Portland

Among North America’s most livable, creative, and culinarily blessed cities, leafy Portland receives plenty of recognition these days for its youthful energy, left-of-center political bent, forward-thinking urban planning and bike friendliness, and eco-minded, locavore-driven ethic. Often compared with Austin, Brooklyn’s William
Among North America’s most livable, creative, and culinarily blessed cities, leafy Portland receives plenty of recognition these days for its youthful energy, left-of-center political bent, forward-thinking urban planning and bike friendliness, and eco-minded, locavore-
Among North America’s most livable, creative, and culinarily blessed cities, leafy Portland receives plenty of recogniti

Among North America’s most livable, creative, and culinarily blessed cities, leafy Portland receives plenty of recognition these days for its youthful energy, left-of-center political bent, forward-thinking urban planning and bike friendliness, and eco-minded, locavore-driven ethic. Often compared with Austin, Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood, and San Francisco’s Mission District, this city of about 600,000 teems with new residents and visitors, many of them curious to know just how accurately the cheeky indie TV show Portlandia has captured the city’s unabashedly earnest hipster vibe.

What you might miss if you focus too closely on Portland’s hipster "it" factor is that this picturesque, easy-to-navigate, midsize metropolis has plenty to offer visitors of all styles and ages—you needn’t be a devotee of artisan-roasted single-origin coffee or the finer points of urban cycling to appreciate the city’s considerable charm.

A major draw is Portland’s proximity to astounding natural scenery, from amazingly dense-wooded and tranquil forest reserves within walking distance of downtown to breathtaking coastal panoramas, snowcapped volcanoes, a thriving wine country, and a mesmerizing river gorge all within a 90-minute drive. Unless you’re in town for just a day or two, plan at least an afternoon getaway to one of these nearby oases, which also make memorable overnight getaways.

Unlike larger West Coast cities, such as Seattle and San Francisco, Portland doesn’t contain many iconic attractions: it’s a pretty but unprepossessing city with a modest but attractive skyline and a laid-back personality. Crime is low, locals are famously friendly, and most businesses and attractions cater enthusiastically to both kids and adults. It’s a fine destination for urban strolls, and it’s easy and relatively cheap to get around using public transportation (MAX light rail, streetcars, buses) and bikes. Also (you didn’t read it here), despite its eco-conscious reputation, Portland is a remarkably easy city to get around by car, with ample (and often free) street parking in many neighborhoods, especially on the East Side.

Don’t miss out on the city’s handful of terrific museums—the Portland Art Museum and Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (aka OMSI) among them. And be sure to check out some of the lovely greenery that fringes downtown, from Washington Park and Forest Park in the West Hills to tree-shaded Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the banks of the Willamette River. As you plan your visit, remember that the truly outstanding attractions in Portland are its many distinctive neighborhoods—and the indie-spirited businesses that prosper in them.

Food tourism thrives in many of these districts, which include downtown’s Pearl District and West End, and a slew of neighborhoods and commercial strips on the East Side. Spend a little time in any of these pockets, and you’ll discover critically acclaimed coffee roasters, microbreweries, urban wineries, craft distilleries, food carts, live-music halls, and both low-frills and highly ambitious restaurants. These neighborhoods, some of which retain a fiercely countercultural mindset and others that—to the disdain of purists—reflect a more gentrified and upscale tenor, also contain quite a few boutiques and shops specializing in crafts, housewares, artwork, books, fashion, and other—often handmade—lifestyle-themed goods.

Those who most appreciate Portland arrive here with a voracious appetite for new experiences, not just for innovative food and drink but also for both urban and rural adventures. The comparatively reasonable prices you’ll find in bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels (except during the increasingly pricey summer high season) are an added bonus. The inviting pedestrian- and bike-friendly cityscape and easy proximity to nature are Portland’s capstones. You could probably see the city’s must-see attractions in a day or two, but many visitors to this leafy metropolis bisected by the beautiful Willamette River—its 10 distinctive bridges themselves a popular draw—simply venture from one eclectic neighborhood to the next, constantly discovering delicious and delightful new diversions.

