wood, Liz Phair, Steve Earle, Nick Cave, the Indigo Girls and Ween. Upcoming shows are announced on the marquee on the corner of NW 14th and Burnside. Tickets here are usually $15-$30.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 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.
Clark County Amphitheater, in Ridgefield, WA, 20 minutes North of Portland, . A great Amphitheater that is open when the weather is right.
Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukee Ave, 503-233-1994 . A great venue that offers shows almost nightly, featuring local favorites as well as Northwest and National acts. Food and alcohol is typically served at shows.
There are many bars and pubs throughout Portland that have live music.
Portland has many nationally recognized 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 ($0.50 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 Governor 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.
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. (Of course, this does not include Vancouver, which is in Washington State.)
Powell's City of Books, 1005 West Burnside, +1 503 228-4651, . Daily 9AM-11PM. 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 Mills Crossing in Beaverton)! 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 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 restaurants 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 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.
Hawthorne District, east side of the Willamette. Most popular section between 34th and 39th ave. Head shops, microbreweries, vintage clothing, used books and magazines, local clothing designers 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.
Pioneer Place, located downtown on SW 5th & Yamhill. Similar though more upscale than Lloyd Center.
Cha! Cha! Cha!, Several Portland Locations, good quality Mexican food at a middling price.
The Delta, 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.
El Grillo. A great dive (although recently remodeled) Mexican joint on SW Broadway between US Outdoors and Mary's 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.
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.
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.
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 Weidler at 15th (Irvington district). Famous for artisan breads, pastries, soups, sandwiches and salads.
Golden Dragon, SW 3rd at Stark above Cameron's Books, has 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.
Le Bistro Montage, under the east end of the Morrison bridge. Good Portland character. Cajun style food, including mac and cheese, alligator bites, and great mud pie. Service is quirky.
Metro Pizza, located downtown between SW 2nd and 3rd. Dollar slices, bento, teriyaki, and hookah bar. A few notable street-carts across the street as well, including Tito's Burrito's.
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.
Olé Olé, 2137 E Burnside St, has great burritos and is a good budget option.
Ryadh's, on SE 14th and Hawthorne is an excellent source of affordable Lebanese food.
Taco Del Mar, Various locations around the downtown area. Serves up a 2lb. burrito. The ingredients are fresh and the staff are mostly laid-back hipsters. Try the fish taco (their namesake). Better, more authentic Mexican can be found scattered about the city. In the $5 range.
VooDoo Doughnut on SW 3rd & Ankeny, . Very Portland, get unique donuts and a marriage while learning Swahili. Try the maple bacon bar - yes, that's real bacon on a donut.
While not one particular location, Pioneer Courthouse Square has several "street food" vendors, from cheese-steaks to mexican, and there is also a Starbucks, which is a great view around the Holiday season. PCS is also within walking distances of Pioneer Place, a multi-level shopping mall with an expansive subterranean food-court. Please feed the pigeons.
Laughing Planet has 4 locations in the metro area (3322 Se Belmont St., 3765 N Mississippi Ave., 922 NW 21st Ave., 4110 SE Woodstock Blvd.) that offer delicious nutritious food including burritos, rice bowls, salads, and a great variety of drinks (beer, juice, lemonade, soda). Seating can be hard to find, but it's worth the wait. And cheap!
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.
Great brunch at Henry's on SE 26th and Clinton.
Huber’s, 411 SW 3rd Avenue, Inside the Historic Oregon Pioneer Building Portland, OR 97204, 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 it’s turkey dinners and Spanish coffees, pour right at your table, Huber’s is a must for anyone visiting Portland.
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 $17.50 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.
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.
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, 503.293.1790 and 3350 SE Morrison, 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!
Alexander's, at SW Broadway and Salmon, (23rd floor of the Hilton) has a rotating menu of high quality meals. Don't expect an extensive selection, but whatever you order will taste excellent. It also has a mellow atmosphere and some of the best views of the Broadway District and the West Hills.
Andina, at 1314 NW Glisan St. is a Peruvian restaurant with a good selection of platas (like Spanish tapas) as well as contemporary (Novo) 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. Try the ragout over rigatoni or the lamb.
El Gaucho, 319 SW Broadway Ave., (downtown) . A chain with other restaurants in Seattle and Tacoma, that 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.
Genoa, 2832 SE Belmont St., Portland, OR 97214, 503.238.1464,. Opened since the early 1970’s Genoa is a small intimate restaurant. Known for its 7 course Italian meals, there is no print menu, simply the hosts who will describe the meal at the beginning of your dining experience which will last at least 2 ½ hours. Reservations are required, there is no dress code, and expect the average meal to cost over $60. It is 100% worth it.
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), 9945 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy. in Beaverton (McCormick's Fish House and Bar). 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.
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.
Portland City Grill, 111 SW Fifth Av. (30th floor of the Unico/US Bancorp Tower), . 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.
Portofino Caffè Italiano, 8075 SE 13th Av., in Sellwood. A very small restaurant with attentive service and solid northern Italian and French Riviera cuisine.
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 bistro-like atmosphere 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, again, excellent Mediterranean-Italian fare with a regional seafood twist.
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.  Daily 2:30PM-midnight (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).
Bartini Located at 2108 NW Glisan, Bartini is one of the best bars in Portland. A cocktail bar with an extensive and interesting drink list, it has excellent atmosphere and good Happy Hour prices. As for food, Bartini has a wide variety of fondues (including a scrumptious chocolate fondue) and other great dishes.
Likewise the Mission Theater (1624 NW Glisan) and Kennedy School Theater (5736 NE 33rd) are part of the McMenamins Empire.
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.
The Delta Cafe on SE Woodstock, serves messy Barbecue Pork sandwiches, lemonade in a jar, mixed drinks and 40oz Mickey's.
