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.
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.
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Here are our top recommendations: You can use any of these links you prefer to read reviews, see prices and book your hotel in Portland (they are affiliate links, for which we receive a small commission):
Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.