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The Pioneer Spirit of Exploration is Still Alive in Oregon’s Largest City


From trendy tea, cider, and spirit tastings to neighborhoods transformed into urban culinary hotspots to a unique natural outdoor beauty, the Greater Portland Region continues to reawaken the pioneer spirit. Though Oregon City once marked the end of the 2,170-mile-long Oregon Trail, this should be just the beginning of your own exploration.

Encompassing Portland’s urban vibe, Tualatin Valley’s spiritual side, and Mount Hood Territory’s food and brew scene, Greater Portland offers travelers an amazing array of taste-tempting diversions.

Transforming previously industrialized neighborhoods into hip and happening food and shopping districts seems to be the latest inner-city trend. The area known as the Artisan Quarter, for instance, covers 25 blocks in the Central Southeast area of the city. For breakfast, the Cup & Bar offers two passions of many: coffee and chocolate. One side of the shop offers fresh coffee from Trailhead Coffee Roasters and the other organic chocolate (including the rich, sipping kind) courtesy of Ranger Chocolate Company.

Around the corner is a little bit of history in the form of vacuum cleaners. The Stark Vacuum Museum, one of only a few of these types of museums nationwide, has models your parents and grandparents may remember, covering the years from 1900 to 1970.

Top quality tea flights are available at Smith Teamaker, located in the Central Eastside district. The family-run operation imports the finest teas from all over the world and still produces its products by hand. You can learn how tea is made and see the packaging process through the large viewing windows. Tip: If you like herbal teas, try their Big Hibiscus — smooth, floral, and delicious.

Portland has the distinction of having the most breweries of any city in the world, with 75 and counting. At Wayfinder Beer, one of the newest, you can chow down on house-made sausages or chicken schnitzel with an ice-cold brew from their 10-barrel brewhouse.

At Bee Thinking’s Mead Market, you can sample a flight of meads, one of the hottest beverage trends nationwide. This is so popular, in fact, that a new mead shop is opening somewhere in the U.S. every six days. While sampling the meads, which are made from various beekeepers’ fermented honeys, you’ll also learn all about beekeeping. Just be careful you don’t get a buzz.

After all this, you might be ready for a little water diversion courtesy of the Portland Electric Boat Company. Located at the Riverplace Marina, the company rents small, electric Duffy boats (at $125 per hour) that are as easy to operate as a golf cart. Cruise along the Willamette River past bridges, floating houses, and even the submarine used in the movie The Hunt for Red October.

For dinner, Kachka offers a taste of the former Soviet Union as well as a selection of more than 50 vodkas. Start your meal with traditional zakuski (hors d’oeuvres) and then move into rich and flavorful meats, dumplings, and fish.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


Portland, Oregon

Few American cities can match the youthful spirit of Portland, "The City of Roses". The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland's residents are proud of their city, which draws people for its scenic beauty, great outdoors environment, excellent microbreweries, and eco-friendly urban planning policies, as well as a reputation for colorful characters and a proudly liberal outlook, with an attitude to match.

Lying about 70 mi (124 km) from the Pacific Coast on Oregon's northern border, the city straddles the Willamette River (pronounced will-LAM-ett just remember the rhyme "It's Willamette, dammit.") south of its confluence with the Columbia River. To the east, majestic Mount Hood forms an inspiring backdrop for Portland's skyline. The mild, wet climate makes this a very green city, and Portland has taken full advantage of this with a wealth of parks and gardens that make the city one of the most beautiful in the country.

Northwest Portland
Head Northwest for some interesting shopping and Portland's Chinatown with the beautiful Lan Su Garden.
Southwest Portland
Downtown is here, with skyscrapers and many of its "splurge" hotels and restaurants. To the west is the large Washington Park with memorials, gardens and a zoo.
Eastside Portland
This vast district is largely residential with single-family homes and businesses geared towards people living here. Still, the Eastside has some museums and green areas and the airport is here.

—Tagline of Portlandia

Portland is the largest city lying between San Francisco and Seattle, but when compared to those cities, Portland's environment is not as fast-paced. It hasn't yet developed to the point of being overwhelming. Instead, it has a more laid-back, small-city feel.

