What is the best way to see Portland in one day?

Maureen Healy

The absolute best way to see Portland in one day should begin with purchasing an all-day Max pass — it’s a bargain at just $5. Max is Portland’s light rail system, and it has an extensive network of stops in all corners of the city and beyond into the suburbs. The pass also gives you access to the Portland Streetcar (connecting NW Portland to downtown and the waterfront) and buses, so there’s no limit to the places you can go. At www.trimet.org, you can plan your trip using exact addresses, intersections, landmarks or stop ID numbers. Download Trimet’s Transit Tracker App to find out next arrivals in real time. Max also goes straight to and from the airport, so you can rely on mass transit your entire trip if you prefer.
 
Start your morning off in Old Town at VooDoo Doughnut for a sweet morning treat. The line is worth the wait for amazing doughnuts topped with anything from bacon to Fruit Loops to Tang. Then head to Waterfront Park (at the Skidmore Fountain MAX station) and stroll around the Portland Saturday Market, the nation's largest weekly outdoor craft market. After the market, take a jaunt to Powell’s City of Books, a Portland landmark that covers an entire city block with more than 1.5 million books. Then stop for lunch at Dick’s Kitchen in Southeast Belmont or on Northwest 21st (Nob Hill neighborhood) for quality grass-fed beef burger and a chocolate or vanilla Coconut Bliss vegan milkshake. After the high caloric intake, you’ll probably be in the mood for a hike, and you’re in the right city. Portland is one of America's best walking cities, with dozens of hiking trails varying in difficulty. We recommend Forest Park, the Wildwood Trail and Mount Hood.

  • On January 20
    Caroline Patek answered the question: Caroline Patek

    What are the best hotels for wine tasting near Portland, Oregon?

    Situated in Oregon’s wine country, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Allison Inn & Spa is a charming respite in Willamette Valley. You can spot rows of pinot noir vines that dot the hillside from your guest room, and the luxury hotel’s location provides easy access to the area’s slew of wineries (more than 200 are within a 20-minute drive from the inn), too. Visit the iconic Adelsheim Vineyard or Cameron Winery, and then retreat back to The Allison Inn & Spa for a delightful meal served at the onsite Four-Star JORY at The Allison Inn. The 100-seat restaurant serves farm-to-table cuisine and boasts a massive 800-label wine list that’s sure to impress the most seasoned oenophile. Don’t forget to book a spa treatment, either, where the vino trend continues with options such as a wine facial, grape seed scrub or pinot pedicure.
  • On July 28
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What is Portland’s dining scene like?

    In a word, Portland's dining scene is eclectic. There's a little something for everyone. From the fine dining experience offered at Portland's amazing steak restaurant El Gaucho, to the food cart pods throughout the city, diners have many choices. Two of the hottest food neighborhoods right now are in North Portland and in downtown's West End.

    N. Williams Avenue boasts hot dining spots such as Kenny & Zuke's Deli Bar, Tasty n Sons, Las Primas Peruvian Kitchen and Lincoln. Many of these restaurants offer outdoor dining, so pick a nice summer day to sit outside and people watch while you sip and dine. With menu items ranging from the delightful empanada platter at Las Primas to the ruby trout with minutina, porcini mushrooms and lemon vinegar at Lincoln, you won't be disappointed. Also, you can currently catch Lincoln's chef and co-owner, Jenn Louis, on Bravo TV's Top Chef Masters. That's reason enough to taste what she's cooking!

    Downtown's West End district is home to many of the city's newest restaurants. Within walking distance of downtown hotels, this area is a wonderful dining spot for visitors. As in other areas of the city, you'll find Portlanders out soaking up the dining experiences for themselves at places such as Grüner, Clyde Common, Grassa and Lardo. And, for a not so "brick-and-mortar" experience, check out the fantastic food cart pod on SW 10th and Alder Streets.

