Portland -

Get Around


"We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven's sake, don't move here to live. Or if you do have to move in to live, don't tell any of your neighbors where you are going." -Former Governor Tom McCall, 1971 interview


Portland is home to one of the largest community wireless networks based on the works of The Personal Telco Project . Check to find one of nearly 100 spots you can log onto the Internet free of any charge. Many major attractions such as Pioneer Square, PGE Park and many local parks are covered.

Stay safe

While not overly dangerous, you should still be cautious and keep your street smarts with you, especially if you're a young woman out at night. Old Town-Chinatown, North Portland and outer Southeast Portland can be bit sketchy. In general, though, coming from most other big American cities, Portland will feel about as dangerous as Mayberry.

Get out

Located just 50 miles from the Cascade Range and 90 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Portland is the perfect home base for day trips to Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, the northern part of the Oregon Coast, or the wineries in the Willamette Valley.

Portland, "The City of Roses", is the largest city in Oregon and one of the major cities in the Pacific Northwest. Had a coin flip gone the other way, the largest city in Oregon would be called Boston, Oregon. From that fateful coin flip on, the city of Portland has, for the most part, been the recipient of great fortune. Portland lies about 70 miles from the Pacific Coast on the northern border of the state of Oregon, straddling the Willamette River just south of its confluence with the Columbia River at Vancouver, Washington. About 50 miles to the east lies majestic Mount Hood, which forms the perfect backdrop for Portland's skyline. As the largest city between San Francisco and Seattle, Portland vies with those cities as the spiritual capital of the laid-back northern Pacific coast. However, it does so in a way that mixes big-city dynamics with small-town friendliness. In contrast to rapid-growing Seattle, until recently Portland avoided the problems that come with fast growth. Although now Portland is experiencing the same rapid growth, it has been able to keep its unique character. Progressive city planning practices such as an urban growth boundary have made Portland a very compact and user-friendly city. Unlike other metropolitan areas, you can drive 20 miles from downtown Portland and be out in the country. Environmentally friendly practices such as recycling are part of the culture here. It is also known for taking creative and unconventional ideas to solve its problems. For instance, it tore up a downtown freeway and transformed it into Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Its light rail system, originally built in the late 1980s and subsequently expanded, has won nationwide acclaim. In recent years, the city has become known as much for its microbreweries as Seattle is for its coffee houses. There are many microbreweries around Portland, many of which have won nationwide and international acclaim. Portland is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with an exciting blend of historic and ultra-modern architecture. The scenery can't be beat with views of Mt. Hood and the Willamette River, stately pine trees, roses everywhere and stunning seasonal color. Combine this with great art, waterfront festivals, a diverse population and you have one very exciting city.


  Powell's City of Books, 1005 West Burnside, 503-228-4651. 9AM-11PM every day. Powell's is a landmark in Portland, and most residents are proud to let you know that this is the biggest independent bookstore in the entire world. Covering an entire city block, the store stocks over a million books in 3500 sections. And that's not counting the 5 other branches in Portland (travel bookstore at Pioneer Square, technical bookstore in the north Park Blocks, the airport bookstore, and...)! The store can be imposing (get a map from the front desk), but it's a don't-miss for anyone who loves to read.
  Sellwood One word, Antique, if you love old vintage furnishings than you need to head towards Sellwood. Plus there are some great new restaurants that serve fancy Thai or Indian food without breaking the bank.
  NW 23rd, north of Burnside. Mostly (not completely) yuppie junk, but one of the most densely populated shopping/eating districts in Portland.
  Columbia Sportswear Company, 911 SW Broadway or 1323 SE Tacoma Street (outlet store, much cheaper prices). Columbia produces outdoor sports wear with an emphasis on cold and rainy weather clothing. You may need some sort of rain protection if visiting during the fall, winter or spring. Portlanders look upon umbrellas with mild disdain.
  Hawthorne District, east side of the Willamette. Head shops, microbreweries, and craft stores.


  Portland has two hostels. Hostelling International-Portland, Hawthorne District is located at 3031 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 503-236-3380 Hostelling International-Portland, Northwest Neighborhood is located at 1818 NW Glisan St. 503-241-2783  

  The Kennedy School is a decommissioned elementary school converted into a hotel. On site are a restaurant, a number of bars, a movie theater, and a soaking pool. 5736 NE 33rd  

  Embassy Suites Portland Downtown is in the renovated Multnomah Hotel and boasts good location and nice decor for the money. 319 SW Pine St., 503-279-9000, www.embassysuites.com .
  Riverplace 1510 S.W. Harbor Way. Four star hotel overlooking the river. Rooms start at $150.
  The Governor Hotel [www.govhotel.com/] 614 SW 11th Avenue, 224 3400. Historic Four star hotel.


As in other places in the Pacific Northwest, there is abundant rainfall in the autumn, winter, and spring. However, the rain is usually a fine mist or fog; total precipitation in Seattle and Portland can be less than other cities on the East Coast. Nonetheless, a sunny day in the rainy season can seem to be very rare. Bring or buy an umbrella if you're in Portland between September 25th and June 25th. Wear a rain jacket if you don't want to stand out so much as a tourist.


Gay & Lesbian
Portland has a pretty vibrant lesbian and gay community. Most of the gay bars are found either in Oldtown/Chinatown or along Stark Street between SW 12th and 10th, but Portland gays and lesbians aren't really cooped up in a ghetto like in most other cities. Try counting the number of rainbow flags or HRC stickers you see while you're in Portland.

Adapted from WikiTravel under the Wiki License

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