This west coast darling is brought to you by the letter “B” – bikes, brews, bridges, bands, and [coffee] beans. It also rains sometimes. Recently named USA’s “most livable city”, Portland is heaven for everyone who enjoys nature. Not only does the city have many parks, but Mt. Hood is less than an hour away to the east, and to the west is the Oregon coast. This liberal city with progressive views on pretty much anything is a magnet for artists and those looking for a laid-back atmosphere. You’ll soon find out that coffee shops are a common place to have business meetings and “keeping things weird” is just normal.
Things to Do/Why you should add Portland to your RTW travel list:
- Rent a bike and explore on two wheels instead of your feet. Portland is very bike friendly and a great way to explore the city.
- Get lost in the massive Washington Park.
- Come in early June for Portland’s largest event of the year – the Portland Rose Festival.
- If live music is your thing, you’ve come to the right place. Check out the Portland Mercury and Willamette Week to see who’s playing when you’re here.
- There’s no sales tax in Portland, so go shopping and take advantage!
- Hang out in the very cool Pearl District
- Browse for hours in Powell’s City of Books
- Grab a beer and a movie at the Bagdad Theather or Laurelhurst.
- A great base to explore the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest, such as hiking, fishing and rafting
- Windsurf with the world’s best at Mount Hood
- Try visiting all the breweries in Portland
- Take a day or two and drive down the rugged Oregon coast
WHAT TO DO
Portland is the place to go if you are a nature lover. Pretty much everyone spends the weekends outdoors, either biking or enjoying one of the many parks and gardens or exploring the Springwater Corridor (a multi-use trail from SE Portland to the town of Boring).
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is an excellent place to visit if you want to see awesome movies in the IMAX theater that gives you a 360 view of an African safari, space travel or scuba diving. It’s a great place to take the kids to learn and play at the same time.
If you are after a sugar rush, don’t miss eating one of the special doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut. You’ll find doughnuts topped with peanut butter and chocolate, cereals or even bacon. Locals also come here for the Vegan doughnuts which are delicious.
If your passion is shopping, don’t miss the Saturday Market – the largest open-air crafts market in continuous operation in the US – where everything sold is handmade. It’s open between March and December only during the weekends.
Portland International Airport (or PDX as it’s more commonly known) is the largest airport in Oregon which makes it quite easy to find a flight to Portland. The airport is located just 12 miles from downtown Portland. In 2010 it was ranked as the top airport for business travelers in the US because of the easy of access – including the MAX light rail service -, free WiFi access and excellent shopping options.
WHERE TO STAY
There are plenty of places to stay in Portland and you will be surprised to find that even cool hotels can be really affordable. You can easily find hotels in Portland located right downtown, close to downtown or on a main public transport line, which is ideal for any traveler. And it that’s a bit too expensive for you, fear not for your budget as there are some nice hostels in Portland as well (both real hostels and other budget accommodation such as inns or budget hotels).
BootsnAll’s HQ is in this wonderful city and we also have a real in-depth Portland travel guide site with lots of good info for travelers heading our way.