    Bottom line: eating is a passion for those living in this great city, and it's clear why. With such an array of dining options, it's no wonder that diners looking for suit-and-tie romantic candlelight dinners or a casual bite to eat while strolling around the city will have no trouble finding something to delight their taste buds.
  • On July 27
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What should I pack for a trip to Portland?

    Your carry-on and checked baggage could have wildly different contents depending on the time of year you visit Portland, so we have highlighted some of the top "musts" for each season:

    Spring: Bring an umbrella, light sweaters, and closed toe shoes. March, April and May showers bring summer flowers, so be prepared for light drizzles off-and-on your trip. Since the temps are warming up, you likely won't need a pea coat, but a light trench coat will do the trick!

    Summer: Strappy sandals, comfy boat shoes, and wedges are the perfect choice for your feet. Bring lots of sunscreen and your shades because summer temps get up to the 90s and the sun is out (shhh... don't let the secret out!). If you're a golfer, pack your clubs... the Portland area has some fabulous courses. Sundresses, t-shirts and shorts are also a must. Bring along a couple nicer outfits for dinners at the best restaurants in town. Although locals have been known to wear jeans to just about every restaurant in the city, it's fun to dress up for a summer evening on the town.

    Fall: The sun's still out, but the air has that beautiful crispness to it. Now's the time to pack your chunky sweaters, leggings, even your boots. Don't forget your shades, you'll need them! Bring along some comfy hiking shoes and outdoor clothes because this is one of our favorite times of the year to get outside and hike the wonderful trails in and around the city.

    Winter: Planning to hit the slopes? Bring along your snowboard and skis, or plan to rent some up at Mt. Hood, only an hour outside the city. Prefer to do some snowshoe explorations? You can rent those, too! Pack your snow bunny outfits, of course, and bring along a warm coat, sweaters, jeans and some stylish scarves.

    With these tips, you can't go wrong. Now all you have to do is enjoy your time in the City of Roses!
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  • On July 24
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What is the best time to visit Portland?

    Autumn in Portland is pretty hard to beat. Fall foliage colors range from bright pinks to deep goldens; it typically has not started raining; and there’s the perfect fall crispness in the air. Because it’s not quite umbrella or rain jacket weather yet, people are very much outdoors as much as possible. Dining al fresco is still an option, long walks on shaded trails are a must, and of course strolling along NW 23rd or SE Hawthorne is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

    For foodies, Portland in the fall means new menus packed with fresh, local ingredients and perfect autumn themed dining options. Be sure to check out Lincoln Restaurant, Le Pigeon and Aviary (just to name a few) - all known for their creative, fresh and timely menus.

    Autumn is also a great time to visit wine country, just a 30 minute drive outside Portland. From fancy tasting rooms and unmatched views of colorful hills, to some of the best wine in the world, you won’t want to leave. And, that’s alright. Stay the night at the luxurious The Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg and pamper yourself at the spa voted one of the best in the nation. You’ll be disappointed when all the leaves fall and the temperatures begin to drop, but there’s always next year!
  • On July 23
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best clothing boutiques in Portland?

    The Portland, Oregon metropolitan area boasts several past winners of Project Runway, proving that we're a fashionable bunch! And we're lucky to have some of the best clothing boutiques around to indulge our tastes. The following are just a handful of the many apparel boutiques Portland has to offer, but you can't start shopping in better places than these...

    Mercantile Portland is one of Portland's premier women's designer apparel retailers offering young American and European designer collections along with great handbags and accessories. The service is unparalleled and with such a great selection of clothes, you won't leave without purchasing something.

    Anne Bocci Boutique & Gallery is nestled in the cute Southwest Portland neighborhood of Multnomah Village. It may be a small space, but Anne Bocci carries some of the best clothes in Portland, including designs from Seth Aaron Henderson and Michelle Lesniak Franklin, two former Project Runway winners.

    Frances May features the best of the best from innovative independent designers. With a great mix of trendy and timeless clothing, the grandmother/granddaughter owner combo successfully curates an incredible collection of men's and women's apparel.

