Portland City Guide
The city of Portland is located in northwestern United States and is situated on the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. This verdant city extends along the Willamette River and has the magnificent snow covered Mount Hood to its east. It is home to more than 500,000 active residents, who are known to be extremely eco-friendly with impeccable recycling habits.
Portland is made up of numerous green spaces and parks and is believed to be one of America’s ‘greenest cities’ that hosts more than 35 environmentally friendly buildings; certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Vacations to Portland are, therefore, ideal for people looking to learn more about living green.
Additionally, this well planned city is also sometimes referred to as ‘the Rose City’ as it is covered in blooms almost throughout the year. It is also known to be a prominent dining destination that features several award winning restaurants. These famed Portland restaurants are largely run by locavore chefs; who thrive on creating delicious meals using mainly locally sourced produce and ingredients.
Where to stay in Portland
Portland is a city that is made up of many diverse neighborhoods each of which have their own unique identity. Almost all the prominent neighborhoods in Portland are touched by the Willamette River, which traverses the city as it travels north. Essentially, deciding where to stay during Portland vacations would depend more on what you want to do during your vacations.
The city’s main downtown area and business district that constitutes its core hub is situated on the southwest bank of the river and hosts the city’s most prominent attractions like Washington Park, which encompasses other well known attractions like the Oregon Zoo, the International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden.
This downtown area of Portland is exceedingly well served by the city’s public transport system and is also its cultural district hosting most of the big names in Portland Hotels. These diverse Portland Hotels cater to various travel budgets and offer a hotel repertoire includes luxury hotels, Spa hotels, boutique hotels, extended stay hotels, discount hotels and budget accommodation like bed and breakfast inns and others.
Old Town / Chinatown
The city’s historic Old Town/Chinatown district is located in the northwest part of the city and is home to the nation’s largest collection of cast iron buildings. This district also hosts a lively arts and entertainment scene and hosts the country’s largest open-air crafts market-the Saturday Market, which is now held Sundays as well.
The rejuvenated area of the Pearl district once housed factories and warehouses that have now been converted into chic, fashionable stores, restaurants and dwellings. Portland’s Pearl District is also famous as the home of Powell’s Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world.
The Nob Hill district like its namesake in San Francisco is home to some of the best restaurants and shops in Portland and thus a popular choice for people on vacations to Portland.
Places to see in Portland
Portland Art Museum
The Portland Art Museum or PAM as it is commonly referred to, is the oldest art institution located on the West Coast of America. This museum, which is housed in a complex of historic buildings, has a vast permanent collection that features a wide array of artworks that range from ancient artworks from Asia to impressionist paintings. The permanent collection at PAM also encompasses a huge collection of Native American Art that features the works of more than 200 Native American groups. This is one place where any art lover would love to spend time during his vacations to Portland.
It’s a must visit place if you have kids with you on vacations. The Oregon Zoo is located within Portland’s Washington Park and should be considered a must-visit attraction for those visitors with children. The Oregon Zoo is set amongst much greenery features animals that hail from all corners of the globe and include animals like Asian Elephants, Polar bears and more. The Oregon Zoo is also known for its conservation efforts, its summer concert series and its adorable miniature steam train that connects it to the International Rose Test Garden.
International Rose Test Garden
Portland’s International Rose Test Garden is one of its prime attractions. This garden features colorful flowerbeds on terraced hillsides and more than 200 species of this fragrant bloom. The garden was founded more than a century ago and is an official testing site for All-American Rose selections. The garden also offers several, smaller ornamental gardens like a miniature Rose Garden, a Shakespeare Garden and a Rosarian Garden.
The Japanese Garden that extends over an area of 5.5 acres offers five quintessential Japanese gardens, which feature ponds, streams, moon bridges that are interspersed with plants that are native to the northwestern part of the country.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
The Tom McCall Waterfront Park extends along the length of the Willamette River through downtown Portland and is the city’s prime performance venue that hosts annual events like the Waterfront Blues Festival and the Oregon Brewery Festival.
Best time to visit Portland
Portland enjoys a climate which is characterized by four distinct seasons. The peak tourist season for Portland is during its warm, sunny summers, which extend from the months of June to August. Temperatures record average highs of 80F (27C) during the summer months and the city is this inundated with visitors during this time.
