After just one visit, Portland is one of my favorite cities in the United States! There are so many lush outdoor parks and spaces, I felt very safe as a solo female traveler, and the city’s food and beer scenes are fantastic.
So I’ve compiled the best activity, accommodation, day trip, and restaurant suggestions for you.
Here’s the Ultimate Guide to Portland, Oregon!
Explore Pittock Mansion
Pioneer Courthouse Square, aka “Portland’s Living Room”
Hike in Forest Park – an urban forest reserve (pictured above left)
Relax at the Japanese Garden (pictured below)
See The Grotto
Do a Pub Crawl
Ride The Arial Tram
Take a photo in front of the White Stag Sign (pictured above right)
Visit Cathedral Park (pictured at the top of the post)
When To Go
Portland is a year-round destination. But depending on what you want to do, some seasons will be better than others for you to visit. June – August has the warmest, sunniest weather. The city’s roses are in full bloom, and the summer is when the city’s outdoorsy culture thrives. But these months are also the most crowded and expensive, so budget accordingly, and book ahead of time.
From March – May, you can experience the city’s Spring beauty while beating the summer crowds and prices. Temperatures will be in the mid-40s to upper 60s (7 – 20ºC), so bring layers, and be prepared for rain.
In September – November, the city’s deciduous trees turn beautiful colors, Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge are still fully open and accessible, and the summer crowds and prices will taper off. Temperatures will drop from the mid-70s to low 50s (24 – 11ºC) as Fall progresses, so pack accordingly. There’s less chance of rain in Autumn than Spring, but make sure you still have rain gear.
If you’re here from December – February, be prepared for rain every day. Museums will be open, but the parks and gardens have reduced hours, so always confirm opening and closing times beforehand. While the city usually doesn’t get cold enough for snow, Mt. Hood has plenty of snow this time of year, so you can take day trips to its slopes.
Where To Eat
For Burgers: Burger Stevens, The Elvis Room, Lay Low Tavern, Super Deluxe, Loyal Legion
Brunch Places: Grand Army Tavern, Beast, Olympia Provisions NW, The Waiting Room
Asian Food: Departure Restaurant and Lounge (Pan-Asian), Pok Pok (Thai), Nak Won (Korean), Aviary (Pan-Asian), Thien Hong (Chinese)
Rooftop Dining: Radio Room, Laurelwood Public House & Brewery, Altabira City Tavern, On Deck Sports Bar & Grill-Pear, 10 Barrel Brewing Portland
Seafood: Salty’s On The Columbia, Fishwife Seafood Restaurant, Olympia Oyster Bar, Cabezon Restaurant, Roe
Best Day Trips
Columbia River Gorge is the largest national scenic area in the U.S. and has the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America. This canyon is just a short drive from the city, but plan on spending a full day driving through it to stop at lots of overlooks, trails, and waterfalls. The famous Multnomah Falls is in this “Waterfall Corridor.”
Cannon Beach (pictured above) is most famous for Haystack Rock and for being a filming site for movies such as The Goonies and Point Break (the original). Cannon Beach is both the charming coastal city and the white sandy beach, and they’re both worth a visit. I also recommend visiting the nearby Ecola State Park if you have time in your day trip.
Willamette Valley is Oregon’s famous wine region. Best known for its pinot noir, the Willamette Valley makes for a beautiful and delicious day trip from Portland. I recommend taking the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route. I also suggest taking this day trip as a guided tour so that you don’t have to worry about driving too soon after a wine tasting.
Where To Stay
Choosing your accommodation is one of the most important decisions you make for any trip. This is why I’ve got the best hotel in Portland for you! Read about My Stay At The Benson to see why this beautiful, historic hotel is where you should stay when you’re in Portland.
Best Viewpoints Of The City and Mt. Hood
Upper OHSU Tram Station
Pittock Mansion (pictured above)
Mount Tabor Park
Willamette Falls Viewpoint
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Lan Su Chinese Garden
Oaks Park – home of the largest roller skating rink in the U.S.
Portland Art Museum
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
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This post is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this article about the best things to do in Portland, Oregon are entirely my own. Some of these links are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.