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Neighborhood-oriented since its founding, Portland began as a grid of half-sized blocks on the west side of the Willamette River and grew outward in all directions. Packed with eclectic shops, lush public parks, trend-setting restaurants and eye-grabbing street art, Portland’s distinctive neighborhoods overflow with original experiences and individual character.
What to do
Portland’s top attractions boast family-friendly activities, including the Oregon Zoo or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). A variety of tour companies offer an introduction to Portland with thematic tours including, food, historic sights, beer, and cannabis. Enjoy tax-free shopping, captivating gardens, sporting events and simply getting lost in Portland’s neighborhoods.
Art and culture are woven into every fiber of Portland - from theater and museums to live music, film festivals, dance, art galleries and installations, dance clubs and local drag show performances. Portland hangs its hat on an innovative maker and design scene, where visitors can learn all things DIY and design, while supporting local makers who help contribute and sustain the local arts.
The birthplace of James Beard, Portland has long enjoyed a strong food reputation. Named one of the “best places to eat” by Food & Wine and “America’s new food Eden” by Time (among numerous other accolades), Portland is home to a creative, accessible culinary scene that goes to great lengths to serve fresh, innovative dishes using superb local ingredients.
Portland’s rainy-season is rewarded with marvelous green landscapes. Outdoor recreation abounds within city limits with parks of all shapes and sizes, including Forest Park – one of the largest wooded urban parks in the U.S. – gardens and a river running right through the middle of the city offering access to water activities in the summer months. The city is known for its proximity to natural wonders like the Columbia River Gorge, the Willamette Valley and Mount Hood.
Portland proudly entertains visitors with year-round events. Enjoy annual events like the Portland Rose Festival (June), Holiday Ale Fest (December), the World Naked Bike Ride (June), Portland Dining Month (March) and the Portland Book Festival (December).
Portland has a variety of lodging options available to accommodate guests in every quadrant of the city. The highest concentration of hotels can be found in Downtown Portland, while vacation rentals, tiny homes and boutique properties are available in nearly every Portland neighborhood.
Visitors can navigate all corners of Portland’s neighborhoods through the MAX Light Rail Train, Portland Streetcar and public buses. To make navigation even easier the city’s public transportation system is integrated with Google Maps, which provides detailed instructions of how (and when) to reach a destination. Travelers can also download Trimet’s “Trip Finder” app for extra navigation assistance. For those looking to explore by foot, most neighborhoods are walkable and provide easy to navigate green ways for bicyclists.
Portland is frequently recognized as one of the nation’s leading sustainable destinations. The eco-conscious ethos of the city helps Portland top the charts as one the most public transportation and bike-friendly cities, with a growing number of LEED Platinum Certified buildings and Certified B Corporations.
The legalization of recreational marijuana took place in the fall of 2015 in Oregon, and possession is legal for any adult 21 or older. Attend one of many cannabis events, visit a dispensary in the city for marijuana, edibles, CBD products or participate in a cannabis tour to learn more about the local weed scene and the safe spaces to consume marijuana in the city as a visitor.
Diverse communities are vital to Portland as a destination and are responsible for the city’s thriving culinary offerings, culturally rich design and influential Maker scene.
Portland’s progressive politics and inclusive attitude helps create and sustain the increasing LGBTQ+ community. LGBT visitors can experience the best of what Portland has to offer with retail spaces, restaurants, bars and clubs centered around inclusivity.