Over 600,000 people live in Portland proper including the suburbs the metro area has 2.4 million people, so Portland has its fair share of amenities, including an impressive music and arts scene, and one of the largest collections of zine and independent publishers of any city in the nation. Its relatively large population also means it has some of the worst traffic congestion in the U.S., a fairly high cost of living relative to wages, and chronic underemployment.

The city has a lovely blend of historic and modern architecture and many lush parks to poke your toes into. Forest Park and Washington Park in the hills west of Downtown offer a variety of trees, plants, trails, and wildlife near the city. Vistas of Mount Hood and the Willamette River, stately Douglas-fir trees (Oregon's official state tree), and roses and trees at every turn give the city stunning seasonal color.

Environmentally friendly practices, such as recycling and an extensive public transportation system, are part of the culture and fuel many progressive city planning practices. Portland metro, like all Oregon urban centers, is surrounded by an urban growth boundary. This limits sprawl and helps make Portland a relatively compact city. Unlike most similarly sized metropolitan areas in the country, you can drive about 15 mi (24 km) from Downtown in just about any direction and be out in the countryside, where u-pick farms welcome the public.

Portland is a very fun and welcoming city for LGBT travelers. It has one of the largest and most integrated gay and lesbian communities in the United States, supported by two major LGBT publications and other queer-friendly media.

History Edit

The first European contact in the area came from none other than Lewis and Clark, who sailed along the Columbia River just north of where Portland lies today in 1805 after a year of exploration they finally reached the Pacific Ocean just to the west. The reports from their expedition fueled interest in the area, and settlers came to stake their claim. Two of those settlers were William Overton and his friend Asa Lovejoy, a lawyer from Boston, who came across the spot where Portland now sits and jointly began to build a settlement. Later, Overton sold his share to F.W. Pettygrove, a man from Portland, Maine. As of this point, the area was being transformed from a small stopping point between Oregon City and Vancouver, Washington to a formal settlement, and the owners now needed to give it a name. Both Lovejoy and Pettygrove wanted to name the new town after their respective hometowns so in 1845 they decided to leave it up to a coin toss and Pettygrove won two times out of three.

In 1851, Portland was incorporated and was growing rapidly its proximity to the rivers, which funneled a trade with San Francisco to the south, combined by the local fishing, lumber, and agriculture industries fueled Portland's early growth. The railroad arrived in the 1880s, and for a time Portland was the largest city on the west coast north of San Francisco however the Klondike Gold Rush and the arrival of the railroad to Washington state meant Seattle quickly eclipsed Portland's growth.

Portland persisted as a booming railroad, lumber and steel town for several decades. During the 1970s, however, Oregon started to gain a reputation for progressive urban planning practices, adopting policies such as an urban growth boundary and constructing new parks in a push to maintain the central neighborhoods as active places in light of suburban development. Through the 1970s and into the 2000s, Portland became a center for counterculture, growing into a hub for punk and indie rock music, zine publishing, and activist movements. The dot-com boom of the 1990s brought an influx of modern tech companies joining the established electronic and computer industry along with the so-called "creative class", who remained even after the economic bubble burst. By this point, the city's progressive policies and politics had won the city a special status among urban designers, environmentalists, and political activists as a very forward-thinking city, which has only fueled further growth and development of the metropolitan area.

Climate Edit

It's said that there are only two seasons in the Portland area: rain and summer. When the summer comes, the clouds suddenly clear and it's hot and sunny, and often quite pleasant. Any given day in July through mid-October has only a 10% chance of rain, and temperatures uncommonly exceed 85°F (29°C) degrees or so, although it does occasionally exceed 100°F (38°C) in mid-summer.

Despite the nice summers, Portland is really known for its rain, which comes between late September and late June. It is more often a menacing drizzle or mist than a downpour, though. There's a myth that most Portlanders don't use, or even believe in, umbrellas, and instead prefer hoods and raincoats. This has a grain of truth to it, but any stroll through Portland on a rainy day will prove to you that people are not shy about using umbrellas. You shouldn't be shy, either — if it's not summer and you don't want to get wet, pack your umbrella.

