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Portland (Oregon)

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Portland (Oregon)

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Portland [1], "The City of Roses", is the largest city in Oregon and the second largest city in the Pacific Northwest.

Downtown Portland


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 20 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, Tri-Met [2] includes the MAX light rail system. MAX, which has won nationwed 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.

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.

Get in

By plane

Portland International Airport (IATA: PDX) [3] is located 9 miles northeast of downtown on the Columbia River. Most major airlines serve Portland from nearly all major airports in the United States. Non-stop air service is also available from Vancouver, BC, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Frankfurt, Germany. Daily direct service is also available to Mexico City, Mexico; and Singapore.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $30. The MAX light rail will only set you back $1.95 and will take you from one end of the Portland to the other. Plus it goes 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 street car are free. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—-faster than driving at times.

By train

Amtrak [4] 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.

By car

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.

By bus

Greyhound [5] provides bus service along the West coast as well as from points inland.

By boat

No useful boat lines exist, although you can cruise up and down the river.

Get around

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.


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.

TriMet and other Public Transport

TriMet maintains Bus and Light Rail throughout the Portland area, and City of Portland maintains the Streetcar line which runs through downtown and Northwest Portland.[6]

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

For mapped point to point Public Transportation directions visit Google Transit: [7].


Portland is divided into five sections. Burnside Street is the north/south split. The Willamette (pronounced will-LAM-et) splits Southeast and Southwest, but the river takes a turn north of Burnside. Since mother nature wasn't smart enough to use straight lines in her planning, the city decided to split what would be the Northwest quadrant into Northwest (West of the river) and North (East of the River), then divide North and Northeast at Williams Avenue. All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) This will make it easier to figure out where things are. If you hear Portlanders talking about 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.
  • 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.


  • Sellwood once was a rival of Portland. It was later annexed and is now a thriving little neighborhood of its own along with West Moreland.
  • 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. is definitely one of the seedier parts of Portland, but is a good place to go for anything ethnic, especially Asian.


  • 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.
  • Laurelhurst, an older residential neighborhood sitting on the borders of NE Portland, is known for it's 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.
  • Multnomah Village is a nice little neighborhood in hilly SW Portland.
  • Burnside Triangle is the center of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/trannsexual community in Portland. It is basically a micro-neighborhood within Downtown. Ask a local and they'll help direct you there.


  • Chinatown and Old Town lie north of Burnside between the Park Blocks and the river. This area has a sort of old, seedy feel. However, as the Pearl District expands its tentacles outward, the fringes of this neighborhood are experiencing some regentrification. True to the name, this is really the oldest section of Portland.
  • The Pearl District lies between I-405, Burnside and the Park blocks. This is where you want to go if you want to get your trendiness in. The Pearl was once a half abandoned warehouse district, but in recent years has been given a fresh new coat of make-up by those wanting to live in a more urban environment close to downtown.
  • NW 23rd and NW 21st have a good deal of shops and the like. Like the Pearl, this area is a bit more on the trendy side. You will sometimes hear this area referred to as the Alphabet District (because the east-west streets run alphabetically), although most people seem to call it simply "Northwest". This area is also known as Nob Hill.


  • Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Rd., +1 503 226-1561, [8]. 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.
  • Saturday Market, SW 1st Av. (under the Burnside Bridge), [9]. 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.
  • Pioneer Courthouse Square, SW Broadway and Yamhill, +1 503 223-1613, [10]. 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.
  • The Public Services Building, 1120 SW 5th Avenue (also known as The 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.
  • Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Naito Pkwy between the Steel and Marquam bridges. This wide expanse of green lawns along the downtown Portland waterfront was once a four-lane freeway. Growing environmental awareness led to the city replacing the freeway with this park. In Waterfront Park are several features: the Salmon Street Springs (see Do below), the Japanese American Memorial Garden, and the U.S.S. Oregon Memorial. Free.
  • Mill Ends Park, the smallest park in the world.
  • The NBA's Portland Trailblazers basketball team plays at the Rose Garden.
  • Portland Duck Tours, Phone: 877-GO-BY-DUCK, [11]. Amphibious land & water tours of Portland.


  • Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), 1945 SE Water Av., +1 503 797-6674 [12]. 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) $6.50.
  • Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Avenue +1 503 226-2811 [13]. Su noon–5PM, M closed, Tu W Sa 10AM–5PM, Th F 10AM–8PM. The Portland Art Museum has several outstanding collections and is regularly updated by moving exhibits. 10-15$ for adults, 6$ for youths.
  • Oregon Historical Society, located across the street from the Portland Art Museum.

Public art

  • First Thursday of every month all art galleries in the Pearl district are free, and many serve wine and cheese[14]. 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.


  • Washington Park, SW Park Place (off Highway 26), +1 503 823-PLAY, [15]. Daily sunrise-sunset. Washington Park is a classic urban park. Sprawling over about 140 acres just west of downtown Portland, the park encompasses a beautiful and relaxing Japanese Garden, the Oregon Zoo, the Rose Garden (with beautiful views of Portland and Mount Hood), a Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and a Lewis and Clark Memorial. Free (some attractions charge admission).
  • Forest Park, [16], (in the northwest of the city) is about 20 km2 (7.7 mi2), or 5000 acres. It is the US's largest urban park, and possibly the largest in the world. Many great hiking and biking trails to be found.
  • Salmon Street Springs, SW Naito Pkwy and Salmon St. (in Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park). A central computer controls 185 jets of water which produce regularly changing water patterns. A popular attraction for kids, especially during the warm summer months.
  • The Grotto Gardens, +1 503 254-7371, [17]. 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.
  • Portland Rose Festival, [18]. This award-winning festival, held in early June, is Portland's largest event. The Portland waterfront is turned into a carnival for a week as military ships moor alongside Waterfront Park. The world-famous Grand Floral Parade is on the 11th. This festival has decreased in size in recent years and now consists of a few naval vessels and a large fairground with the usual assortment of rides. In 2005, it no longer appeared to be charging admission for the whole festival week, (although had been earlier in the week.)
  • Chinese Classical Garden, NW 3rd & Everett, [19]. 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.
  • Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Road, +1 503 226-1561, [20]. 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.
  • Pittock Mansion, [21]
  • Portland Beavers Baseball, [22]. 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 International Rose Test Gardens, Best to Come in May-July, largest rose test garden in US.
  • 24 Hour Church of Elvis, If you have a tolerance for the bizarre and whacky, take a side-step into the 24 Hour Church of Elvis. It actually is not a church, and doesn't have a lot to do with Elvis. It is an eclectic and garish collection of re-purposed 1970's kitsch; a post-modernist's cross between a beatnik art gallery and a grade 8 science fair. The whacky hostess/priestess will give you a tour of the "church" for a couple of dollars. You can get married (for real!!) for about $25.


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.

  • Rose Quarter, One Center Court, [23]. 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., [24]. 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, [25]. Crystal Ballroom often referred to as The Crystal is one of the nicest venues around. The Ballroom is great size and has great art and motifs all around. Its great when your at a show and you look around and it feels like you're in an art museum. This is a clean, well maintained venue. The Crystal has a bar inside with upstairs seating for 21+. The main floor is standing room only which makes the show way more intense. McMenamin's Ringlers Pub is located underneath The Crystal Ballroom in the same building. This feature is great if you want to get something to eat or drink before or after you see a performance. Some big name acts come to The Crystal Ballroom. Tickets here are $15-$30 usually.
  • Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, [26]. 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, [27]. A great Amphitheater that is open when the weather is right.
  • 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 [28] ($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 [29] (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 [30] (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 [31] (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 [32] (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.


  • Powell's City of Books, 1005 West Burnside, +1 503 228-4651, [33]. 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 (travel bookstore at Pioneer Square, technical bookstore in the north Park Blocks, the airport bookstore, and...)! The store can be imposing (get a map from the front desk), but it's a don't-miss for anyone who loves to read.
  • Sellwood One word: "antique". If you love 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), [34]. 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, [35]. 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[36] (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, [37]. 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, [38]. 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, [39]. 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, [40]. Very Portland, get unique donuts and a marriage while learning Swahili. Try the maple bacon bar - yes, that's real bacon on a donut.


  • 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, [41] 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, [42]. 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[43] 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, [44], 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.


