Portland Oregon

A Portland Travel Guide

I remember a sports caster for one of the major networks who was in Portland for the basketball playoffs for the Olympics remarked that she was disappointed that she was given the assignment because, "What could there be to do in this city." Then she said, "Believe me folks. There is lots to do here."

As its name implies, it is a port. Big ships travel from the Pacific Ocean up the Columbia River and then into the Willamette River which flows through Portland. The city has eleven bridges that cross the Willamette and two that cross the Columbia. The number of bridges is one thing that makes the city easy to get around in. Other reasons are the Max train, the streetcar in downtown, the Willamette Shore Trolley, and the arial tram.

Portland From Willamette River

To get an idea of the layout of the city see Portland Oregon Maps.

The city is in a cental location for seeing other popular Oregon attractions.

But there is plenty to see and do in the city itself. Forest Park is the largest urban forest reserve in the United States and has over 70 miles of hiking trails overlooking the Columbia River.

Portland Chinese Garden

The city is proud of its gardens. The Chinese Garden in Old Town/Chinatown is a Ming dynasty-inspired garden and is an urban oasis. The Japanese Garden nestled in the West Hills overlooking the city, is said to be the most authentic Japanese Garden outside of Japan. The International Rose Test Garden located within Washington Park and also overlooking the city has over 8,000 roses.

Make it easy on yourself and see Portland the stress-free way -- take a tour!

Learn about Portland's best restaurants and food carts on a food tour.  See the places where the TV show, Portlandia, are filmed. Take a tour of Portland's best breweries.  See the city and the Columbia River Gorge with Multnomah Falls.

Portland Sightseeing Tours

Activities on the Willamette River and the Columbia River are a large part of the lives of people who live in here. For the visitor there are river boat dining cruises that take you up the Columbia where you can experience the spectacular Columbia River Gorge.

Pioneer Square

Every year during the first week of June the city has a party called the Rose Festival. Events include the Starlight Parade which is held at night and the Grand Floral Parade with floats covered in flowers, bands, horses, and bag pipes. There is an air show, air balloon show, and fireworks spectacular.

The Portland International Raceway hosts the Rose Cup Races and the Grand Car Grand Prix. On the Willamette River you can watch the Dragon Boat Races. At PGE park you can enjoy Concert at the Park. Of course there is also the Annual Spring Rose Show which has been in existance for 119 years. On the seawall you will see the Rose Festival Fleet with ships from the United States Navy, Coast Guard, and the Canadian Maritime Forces.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry known to Oregonians as OMSI is fun for kids as well as grownups. There is a Science Playground for children, science exhibits, a submarine in the Willamette River which you can board, and a laser lightshow.

There are other great museums that are worth a visit.

See Portland Events By Month

Elephants at Portland Zoo

The Oregon Zoo is located in Washington Park. It is well known for its elephant herd. Exhibits of primates, birds, bugs, kangaroos, cats, bears, giraffs and more. Enjoy a concert by nationally renowned artist in the zoo amphitheater. Take a train ride around Washington Park in the Zoo Railway. During the Christmas Holidays the Oregon Zoo presents Portland Zoo Lights which has become a traditional holiday visit for many families.

Shop and Eat

Shopping in Portland is a delight. From one-of-a-kind boutiques to internationally renowned shops it is all there. In the central downtown core you can get around on the streetcar. No need to drive your car and hunt for a parking space. And something a lot of out-of-staters don't know. There is no sales tax in Oregon.

One of the best places to shop, eat, or visit art galleries is The Pearl District.

Another interesting neighbourhood to shop in is Sellwood on the southern edge of the city on the Willamette River.  You will find unique boutiques, excellent restaurants, and more antique shops than any other area of Portland.

US News & World Report  has named the Northwest Portland/Nob Hill neighborhood  "One of America's best shopping streets." Specifically they are talking about NW 23rd Avenue. You will also find  excellent and different dining opportunities.

It is easy to get around downtown and beyond without a car. The public transportation system is fantastic.

Portland Saturday Market

If you are in a shopping mood on a Saturday or Sunday, the Saturday Market is a great place to get something unique that you won't find in the usual stores. Or just go for an afternoon outing. There is plenty to and there is a great choice in food and entertainment.

The Farmers Market is another great place to go on a Saturday. Sample the freshest fruits and vegetables in town plus award winning Oregon cheeses, wild mushrooms, oregon wine, handmade chocolates, artisan breads, and much more.

Book lovers can get a thrill by visiting Powell's Books, the largest used and new bookstore in the world. It covers an entire city block.

Dining in Portland is a pleasure. From fine dining to just a casual bite to eat, Portland has a lot to offer. It is said that Portland has more brewpubs than any other metropolitan city in the United States. See Portland Breweries for a selection of great brewpubs offering award winning hand-crafted beer.

Watch This Vacation TV Episode

You'll see how to tour Portland on a Sedgeway, visit Portland's beer festival, take a tour of nearby wineries, and visit one of Portland's historic hotels.

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Portland Oregon