Although Portland is roughly at the same latitude as Minneapolis, Minnesota (and is in fact slightly further north), snow is uncommon because of Portland's fairly low elevation and the relative proximity of the Pacific Ocean. It does happen around once or twice a year, but rarely persists more than a few days. As a result, many area drivers do not deal with snow very well, especially when attempting to navigate the hilly terrain along many commuter corridors and neighborhoods. Even a light dusting will increase the risk of accidents, and any substantial snowfall or freezing rain can paralyze the city. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -3 °F (-19 °C), though overnight lows are usually above freezing.

A sunny day in the rainy season is not typical, but the sun does come out occasionally. The moment it does, some Portlanders may wear summer clothing, even if it's still somewhat chilly.

Tourist information Edit

  • 45.51852 -122.68159 1Portland Visitor Information and Services Center, 877 SW Taylor St ( in Director Park ), ☏ +1 503-427-1372 , toll-free: +1-888-503-3291 , ✉ [email protected] . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-4PM Su (May-Oct only) 10AM-2PM . ( updated Aug 2019 )

Watch Edit

  • Portlandia (IFC, 2011-2018). Sketch comedy series set and filmed in Portland, which parodies many Portland stereotypes and trends (such as hipsters, outdoors enthusiasts, bikers, farm-to-table food, tattoos, and many more).

By plane Edit

45.5892 -122.5934 1 Portland International Airport ( PDX IATA ) ( 9 mi (14 km) northeast of downtown, near the Columbia River ), ☏ +1 503-460-4234 . It is a dual-use air force base, which may cause confusion on some maps. Most major airlines serve Portland, though Alaska Airlines carries the most traffic through PDX, using Portland as a hub. Non-stop service is available from most major U.S. airport hubs, a lot of smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest (served by Alaska Airlines and United Express), and there are a few international flights from Canada (Air Canada and Alaska Airlines), Frankfurt am Main (Condor) Keflavik International Airport (Icelandair) Mexico (Alaska Airlines, Volaris) Tokyo Narita Airport, London Heathrow and Amsterdam Schiphol (Delta). The following airlines serve Portland:.

  • Concourse B: Horizon & Skywest for Alaska Airlines, Pen Air
  • Concourse C: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit
  • Concourse D: Air Canada, Aeromexico, Delta (International & domestic) Frontier, Hawaiian Air, Spirit, Sun Country, Virgin America, Condor, Icelandair, Volaris, Alaska Airlines arrivals from Mexico.
  • Concourse E: Southwest, United
  • 45.5872 -122.5846 2Boutique Air have their own terminal at 7527 NE Airport Way. They only offer flights from Pendleton, Eugene, Redmond.

All international arrivals disembark through Gates D12-D15 where passengers proceed to US Customs & Immigration inspections under Concourse D. After inspection, follow the "Connecting Passengers" signs to the re-check center where you can recheck your luggage. Go up the escalators for security screening and re-enter into concourse D by Gate 9 to access connecting flights. If Portland is the final destination follow signs reading "Portland Passengers Bus to Terminal", passengers will board an airside shuttle bus which takes them around to the international arrivals zone in front of the United Airlines baggage reclaim (at carousel #10), in the main terminal building.

A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $35, but the Portland airport is well connected by public transit, which allows you to save quite a bit of money. The most convenient and least expensive option is the MAX train, TriMet's light-rail system. Just catch the 45.5876 -122.59313 3 MAX Red Line in the south end of the airport terminal, near the baggage claim area, at lower level. The ride downtown takes about 30 minutes and costs $2.50, which includes a transfer good for 2½ hours with unlimited transfers to any TriMet bus or train, or even to a C-TRAN bus (except the express buses at the Parkrose Transit Center Stop), which serves Vancouver, Washington.

To get downtown from the airport by car, follow Airport Way to the junction with Interstate 205 south, then proceed to exit 21B to take Interstate 84 west. Follow I-84 until it ends at the junction with Interstate 5, then follow the signs to City Center.

