Portland, OR Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- Always be prepared Portland is known for chilly weather. Don't get caught off-guard by the occasional wintery day in July: Pack some heavier layers.
- Be cautious This is a relatively safe city, but that doesn't mean you should let your guard down. Be careful walking through unfamiliar areas after dark.
- Note the extra 12.5 percent This is a great place for shopping due to the lack of sales tax. However, there is a 12.5 percent tax on hotel rooms and rental cars.
Portland has lived in the shadow of Seattle long enough: This cool city -- home to trendy cafés, delicious dining spots and plenty of adventure -- has stepped into the tourism limelight. The "City of Roses" in northwest Oregon is slowly emerging as an urbanite's dream, replete with bike-friendly roads, renowned local cuisine and markets, accessible natural wonders and a thriving arts and music scene. Its streets are some of the most pedestrian-friendly in the country, and it has some of the best local breweries in the world.
Portland's not a city of thrills; you won't see towering architecture or world-famous historic landmarks. That doesn't mean there aren't ways to get your adrenalin pumping -- there's plenty of access to hiking trails and watersports, not to mention volcanic mountains -- but the best-loved attractions are low-key and intangible: a sip of locally roasted coffee, a late afternoon chatting at a microbrewery, a stroll through open art galleries on the first Thursday evening of the month. Hip, alternative and unrelentingly progressive, Portland is one of the most flourishing cities on the West Coast.
How To Save Money in Portland, OR
- Only rent a car if necessary Parking at most downtown hotels can cost anywhere from $15 to $30 a night. If you want to get out of town, consider renting a car specifically for a daytrip.
- Head east While the commute is a little longer, there are plenty of more affordable lodging options on the east side of the Willamette.
- Go sightseeing Many of Portland's top attractions -- especially the parks and gardens -- do not charge an entrance fee. So grab your camera and go!
Portland, OR Culture & Customs
Portland is known as one of the more artistic, alternative and intellectual cities in the United States with a vibrant arts and music scene and a renowned craft brew culture that rivals those in Europe. As such, the city attracts young, progressive residents looking for a laid-back, artistic lifestyle in the Pacific Northwest. But even for less experimental or alternative travelers, Portland's unique culture remains very welcoming. You can experience its down-to-earth style at the monthly First Thursday Art Walks, or by attending a symphony, concert or rock show at one of the city's many performing arts venues.
Portlanders are also very environmentally conscious, so be sure to recycle and don't litter. Portland citizens also love the outdoors, rain or shine, so be sure to bring a rain jacket and some hiking boots to enjoy all the City of Roses has to offer.
Portland, OR Dining
You won't have trouble understanding what "local cuisine" means. All of the city's best restaurants take advantage of Portland-area produce and seafood. For simple great coffee, tea and sandwiches, try the J Café downtown, a low-key café that specializes in breakfast and lunch dishes. For great bar food, try North Portland's Leisure Public House, a comfortable, hip watering hole with fantastic local eats and great patio space for the warm weather.