Things to do in Portland

Portland is a wonderful city, and if you have any free time at all, you should definitely do some exploring. Here are some suggestions for great things to see and do in Portland.

Before delving into this list, familiarize yourself with the city a bit by reading this post. Also, here’s a helpful description of Portland’s public transit.

1. Go to Powell’s

Powell’s is a GIGANTIC bookstore in downtown Portland. It is Portland’s most well known attraction, and for good reason. It takes up an entire city block, and is multiple stories. There are miles and miles of books, as well as a small art gallery, authors giving public readings and presentations, and even a rare books room. If there is one thing to see in Portland, this is it.

2. Walk Along the Waterfront

Portland has a beautiful walkway along the Willamette River (the big river that runs through the center of Portland). Walking along the waterfront will give you a beautiful look at the city, and Portland’s wonderful bridges.

3. Visit the Chinese and Japanese Gardens

The Lan Su Chinese Gardens are in downtown Portland, and are beautiful to behold. They were planned and built in collaboration with Portland’s sister city in China, Suzhou.

The Japanese Gardens are a bit further away, but are definitely worth a visit. As a bonus, they are right near the rose gardens and the zoo!

4. Walk along Hawthorne

Hawthorne Boulevard is a beautiful street in the Southeast of Portland that is filled with fun shops and restaurants. It’s a great way to get a feel for the less downtowny part of Portland, and a good chance to see some of Portland’s character. It has the highest concentration of independently owned business of anywhere in the country, and it just so happens to be where our shop is.

5. Eat at Food Carts

Food carts are a Portland sensation that has taken off throughout the entire city. You’ll see tiny little food stands all around the city as you walk around, and they are all delicious. They are pretty much all locally run, independently owned, tiny restaurants that focus on a very specific cuisine, and sometimes even a very specific meal (there are mac and cheese carts, and even a cart that does nothing but creme brûlée).

The best way to eat at these is to find a pod of carts, generally a parking lot that 10-15 food carts have gathered in to make a little utopia of scrumptiousness.

The learn more about the carts, and for the best info on where they all are, check out this site.

But don’t worry, if you miss your chance, our Sunday lunch will be catered by some of Portland’s most famous carts!

6. Drink Beer

This I can’t emphasize enough. Portland is basically the beer capital of the United States right now. Amazing, small batch, locally brewed beer is basically flowing from the water fountains in the city. Just go around and drink as much beer as possible. Almost anywhere you go will have a great selection of Portland beers, even the grocery stores! Of particular interest is a store called the Belmont Station, which simply has an incredible selection of beers you didn’t even know existed.

Well, there you have it. Now go explore!