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Portland Oregon

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Introduction Region

Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland ©Cacophony

The city of Portland, situated at the navigable head point of the Willamette River, was the major port on the American Pacific northwest coast during most of the 19th century. Although not the capital of Oregon, it is the largest city in the state and its commercial centre straddles the Willamette River with neatly planned city blocks.

Portland is today recognised as a fun city for tourists, essentially designed for outdoor living with miles of wilderness trails, woods and waterways within the city limits, all set against the backdrop of the Mount Hood glacier, with its well-loved ski resorts less than an hour away.

The city is known for its stunning gardens, particularly the International Rose Test Garden where many thousands of rose bushes from around the world thrive and bloom. Roses form the centre of the city's Rose Festival in June, just one of the many unique events that fill Portland's annual calendar. The other most popular event is the Oregon Brewers Festival, held annually in July, which celebrates the dozens of local micro-breweries, vineyards and distilleries in heady style.

A further attraction of Portland is its superb cuisine and exceptional dining opportunities. The region is renowned for its seafood, berries, pears, hazelnuts, wild game and fresh vegetables, which are all put to good use by some inspired local chefs.

All things considered it is not surprising that Portland is rated as an ideal place for modern travellers to stop and smell the roses.

Climate Info

Portland has a temperate oceanic climate, with four distinct seasons. Winters, between December and February, are mild and wet, while summers, between June and August, are warm and comparatively dry. Summer temperatures average between 53°F (12°C) and 81°F (27°C), but during heat waves temperatures can be substantially higher. Winter temperatures average between 35°F (2°C) and 51°F (11°C). Spring and autumn are generally mild but unpredictable seasons. Rain is less common between June and September, but the weather is extremely wet between November and April.

Convert to Imperial

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Getting Around

Getting around Portland is quick and easy on the city's award-winning light rail system, nicknamed 'MAX' (Metropolitan Area Express), which extends to the east and west of downtown with a spur to the Portland International Airport. MAX also connects to the popular attractions at Washington Park in about 10 minutes from the city centre. Portland has a streetcar system connecting the downtown cultural district to the Portland State University, the Pearl District and northwest 'Nob Hill' area. The Tri-Met bus service also covers the town centre and suburbs. Taxis are readily available, with regulated rates, and those who prefer to hire a car will find plentiful car rental companies.

Portland International Airport (PDX)

LocationThe airport is situated nine miles (14km) from downtown Portland.
Time DifferenceGMT -8 (GMT -7 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).

Tel: Toll free 1 877 739 4636 or (503) 460 4234.

Getting to city

Portland's MAX light rail system serves the airport, connecting to the heart of the city, for a fare of around $2.50, and with a travelling time of around 40 minutes. Trains depart roughly every 15 minutes. Taxis, shuttles, buses and rental cars are also available. All transportation pickups occur on the airport terminal's lower roadway, on the baggage claim and departure level.

Car Rental

The Car Rental Center on the first floor of the parking garage includes Avis, Dollar, Enterprise, National and Hertz offices.

Airpor Taxis

The airport is served by taxis, although they may need to be ordered by telephone for late night arrivals. Taxi rates are regulated and reputable providers include Broadway Cab Company and Green Cab.

Airport Facilities

The airport has several ATMs, a currency exchange bureau, and a shopping mall which includes restaurants, coffee bars and a pub. There is also a postal service, information desk and a state-of-the-art conference centre.

Car Parking

Portland International offers ample parking options, including long-term and economy, in close proximity to the terminal building. Valet parking costs about $10 per hour or $30 per day. Short-term parking starts at around $3 per hour and costs $27 per day. Long-term parking costs about $21 per day and economy parking is $10 per day.

International Rose Test Garden

The foremost of Portland's famed rose gardens, the International Rose Test Garden was founded in 1917 during World War I, when hybridists sent roses from around the world to keep them safe from the bombing in Europe. Since then the garden has served as a testing ground for new varieties.
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International Rose Test Garden ©Shubert Ciencia

Oregon Zoo

The award-winning Oregon Zoo is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi, founded in 1887. It covers 64 acres and is home to a vast variety of animals, including Asian elephants, Peruvian penguins and Arctic polar bears. All are housed in their natural habitats, and the zoo is an internati
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Asian Elephants at Oregon Zoo ©Stuart Seeger

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Named the 'Garden of Awakening Orchids', this walled classic garden in Portland's Chinatown is a replica of traditional gardens found in Suzhou, Portland's sister city in China. It combines the elements of water, stone, architecture, literature and plants to create balance and harmony. T
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Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland ©Eleonora Corsi

Pearl District

The trendiest neighbourhood in downtown Portland, the Pearl District is the place to see and be seen. The district was once a decaying industrial area, but today the old buildings have come alive with new purposes. Old warehouses have been turned into desirable loft residences and the st
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Pearl District, Portland ©AtlasPDX82

