Portland, Oregon is an outdoor lover’s dream destination and the locals couldn’t agree more. Whether it’s strolling through any one of the 275 public parks and gardens or kayaking down the Willamette River that cuts through the heart of the city, there are endless options to do some outdoor exploring. And with nearly 400 miles of bikeways, it’s no surprise that Portland is considered the biking capital of the country. By Sean Patrick Flynn
Even though this West Coast hub gets significantly more rain than the majority of the country, you won’t find yourself stuck inside waiting out the bad weather. There’s an eclectic mix of neighbourhoods each with its own unique vibe. From high-end shopping Downtown to vintage boutiques in the city’s Southeast quadrant and fine dining restaurants in Nob Hill and the Pearl District to casual eateries in Division, there’s really something for everyone.
Pacific Standard Time. (Daylight Savings Time is observed seasonally)
Best Time to Go
The summer months are when Portland really shines. With consistent warm weather and lighter than average rainfall from June to August, the city’s vibrant outdoor scene really kicks into high gear. Residents take advantage of the nicer days with an impressive selection of outdoor dining options and loads of great festivals, including the Waterfront Blues Festival and the Portland Rose Festival each June, and in July, there’s the Oregon Brewers Festival and the Big Float, where upwards of 70,000 people descend on the city’s waterfront for a massive people-powered flotilla and beach party.
But the summer isn’t the only time to visit the City of Roses as pleasant weather stretches into the early fall months making September and October just as good a time to check out the area. But come mid-October, that’s when the rainy season starts, and unpredictable weather stretches into early May.
Things to Know
Portland has one of the strongest beer scenes in the country with over 70 microbreweries in the greater metro area. But while beer might be the first drink that people think of when planning a trip to the area, they also have a stand out wine scene. Just to the south of Portland, in the Willamette Valley (pronounced Wuh-la-muht), you’ll find around 80 wineries and over 200 vineyards that produce the majority of the state’s acclaimed wine.
For those who prefer coffee, the city has even more independent coffee roasters than they do breweries with 80 in the city limits alone.
Known for its commitment to healthy living, Portland was named a “platinum” bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists partly due to its 385 miles of bikeways and its bike-share system called Biketown.
Oregon is one of only two states, the other being New Jersey, where it’s illegal to pump your own gas. The state is also one of five states that do not impose a sales tax, including Alaska, Delaware, Montana, and New Hampshire.
How to Get Around
Portland’s TriMet public transportation system offers light rail, bus, and streetcar service throughout the city and into the surrounding metro area. Riders can use a Hop card on all TriMet public transit and service costs USD2.50 (INR 182) for 2.5 hours or USD5 (INR 365) for the day.
Trains: The MAX Light Rail system operates on five lines: Blue, Green, Red, Yellow, and Orange. With 60 miles of track and 97 stations, the light rail connects the airport, city, and surrounding suburbs. Trains run every 15 minutes at peak and operate between 4 am and midnight.
Portland Streetcar services Downtown and the surrounding areas on a three-line system: A Loop, B Loop, and North Shore Line. Trains run every 15 minutes at peak and operate between 5:30 am and 10:30 pm on the weekdays, 7:30 am to 11:30 pm on Saturdays, and every 20 minutes from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm on Sundays.
Buses: There are 84 TriMet bus lines that operate in the greater metro area. Buses run every 15 minutes and operate on a 24-hour schedule.
Bike: The Biketown bike-share program is a popular commuting alternative. With 1,500 bikes and 180 stations, you can easily get around town. You can pay as you go (USD 1 or INR 73 to unlock the bike) or buy a monthly membership (USD 99 or INR 7,230 annual fee).
Car Service and Taxis: Uber and Lyft both service Portland. You can also easily find a taxi at the airport or schedule in advance.
Situated right on the corner of Pioneer Courthouse Square in the centre of Downtown Portland, The Nines is housed in a turn-of-the-century building and offers 331 rooms, including 13 suites. The hotel occupies the top nine floors of the 15-story building, offering great views of the city. Amenities include a rooftop terrace, two restaurants, and two bars.
Address: 525 SW Morrison Street, Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (503) 222-9996
The Hoxton, Portland
At the centre of historic Old Town Chinatown in what used to be the city’s original downtown, The Hoxton is surrounded by quaint shops, bars, and restaurants. All of the 119 rooms are decorated with mid-century touches and feature art curated by a local gallerist. The hotel has two restaurants — a rooftop bar and restaurant with sweeping views of the city, and an eatery with pastries in the morning and cocktails at night — plus, a secret speakeasy that serves up inventive cocktails that are housed in the hotel’s basement.
