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 July 9, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best food gifts to buy in Portland?

    Portland's a foodie town, so leaving without any edible reminders of your visit would be such a shame!

    Dragonfly Chai's full-bodied and flavorful chais and iced teas are brewed to perfection right here in Portland. While you'll surely be sampling some for yourself, make sure to leave extra room in your suitcase to take some back for loved ones. Find them at fine grocers like New Seasons and Whole Foods Market and this is sure to be one gift that won't be regifted.

    While Tillamook Cheese is now on shelves in stores around the nation, it's homegrown in the coastal town of Tillamook, Oregon. If you don't get a chance to day-trip and tour the impressive cheese factory, make sure to pick up a baby loaf of pepper jack (or two).

    In 1993, every chocolate lover's dream opened in Portland. We're talking about Moonstruck Chocolates. These handcrafted gourmet chocolates are some of the best you'll find. And, with five locations in the Portland area, hopefully visitors will have an opportunity to try them for themselves. Either way, Moonstruck Chocolates make excellent gifts. From the cute Honey Bee Truffles to the Dark Chocolate Grey Sea Salt Caramels, there's something for everyone. Buy a box and personally select each chocolate for the perfect gift.

    With one of the top wine regions in the nation a mere hour away from Portland in the Willamette Valley, wine is always a great gift idea. If you don’t get a chance to personally visit and wine taste, stop by Zupan’s to browse their expansive selection of wine, or just ask one of the knowledgeable Wine Stewards for tips.

    More than 98% of hazelnuts consumed in the U.S. are grown here in Oregon. So, naturally, hazelnuts make a great edible gift. Made In Oregon has a terrific selection of hazelnut gifts ranging from roasted, salted and smoked to chocolate covered, and more.
  • On July 4, 2013
    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.

    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 1, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best parks in Portland?

    With more than 400 acres of trees, gardens, attractions, and playgrounds, there’s a little something for everyone at Washington Park. Just minutes from downtown Portland you’ll also find some of the best walking and running trails in the city.

    Gabriel Park is one of Portland’s larger public parks and features amenities such as a baseball field, basketball and tennis courts, a skate park, playground and picnic tables. The walking paths throughout the park are perfect for strolling with your dog and enjoying the scenic surroundings.

    Nestled in one of Portland’s most charming tree-lined neighborhoods in Southeast Portland is Sellwood Park. Not only does it have some great sports facilities, but the park also features a horseshoe pit, picnic site, wonderful playground, and an adjoining outdoor pool for those warm summer days.

    At over 5,100 wooded acres, Forest Park is the largest forested natural area within city limits in the United States. It also features an abundance of wildlife (in total, more than 62 mammal and 112 bird species) and a massive tree canopy covering miles of wonderful walking, hiking and running trails. This is one of the best parks in Portland for the outdoor enthusiast!
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  • On July 1, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best attractions in Portland?

    OMSI, Darryl Moran Portland boasts a plethora of things to do all year long, indoors and out! It's what makes the city one of the best places in America to live, and keeps tourists returning again and again. On your next visit, make sure to tick off the following:

    The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has a little something for every visitor. From fantastic, educational exhibitions to hands-on experiments, kids and adults alike should be prepared to spend a better part of a day at OMSI. And, open now is the fascinating Mummies of the World exhibition. Ancient mummies and important artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as ancient Egypt, dating as far back as 6,500 years will be on display in this one-of-a-kind exhibition.

    Set aside an hour to explore the five distinct Japanese gardens immaculately maintained at the world class Portland Japanese Garden. You’ll love the views of the city, and the simple calmness the gardens inspire. Right below the Japanese Garden is the world renowned International Rose Test Garden. Stroll through the hundreds of bushes and make sure to stop and smell the roses… this is the “City of Roses,” after all.

    The South Park blocks near Portland State University are the place to be on Saturdays. The Portland Farmers Market is considered one of the best in the world, and for good reason… Beautiful bouquets, delightful fruits and veggies and some of the best pesto spreads around!

    You can’t visit Portland and miss out on Pioneer Courthouse Square. On any given day the Square may be featuring a concert, craft beer tasting, or an appearance from our hometown favorites, the Portland Trailblazers NBA team.

    Pittock Mansion is a century-old French Renaissance-style “château” nestled in Portland’s West Hills, 1,000 feet above the downtown skyline. Originally built as a private residence, it now is open to the public. Its 23 perfectly and lavishly decorated rooms could capture your attention for hours, but don’t miss walking outside and savoring the absolutely stunning panoramic views of the city and Mt. Hood in the background.
  • On June 25, 2013
    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. The level of service shoppers receive is one of the best in the city. And, on top of that, the fashion finds are great. 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 June 24, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best bookstores in Portland?

    Portland, Oregon is truly a literary city. Break away from your Kindle for a little while to experience the many terrific independent bookstores Portland has to offer. And, start with these three:

    Hands-down one of the best bookstores in Portland, and indeed the northwest, is Powell's Books. Opened in Portland in the early 1970s, the store now has four full-service locations, including the flagship store bordering Portland's Pearl District. What sets Powell's apart is the combination of old and new books, paperbacks and hardcovers, all on the same shelves. When you visit, ensure you have allotted yourself enough time to browse... you'll want it.

