How to be a Portland Native

Portland. Also known as Stumptown, The City of Roses, Bridgetown, Portlandia, and Float Tank City. If you want people to think you’re from around here, just pepper these into as many of your sentences as you can.

Really though, the first step to fooling people into thinking you’re a Portland local is to understand how the city is structured. Portland is broken up into 5 main quadrants. The East and the West are separated by the Willamette River, and the North and South are divided by a big street called Burnside. If you’re asking where something is in town, you’ll most likely get an answer that references one of these quadrants.

For example, if you asked someone where our shop is, they’ll say something along the lines of, “Ah yeah, that float tank place? They’re over in the Southeast. Just take the Hawthorne Bridge over, or you could probably take the Ross Island from here if you’re in a hurry. You got a car? No? Well then take the 14 and get off in front of the Freddy’s. But don’t go too far, because you’ll end up going down Foster and things get a lot less pretty once you hit 82nd.”

You’ll most likely be very confused by everything he just said, but you’ll nod politely anyway. Most importantly, you’ll have heard him say “the Southeast,” and you’ll immediately have a reference point for where in town you are trying to head.

The Westside near the river is where downtown Portland is. Here you’re going to find all the big buildings, Art Museums, and fancy shopping that is typical of a big city, but all with a nice Portland flair of course. The Eastside has more of a laid back neighborhood feel, but is home to some of Portland’s best restaurants, fun places like the Science Museum, and some of Portland’s zanier establishments, like beer theaters (Just what you think they are, movie theaters that let you drink beer. Why would you ever go back to a regular movie theater?).

BeerSpeaking of beer, another thing you want to know about Portland is that it is basically the beer capital of the United States. One phrase you’ll want to pick up before coming over is “microbrewery,” which is basically a mini-brewery. Portland is famous for them, and you’ll find that many restaurants and bars in Portland have their own microbreweries, meaning that they are actually brewing their own custom beer in house. In fact, Portland has more microbreweries than any city in the world! So if you want to seem like a native Portlander, it’s a good idea to always have a beer in your hand.

Just make sure you dispose of that beer bottle in the appropriate receptacle, because Portland is also known as one of the most environmentally friendly cities in the United States. You’ll notice this in more than just the recycling, but from the hundreds of people biking all over the city. Biking is a great way to get to see the city, and will make it seem so much like you live here that people will start asking you for directions. Just go ahead and repeat what that one guy told you, and hopefully they’ll just politely nod their head and walk away.

A Guide to Portland’s Public Transit


Portland is well known for its public transportation, known here as TriMet. A combination of buses, the light rail (known as the MAX), and streetcars will get you pretty much anywhere you want to go. They make everything pretty simple, and the bus drivers are generally nice and willing to help you get where you’re going.

If you’re trying to use the public transportation here, a good place to start is on TriMet’s home page, where they have a handy trip planner that will help you figure out what you need to do.

The fares are simple. $2.50 will get you a 2-hour pass that you can use on any form of public transportation, as many times as you want, to go anywhere in the city. Day and week passes are also available.

Trimet also has a well made app available on Android and iOS where you can buy digital tickets that can be used on any of the transit.

And that’s pretty much all there is to it. It’s as simple as that.

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!

Portland’s Float Centers

Float OnFloat tanks have been in Portland for several decades in the form of two Samadhi tanks at a spa called the Everett House. We (Float On) opened our doors in 2010 on a quirky street in the Southeast of Portland called Hawthorne. We started right up with four float tanks and then went on to add two more tanks in 2012 (we currently have two Ocean Float Rooms, two custom built float tanks, a Superior tank and a Zero Gravity Room). We run our six tanks 24 hours a day.

Float ShoppeAt the end of 2011, The Float Shoppe opened their doors with three tanks, and later expanded to four (a Tranquility pod, a Floatarium, an i-sopod, and a custom built open float room). The Float Shoppe started offering additional services such as massage and acupuncture, and then expanded into a community center to start offering yoga and other classes.


In 2016, right across the border in Vancouver, Washington, Urban Float, opened their first official franchise location bringing six i-sopod tanks to the area. Enso Float In February of 2017 we were joined by Enso Float. Enso Float has five Floataway tanks in the Pearl District of Portland, and is one of the closest float centers to where the conference is taking place.


Aqua Float LogoFloat NorthWe’re now happy to welcome two new members to the gang: Aqua Float Spa opened in January of 2018 in Happy Valley (just Southeast of Portland), and they have four of the latest Dreampods. Float North is opening just weeks before the Float Conference, and is located in the inner NE of Portland. They’re launching with two Ocean Float Rooms, a Mandala open float pool, as well as several massage rooms and a space for movement classes.


As you can see, Portland has a great variety of centers and float tanks for you to visit while you’re here. They’ll all be open during the Conference, and will all be offering a good discount on floats for Conference attendees. Get info on booking discounted floats here.


You can visit Float On, The Float Shoppe, Enso, and Float North by signing up for this year’s Bus Tour!