Explore Portland

Explore Portland
Portland is a beautiful city of bridges, waterways, lush green trees, roses, and parks! Portland is also the city of quirkiness with endless possibilities, known for its culture of anything goes.

Nowadays, the city boasts a thriving entrepreneurial spirit, especially in the food and beverage industry. But it’s not the kind of food snobbery you’d find elsewhere. Here you can find anything from local rustic craft brew houses to Mexican cuisine in its Vegan Strip Club. They even have a donut shop, Voodoo Donuts, that serves fresh baked long john pastries topped with bacon. Ah, good o’l bacon!

McMenamins Crystal Hotel and Ballroom
Famous White Stag sign
Pittock Mansion

Places to Visit in Portland

  • International Rose Garden
  • Portland Japanese Garden
  • Washington Park
  • Lan Su Chinese Garden
  • Powell’s City of Books
  • Pittock Mansion
  • Voodoo Dounghnuts

Unique Things to See and Do in Portland

  • Walk the underground Shanghai Tunnels
  • Snap a photo with the massive Paul Bunyan statue
  • Meet the Belmont goat crew at Portland’s urban goat farm
  • Practice your putting at the Glowing Greens black light mini golf
  • Smell the roses on a tour of Portland’s Rose Garden
  • Visit Powell’s City of Books – set aside a whole day!
  • Stroll through Forest Park
  • Explore the Portland Saturday Market
  • Sip on some coffee art at Stumptown Coffee Roasters

“Keep Portland Weird” – Microbreweries, Foodies, Entertainment, and More!

Portland wasn’t always known for its ‘anything goes’ culture. Forty years or so ago, the city had a more industrial type feel with a socially freer community of hippies and a down-to-earth working class. While other American cities were defined by industry, for example Los Angeles for film and New York was known for fashion and finance, Portland didn’t really have a particular classification.  But this undefined categorization gave the communities license to become anything anyone wanted. And along with the quirkiness came a spirit of innovation.

And if you thought Las Vegas had cornered the market on entertainment, Portland is giving it a run for its money. Have you ever thought “this movie would be better with a beer in hand?” Well, there are movie brewpubs that offer comfy sofas and beers on tap in Portland. Plus you can catch a free act of Darth Vader playing the bagpipes on a unicycle while you walk over to the next craft brewery for a pint.

The other side of Portland that brought about this diversity is the laid back nature resulting from the combination of generations of farmers and hippies. While both contrast in lifestyle – they share a simple love for the land and this paved the way for local foods, farmers markets, and smaller mom-and-pop type businesses to flourish. The granola lovers appreciated the local tastes and flavors the farmers could provide, and they also appreciated the fruits and vineyards to east. Portland in recent years has been put on the Pinot Noir map for excellence, and there’s plenty of it to try. Venturing out of the city into the Willamette Valley is only an hour’s drive (50 miles).

Although the feel of Portland is pretty low key, there are some big players with their headquarters here too, like Nike, Addidas, and Intel. Plus Portland’s other nickname is “beervana” for all the microbreweries located within the city. And for those travelling from other states in the US, Portland doesn’t have sales tax, so it is a great city for shopping.

Did you know…?

Portland is home to the smallest park in the world, called Mill Ends Park. It is only 2 feet across!

Mill Ends Park 2007” by atul666 from Portland, USA – Mill Ends Park. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Did you ALSO know…?

That Portland is considered the greenest city in United States. 6% of workers cycle to work and back each day! Portland also hosts the biggest World Naked Bike Ride – where all proceeds are donated to charities!

For visitors looking for a little less quirkiness, Portland has a great preforming arts scene too. Everything from ballet, independent theatre, and big production musicals. Portland also has a great selection of coffee shops – and they take their coffee roasting very seriously here! Of course, every coffee should be accompanied by some manner of baked goods with locally sourced ingredients – truly foodie and hippy-friendly, and most importantly, incredibly tasty.

Getting Around Portland

Portland is an incredibly easy city to get around by public transit, but for some the layout of all the bridges can be a bit confusing. The TriMet system offers public service from the downtown core all the way out to the suburbs, plus it includes the Max Light Rail, the WES Commuter Rail, Portland Streetcars and buses. And of course, there are bicycles, walking, or even renting a car – which if you plan on visiting multiple areas of the state we highly recommend – but it’s not needed if you’re staying within Portland. The streetcars in the Pearl District are fun to ride, especially for kids. Purchase a day pass for $5 and ride the rail lines, streetcars, and buses all day.

Best Time of Year to Travel to Portland

Portland’s weather is manageable anytime of year, but if you are looking for the signature flower bloom, spring is the time to visit. Portland’s topography is hilly and lush green trees, so when the flowers come out providing that pop of colour against the dark green backgrounds you can’t help but feel connected to the earth. Springtime here is when Portland lives up to its name as “the City of Roses,” but it also includes beautiful rhododendrons, cherry trees, and azaleas.

During the summer months the days are longer and the temperatures are higher with July and August being the highest with an average of 27C high to 14C low. This is also a great time to visit, especially if you plan to head west to the coast where the ocean breezes can cool you down. The winter months are fairly mild, but can get chilly at times. The temperature rarely falls below 0C and the heaviest days for precipitation fall during the winter months. If you’re lucky, you might get a couple of days of snow, but it doesn’t last long.

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