Portland is a city all of its own. After spending several days in southwestern United States cities, I was amazed to see how different the northwestern city of Portland is! There is so much to do in Portland, and I kept a list of all my favorite places and activities.
There are always great free activities on any trip, and one of the best in Portland is a free walking tour of the city. This is a good way to get an overview of the city and learn a ton of new facts! For example, did you know that there is a nude bike race in Portland every year? Yeah, I’m not sure I want to see that, either. You can meet up with the tour every day at 11 am or 2:30 pm. It’s just tip the guide whatever you want at the end! I my guide did a rocking job. Find out more here: The Secrets of Portlandia
Walk the waterfront.
The waterfront walk is another great way to see the city on foot. You won’t get the guide, but you will get more freedom as you decide which trail to follow. It’s scenic, it’s peaceful, and it goes great with a cup of hot coffee.
You have to try them. We loved being able to walk around the get whatever food we wanted. Yum!
Speaking of obsessions, Portlanders seem to be obsessed Voodoo Doughnuts. To me, it seemed a bit overrated, but I’ll give kudos to the creativity. Fun fact: you can hold your wedding in Voodoo Doughnuts.
There are a bunch of breweries in Portland, and it can be hard to pick which ones to visit. It’d recommend touring at least one. The Haunted Pub Tour by Beer Quest PDX or Taster from Rogue or 10 Barrels are great choices.
Forget pub crawls—take a coffee crawl! The Washington/ Oregon area is famous for its coffee houses. Or maybe it’s just famous for its coffee addition. Either way, you can’t miss this! Read about my experience here
The Portland Rose Garden, officially named the International Rose Tests garden, is amazing! It has thousands and thousands of roses in every single color. Also, you have a great view of the Portland skyline from the garden, and that alone is worth the visit.
I wouldn’t have expected Portland to have an authentic Japanese garden, but it does! And it’s quite incredible. In my opinion, it’s the prettiest garden in the area. That’s saying a lot, considering how beautiful the Rose Garden is.
This series of magical waterfalls right outside the city is a wonderful break from the urban life. Get a little nature in your life! The Northwestern U.S. has beautiful forests and hikes, so make sure you have time in your itinerary to appreciate the natural world.
- Chinese Garden
- The Grotto
Places by McMannamins.
McMannamins is a pub chain that is unique to Washington and Oregon. But McMannamins, isn’t just a pub! It has a ton of other stuff that belongs to it, like Kennedy School and Edgefield. Kennedy School may sound like a straight-laced private boarding school, but it’s actually a funky hotel. It used to be a school, and the hotel rooms are transformed classrooms! Edgefield is another hotel, but this one is made out of a vintage farmhouse.
Have you ever heard of a hotel that gives you a choice of mattress firmness? Well, now you have. Besides the comfort factor, the hotel also has it location going for it. It’s located in the heart of downtown Portland, close to all kinds of awesome locations.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is super fun! Science museums may be kid-friendly, but they are definitely not just for the kiddos. Be sure to try out the chemistry lab- the only hands-on wet chemistry lab in the nation!
When you’re in the Portland area, you have to visit one of the Powell’s Bookstore chains. It’s a chain, yet it’s and indie store, and it sells new books, but it also sells new ones… it’s a bookshelf-filled oxymoron. But you don’t have to be any kind of moron if you spend some time browsing the shelves!
The Oregon Zoo is wonderful for many reasons. Of course, it has all the awesome animals, but on top of that, it also focuses heavily on animal conservation and welfare. You can buy a ticket with the knowledge that your money is going to help animals!
As you know, I love taking photos in front of famous city signs! This one belongs to the White Stag building, so you have to be a little creative if you want to take a selfie. You might need to bring along that selfie stick. Still, worth it.
Things I Still Want to Do:
- Mt. Hood. You have to climb this mountain before you can say you’ve really experienced Portland. Okay, maybe not climb it, but certainly go hang out near it!
20. Coast of Oregon. You get beach and forest all at once. It’s the best of both worlds!
21. Wineries. There are so many wineries in Oregon’s rural hills. I’d love to take a tour someday.
22. Chinese Garden. Like the Japanese garden, only different.
23. Art Galleries. There are so many art galleries in artsy Portland. If I ever go back, I’m going to do a self-guided tour.
Visit the Travel Portland website so that you can read up on everything before you go.
The Visitor center has the Trimet Bus Line info and tickets for sale. I bought my pass for $26 for 7 days. It covers all transportation, which is so convenient! There is a $5 day pass, too, but I was there a week, so this was a better price for me. Students and seniors get a discount, by the way.