At a Glance
When to Go
Do the 12-mile jaunt from PDX International to downtown on MAX. The $2.50 train ride to the city center takes 40 minutes, providing a great introduction to Portland's transit environment. The taxi ride takes half the time and runs $40. Amtrak and Greyhound make it easy for West Coasters to drop in.
Skip the car and go by bike, train, tram, streetcar, and bus. A bike gets you everywhere easily, unless you venture into the West Hills for a mile-long uphill slog to the famous Rose Garden. MAX trains are bike-friendly and can enhance your cycling range. You'll need a car to get up to the mountains, out to wine country, over to the coast, or up the gorge. Some hotels now offer bikes as part of their room package. Bike rentals are plentiful and convenient.
Food and Drink
Portland's large reader population enjoys a library and a bookstore that each cover an entire city block. The city is a rich new-media outpost—with film, literature, art, and music spanning the cultural spectrum in a variety of venues and installations. The museum scene offers a full complement of content from art to history, science to forestry, all easily accessible and striving to give visitors context for their NW experience. Note that Portlandia (not the TV show) is the second-largest bronze statue in the United States, eclipsed only by the one on Staten Island. See it!
Summer serves up some of the most entertaining events on the festival calendar. Cinco de Mayo kicks off the season; then the Rose Festival officially welcomes summer in June. The Waterfront Blues Fest fuels a carefree, all-ages party well into the evening on the Fourth of July, attracting national headliners. The Oregon Brewers Fest puts the beer in Beervana with summer and winter events. Go international with the Chinese, Polish, Italian, Greek, and German festivals. Music/Techfest NW is Portland's all-out SXSW knockoff in fall. Portland International Film Fest lights up screens in winter. Bottom line—the party's always pumping.
Jay Rymeski is a veteran writer, producer, and journalist based in Portland, Ore. With master interview skills and storytelling at his core, Jay continues building a career contributing to organizations like NBC, ABC, Nike, Anheuser-Busch, and Mercy Corps. His domestic and international lifestyle and cultural writing has a dedicated online following. He is an accomplished runner, mountaineer, kayaker, and telemark skier with a passion for adventure. You can delve into more data on him at currentcom.