Our first visit to the United States’ Pacific Northwest region was ushered in by a trip to Portland, Oregon. This city is surrounded by hype and it certainly lives up to the expectations. Salt water rivers, waterfalls, and volcanoes surround the beautiful area. The downtown area is the perfect mix of high rise buildings and tree-lined charm. It’s easy to go into sensory overload in Portland. If you can picture yourself buzzing along brick sidewalks while darting from place to place, get on the next plane and head this way.
There are tons of things to do both in the city center itself as well as outside of the city limits. If you aren’t exactly sure where to start, we had a blast spending our time in the downtown core. Any and all of these activities will surely set you up for a great experience in Portland!
Willamette Jet Boat
I stumbled across this offering by chance and am thrilled about it! This is your opportunity to blast down the Willamette River at top speeds. There is no better way to take in the views of downtown and learn about the city. Along the way, you’ll also get to see everything from super fancy mansions to silly sea lions. Just don’t plan to walk away from this activity without getting completely soaked!
If markets are your thing, than make sure not to miss this one! There are so many vendors and the variety of offerings goes on and on. We strolled through the area to check out the stalls and were so surprised by everything we saw. The selection is great and the atmosphere is so fun!
Breweries and Donuts
Portland is famous for having some great food and drink scene. They have several notable beer breweries! We hopped by a few to check them out and were not disappointed. Deschutes is famous and well worth the buzz. And, if beer isn’t your thing, some of the best wine I’ve ever had is the blueberry wine at the Portland Wine Bar. Don’t leave town without trying this! Portland is also home to famous Voodoo Donughts
Located in Chinatown, strolling through these serene and well manicured gardens will take you miles away from the bustling city surrounding the garden. The landscaping is beautiful, the staff is friendly, and they offer additional Chinese elements such as origami, fortunes, and name painting.
Willamette River Walkway
Stroll along this waterfront pathway while enjoying the city’s many bridges on the Willamette. Portland’s bridges offer a variety of engineering features, making it the city bridge engineers look to for the standard in design and functionality. There’s also a variety of parks and grassy areas, and vendors throughout the waterfront, as well as the famous Old Town Portland sign.
Portland Aerial Tram
Located the southern end of downtown Portland, this tram soars to the hills above the city where you will get sweeping views of the skyline, as well as Mount St. Helens and Mount McKinley. This is a great place for taking photos and enjoying your surroundings.
On the western side of downtown is massive Washington park where you will find the International Rose Test Garden, Japanese Garden, and more. This park is an expansive place where you could easily spend several hours visiting each area.
Portland is a good truck paradise. There’s plenty of shops scattered throughout the downtown area offering every type of food imaginable. If you want to have pizza, BBQ, salads, Thai, Egyptian, Hawaiian, or anything else, be sure to stop by these super popular trucks. We had one of the best BBQ sandwiches ever from The Hot Box. Yum, yum!
If big cities aren’t your thing, there are plenty of beautiful nature opportunities a short distance from downtown Portland. The Columbia River Gorge is just outside of the city and offers spectacular waterfall viewing.
Portland is a fun city with a hip vibe and plenty to do. We stayed at the Hilton Executive Tower Hotel. This was a good price and a great location! What are you waiting for? Start planning your perfect weekend in downtown Portland today!