Shortcut Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon

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If you’ve seen shows like Portlandia, Portland really is just how you imagine it. It’s a sort of idyllic city with a bustling town center where locals hang out on the weekends, lots of independent shops and tons of coffee bars. It has a big city appeal, with a small city feel.

You won’t want to miss a chance to try Voodoo Doughnuts, Salt & Straw ice cream, and Pok Pok, one of the best Thai restaurants around. Expect to spend lots of time wandering around, stopping in to coffee shops, browsing through the millions of books at Powell’s and gorging on incredible, fresh, seasonable food.

It’s really very easy to get around in Portland, especially downtown, with the MAX light rail system. It’s also a very walkable city, so you can get most places within the downtown core on foot.

The best time to visit Portland, Oregon, is anytime the mood strikes you! It’s a great all-weather destination, without vast weather fluctuations. It does rain quite often in the Pacific Northwest, so come prepared for a few sprinkles, no matter what time of year. Portland does occasionally get snow, as well.

You can easily spend a full week or more hanging out in Portland and the surrounding areas, like the wine region and Hood River area, but you can see most of the city in just three days. Check out this great 3-day Portland weekend itinerary.

Click to jump down to the bottom to see the infographic.

» Will your trip take you outside the Portland area? Check out our guide to the Willamette Valley Wine Region, the Columbia Gorge Breweries, and the Hood River Fruit Loop – all just 30 minutes outside Portland.

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What to Do in Portland

You’ll want to plan your time in Portland to make sure you get to see all the best things. Since Portland sits at the cusp of the Oregon coast, and within a short distance to the Willamette Valley, you might also want to save time to drive to the coast and visit the wine region.

Inside the city, you’ll want to visit the Rose Garden, browse through the incredible collection of books at Powell’s, and visit OMSI (Oregon State Museum of Science & Industry). In the city, there is also a Japanese Garden and a Chinese Garden that are lovely. And don’t forget stopping at a few coffee shops and/or breweries. Deschutes Brewery is one of our favorite places to eat and drink in Portland.

Want to plan ahead and book a few of the things we’ve mentioned to do below? It’s always a good idea to pre-book for popular tours. They sell out fast.

Where to Stay in Portland, Oregon

Because it’s so easy to walk around in the downtown core in Portland, we recommend staying near by, so you don’t need to have a car. Portland is best explored by foot. Staying downtown also allows you to easily get on the MAX light rail to get to other parts of the city, in case you want to explore further afield. There is no lack of restaurants, bars, street food vendors, etc… what ever you’re looking for, you’ll find it downtown.


If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet, there are some really great options from Superhosts that can offer a more comfortable, feel-at-home, experience than a hotel. (As an Airbnb Associate, I earn when you book through this link.)

Affordable Luxury Hotels

Kimpton Hotel Monaco

4.5-star luxury hotel in downtown Portland, with unique and creative decor.

Read Reviews | Book a Stay

Kimpton Hotel Vintage

Creatively designed 4.5-star hotel with a restaurant, just a block from Pioneer Square.

Read Reviews | Book a Stay

The Nines Hotel

5-star luxury hotel with 2 restaurants, a billiards room and 24-hour fitness center.

Read Reviews | Book a Stay

Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon

Shortcut guide to Portland, Oregon
Shortcut guide to Portland, Oregon

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Portland Oregon travel guide

Shortcut Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon

29 thoughts on “Shortcut Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon

  1. Janna says:

    Love all the suggestions especially on the food and beverage side of things as that’s my main attraction to cities, triple D and you gotta eat here are my addiction, and Portland has been on my list for a while. I think I just found my next road trip to the states once the dollar gets better.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      That’s my main attraction to a city too, so I’m always on the lookout for great places. I think you’ll love it in Portland if you make it there.

  2. Erica says:

    Ahhh this is great! I wanna go on a trip here when we go home to California possibly the end of this year. I’ve heard so much great things about Portland!! The food! The culture! I CAN’T not go.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Very true, you can’t NOT! The city is great and has so much to offer, but so does the surrounding area. Wineries, great hikes, beautiful scenery!