Two important notes about returning a rental car at the airport:

  • As you approach the airport terminal on Airport Way, pay careful attention to the overhead signs for Rental Car Return. After the road splits to the right, there are a number of left exits close together, and it is very easy to make the mistake of exiting too soon at the control tower/shuttle bus/parking exits. The exit for rental car return is the fourth left exit, after the one for the short-term parking garage.
  • There are no gas stations in the commercial area between the airport and I-205 (Cascade Station). If you have to fill up the gas tank before returning the car, and are driving north on I-205, take the Sandy/Killingsworth exit (Exit 23-A) to get to the airport's closest and most accessible gas stations.

By train Edit

  • 45.5291 -122.67681 4Portland Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave . Amtrak serves Portland Union Station, which is about a 15-minute walk from most places downtown. Union Station is well connected by public transit. It sits on the northern end of the transit mall, so many Trimet buses as well as the MAX Yellow and Green Lines stop nearby. There has been some investment in passenger rail in the region, so journey times and reliability have improved and will likely continue to improve incrementally as new construction is completed. ( updated Jul 2018 )

Three Amtrak routes serve Union Station:

  • The Amtrak Cascades is the most frequent train, coming in from as far south as Eugene and as far north as Vancouver, British Columbia. The Cascades offers certain amenities not available on the other two routes, such as Wi-Fi, more space for bikes, more power outlets, a bistro car serving Pacific Northwest foods and wine, and the occasional movie.
  • The Coast Starlight runs between Seattle and Los Angeles. Stops include Tacoma, Olympia, Salem, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Redding, Sacramento, the San Francisco Bay Area, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara.
  • The Empire Builder, Amtrak's busiest long-distance route, runs between Chicago and its two western termini, Portland and Seattle. It stops at Milwaukee, Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Glacier National Park, and Spokane along the way. The westbound train splits into two branches (or joins into a single route going eastbound) in Spokane with one branch going to Seattle and the other to Portland.

By car Edit

The easiest road connection to Portland is the Interstate Highway System, especially Interstate 5, which runs through Washington, Oregon, and California. Driving from the south, you can take exits to the southern part of downtown before I-5 crosses the Willamette River, or you can take the Interstate 405 bypass to access the rest of downtown. From the north, you can take I-405 over the Fremont Bridge to cross the Willamette River and reach downtown, or take exits 302A or 300B and follow the City Center signs. Interstate 205 is a bypass route that splits from I-5 and serves the eastern side of the Portland metro area.

From northeastern Oregon, eastern Washington, Boise, and other points east, take Interstate 84. It follows the Columbia River on the Oregon side and terminates in the center of Portland, where it meets Interstate 5. U.S. Route 26 comes to Portland from the Pacific coast (near Seaside and Cannon Beach) in the west, as well as from central Oregon.

As in the rest of Oregon, there are no self-serve gas stations in Portland. Just stay in your car and wait as an attendant does the pumping for you.

By bus Edit

Intercity buses pick up at the 45.52903 -122.67726 5 Union Station Bus stop next to the Union Station (800 NW 6th Ave), the airport and/or additional places on the way into or out of Portland (see their websites). They can only pick up passengers on the outbound trip and drop off on the inbound trip but cannot transport passengers between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area (Portland Metropolitan Area). For example, a CoBreeze bus coming from Bend cannot pick up passengers in Gresham and drop them off at the airport. They can only drop off in both places on the inbound trip within the Portland area. See below:

