Portland, OR

Portland, OR Travel Guide

A visit to Portland is an absolute must for lovers of the arts. With its wealth of museums, galleries and festivals brimming with colorful offerings from world-renown masters and local legends, your itinerary will be brimming with artistic things to do in Portland. Visit the Pearl District to explore trendy galleries located in renovated warehouse spaces, or visit the Portland Arts Center for to see works by international masters. Foodies should likewise visit the Pearl District for some of the city’s trendiest restaurants, many serving up the organic, farm-to-table fare that’s become a huge part of the city’s culinary scene. And then there’s the beer: With dozens of local breweries, you’ll never run out things to do – or beers to try – in Portland. Visit Hair of the Dog Brewing to sample unique, unusual beer flavors, then stop by Amnesia Brewery and Hopworks Urban Brewery to try more familiar microbrews and mingle with the locals.

Travelers looking for outdoorsy activities will find plenty of things to do in Portland, from a low-key cycling tour through the city – you can even take a bike tour of the city’s many breweries – to a demanding hike up Mount Hood. Nature lovers will want to check out some of Portland’s many parks, including the International Rose Test Garden, which is resplendent with hundreds of varieties of roses, or Forest Park, home to more than 5,100 acres of dense, temperate rainforest. To relax after a long day of hiking, grab a bite at one of Portland’s many groundbreaking restaurants, like Asian-fusion Pok Pok or French-inspired Higgins, and read a book from Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world.

Once a collection of hulking early-20th-century warehouses, this area just north of downtown is now Portland’s trendiest neighborhood, chockablock with high-end loft condos, see-and-be-seen lounges and restaurants, and natty shelter shops and fashion boutiques.

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On Saturdays—and, despite the name, Sundays from March through late December—the nation’s largest ongoing outdoor arts and crafts market unfolds beneath the Burnside Bridge (in 2009, the location will change).

This cocktail lounge complements adjacent Gracie’s restaurant in downtown Portland’s Hotel deLuxe. The space has cushioned banquette seating, alligator skin and shark skin railing, moody wall sconces, and the namesake driftwood affixed to a purple back bar.

Ristretto Roasters founder Din Johnson first contributed to the city's booming specialty coffee scene in 2005 by opening this Beaumont coffeehouse with wife Nancy Rommelmann.

The Museum: During a 1998 reading at the Voodoo Museum in New Orleans, the concept of a museum dedicated to velvet paintings was discussed, and since then, Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin, now museum co-owners, began collecting, opening the Velveteria in 2005.

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art resides in the trendy Pearl District and presents this 10-day festival that dates to 2003 and celebrates the global performing arts community. Actors, dancers, filmmakers, musicians, and more all descend on Portland.

A black awning and sidewalk tables greet visitors to Sarah Hart’s Spanish-inspired chocolate shop, promising “(mostly) sin free chocolate.” Alma is both "soul" in Spanish and refers to Hart’s grandmother, who taught her to bake.

Plenty of passersby walk by this tranquil sanctuary (which was built in 2000 atop a parking lot) without even noticing it’s there; one doesn’t expect to find a garden amid the concrete and bustle of Old Town.

A dark little wine bar where diners eat baked chèvre and chicken-liver-and-currant mousse paired with Muscadet.

An offbeat mix of students, progressive political activists, hippies, and young professionals inhabits this East Side neighborhood. Its main drag, Hawthorne Boulevard, is lined with teahouses, hemp shops, and vegetarian cafés.

Creations like a celery-spiked gin fizz and more than 200 spirits complement chef Jack Yoss’s seasonal New American bar snacks. These include a tasty chorizo burger with pickled shallots and a fried egg.

Since the construction in 2005 of a new wing, the Pacific Northwest’s oldest art museum has really become two facilities in one.