  3. Sabine says:

    Great infographic!! I’m amazing of how many foodtrucks there are in Portland, wow, over 600!! I need to go there 🙂

  4. Dannielle Lily says:

    Really great infographic, you’ve managed to include so much info. Will come back to this if I ever get to Oregon 🙂

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Dannielle – you should definitely make it to Oregon. So many great things here – the coast, the mountains, Portland…

  5. Natasha Amar says:

    I have heard about the food trucks in Portland- whenever I make it there, that is what I’d most look forward to!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      The best part is that they congregate in pods around the city so you don’t have to chase them down and you can try a bunch at once.

  6. Elena says:

    I’ve been meeting so many travallers from Portland lately and they all always say you have to visit it, it is so different! I lived and travelled in the US for almost 2 years but never made it there…regret it much to see and do!

  7. Anne | Girl Chasing Sunshine says:

    This goes into my Bookmarks! Looks like you had a grand time putting together this very informative travel guide about Portland. What exactly is a voodoo doughnut?! *Off to Google!*

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Anne, did you find out about the Voodoo Doughnuts? They have quite a cult following in Portland – especially the maple bar with bacon.

  8. Nic from Roaming Renegades says:

    This is so great, I never really knew much about Portland but an couple of american girls we recently shared a dorm with were raving about it. Looks like a cool place to explore! Love how we can just save this info graphic too and take it with us if we go!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      It’s a fun city because of it’s alternative nature. If you watch Portlandia, they pretty much nail it.

  9. Courtney Sambuceto says:

    WOW! I was honestly really happy to find this very well put together post! I have traveled all over the country and Oregon in general is one of my favorite places…thank goodness I live here :)~ For those that haven’t been through Portland, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?? Thank you for posting this, I truly appreciated it. FYI – I, like you, LOVE sharing this beautiful state, and everything there is to enjoy about Oregon. I have created a really awesome Resource Guide that took me quite a bit of effort and thought to put together. I am sharing it with anyone that wants to either get “Discover” or simply “Broaden” their Oregon Horizons!! I would love it if you could continue to share this with YOUR followers 😉 I am always looking to expand my own blog, and if you would like to share more of your postings with MY followers, please don’t hesitate to contact me. | 503-381-7868 | DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE RESOURCE GUIDE BY CLICKING HERE —>

  10. Melody Goad says:

    Hello! I am from the Portland area and this is a cool shortlist of places to do and see in the Portland area, love it! One quick thing, it is OMSI (the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), not OMNI. Also, not that I don’t love Voodoo doughnuts but if you want a better doughnut, in my humble opinion, and want to avoid the LONG lines, go to a Blue Star Doughnut, really amazing doughnuts and when it is not peak hours there is rarely a line. If you do go to Voodoo doughnuts bring cash, they are CASH ONLY! Also, Ruby Jewel Ice Cream is a must! If you are looking for some amazing Italian go to Piazza Italia but make reservations, even for lunch! Also, Portland is the city of Roses, so the International Rose Test Garden is a must see! I hope your audience finds this little expansion helpful!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Oh, thank you Melody! You’re absolutely right, I typoed OMSI! Great recommendations. Thank you for adding to the wonderful things to do in Portland.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes. M. OMSI! And the other VooDoo is quicker.(Except the wait in the heart of the homeless district is part of the fun I guess.) Cute list!

  11. Kathleen Tracy says:

    A must try food cart – on 10th and SW Alder – Caspian Kabob! It was voted one of the best in the city. Delicious meat or veggie kabobs, saffron rice, tomato & cuke salad with a fresh oil and lemon dressing. Food is fabulous and so are the prices. I go to Portland a couple times a year and always stop to say hi to Victor and have some of his delicious food!

  12. Pingback: Columbia Gorge & Hood River Breweries | Savored Journeys

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