    With locations on both NW 23rd and SE Hawthorne, Sloan Boutique is a locally owned boutique carrying a wide selection of women's apparel, shoes and accessories. In addition to nationally recognized brands, Sloan Boutique also carries several smaller, but equally fashionable lines.

    Mink is another charming boutique found on SE Hawthorne. Make sure owner and veteran buyer and retail manager, Carla Mink, is there when you plan to shop. Her advice and insight is invaluable. A great selection of tops, dresses, jewelry and accessories from designers like Nic + Zoe, Akiko, Splendid and Yumi will ensure that your shopping trip is a success!
  • On July 18
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best activities in Portland?

    Forest Park Conservancy Portland is a phenomenal place to explore… rain or shine! Here are just a few activities you should make sure to check out:

    BrewCycle: Grab some friends and be prepared to experience Portland’s best breweries in a whole new way. Combining Portland’s love of handcrafted beer and biking, the BrewCycle will take you, as fast as you can pedal, to your next pint.

    The Portland Timbers are the hometown MLS team with one of the best fan bases in America. With a season that runs into October, you'll have ample opportunity to watch some spectacular soccer, try Timbers signature concession items, and witness the palpable excitement of the crowd.

    Shopping: No sales tax in Portland. Need we say more? Oh yes, also really good to mention the plethora of fantastic designers featured at fashion retailers like Frances May, Mercantile and of course our Northwest favorite, Nordstrom. If it’s art you’re in the mood for, prominent galleries like the Elizabeth Leach Gallery feature talented and established artists, including some of the Northwest’s best.

    Running, Walking or Hiking Trails: You’ll find a trail perfect for whatever you have in mind, all within Portland city limits. You can’t beat a leisurely stroll to the top of Mt. Tabor to enjoy beautiful vistas of the city, or running the shady trails of Forest Park.

    Upscale Bowling: Now, don’t laugh, it’s true, Grand Central Bowling could possibly be considered “luxurious.” The lounge features sleek couches overlooking modern lanes with all the latest technology. Want even more? Try the VIP bowling experience to enjoy private luxury seating and two exclusive bowling lanes. And we haven’t even mentioned the food and drink options. Let’s just say sushi is on the menu — and it’s really good!

    Sign up for a Portland Walking Tour and you can't go wrong. Select the "Chocolate Decadence" tour and you'll be in chocolate heaven! Walkers will visit several chocolatiers and savor more than 15 tastings to really gain an appreciation of all things chocolate. This is perhaps one of the best ways to see and experience the city!
  • On July 16
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in Portland?

    A visit to Portland wouldn't be complete without some mementos to remind you of the fantastic trip. Here are a few of our favorite souvenirs from the City of Roses…

    Portland's been dubbed "Soccer City USA," so make sure to catch a Timbers game while you're in town. This MLS team has one of the best followings in the country and games are always an experience. While you're there, pick up a green, white and yellow Timbers scarf (or several) to show you're a fan.

    Oregon's famed Willamette Valley wine country is less than an hour away from Portland, so drive down to do some tastings, soak in the beautiful scenery and stock up on your favorite wines. Whether it's Pinot Noirs or Rieslings, you'll find something perfect to accompany a special meal once you're back home.

    Portland's Saturday Market is actually open Saturdays and Sundays from March to December is downtown's Old Town neighborhood. A terrific mix of food and art vendors fill up Ankeny Plaza right next to the Willamette River and provide lots of opportunities to shop for souvenirs of your trip to Portland. From jewelry to clothing to blown glass art, there's a little something for everyone.

    Since you'll surely be stopping in at Portland's renowned Powell's Bookstore, pick up a copy of "Above Portland," a picturesque aerial photographic compilation of Portland. It has shots of some of the most memorable spots around the city and would certainly be a great addition to your coffee table at home to serve as a visual reminder of the fun you had in Portland.
  • On July 13
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best restaurants in Portland?

