Sunset in Downtown Portland Oregon

Portland Travel Guide

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's 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.  

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 neighborhoods 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.

Time Zone

Pacific Standard Time. (Daylight Savings Time is observed seasonally)

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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.

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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 $2.50 for 2.5 hours or $5 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 a.m. 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 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. on the weekdays, 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and every 20 minutes from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sundays. 

Buses: There are 84 TriMet bus lines that operate in the greater metro area. Busses 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 (.20 cents per mile, plus $1 to unlock the bike) or buy a monthly membership ($99 annual fee, plus .10 cents per mile).Car Service and Taxis: Uber and Lyft both service Portland. You can also easily find a taxi at the airport or schedule in advance.

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Best Hotels

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The Nines Hotel Portland Oregon
Credit: Courtesy of The Nines

The Nines

Address: 525 SW Morrison Street, Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (503) 222-9996
Website

Situated right on the corner of Pioneer Courthouse Square in the center 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.

Bar area at The Hoxton, Portland
Credit: Courtesy of The Hoxton, Portland

The Hoxton, Portland

Address: 15 NW 4th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (503) 770-0500
Website

At the center 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's housed in the hotel's basement.

The Benson

Address: 309 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 228-2000
Website

Situated between the Pearl District and Downtown, the 287-room historical hotel maintains much of it's 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. 

Sentinel

Address: 614 SW 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 224-3400
Website

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. 

Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel

Address: 1510 S Harbor Way, Portland, OR 97201
Phone: (503) 228-3233
Website

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.

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Best Restaurants

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Screen Door (American South)

Address: 2337 E Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97214
Phone: (503) 542-0880
Website

Screen Door specializes in American Southern cuisine but with 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. 

Andina (Peruvian)

Address: 1314 NW Glisan Street, Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (503) 228-9535
Website

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 colors, crisp white tablecloths, and walls decorated with murals centered around Andean culture that were commissioned by a local artist.

Menu items from Kachka in Portland, OR
Credit: Carly Diaz/Courtesy of Kachka

Kachka (Eastern European)

Address: 960 SE 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214
Phone: (503) 235-0059
Website

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.

Mucca Osteria (Italian)

Address: 1022 SW Morrison Street, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 227-5521
Website

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.

Crawfish and corn from Jake’s Famous Crawfish in Portland, OR
Credit: Courtesy of Landry’s

Jake's Famous Crawfish (American South)

Address: 401 SW 12th Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 226-1419
Website

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.

Interior of Salt & Straw in Portland, OR
Credit: Micah Fischer/Courtesy of Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw (Dessert)

Address: 838 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR 97210
Phone: (971) 271-8168
Website

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 flavors 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.

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Things to Do

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The International Rose Test Garden in Portland, Oregon
Credit: Jumping Rocks/Education Images/Getty Images

International Rose Test Garden

Address: 400 SW Kingston Avenue, Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 823-3636
Website

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.

Portland Art Museum

Address: 1219 SW Park Avenue , Portland, OR 97205
Phone: (503) 226-2811
Website

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 112,000 square feet of gallery space. The museum specializes in Native American art, English silver, and graphic art.

Portland Saturday Market

Address: 2 SW Naito Parkway , Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (503) 222-6072
Website

The Portland Saturday Market is the oldest continuously operated outdoor market in the U.S. selling goods from local artisans. Here, you can find jewelry, photography, paintings, wines, art, and much more.

Pagoda reflecting in a pond at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, in Portland, OR
Credit: artran/Getty Images

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Address: 239 NW Everett Street, Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (503) 228-8131
Website

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 favorite spot to snap photos or take a relaxing stroll.

Oregon Zoo

Address: 4001 SW Canyon Road, Portland, OR 97221
Phone: (503) 226-1561
Website

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.  

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Best Shopping

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The interior of Powell’s City of Books in Portland, OR
Credit: Darius Kuzmickas/KuDa Photography/Courtesy of Powell’s City of Books

Powell's City of Books

Address: 1005 West Burnside Street, Portland, OR 97209
Phone: (800) 878-7323
Website

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 favorite.

Lena Medoyeff

Address: 710 NW 23rd Avenue , Portland, OR 97210
Phone: (503) 227-0011
Website

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. 

N'Kossi Boutique

Address: 700 SW 5th Ave, Suite 1180 , Portland, OR 97204
Phone: (971) 407-6558
Website

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, jewelry, and activewear.

The House of Rose (THOR)

Address: 7459 SW Bridgeport Road, Tigard, OR 97224
Phone: (503) 747-0930
Website

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.

Interior of Betsy + Iya in Portland, OR
Credit: Micah Fischer/Courtesy of Betsy + Iya

Betsy + Iya

Address: 1777 NW 24th Avenue, Portland, OR 97210
Phone: (503) 227-5482
Website

The team at Besty + Iya have been making hand-made jewelry 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.

Mantel PDX

Address: 8202 N Denver Avenue, Portland, OR 97217
Phone: (503) 289-0558
Website

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, jewelry, and accessories, all made by fellow Portlanders.

Neighborhoods 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 neighborhood 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 neighborhood 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 neighborhoods of King, Vernon, and Concordia with art galleries, colorful 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 theaters, 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 neighborhood. 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.

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Weather

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 percent 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 US average of 103 days) the city only gets about three inches of snow per year. 

The following are average Fahrenheit lows and highs by month. Average annual precipitation in Portland is 43 inches of rain.

January: 36°F to 47°F
February: 36°F to 51°F
March: 40°F to 57°F
April: 43°F to 61°F
May: 49°F to 68°F
June: 54°F to 74°F
July: 58°F to 81°F
August: 58°F to 81°F
September: 53°F to 76°F
October: 46°F to 64°F
November: 40°F to 53°F
December: 35°F to 46°F

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Apps to Download

PDX Bus, MAX, Streetcar & WES: Public transportation in Portland
iOs (Only available on iOs)

Biketown: Bike share servicing Portland
iOs | Android

Uber: Rideshare servicing Portland
iOS | Android

Lyft: Rideshare servicing Portland
iOS | Android