Museum of Science and Industry

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, affectionately known as OMSI, is a feast of fun for young and old. It includes fascinating permanent exhibits dealing with maths, science and technology, and laboratories where children can undertake science experiments. The complex also contain
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Oregon Museum of Science and Industry ©M.O. Stevens

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is Oregon's most famous and popular stretch of coastline among Portland tourists. The beach is dominated by Haystack Rock, a 235-foot (71m) steep formation that can be reached on foot when the tide is low. The first tourist on the beach was William Clark, during the Lewis an
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Cannon Beach ©Tobias Haase

Mount Hood

Mount Hood, 67 miles (108km) east of Portland, is one of the most popular ski resort areas in Oregon. Dominating the Portland skyline, Mount Hood is a great place to get away from the city for a weekend ski break. The mountain is home to three resorts: Mount Hood Meadows, Timberline, and
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Mt Hood ©Tony Fischer


As you would expect from a city with a memorial statue of 'Merry Prankster' Ken Kesey in its downtown area, Eugene is an offbeat place, full of people - from old-school hippies to new-age hipsters - seeking out alternative lifestyles. Home to the University of Oregon, and once proudly ca
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University of Oregon, Eugene ©Adam850

Hoyt Arboretum

The Hoyt Arboretum, located within Washington Park and about two miles west of downtown Portland, is home to an outstanding collection of rare and exotic tree species. The 187-acre arboretum is nothing less than a 'living laboratory', and boasts more than 10,000 individual trees and shru
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Hoyt Arboretum, Portland ©Sean Fornelli

Blossoming Lotus

This delightful vegan restaurant has a creative and varied menu which will please everybody, even those who ordinarily can't imagine a meal without meat. The world cuisine, made from organic ingredients, is tasty, and the dishes are colourful and pretty. The Blossoming Lotus is open for lunch on weekdays, brunch on weekends, and dinner daily.

Food Type: Vegetarian     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 1713 NE 15th Avenue



This immensely popular restaurant is ideal for special occasions, serving up beautifully presented Peruvian dishes. The menu reflects a pleasing balance between the traditional and the modern, with inventive twists on Peruvian favourites. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily and reservations are recommended.

Food Type: Peruvian     Style:     Price: 4

Address: 1314 NW Glisan Steet


Screen Door

A bastion of Southern comfort food in the American Northwest, Screen Door serves up classics like brisket, pulled pork, gumbo, and their famous fried chicken and waffles; all with generous sides of cornbread and sweet potato fries. Screen door is casual, and doesn't take reservations, so be prepared to wait up to an hour for a table at peak times.

Food Type: Southern     Style:     Price: 3

Address: 2337 East Burnside


Voodoo Doughnut

One of the most famous, and quirkiest, restaurants in Portland is Voodoo Doughnut, a wildly popular doughnut shop in 3rd Avenue, where patrons can buy pastries, have a beer, and get married all in the same venue. Doughnuts range from the popular Bacon Maple Bar to strangely-named creations like the cereal-covered Captain My Captain. Open late, Voodoo Doughnut can have queues around the block on Saturday and Sunday mornings, so go late at night or during the week.

Food Type: Bakery     Style:     Price: 2

Address: 22 SW Third Ave


Portland Jazz Festival

The annual Portland Jazz Festival aims to promote jazz by presenting international jazz masters as well as talented local musicians in a series of concerts, free performances, films, lectures and exhibitions. The month of February is also celebrated as Black History Month, which includes jazz education and outreach programs. The dynamic sounds of jazz have enlivened the Portland area since the days of World War II, when thousands of African Americans came to work in the Kaiser shipyards. After the war ended, local jazz pioneers hosted backyard jam sessions where many musical styles were shared and improved upon. Past festivals have included artists such as Dianne Reeves, McCoy Tyner, Don Byron, Eddie Palmieri and Nancy King.

Date 2018-02-15 to 2018-02-25     Website
Trombone Lip ©Paul VanDerWerf

Portland Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market is one of America's largest open-air craft markets. There are more than 250 stalls selling handcrafted items and delicious homemade and ethnic food. There is an intimate, down-to-earth spirit here as visitors interact with the artists and watch them work. The market is situated in Portland's historic Old Town and features live music and other events to add a festive atmosphere to the shopping scene. Portland is proud of its famous market, which is a community institution and well-loved by both locals and visitors. For information on what's available at the market check out the official website listed below.

Date 2016-03-01 to 2016-12-21     Website
Saturday Market, Portland ©Steve Morgan

Oregon Brewers Fest

The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of America's longest-running and most beloved craft beer festivals, and takes place every year at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, right on the banks of the Willamette River. Over the course of the weekend, handcrafted beers from more than 80 of the nation's foremost micro-breweries will be turned out to a crowd in excess of 80,000. There will also be live music on the go for all four days of the festival, home-brewing demonstrations, and an assortment of high-quality food stalls dotted around the venue. The best part, is that with the MAX Light Rail system just a stone's throw away, visitors won't even have to drive home when their revelry is concluded.

Date 2017-07-26 to 2017-07-30     Website
Assorted Beers ©Nejmlez

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