    Portland absolutely has something for everyone. A divine, scrumptious dining experience can be had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert and the summary below simply scratches the surface. But, if you must start somewhere, this is the place!

    Ox: What do you get when you add the wood-fired grilling tradition of Argentina, the culinary heritage of Spain, France and Italy, and a nod toward the palate of the Pacific Northwest? One of Portland’s hottest restaurants. Ox is known for its prime local meats and fish as well as seasonal produce, all prepared in a thoughtful manner. The wait for a table is worth it, and once in, make sure to sample the bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, radish, cucumber and shiso, the maple-glazed heirloom carrots, briar rose chèvre, tarragon and truffle-salted pistachios, and the grass-fed Uruguayan beef ribeye.

    Lincoln: Opened five years ago on Portland's hip North Williams Avenue, this restaurant has proven its staying power by constantly offering mouth-watering happy hour, dinner and dessert menus. The food is exquisite and the charm of the wood ceilinged restaurant just adds to the experience. If you're not already convinced, note that co-owner/chef Jenn Louis was named a Food & Wine "Best New Chef" for 2012 and will be on the upcoming season of "Top Chef Masters" on Bravo.

    Las Primas: True confession: I lived in Lima, Peru for 2 years. What that means is that I know great Peruvian cuisine, and this is it. The signature sandwich, the butifarra, will make your taste buds thank you forever. Pair it with the yuquitas, yucca dough fritters topped with a creamy pepper sauce, and make sure to order the super-flavorful empanadas. Peruvian dining isn’t complete without an accompanying pisco sour drink and Las Primas goes one step further in their creative and unique pisco cocktails – you’ll need multiple visits to try them all.

    The Painted Lady: Looking to explore some of the fine dining a mere 40 minutes outside of Portland in the heart of the Willamette Valley? Look no further than The Painted Lady restaurant. The best of seasonal and local ingredients are showcased in the delectable five course tasting menu featuring options like potato gnocchi and wild mushroom ragout, pistachio crusted filet mignon with potato puree and spring vegetables, and orange scented souffle with Grand Marnier creme anglaise. Since you're in Oregon's famed wine country, make sure to sip on some of the many local wines The Painted Lady offers to complement your meal.

    Le Pigeon: This is a must for Portland dining. The elbow-to-elbow experience is part of the charm, but the tasting menus are what set this restaurant apart and allow diners to “have it all.” The yogurt-grilled prawns, goat cheese gnocchi and crusted pork cutlet are some favorites, but don’t limit yourself. Top off the experience with the espresso pot de crème, and you’ll already be dreaming about your return.

    Grüner: Located in Portland’s hot and burgeoning West End, the Alpine-European cuisine at Grüner isn’t what you would expect. No heavy, greasy food here. Instead, you’ll find an amazing attention to detail with flavor combinations you haven’t sampled before. Start with the tarte flambée, an Alsatian “pizza” topped with sweet onions, smoky bacon, fromage blanc and chives. Follow that with the choucroute garnie entrée. Bratwurst, saucisson, cider-braised pork belly, cured pork tenderloin, sauerkraut and yukon gold potatoes are taken to the next level with sweet (and spicy in the right way) mustard. Pair your meal with one or two recommended German beers from the extensive drink menu.
  • On July 13
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best restaurants in Portland?

    Portland absolutely has something for everyone. A divine, scrumptious dining experience can be had for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert and the summary below simply scratches the surface. But, if you must start somewhere, this is the place!

    Ox: What do you get when you add the wood-fired grilling tradition of Argentina, the culinary heritage of Spain, France and Italy, and a nod toward the palate of the Pacific Northwest? One of Portland’s hottest restaurants. Ox is known for its prime local meats and fish as well as seasonal produce, all prepared in a thoughtful manner. The wait for a table is worth it, and once in, make sure to sample the bruschetta of Dungeness crab, avocado, radish, cucumber and shiso, the maple-glazed heirloom carrots, briar rose chèvre, tarragon and truffle-salted pistachios, and the grass-fed Uruguayan beef ribeye.

