Portland, OR

Things to do in Portland, OR

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.

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.

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.

The Portland Opera is known for presenting not only supertitled operas but also Broadway shows on tour. Additionally, their creative and skillfully made scenery and costumes are rented by other opera companies.

A collectively run coffeehouse lousy with laptop beatniks conforming in their devotion to the fight-the-power manifestos the management has posted on placards: We Want to be an Example of an Ethical, Nonhierarchial, Worker-Run Operation.

Nancy Hunt and husband Randy Goodman opened Bar Avignon in Southeast Portland in 2008, naming their restaurant and wine bar for a French city where they took memorable vacations.

Tim Wilson and Luan Schooler opened Foster & Dobbs in 2005, naming their specialty shop in Northeast Portland for Tim’s grandfather, Wilbur Foster, and Luan’s mother, Leta Dobbs.

This prosperous, leafy neighborhood across Interstate 405 from the Pearl District (and straddled by Northwest 23rd and Northwest 21st avenues) is home to upscale retail and dining options, and many handsomely restored craftsman bungalows.

Waterfront Bicycles in downtown Portland is across the street from a main greenway trail and has hybrid, road, tandem, and children’s bikes for rent.

The oldest orchestra west of the Mississippi, the Oregon Symphony was founded under the name Portland Symphony in 1896. The orchestra moved to its current home, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, in 1984, becoming a full-time rather than part-time orchestra.

This jazz-fueled supper club in the trendy Pearl District contains yellow, art-lined walls, a mezzanine lounge, and tables and counters overlooking a stage backed by red curtains.

For much of the year (not just winter), there’s great skiing just an hour away from Portland on the slopes of 11,239-foot Mount Hood. This peak, which is clearly visible from the city on clear days, has three different downhill ski areas.

The Spread: Portland ranks No. 2 for farmers' markets in our America's Favorite Cities Survey, and this Saturday hot spot is the epicenter for Oregonian locavores.