Address: 15 NW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (503) 770-0500
Situated between the Pearl District and Downtown, the 287-room historical hotel maintains much of its 100-year-old glamour, from the grand staircase in the lobby to the classically designed rooms. Guests have their choice of dining in the ground-floor restaurant or setting up a private dinner in the wine cellar.
Address: 309 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 228-2000
Built in 1909, the Sentinel is filled with historic charm and high design touches, including a curated art selection displayed throughout the hotel. The hotel boasts 100 rooms and is situated in the heart of Downtown within walking distance to Pioneer Courthouse Square, the waterfront, Portland Art Museum, and plenty of shops and restaurants.
Address: 614 SW 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 224-3400
Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel
The views can’t be beat at this waterfront property, with sweeping views of the Willamette River. But the inside of the hotel is just as grand, with amenities including pillowtop beds with premium bedding, in-room spa treatments, and suite and cottage options with fireplaces, full kitchens, and in-room laundry — plus, it’s pet-friendly.
Address: 1510 S Harbor Way, Portland, OR 97201
Phone: (503) 228-3233
Screen Door (American South)
Screen Door specialises in American Southern cuisine but with a modern flair. Dine inside or on the covered patio to soak up the nice weather on warm days. For parties of six or more, it’s recommended to make a reservation, especially during the summer months and for weekend brunch, as wait times can be pretty long.
Address: 2337 E Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97214
Phone: (503) 542-0880
For nearly 20 years, Andina has been serving up modern takes on traditional Peruvian dishes in the city’s Pearl District. The décor is inviting yet contemporary with soft neutral colours, crisp white tablecloths, and walls decorated with murals centred around Andean culture that were commissioned by a local artist.
Address: 1314 NW Glisan Street, Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (503) 228-9535
Kachka (Eastern European)
This casual eatery and deli dishes up a range of Eastern European small plates and sells imported grocery items you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else. Grab a quick bite and enjoy it out on the patio or take it to go for an impromptu picnic at nearby St. Francis Park.
Address: 960 SE 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214
Phone: (503) 235-0059
Mucca Osteria (Italian)
This upscale eatery in the heart of Downtown Portland offers the best of traditional Italian fare. From house-made spaghetti to gnocchi in a boar ragu and ricotta-filled tortellini to sous vide pork shoulder, you’re sure to leave with a full stomach. Dine indoors to take in the eclectic décor or sit outside for some great people watching, just be sure to make a reservation as they have very limited seating.
Address: 1022 SW Morrison Street, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 227-5521
Jake’s Famous Crawfish (American South)
Jake’s Famous Crawfish is a local landmark that’s been in operation since 1892 on the border of the Pearl District and Downtown Portland. Fresh fish is flown in daily making it one of the best spots in town to get seafood. Wait times can be long so it’s recommended to make a reservation in advance just in case.
Address: 401 SW 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 226-1419
Salt & Straw (Dessert)
Launched by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek in 2011, this ice cream shop is the perfect stop for anyone looking to satiate their sweet tooth. With flavours like Jasmine Milk Tea & Chocolate, Hibiscus & Coconut Sherbet, and Rhubarb Crumble with Toasted Anise, you won’t find any other place like it. And with three locations, it’s easy to find yourself within walking distance. But if you don’t want to leave your hotel, they also offer local delivery.
Address: 838 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97210
Phone: (971) 271-8168
Things to Do
International Rose Test Garden
Perfect for a spring or summer stroll, the International Rose Test Garden is the longest-running garden of its kind in the country and has over 10,000 rose bushes of 650 different varieties. The garden exemplifies the city’s nickname as the “City of Roses” and is just one of 279 different parks and natural areas in Portland.
Address: 400 SW Kingston Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 823-3636
Portland Art Museum
One of the oldest art museums in the country, founded in 1892, this cultural institution has an expansive collection of over 50,000 items spread across 1,12,000 square feet of gallery space. The museum specialises in Native American art, English silver, and graphic art.
Address: 1219 SW Park Avenue , Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 226-2811
Portland Saturday Market
The Portland Saturday Market is the oldest continuously operated outdoor market in the USA selling goods from local artisans. Here, you can find jewellery, photography, paintings, wines, art, and much more.
Lan Su Chinese Garden
A trip to Lan Su Chinese Garden will have you feeling as though you’ve just stepped foot in China, rather than in this West Coast town. Filled with plants native to Asia and decorative pagodas, this is a favourite spot to snap photos or take a relaxing stroll.
Address: 239 NW Everett Street, Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (503) 228-8131
Located in Washington Park just west of Downtown Portland, the Oregon Zoo is set on 64 acres and houses elephants, lions, and chimpanzees. Founded nearly 135 years ago, it’s the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi River.
