Fodor's Expert Review
Portland is a city known for its music scene, and nowhere is this more apparent than at McMenamins Crystal Hotel. Just a block away from the Crystal Ballroom, one of the most well-known music venues in the city, this hotel is the perfect place for a music-infused getaway that totally rocks (pun intended).
Tip McMenamins is an institution, with locations all over Portland. Ask about the McMenamins Passport, which is a great way to explore the different McMenamins hotels, pubs, and restaurants - and win some cool prizes along the way!
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Each of the 51 guestrooms at McMenamins Crystal Hotel is inspired by an iconic song or performance from the Crystal Ballroom’s 100-year history and spans everything from The Grateful Dead to Death Cab for Cutie. Deeply hued walls, guitar murals, and plenty of velvet and leopard print lend the rooms a vibe that feels very 80’s hair metal rock-and-roll.
King suites come with their own private bathrooms, which are decently sized and continue the funky, rock-inspired feel with patterned floor tile.
You Should Know f you book a queen or double twin room, you’ll be sharing your bathroom with the rest of your floor. There are plenty of stalls and they typically don’t get too crowded, but if you’re a person who needs privacy, you’ll definitely want to upgrade to a king.
The lobby of McMenamins Crystal Hotel is small and can get pretty crowded - not a place that lends itself to hanging out.
One awesome feature of McMenamins Crystal Hotel is the saltwater soaking pool. Head down to unwind after a long day exploring the city or to relax before a headbanging show at the Crystal Ballroom.
Grab a quick bite at Zeus’ Cafe, which serves seasonally inspired dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner using local ingredients (standouts include the Mount Hood Scramble and Curried Clams).
Head downstairs to Al’s Den, an intimate music venue named for Al Winter, a Portland native and gambling overlord from the 40s, where you can grab a cocktail while you listen to some great local artists.
Getting around downtown Portland is easy. The neighborhood is extremely walkable with ample access to public transportation (the nearest MAX station is just two blocks away). If you do bring a car, you can either try your luck with street parking or park in the hotel lot for $25 per night. To get your parking pass, park your car in the 15-minute zone directly in front of the hotel and go to the front desk to register.
For breakfast, try Cheryl’s on 12th (2-minute walk), an adorable bistro with floor-to-ceiling windows that serves complimentary beignets before your meal. Later in the day, head to Lardo (1-minute walk), a local favorite that serves up some of the best and most inventive sandwiches in the city (try the Pork Meatball Bahn Mi with a side of dirty fries… you’ll thank us later).
If you’re looking for a cool, relaxed ambiance, try Kask (3-minute walk), a cocktail bar known for its impressive selection of craft cocktails, rustic decor, and social atmosphere. Another great spot to check out is Shift Drinks (4-minute walk), where you’ll find high ceilings, vintage metal furnishings, and an all-day happy hour that can’t be beat.