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.
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 $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.
Things to Do
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.
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
Apps to Download
PDX Bus, MAX, Streetcar & WES: Public transportation in Portland
iOs (Only available on iOs)