Recommended Fodor’s Video

Sort by: 65 Recommendations {{numTotalPoiResults}} {{ (numTotalPoiResults===1)?'Recommendation':'Recommendations' }} 0 Recommendations
CLEAR ALL Area Search CLEAR ALL
Loading...
Loading...
  • 1. Central Eastside

    Southeast | Neighborhood/Street

    This expansive 681-acre tract of mostly industrial and commercial buildings was largely ignored by all but local workers until shops, galleries...Read More

  • 2. Clear Creek Distillery

    Nob Hill | Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    A pioneer in what has become an internationally acclaimed local distillery scene, this producer of high-quality spirits is tucked down a quiet...Read More

  • 3. Division Street

    Southeast | Neighborhood/Street

    Back in the early 1970s, Division Street (or "Southeast Division," as many locals call it) was earmarked for condemnation as part of a proposed...Read More

  • 4. ENSO Winery

    Southeast | Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Based in a large garagelike space in Southeast Portland's trendy Buckman neighborhood, ENSO is the creation of young and talented winemaker...Read More

  • 5. Forest Park

    Nob Hill | Park (National/State/Provincial)

    One of the nation's largest urban wildernesses (5,157 acres), this city-owned, car-free park has more than 50 species of birds and mammals and...Read More

  • Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park

    6. Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park

    Downtown | Park/Playground

    Named for a former governor revered for his statewide land-use planning initiatives, this park stretches north along the Willamette River for...Read More

    Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park
  • 7. Hawthorne District

    Southeast | Neighborhood/Street

    Stretching from the foot of Mt. Tabor to S.E. 12th Avenue (where you'll find a stellar food-cart pod), with some blocks far livelier than others...Read More

  • 8. House Spirits Distillery

    Southeast | Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    One of the stalwarts of Distillery Row—a group of eight craft spirits producers mostly clustered together in the Central Eastside—this highly...Read More

  • 9. International Rose Test Garden

    West Hills | Garden/Arboretum

    This glorious park within Washington Park comprises three terraced gardens, set on 4½ acres, where more than 10,000 bushes and some 550 varieties...Read More

    View Tours and Activities
  • 10. Japanese Garden

    West Hills | Garden/Arboretum

    One of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside Japan, this serene landscape unfolds over 12½ acres of Washington Park, just a short stroll...Read More

  • 11. Lan Su Chinese Garden

    Old Town | Garden/Arboretum

    In a twist on the Joni Mitchell song, the city of Portland and private donors took down a parking lot and unpaved paradise when they created...Read More

    View Tours and Activities
  • 12. Mt. Tabor Park

    Southeast | Park (National/State/Provincial)

    A playground on top of a volcano cinder cone? Yup, that's here. The cinders, or glassy rock fragments, unearthed in the park's construction...Read More

  • 13. North Mississippi Avenue

    North | Neighborhood/Street

    One of North Portland's strips of indie retailers, the liveliest section of North Mississippi Avenue stretches for several blocks and includes...Read More

  • 14. Northeast Alberta Street

    Northeast | Neighborhood/Street

    Few of Portland's several hipster-favored East Side neighborhoods have developed as quickly and as interestingly as N.E. Alberta Street, aka...Read More

  • 15. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

    Southeast | Museum/Gallery

    Hundreds of engaging exhibits draw families to this outstanding interactive science museum, which also has an Omnimax theater and the Northwest...Read More

    View Tours and Activities
  • 16. Pine Street Market

    Old Town | Market/Bazaar

    In a city where restaurants rank among the top sightseeing attractions, the 2016 opening of this bustling food hall in a handsome late-Victorian...Read More

  • 17. Portland Art Museum

    Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    The treasures at the Pacific Northwest's oldest arts facility span 35 centuries of Asian, European, and American art—it's an impressive collection...Read More

  • Portland Farmers' Market

    18. Portland Farmers' Market

    Downtown | Market/Bazaar

    On Saturday year-round, local farmers, bakers, chefs, and entertainers converge at the South Park Blocks near the PSU campus for Oregon's largest...Read More

    Portland Farmers' Market
  • 19. Portland Saturday Market

    Old Town | Market/Bazaar

    On weekends from March to Christmas Eve, the west side of the Burnside Bridge and the Skidmore Fountain area hosts North America's largest ongoing...Read More

  • 20. SE Wine Collective

    Southeast | Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Set along Division Street's white-hot restaurant row, this growing collective houses 11 small wineries and has quickly become the city's leading...Read More

No sights Results

Please try a broader search, or expore these popular suggestions:

There are no results for {{ strDestName }} Sights in the searched map area with the above filters. Please try a different area on the map, or broaden your search with these popular suggestions:

Around the Web