  • 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.
  • 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,[45]. 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 Av. (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.
  • 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), [46]. 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. [47] 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, [48]. With locations throughout the city, is Portland's answer to Starbucks' empire, except the coffee is better. Try a Velvet Hammer if you need caffeine.
  • 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, [49]. 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, [50]. 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.)
  • Horse Brass Pub, 4534 SE Belmont, [51]. Another English-style pub that also serves a range of English-style food.
  • 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,[52]. Opening with its original location in 1983, The Barley Mill Pub, McMenamins now boasts over 50 [53] 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, [54]. 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), [55]. 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.
  • Rose and Raindrop, 532 SE Grand. A vaguely English-style pub. Very relaxed, many places to sit and accommodating of large (6-8 people) groups. A good selection of beers and food.
  • Rogue Ales Public House, 1339 NW Flanders, +1 503 222-5910, [56]. Best burger and fries downtown, and more beers then you can handle.
  • Silverado, Stark and 12th in SW, [57]. Gay bar, strippers. Always a fun crowd.
  • 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.



  • Portland has two hostels.
  • Hostelling International-Portland, Hawthorne District, 3031 SE Hawthorne Blvd. +1 503 236-3380. [58]
  • Hostelling International-Portland, Northwest Neighborhood, 1818 NW Glisan St. +1 503 241-2783. [59]


  • The Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd, [60]. 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!!!
  • The Park Lane Suites, 809 SW King near NW 21st and Burnside, +1 503 226-6288, +1 800 532-9543, [61]. 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.
  • The Jupiter Hotel, 800 E. Burnside +1 503 230.9200, +1 877 800-0004, [62]. 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 Heathman Hotel classic, located on Broadway also adjoining restaurant for classic French cuisine.
  • Embassy Suites Portland Downtown, 319 SW Pine St., +1 503 279-9000. [63] 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), [64]. Four star hotel overlooking the river. Rooms start at $150.
  • The Governor Hotel, 614 SW 11th Avenue, +1 503 224-3400. [65] Historic Four star hotel.
  • The Benson Hotel, 309 Southwest Broadway, +1 503 228-2000 (Fax +1 503 471-3920), [66]. A grand historic hotel located downtown.
  • The Mallory Hotel
  • The Westin, 750 Southwest Alder Street, +1 503 294-9000 (Fax +1 503 241-9565), [67].
  • Marriott Downtown Waterfront, 1401 SW Naito Parkway , +1 503 226-7600 (Fax +1 503 221-1789), [68].
  • Fifth Avenue Suites, 506 S.W. Washington at Fifth Avenue, +1 503 222-0001, [69].
  • The Hilton Hotel-Portland, 921 SW Sixth Avenue, +1 503 226-1611, [70].
  • McMenamins Edgefield 2126 S.W. Halsey St., Troutdale, OR 97060 (503) 669-8610 (800) 669-8610 [71] Housed in the former county poor farm, 15 miles east of downtown Portland.
  • Hotel Lucia, 400 SW Broadway, +1 503 225-1717, [72]
  • Hotel deLuxe, 729 SW 15th Avenue, +1 503 219-2094, [73]


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.

Stay safe

Portland is very safe for a city of its size. However, it is advisable to be cautious when walking alone during the night, particularly in Old Town/Chinatown, portions of North Portland and in Outer Southeast neighborhoods. It should also be noted that the downtown bus mall running on 5th and 6th avenues can be dicey late at night. Watch out for homeless gutter punk kids who can sometimes be aggressive.

The mass transit system in Portland is excellent but after dark certain stops might want to be avoided.

Beaverton Transit Center (MAX stop) MLK (Bus stops) NE Sandy Blvd (Bus stops) Lloyd Center (MAX stop) NE 60th Ave (MAX stop) NE 82nd Ave (MAX stop)

The buses and trains are fairly well patrolled at night and downtown there is usually a good police presence. 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 I sometimes see them escorting 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 is rumored that the one day which has never had recorded rain is July 12. But in the Rainy Season, Be prepared. (But June through October do only have a 5% chance of rain on any given day.)

Get out

Located just 50 miles from the Cascade Range and 90 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Portland is the perfect home base for day trips to Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, the northern part of the Oregon Coast, or the wineries in the Willamette Valley.