  • 45.53072 -122.65248 6BoltBus, (bus stop) 1060 NE 13th Ave ( Along NE 13th between NE Holladay and Multnomah on the east side of Holladay Park. The Lloyd Center/11th Ave MAX station is on the south side of the park, very close by. ), toll-free: +1-877-BOLTBUS (2658287) . Service from Eugene, Corvallis, Albany OR, Seattle, Bellingham WA and Vancouver BC. up to $30 . ( updated Jul 2016 )
  • CoBreeze, (bus stops) Union Station, Portland International Airport & the Cleveland MAX station in Gresham , ☏ +1 541-389-7469 . Goes down to Bend via Sandy, Welches, Government Camp, Madras, Prineville P&R and Redmond Airport along US Hwy 26. Buses may not make all the above stops regularly but on request in advance of travel. Check with them.
  • Columbia Gorge Express ( Operated by Columbia Area Transit ), ☏ +1 541-386-4202 , ✉ [email protected] . 7AM-7PM . Bus connects Gateway Transit Center in NE Portland through the Columbia River Gorge to Cascade Locks and Hood River. Connection to The Dallas can be made from Hood River and to downtown Portland from Gateway Transit Center on all westbound MAX trains. Take the northbound MAX Red Line train to the airport from Gateway Transit Center. $10 each way, all stops (to/from Portland) . ( updated Mar 2021 )
  • 45.53062 -122.67836 7Flixbus ( operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) 700 NW Station Way ( Bus will board on the curbside on NW Station Way. Boarding will take place along the large curb marked for buses only, north of Union Station. ). European bus service that just expanded to Pacific Northwest in November 2019 with service between Bellingham & Eugene via Everett, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Corvallis and to other destinations in Pacific Northwest. ( updated Nov 2019 )
  • Frontera del Norte, (bus stop) Su Casa Supermercado at 16100 SE Stark St ( SE Stark St & 161st Ave ), ☏ +1 323 587-5233 . Connects Pasco, Sunnyside & Yakima WA in eastern Washington (state) to Los Angeles and the Mexican border in San Ysidro in Southern California via Portland, OR. There's also a travel agent inside the supermarket too. ( updated May 2020 )
  • 45.53076 -122.67858 8Greyhound, (Ticket Counter) 427 NW 6th Ave (Bus stops) 1090 NW Station Way ( Curbside stops on NW Station Way between Lovejoy & Marshall. ), ☏ +1 503-243-2361 , toll-free: +1-800-231-2222 . Bus station at 550 NW 6th Ave has closed and the property is up for sale. The new ticketing office is at 427 NW 6th, one block south & opposite side of 6th Ave from the old bus station while map marker is at the new curbside stops on NW Station Way, north of Union Station. Greyhound connects Portland to Seattle (via Kelso, Centralia, Olympia, Tacoma) Spokane (Via Stanfield/Hermiston, Tri-Cities) Los Angeles (via Salem, Eugene, Medford, Sacramento) Denver (via Pendleton, Boise, Salt Lake City). Passengers transfer in the final destination city of the route or in an intermediary stop to reach additional cities. Check schedules. Additional transfer points to other parts of Oregon are in Corvallis, Eugene and Medford. Prices vary depending on your destination .
  • Shuttle Oregon, (Bus stops) Union Station & Portland International Airport , ☏ +1 541-903-0724 . Goes to Bend through Salem & Sisters via Hwy 22 and I-5. ( updated Mar 2019 )
  • Tillamook Transportation District Rt #5, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Twice daily trip to/from Tillamook along US Hwy 26 and OR-Hwy 6 $15 OW or $20 RT .
  • Oregon Point ( Operated by MTR Western ), (bus stop) Union Station @ 800 NW 6th Ave ( Stops in both Greyhound & Union Station ), ☏ +1 541-484-4100 . Tickets can also be purchased at the Amtrak ticket counters or online for two of their routes:
  • Northwest Point goes up to Astoria via Beaverton, Elsie along US Hwy 26 and Seaside, Cannon Beach, Gearhart and Warrenton along US Hwy 101. Picks up from the Union Station and Sunset Transit Center (Beaverton).
  • Cascade Point goes down to Eugene via Tualatin, Woodburn, Salem & Albany. Picks up from the Union Station and the Tualatin Park & Ride.

By public transit Edit

  • TriMet. Operates buses, MAX light rail, WES commuter train (between Beaverton and Wilsonville), and the Portland Streetcar across the greater Portland Metropolitan Area. See "By public transit" under Getting Around for more details. $2.50 for 2.5 hours, or $5 for a day pass. The same tickets are valid for travel on bus and rail . ( updated Jul 2016 )

In addition to the above there are other transit providers providing onward transport from Portland to other cities/municipalities surrounding the greater Portland Metropolitan area and outside the Tri-Met service district. They can only make limited local pick-up and drop off stops in the Tri-Met Service Area and some can only drop off in the Portland Metropolitan Area on the inbound trip and pick-up on the outbound trip. Others can pick up and drop off between two points within the Tri-Met Service Area:

