A Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon

These are the initial things that drew us to Portland: food, beer, shopping, hiking, and biking. When we saw how reasonable plane tickets and Air bnbs were, we decided to make Portland our 10th wedding anniversary trip destination. The ultimate goal was to spend quality time together for 6 days…while eating too much and hiking and biking our way around town until we felt better. We spent hours researching and saving places to eat, drink, shop (mostly me) and hike. The possibilities in a foodie city like Portland are truly endless. Which is why I’ve decided to do a separate post as a guide on food and beer in Portland.

When people say they like the vibe of Portland – yea it’s a thing – and I liked it too. Art was everywhere. It seemed like everyone was a creative in some way – musicians, artists, photographers, stylists, baristas. The city is definitely known for its individuality. And yes – you are going to see some weirdos as the “Keep Portland Weird” sign suggests. Just keep on moving; there is a lot to see in this city.

Portland Neighborhoods we Stayed in

Trendy. Packed with shops and restaurants. Walkable. Everyone has their must-haves when looking for a place to stay. If you want to stay in an area with tons to do right outside your door, but downtown is too pricey or not your thing, consider these two awesome Portland neighborhoods. We looked up a few lists before we booked our Air bnbs on which neighborhoods were the best to stay in; both lived up to our expectations.

Ultimately we choose the Mississippi District (we stayed in the Mississippi-Williams corridor) and Division Street in Southeast Portland. Both of these neighborhoods had tons of shops and restaurants. You could walk right into the action and easily walk or bike the whole area.

To give you an idea on price, we paid $75 per night for our studio Airbnb in the Mississippi District. This neighborhood has lots of historic homes which makes for a pretty walk. A good number of rentals in the area have bikes available, and if not, there are public ones you can rent all around the city. There is also a delicious taco joint that we enjoyed the first night called Por Que No.

For our Airbnb off Division Street, we paid $88 per night for a one bedroom apartment. This area also had lots of shops and was a short walk to great food. Division Street is boasted as “Restaurant’s Row” so just walk out your door and look at a few menus.

My Favorite Things About Visiting Portland

  • Amazing food and beer – I mean would you except anything less?
  • Walkable/bikeable city – the neighborhoods are very easy to get around
  • Unique murals – there’s a bunch of cool ones. It just adds to the overall creative vibe. I wish I could have stopped at every one of them. It makes the city look so alive and colorful.
  • Local businesses and lack of chains – I didn’t go to Portland to eat at McDonalds and shop at Target (I do love Target though). The more local joints, the better!
  • People who care about the environment – I noticed things like biodegradable cartons and utensils and paper straws. These little changes make a difference. Thank you to all the businesses who are becoming more eco-friendly!

Places we Hiked in Portland Area

Forest Park. It gives you a feeling of being in a true northwest forest when you’re still in Portland; it’s the largest urban forest in the US and a very popular spot for hiking, running, and exploring with families. It was beautiful and serene. My only disappointment was seeing the Witch’s Castle, which was completely spray painted and vandalized, looking nothing like the pictures I saw online.

Mount Tabor. Higher elevation (the park covers an extinct volcano) and way less of an actual forest, but worst a visit nonetheless. It has a great view of Portland and is perfect for runners, hikers, or bicyclists to go in the morning hours.

Multnomah Falls. Located 30 minutes outside of Portland, this waterfall is a big draw for tourists. It gets VERY congested in the summer months. Once you see it though, it is breathtakingly beautiful. We drove just a bit north to hike and find a hidden waterfall, but the path was closed off and there was no way we could find it ourselves. Loved the area though. I would love to come back and do some hiking here.

What are some of your favorite places in Portland? If you’re a local, what are your must-visit spots?

Author: Kelley Spencer

I'm a Christian writer, mother, gardener, traveler, lover of the outdoors and mental health advocate. My personal story of miscarriage and grief will be published in a book by Dayspring this fall called Sweet Tea for the Soul: Comforting, Real-Life Stories for Grieving Hearts. I'm in the planning stages of writing my first book about my experience with mental illness and faith. My mission is to encourage others to pursue God wholeheartedly when life hurts. Follow along for relatable faith stories, Bible reading tips, motherhood insight, and inspiration to explore this world through travel.

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