    Lincoln: Opened five years ago on Portland's hip North Williams Avenue, this restaurant has proven its staying power by constantly offering mouth-watering happy hour, dinner and dessert menus. The food is exquisite and the charm of the wood ceilinged restaurant just adds to the experience. If you're not already convinced, note that co-owner/chef Jenn Louis was named a Food & Wine "Best New Chef" for 2012 and will be on the upcoming season of "Top Chef Masters" on Bravo.

    Las Primas: True confession: I lived in Lima, Peru for 2 years. What that means is that I know great Peruvian cuisine, and this is it. The signature sandwich, the butifarra, will make your taste buds thank you forever. Pair it with the yuquitas, yucca dough fritters topped with a creamy pepper sauce, and make sure to order the super-flavorful empanadas. Peruvian dining isn’t complete without an accompanying pisco sour drink and Las Primas goes one step further in their creative and unique pisco cocktails – you’ll need multiple visits to try them all.

    The Painted Lady: Looking to explore some of the fine dining a mere 40 minutes outside of Portland in the heart of the Willamette Valley? Look no further than The Painted Lady restaurant. The best of seasonal and local ingredients are showcased in the delectable five course tasting menu featuring options like potato gnocchi and wild mushroom ragout, pistachio crusted filet mignon with potato puree and spring vegetables, and orange scented souffle with Grand Marnier creme anglaise. Since you're in Oregon's famed wine country, make sure to sip on some of the many local wines The Painted Lady offers to complement your meal.

    Le Pigeon: This is a must for Portland dining. The elbow-to-elbow experience is part of the charm, but the tasting menus are what set this restaurant apart and allow diners to “have it all.” The yogurt-grilled prawns, goat cheese gnocchi and crusted pork cutlet are some favorites, but don’t limit yourself. Top off the experience with the espresso pot de crème, and you’ll already be dreaming about your return.

    Grüner: Located in Portland’s hot and burgeoning West End, the Alpine-European cuisine at Grüner isn’t what you would expect. No heavy, greasy food here. Instead, you’ll find an amazing attention to detail with flavor combinations you haven’t sampled before. Start with the tarte flambée, an Alsatian “pizza” topped with sweet onions, smoky bacon, fromage blanc and chives. Follow that with the choucroute garnie entrée. Bratwurst, saucisson, cider-braised pork belly, cured pork tenderloin, sauerkraut and yukon gold potatoes are taken to the next level with sweet (and spicy in the right way) mustard. Pair your meal with one or two recommended German beers from the extensive drink menu.
  • On July 12
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best bars in Portland?

    Departure Without even diving into all the fantastic breweries and distilleries that Portland has to offer, we could spend quite some time on our favorite bars. Whether we’re ordering off the happy hour menu, tasting a wine from our own Willamette Valley, or listening to great live music, these are some of our favorites.

    Established in 1879, Hubers is Portland’s oldest restaurant. In addition to this claim to fame, this downtown restaurant and bar is known for their signature drink — the spanish coffee, prepared tableside with great flair.

    Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub is home of the largest St. Patrick’s Festival in the Northwest. On top of that, they offer great beers and live music year-round.

    Take in Portland from 15 floors above street level at Departure’s happy hour. Sitting outside with a cocktail in hand is the best possible way to wind down your day.

    Brix Tavern offers a classic tavern vibe in the heart of the Pearl District. In addition to a great selection of beer, wine and cocktails, they’re known for some amazing good ol’ American comfort food. Read: Baked truffle mac & cheese and chicken pot pie.

    Blocks from the Rose Quarter and home of the Portland Trail Blazers, Spirit of 77 is bringing the American sports bar back to life. If you’re not there to watch your favorite teams on the big screen TVs, make sure to stop by en route to, or from, a Blazers game.
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