Other popular seasons for planning vacations to Portland include early spring and fall; both of which offer amenable temperatures along with various other seasonal attractions like the gorgeous blooms that cover many of the city’s parks.
Hotel rates in Portland tend to soar during these peak tourist seasons but if you choose to make your hotel booking for your Portland getaway with Fare Buzz, you can be assured of the best hotel rates at all times.
Getting around in Portland
Flights to Portland land at the Portland International Airport, which is conveniently placed at 12 miles of distance from the northeast of downtown. The airport is served by most major airlines. With Fare Buzz, you can enjoy the facilities at this airport through cheap air tickets and save for yourself time and money.
Once you have landed at the airport, moving around is easy. Portland has one of the best and most extensive public transport systems in the USA. Portland’s TriMet, which is made up of the bus, light rail and commuter rail services connects downtown Portland to its international airport and various other communities and suburbs.
In fact, downtown Portland is a fare-less zone which offers free public access to all modes of public transport like the Portland Street car, buses and the MAX trains. The Portland street car travels along a 4.8 mile loop through the city’s main districts.
Outside this fare- free zone of downtown Portland, the fares for the Portland streetcar, Tri-Met buses and MAX trains are all the same.
Where to shop in Portland
Portland is a veritable shopper’s paradise for this city located in Oregon State, is one of the largest cities in the US that levies no sales tax on goods and services. Visitors to Portland can thus shop to their heart’s delight at the many shopping locales located in and around the city.
Popular shopping destinations in Portland include the Pioneer Place mall, a shopping center located in downtown Portland that extends over four city blocks and hosts outlets of well-known national chains like Ann Taylor, Bebe, Coach, Aldo, J. Crew, alongside luxe stores like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany and Co. Also located within the mall, is the ‘Made in Oregon store’ which offers a good selection of popular souvenir items from around the state of Oregon like wines from the Willamette Valley, Pendleton Blankets, huckleberry jam, Oregon Duck and Beaver products and more.
If on trend apparel and accessories are more your cup of tea rather than ubiquitous big- name brands, then you should include Portland’s myriad trendy neighborhoods in your shopping adventures. The Pearl District situated within the old warehouse district on the northwest fringe of downtown Portland is one such district that is home to various galleries, cafes, bakeries and chic boutiques and antique shops. Yet another worth perusing alternative shopping locale, in Portland is the city’s NW23rd Avenue, which offers trendy restaurants and blocks filled with stylish boutiques and lifestyle stores. For more affordable and vintage finds, try Hawthorne Street located on the eastside of the city.
Portland’s Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent and used bookstore in the world is a tourist attraction in itself and must be included on any visit Portland itinerary. The flagship Powell’s City of Books store stretches over an entire city block in downtown Portland and hosts nine color-coded rooms equipped with 3500 sections offering more than a million titles.
For antique-lovers, Portland’s Sellwood Antique Row situated in the eastside of the city is a definite ‘must-do’ for it is home to more than seventy well-stocked antique and collectible shops. Additional shopping options can be found within the suburbs of Portland at locales like the Lloyd Center (the city’s oldest and largest mall) and the Washington Square Mall in Beaverton.
Where to eat in Portland
Portland is home to a thriving dining scene populated by a wide range of restaurants, cafes and food trucks. Numerous talented chefs call Portland home and offer their innovative wares at some of the city’s ‘best’ restaurants. The list of Portland’s best restaurants currently includes eateries like Le Pigeon, Ned Ludd, Tasty n Sons, Doc (all New American restaurants), Pok Pok and Nong’s Khao Man Gai (both serving Thai cuisine), Portobello Vegan Trattoria and Natural Selection (vegan and vegetarian eats), Restaurant St Jack (a French bistro), Tanuki (Japanese cuisine), Ox (an Argentinean inspired restaurant) and Olympic Provisions (a steak house).
Nightlife in Portland
The city of roses as Portland is commonly referred to, hosts a vibrant nightlife scene featuring bars, wine bars, brewpubs, dance clubs, comedy clubs and hugely popular overnight electronic dance festivals. Buzzing night-spots in the city currently include joints like Bailey’s Taproom, Captured by Porches brewery, Leisure Public House, Five Spice Wine Bar, Kir wine bar, Dixies Tavern and the FX and Dirty night clubs.