  • C-Tran. operates local buses between Vancouver, WA Camas, Battlegroud and Washougal in Clark County, Washington as well as express buses to downtown Portland, Lloyd Center &/or Marquam Hill (Rt #105, 134, 157, 190, 199) Parkrose/Sumner MAX station (Rt #65 to NE Portland) and Delta Park/Vanport MAX Station (Rt#60 to N Portland). Transfer to MAX Red line to the airport or to downtown from the Parkrose/Sumner Station and the MAX Yellow Line from the Delta Park/Vanport Station to downtown. $1.85 within Clark County, WA $2.50 all zones (to Vanport or Parkrose Transit Centers), $3.85 express to downtown Portland. All zone & express tickets are transferable for onward travel on Tri-Met .
  • Columbia County Rider (CC Rider) Rt #1, (stops) SW Salmon between 5th & 6th Ave and NW 113th & US Hwy 30 , ☏ +1 503-366-8503 . It operates buses within Columbia County between St Helens, Clatskanie, Rainier and Scappoose as well as to downtown Portland (Rt#1) and to Kelso, WA (Rt#5). Route #6 only goes up to Vernonia from Willow Creek Transit Center out in Aloha. $5 base zone + $1 additional zone or $2 on the Flex route .
  • Columbia Gorge Express, ☏ +1 541-386-4202 . The Columbia Gorge Express has up to 8 daily trips connecting Portland (Gateway Transit Center), Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles. $5 each way between Portland and Multnomah Falls, $10 each way for all other stops. Operated by Columbia Area Transit. ( updated Feb 2019 )
  • South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART). Operates local buses in Wilsonville (20 mi/30 km south of Portland), Charbonneau & Canby (#3) and express buses to Salem (1x) Tualatin Park & Ride (2x) and Canby (3x). Transfer to Tri-Met #76 to Tigard from Tualatin and transfer to the #12 bus to go downtown from Tigard. Or take the Tri Met WES train to Beaverton from Wilsonville and transfer to the eastbound MAX train to downtown Portland. $3.00 to downtown Portland, Salem & Beaverton $1.50 to Tualatin, Canby & Barbur Transit Center free within Wilsonville .
  • Sandy Area Metro (SAM), (stop) Gresham Transit Center , ☏ +1 503-668-3466 , +1 503-489-0921 . Goes to Estacada and Gresham on two routes from Sandy. Both routes make stops locally in Sandy. Continue to downtown Portland from Gresham Transit Center on 'Blue Line' MAX, #2 bus (SE Division) or #9 bus (SE Powell) $1 one way no transfers. .
  • Mt Hood Express, ☏ +1 503-668-3466 . The Mt. Hood Express is a bus service for communities along US Hwy 26 between Sandy east to Timberline Lodge in Mt Hood. $2 one way no transfers or $5 day pass/ticket transferable on SAM buses .
  • Tillamook Transportation District, (stops) Union Station, Sunset Transit Center & NW 185th Ave , ☏ +1 503-842-0123 . Operates buses in/around Tillamook town and to Manzanita, Cannon Beach and Oceanside in Tillamook County as well inter county service to Lincoln City (Rt #4) and over to Portland (Rt#5). There are no longer Greyhound services to the Oregon Coast from Portland or from anywhere along the I-5 corridor. $1.50 per zone in Tillamook County or within an adjacent county in the north Oregon Coast $15 OW to Portland or $20 RT .
  • Yamhill County Transit, (stops) downtown Hillsboro (Rt #33) & Tigard Transit Center (Rt #44) , ☏ +1 503-474-4910 . Operates buses in/around McMinnville and to Newberg, Amity, Carlton, Dayton, Dundee, Lafayette, Sheridan & Willamena in Yamhill County and to Tigard Transit Center (nearest point to Portland on Rt #44, 44X) Hillsboro (Rt #33), Salem (Rt #11). Transfer to Tri-Met #12 from Tigard Transit Center to downtown Portland or the 'Blue Line' MAX from Hillsboro to downtown Portland. There are no longer Greyhound bus services to Tigard or to anywhere in Yamhill County along OR Hwy 99W. $1.25 one-way fare or $2.50 day ticket/pass .

By boat Edit

There are no useful boat lines, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.