Address: 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221
Phone: (503) 226-1561
Powell’s City of Books
Powell’s City of Books has been a staple in Downtown Portland for 50 years and offers an impressive selection of over 1 million books for bibliophiles to comb through. The bookstore has expanded to include two additional locations, one in Hawthorne and another in Beaverton, but the flagship location is still a local favourite.
Address: 1005 West Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (800) 878-7323
The bridal designs at Lena Medoyeff in Nob Hill are truly one-of-a-kind, blending traditional elements with unconventional flair. Her recent collections showcase sleek and sophisticated wedding dresses that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Address: 710 NW 23rd Avenue , Portland, OR 97210
Phone: (503) 227-0011
Since 1995, designer and tailor Jean Pierre Nugloze has brought a unique sensibility to his work, offering both traditional and modern takes on Togolese fashion. Situated right in the heart of Downtown, N’Kossi Boutique offers men’s and women’s fashion, jewellery, and activewear.
Address: 700 SW 5th Ave, Suite 1180 , Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (971) 407-6558
The House of Rose (THOR)
Tony Iyke grew up in Nigeria and brought his talents to Portland, Oregon, creating hand-crafted pieces for both men and women. Iyke creates custom suits, dresses, blazers, and pants, and also offers a selection of suitcases, wallets, and other small accessories.
Address: 7459 SW Bridgeport Road, Tigard, OR 97224
Phone: (503) 747-0930
Betsy + Iya
The team at Besty + Iya have been making handmade jewellery since 2008, focusing on fun, geometric patterns — think asymmetrical metallic earrings or necklaces à la Salvador Dalí. The shop also offers a range of womenswear and bridal pieces that play off that cool and funky aesthetic.
Address: 1777 NW 24th Avenue, Portland, OR 97210
Phone: (503) 227-5482
Karen McClelland founded Mantel PDX to help support local artists and showcase their work. Housed in a refurbished historical building in Kenton, the store features ceramics, homeware, jewellery, and accessories, all made by fellow Portlanders.
Address: 8202 N Denver Avenue, Portland, OR 97217
Phone: (503) 289-0558
Neighbourhoods to Know
The city is divided into six sections that locals call “quadrants”: North Portland, Northeast Portland, Northwest Portland, South Portland, Southeast Portland, and Southwest Portland. Each quadrant has its own unique style and scene.
Pearl District: A former industrial neighbourhood located between Nob Hill and Downtown Portland, this trendy district has transformed into one of the city’s prime shopping areas. Reclaimed warehouses are filled with the area’s bars and restaurants, including breweries, quaint coffee shops, and trendy restaurants. And the many Indie boutiques and galleries showcase work by local artists.
Nob Hill: Decorative Victorians and lush greenery make the Nob Hill neighbourhood one of the city’s most stunning. Many of the homes have been converted into businesses that house casual eateries, boutiques, and refined restaurants, making the area a great spot to grab a bite and take in the city’s beautiful architecture.
West End: Set in the historic section of the city’s downtown, the West End is where to go for fashion, nightlife, and plenty of shopping. You’ll find a good mix of luxe hotels, cafés, design shops, and boutiques that showcase both local and international products.
Alberta Arts District: Centered along Alberta Street in the Northeast portion of town, this trendy district connects the surrounding neighbourhoods of King, Vernon, and Concordia with art galleries, colourful murals, and plenty of restaurants. The district is best known for its monthly street fair, Last Thursday, that showcases and promotes local artists, musicians, and performers.
Hawthorne: Set on the east side of the Willamette River in the Southeast quadrant, Hawthorne is a nearly three-mile commercial stretch of eclectic shops and dining options. Here, you’ll find bookstores, vintage thrift stores, restaurants, and theatres, and on the far east end is Mount Tabor Park, which is filled with great walking trails and even better views of the city.
Division: You could spend your entire trip feasting your way through all of the restaurants that line the many streets that make up this Southeast quadrant neighbourhood. But it’s not all about the dining, you’ll also find a number of great shops and boutiques selling vintage fashion and home décor items.
Portland experiences more rain than most cities in the country with 43 inches per year compared to the average of 38 inches. But the city gets 88 per cent of its rainfall from October through May, making for relatively dry summer months. Even with significant rainfall (averaging 156 days per year compared to the USA average of 103 days) the city only gets about three inches of snow per year.
The following are average Celsius lows and highs by month. The average annual precipitation in Portland is 43 inches of rain.
January: 2°C to 8°C
February: 2°C to 10°C
March: 4°C to 14°C
April: 6°C to 16°C
May: 9°C to 20°C
June: 12°C to 23°C
July: 14°C to 27°C
August: 14°C to 27°C
September: 11°C to 24°C
October: 7°C to 17°C
November: 4°C to 11°C
December: 1.6°C to 7°C
Apps to Download
PDX Bus, MAX, Streetcar & WES: Public transportation in Portland
iOs (Only available on iOs)