    Another fantastic independent bookstore that Portland can boast about is Annie Bloom's Books. Located in the charming neighborhood of Multnomah Village in Southwest Portland, this bookstore has a wonderful selection of travel, fiction, current events and cooking literature. Their staff is some of the friendliest and most helpful around.

    The often over-looked Hawthorne Boulevard Books may be nondescript from the outside, but step inside and you'll be in book lover's heaven! Gorgeous hardcovers fill the bookshelves and the smell of the rare and unique books they carry is enough to make you want to spend all afternoon browsing the titles.
  • On June 23, 2013
    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 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.

    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 June 23, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What restaurants have the best views in Portland?

    Noble Rot Thirty floors above Portland sits the Portland City Grill. With arguably the best views the city has to offer, including outstanding ones of Mt. Hood on a clear day, this restaurant also features award-winning cuisine with Northwest, Island and Asian influences. Happy Hour at the Portland City Grill is one of the best in the city. Sample the rice paper spring rolls and spicy basil chicken while sipping a pomegranate mojito.

    Take in Portland from 15 floors above street level at Departure. Situated across from Pioneer Square in the heart of downtown, Departure features an incredible menu of Asian cuisine with modern flair. Sitting outside with a cocktail in hand and several grilled shiitake rolls is the best possible way to wind down your day as the colorful lights of the city flicker on.

    Noble Rot wine bar, located on the east side of Portland, is renowned for their food and wine selection. But, what makes this spot one of the best are the fantastic views of downtown Portland and the West Hills. Time it right and sit out on the patio to watch the colors splash across the sky as the sun sets behind the West Hills.
  • On June 21, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    Where is the best shopping in Portland?

    Portland (as well as the whole state) boasts something that will make any visitor want to get out their wallets... no sales tax! With that in mind, the world is your oyster as far as shopping in Portland, but you can't go wrong with the following:

    Boutiques are nestled in with bigger stores like Anthropologie in Portland's cool and ever-evolving Pearl District. The best fashion designers (including some of Portland's finest) are well represented at spots like house of lolo and Mabel & Zora, while legendary independent Portland bookstore, Powell's, is prominently located on the border of the Pearl District and downtown.

    The Belmont/Hawthorne area of Southeast Portland caters to hippies and hipsters alike. From unique clothing, furniture and art finds at House of Vintage to cool locally designed jewelry at Presents of Mind, you're sure to find a little something for everyone. Not to mention the delicious eating along the way. (Saint Cupcake, anyone?)

    No shopping excursion would be complete without a visit to Portland's charming Northwest neighborhood. In addition to well-known national brands like Kiehl's and Lush, you can also pamper yourself at Blush Beauty Bar. And if you enter Paper Source, an upscale stationery store, you're almost guaranteed to exit with a bag (or two) in hand.

    Finally, if you're a visitor to Portland and heading home soon, make sure to stop by the downtown Made in Oregon store, or even spend some time before your flight at the store located in the airport. From one of the largest selections of Oregon wine, to Pendleton blankets and throws, and everything in between, Made in Oregon has a great array of Oregon's finest products.
  • On June 21, 2013
    Melissa Wilmot answered the question: Melissa Wilmot

    What are the best attractions in Portland?

    OMSI, Darryl Moran Portland boasts a plethora of things to do all year long, indoors and out! It's what makes the city one of the best places in America to live, and keeps tourists returning again and again. On your next visit, make sure to tick off the following:

    The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) has a little something for every visitor. From fantastic, educational exhibitions to hands-on experiments, kids and adults alike should be prepared to spend a better part of a day at OMSI. And, open now is the fascinating Mummies of the World exhibition. Ancient mummies and important artifacts from Asia, Oceania, South America, Europe, as well as ancient Egypt, dating as far back as 6,500 years will be on display in this one-of-a-kind exhibition.

    Stroll along NW 23rd’s tree-lined sidewalks and shop in fantastic boutiques, or stop in one of the many delicious eateries along the way. From Bamboo Sushi to delicious crepes at Vivace, you should make sure to come on an empty stomach.

    Set aside an hour to explore the five distinct Japanese gardens immaculately maintained at the world class Portland Japanese Garden. You’ll love the views of the city, and the simple calmness the gardens inspire. Right below the Japanese Garden is the world renowned International Rose Test Garden. Stroll through the hundreds of bushes and make sure to stop and smell the roses… this is the “City of Roses,” after all.

    The South Park blocks near Portland State University are the place to be on Saturdays. The Portland Farmers Market is considered one of the best in the world, and for good reason… Beautiful bouquets, delightful fruits and veggies and some of the best pesto spreads around!

    You can’t visit Portland and miss out on Pioneer Courthouse Square. On any given day the Square may be featuring a concert, craft beer tasting, or an appearance from our hometown favorites, the Portland Trailblazers NBA team.

    Pittock Mansion is a century-old French Renaissance-style “château” nestled in Portland’s West Hills, 1,000 feet above the downtown skyline. Originally built as a private residence, it now is open to the public. Its 23 perfectly and lavishly decorated rooms could capture your attention for hours, but don’t miss walking outside and savoring the absolutely stunning panoramic views of the city and Mt. Hood in the background.
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