If you are touring the United States without a car, rejoice! Portland is an easy city to bicycle, walk or use public transport. However there are topographical features (hills and rivers) that affect how streets and roads flow, so planning and maps are important for any journey of more than a few blocks. The verdant West Hills slope up from downtown and divide it from the suburbs of Beaverton, Hillsboro and others.

Much of Portland is a grid, and fairly easy to navigate. Portland is divided into six sectors, officially known as the "six sextants" but sometimes referred to oxymoronically as the "six quadrants". These sectors are generally divided by Burnside Street between north/south and the Willamette River between east/west, with a fifth sector (North) between the Willamette River and Williams Avenue, and a sixth sector (South) between the Willamette and Naito Parkway. If you hear Portlanders talking about Southwest or Northeast, they're probably talking about a sector of the town rather than Arizona or Massachusetts.

  • SW – South of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector includes the downtown core.
  • SE – South of Burnside and east of the Willamette River.
  • S - South of Burnside, west of the Willamette River, and east of Naito Parkway. This newest sector, created in May 2020, includes the South Waterfront neighborhood.
  • NE – North of Burnside and east of Williams Avenue.
  • N – North of Burnside, east of the Willamette River and west of Williams Avenue.
  • NW – North of Burnside and west of the Willamette River, this sector is immediately north of downtown and includes the Pearl District, Old Town, and the Northwest district.

All Portland addresses contain their designating sector inserted between house number and street name (i.e. 3719 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) The house address numbers increase 100 per block (20 blocks per mile) starting from Burnside Street or the Willamette River. This should make it easier to figure out where things are. In general, East/West streets are named while North/South avenues are numbered. On named streets, the address numbers correspond to the nearest numbered cross-street, so 1501 NE Davis St. is on NE Davis near 15th Avenue. An exception is North Portland where North/South avenues are also named. On the West side, some streets and arterial roads follow a North/South grid, others follow the topography and curve a great deal. There are major arterials that cross town in NE/SW or NW/SE orientation including Sandy Boulevard, and Foster Road on the East side, and Barbur Blvd on the SW. The streets of inner Northwest Portland are arranged alphabetically starting with Ankeny, Burnside, followed by Couch, then Davis, etc. through NW Vaughn Street making directions easy to follow here.

Some older Southwest street addresses may have a leading zero in the street number. The creation of the South sector was driven largely to resolve this anomaly, and these former addresses are now located in South Portland without the leading zero (e.g. 0715 SW Bancroft Street is now 715 S Bancroft Street). Street signs in South Portland may still indicate SW during the transition period.

Most of the city (and everything near downtown) is along the northerly flowing Willamette River, and not the much larger Columbia which flows west. However, the airport and Portland's northern neighbor, Vancouver, Washington, are next to the Columbia. If you confuse the two rivers, you can easily mix up your bearings. As the Willamette River can be hard to spot on a map of Oregon, many newcomers mistakenly think Portland is along the nearby Columbia.

By car Edit

Driving around downtown is not recommended. Inconvenient, expensive, and hard to find parking, combined with active parking meter enforcement (8AM-7PM) and non-intuitive street closures, transit malls, and restrictions, make it frustrating even for locals. Most people can walk from one end of downtown to the other in 15 minutes—faster than driving at times (or bicycle even faster). In fact, many of the traffic lights, both downtown and in inner Portland, seem to be timed for bike speeds. Uber and Lyft usually provide speedy and inexpensive service, frequently costing for less than a few hours parking.

If you must park downtown, the best parking deal is any of the six SmartPark garages maintained by the City of Portland. As of March 2019, rates are $1.80 per hour on weekdays for the first four hours, and $5 flat rate evenings after 5PM and all day on weekends. Also, some businesses can validate ("pay" for some of) your parking. SmartPark locations are:

  • 45.525 -122.6709 2SmartPark Naito and Davis , 33 NW Davis St.
  • 45.5216 -122.6799 3SmartPark O'Bryant Square , 808 SW Stark St.
  • 45.5195 -122.6818 4SmartPark 10th and Yamhill , 730 SW 10th Ave.
  • 45.5187 -122.6758 5SmartPark 3rd and Alder , 620 SW 3rd Ave.
  • 45.5175 -122.6766 6SmartPark 4th and Yamhill , 818 SW 4th Ave.
  • 45.5141 -122.6761 7SmartPark 1st and Jefferson , 123 SW Jefferson St.