Dots, SE Clinton and 26th. A funky night spot.
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.
Hair of the Dog Brewing, 4509 SE 23rd Avenue, +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.) Not a brewpub but its beers can be found around town at such places as Higgin's and Horse Brass.
Horse Brass Pub, 4534 SE Belmont, . 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 knowledgable staff make this a great place to relax with a pint and catch up with old friends.
Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, 1728 NE 40 th Avenue (also a NW location at 2327 NW Kearney Street). 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.
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.
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.
Red and Black Cafe, 2138 SE Division, . A Worker owned collective in SE.
Ristretto Roasters, 3520 NE 42nd Avenue (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.
Rogue Ales Public House, 1339 NW Flanders, +1 503 222-5910, . Best burger and fries downtown, and more beers then you can handle.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters, three locations; SW 3rd and Pine, SE 35th and Belmont, 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.
Dante's, downtown has a reputation for ripping off customers. Ask how much a drink costs before you order it, and try to stick to specials.
McMenamins White Eagle, 836 N Russell St., +1 503 335-8900, +1 866 271-3377, . Dormitory bunks at $30, full rooms at $40, queen rooms at $50-$60.
Embassy Suites Portland Airport, 7900 Northeast 82nd Avenue, 503-460-3000. Conveniently located at the entrance to the Portland International Airport, the Embassy Suites Hotel is your gateway to all the area has to offer.
The Jupiter Hotel, 800 E. Burnside +1 503 230.9200, +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.
The Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd, . 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. Seating consists of couches, recliners, and even some traditional movie-theater seating. Also on site are the Concordia Microbrewery, Detention Bar (smoking allowed), Honor's Bar (non-smoking), Cypress Room (smoking allowed), and an outoor soaking pool. Free Wi-Fi and great artwork throughout. A super-fun alternative to traditional hotels and B&Bs!!!
Marriott Portland City Center, 520 Southwest Broadway, Portland, Oregon 97205 Phone: +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. Only 10 miles from Portland International Airport.
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.
McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey St., Troutdale, OR 97060 (503) 669-8610 (800) 669-8610, . Housed in the former county poor farm, 15 miles east of downtown Portland. The hotel rooms ranging from suites and family rooms to hostel dorms.
Whispering Woods Resort, 67800 East Nicklaus Way, (503) 622-3171(800),. 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 Heathman Hotel, 1001 SW Broadway, +1 503 241-4100, [www.heathmanhotel.com]. Classic, located on Broadway also adjoining restaurant for classic French cuisine.
Embassy Suites Portland Downtown, 319 SW Pine St., +1 503 279-9000.  is in the renovated Multnomah Hotel and boasts good location and nice decor for the money.
Riverplace Hotel 1510 SW Harbor Way, +1 503 228-3233 or +1 800-227-1333 (Fax +1 503-295-6161), . Four star hotel overlooking the river. Rooms start at $150.
The Governor Hotel, 614 SW 11th Avenue, +1 503 224-3400.  Historic Four star hotel.
The Benson Hotel, 309 Southwest Broadway, +1 503 228-2000 (Fax +1 503 471-3920), . A grand historic hotel located downtown.
Hotel Lucia, 400 SW Broadway, +1 503 225-1717, 
Hotel deLuxe, 729 SW 15th Avenue, +1 503 219-2094, 
Hotel Vintage Plaza, 422 SW Broadway, +1 503 228-1212, . Luxury hotel with free daily wine tasting in the lobby.
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.
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.
The Multnomah County Library, 801 S.W. 10th Avenue, issues 1-hour guest passes for internet terminal use.
Portland is a safe city. Walking in the Downtown/Old Town/Chinatown area is safe at all hours. Crime is mostly a problem between residents such as those involved in the drug trade. Use discretion in some North Portland, Inner Northeast and Outer Southeast neighborhoods. It should also be noted that the downtown bus mall running on 5th and 6th avenues can be dicey late at night.
The mass transit system in Portland is excellent but after dark certain stops might want to be avoided.
MLK (Bus stops)
NE Sandy Blvd (Bus stops)
NE Killingsworth Blvd (Bus stops)
Beaverton Transit Center (MAX stop)
N Albina/Mississippi (MAX stop)
N Prescott St (MAX stop)
N Killingsworth St (MAX stop)
Kenton/N Denver Ave (MAX stop)
N Portland Blvd (MAX stop)
Lloyd Center (MAX stop)
NE 60th Ave (MAX stop)
NE 82nd Ave (MAX stop)
E 162nd Ave (MAX stop)
Rockwood/E 188th Ave (MAX stop)
The buses and trains are fairly well patrolled at night, and there is usually a good police presence downtown.
If you happen to spot a Trimet security guard, he can give you a better rundown of places to stay away from, or if you are feeling wary the guards do sometimes escort women from the train to their cars at the Transit Centers. So don’t be afraid to ask. The guards are usually very bored anyway and are willing to chat or help you out.
As in other places in the Pacific Northwest, there is abundant rainfall in the winter and spring. However, the rain is usually a fine mist; total precipitation in Seattle and Portland is less than most east coast cities. 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 November and April. It should be noted, however, that a large portion of "Portlanders" don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, instead preferring hoods and raincoats. Some more "hardcore" residents are even known to travel with no more cover than a baseball cap.
It is rumored that the one day which has never had recorded rain is July 12. But in the rainy season, be prepared. (June through October have only a 5% chance of rain on any given day.)
Multnomah Falls, 25 miles East of Portland on Interstate 84. The falls is 620 ft 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 Hiway 9 miles to the turnoff for Larch Mountain, go 14 miles up East Larch Mountain Rd to parking lot, short walk to Sherrard Point for viewpoint, drive back to the hiway, 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.