Car-sharing is available through Zipcar and car2go on a membership basis.

On foot Edit

Portland is a great city for walking. The 200-foot (60-m) block size throughout most of Portland were designed in the 1860s for walking convenience and Portland has a lot of street life. Good mass transit also makes walking more feasible in Portland. The City of Portland Office of Transportation offers free, highly detailed walking maps that may be ordered online. For a scenic walk, the Eastside Esplanade along the Willamette River across from downtown offers lovely views of the skyline. Parts of the esplanade float on the water.

By bike Edit

Portland, the self-proclaimed "Bicycle Capital" of the nation, is an excellent city for bicycle travel. The whole metro area has an extensive network of bike lanes and designated bike-friendly streets. Bike streets are generally signed with green "Bike Route" signs. On the east side, they are usually on quiet residential streets between major thoroughfares. You can obtain bike maps from the Bike There! section of Metro's website.

Even public transit is bike-friendly here. TriMet provides plenty of information for bicyclers on their website. They offer Bike & Ride facilities and bike lockers at many MAX stations and major transit centers. All buses, MAX trains, and streetcars have space for bikes too. If you're taking the bus, just be prepared to sometimes wait until a bus comes with an open bike rack, especially on popular routes. The MAX, on the other hand, virtually always has enough bike hooks available.

In July 2016, the Biketown bike share network was launched. The system has 1,000 bikes at 100 hubs around central Portland, and it's well suited for brief, one-way trips. Single rides up to 30 minutes cost $2.50. A day pass is $12 and includes up to 180 minutes of ride time with the first bike rented only (.10/min with the following bikes) within a 24-hour period. In each case, you can ride for longer than the allotted time at a rate of 10 cents per additional minute.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation maintains an online list of bike rental shops.

By public transit Edit

TriMet operates the Portland metro area's extensive public transit system of buses, MAX light rail trains, and streetcars.

Adult fare is $2.50, and 1-day, 7-day, 14-day, and monthly passes are available. TriMet uses the proof-of-payment system—when you pay the fare, you'll receive a validated paper ticket good for two-and-a-half hours of travel on the entire system. Stick to your ticket you must show it to any transit police officer or fare inspector upon request, or face a $175 fine for fare evasion.

You can pay fare, or buy passes, at any MAX station ticket machine (but expect the occasional out-of-order machine), on-board any streetcar, or on any bus (with exact change). Smartphone users (iPhone or Android) can use the Hop Fastpass app to buy digital tickets show your ticket on the phone screen to the bus driver, transit police officer, or fare inspector, and make sure your phone's battery doesn't die!

TriMet offers trip planning on its mobile website, but no official app. Transit Maps and trip planning are available on both Apple and Google Maps.

Hop FastPass Edit

In July 2017, TriMet released the Hop FastPass, a contactless (RFID) smart card for electronic fare payment. Hop works on TriMet, the Portland Streetcar, and C-TRAN in Vancouver. Just tap the card on the card reader on board buses and streetcars, or on MAX station platforms.

Cards are sold for $3 at Fred Meyer, Safeway, and other Portland metro area stores. Load fare at these stores, online, by phone, through the Hop app, or at TriMet or C-TRAN customer service centers.

The card readers also accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and NFC-enabled debit/credit cards. Hop users (including those using mobile wallets) travel free for the rest of the day after paying $5 in fare (two one-way trips), as if they had a day pass.

Similarly—though only for Hop card or virtual Hop card users and not mobile wallet debit/credit card users—after paying $100 in a calendar month (20 days of round-trip rides), Hop allows free travel for the rest of the month, without the steep upfront cost of a monthly pass. This is very useful for visitors—you won't have to decide whether you'll ride often enough to justify buying a pass.

Apple Pay and Android Pay users can buy virtual Hop cards online and load them into Android Pay or Apple Pay. They combine the benefits of Hop with the convenience of mobile payments.


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