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One Day in Portland: 6 Things To See and Do
Portland is the largest city in Oregon, known for its stunning cityscape, public parks, and unique culture. Many people travel to the city to learn about its history and explore its famous landmarks and sites.
Things to see and do
Portland is a city filled with museums and art galleries. The Alberta Arts District is popular with tourists due to its local art, live music, and an assortment of eateries. And the PSU Farmers Market is the perfect place to find locally grown produce and handmade treats.
Tourists can also stroll through the La Su Chinese Garden to find an array of seasonal plants and flowers. The garden even offers free tours and an interactive scavenger hunt for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
Food and drinks
To try some good coffee, the coffee shops in Portland can’t be beaten. Stumptown Coffee Roasters is a popular cafe that boasts the finest coffee in town. There, you can find a wide selection of coffees from countries all over the world. And beer lovers will enjoy the city’s many microbreweries, where they can sample some of the best-tasting beers in the country.
One of the best things about Portland is its great food. Pine State Biscuits is another hot spot that serves homemade biscuits and biscuit sandwiches to hungry customers all over the state.
Exploring Portland with limited time
Exploring the entire city of Portland may be challenging if you’re visiting with limited time. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to maximize your short time there. The Portland aerial tram, for instance, offers breathtaking views of the city and many of its famous sites like Mount Hood or the Williamette River. There are also plenty of guided tours available for a quick, detailed review of the city’s history. Whichever you decide, Portland is a city well worth exploring in its entirety. Here are six ways to tour the city with just one day in Portland:
1. Washington Park
Washington Park, Portland pic.twitter.com/iV881EzrME
— dorothee V. Plessis (@dorotheedillon) April 21, 2021
Washington Park is a popular park that sees lots of tourist traffic due to its beautiful natural landscape, complete with a host of hiking trails to help you see it all.
The Hoyt Arboretum is a natural museum that features over 2,300 different tree species from around the world. And the International Rose Test Garden houses 10,000 roses, making it the perfect place for a wedding. The best time to see the roses in full bloom is during their peak season, from May to October.
The Oregon Zoo is another popular tourist attraction with more than 2,000 animals to see. The zoo is the highest-paid tourist attraction in the entire state, so it should definitely be checked off your Portland itinerary.
You can take a ride on a free shuttle bus to make navigating the park easier. Rides are available to the public daily, with pickup times every 15 to 30 minutes.
2. Downtown Portland
It was a dreamy day in downtown Portland. pic.twitter.com/hHvPp4iAP0
— pdx law grrrl (@pdxlawgrrrl) October 20, 2021
Walk the streets of downtown Portland to experience the culture in an unforgettable way. The Portland Art Museum is home to many works of art that are separated into collections, from Native American to graphic arts. Take a look at their official website for upcoming special events that may be happening during your visit.
Shopping in downtown is a popular choice for tourists who want to take a piece of Portland home with them. There, you can find designer brands, home decor, Japanese textiles, and more.
Like any downtown area, the city is teeming with locals who frequent its restaurants and bars for happy hour. Visit Voodoo Donuts at its original location to sample their famous donuts. Try their strawberry go-tart, a customer favorite donut filled with strawberry filling and topped with vanilla icing and rainbow sprinkles.
Food carts are also a big part of Portland culture. Keep an eye out for the Stretch The Noodle cart to see chef Xuemei Simard stretch homemade noodles for his hot beef soup recipe.
3. Forest Park
The Stone House, also known as the Witch’s Castle is a two-story structure in Portland, Oregon's Forest Park, in the United States. pic.twitter.com/a3XRKBIdeF
— Murph (@ninjasniperpon) March 16, 2022
Forest Park is a great place to become one with nature. Its lush, green landscape is home to a number of plant and tree species, as well as wildlife. Its bubbling creeks are surrounded by steep terrain that many tourists enjoy hiking.
There are more than 5,200 acres of forest for hikers to trek. The Wildwood Trail is a lengthy hiking trail that stretches 30 miles from W Burnside Road to NW Newberry Road. Tourists who are up for the challenge can hike the entire trail, which can take a full day. But others who hike part of it can still see much of the forest.
You can hike, ride a bike, and even take a drive through the park to explore it in a short time. Parking is free and open to the public; however, it’s shared with the neighboring community. Be mindful of the posted parking signs to avoid being ticketed.
4. Pearl District
— Jennifer hatfield (@DiagramGirl) November 26, 2015
Pearl District is a popular site for people of all ages to enjoy. Boasting the highest concentration of art galleries in Portland, it’s an art lovers’ paradise. Plan your visit around the first Thursday of the month to experience the First Thursday Street Gallery, an outdoor art gallery that features artwork from local artists.
If you like to read, Powell’s City of Books is a bookstore with five floors covering an entire city block. And Deschutes Brewery & Public House is one of the state’s most popular breweries, known for its delicious burgers, pizzas, and of course, the beer!
Families with children frequent Jamison Square for its water fountain that empties water into a surrounding basin. Kids love to splash around in the shallow basin as the fountain shoots streams of water into the air.
5. Pittock Mansion
Pittock mansion at 6am pic.twitter.com/zdFLDMsBai
— . (@Nurriiam) October 29, 2018
Pittock Mansion is a historic chateau that features 23 rooms, including a library, a Turkish smoking room, and even an elevator. Its owner, Henry Pittock, requested the mansion be built by the renowned architect Edward T. Foulkes in 1912. He wanted it to mimic the buildings of the French Renaissance but with modern technology.
Today, tourists can visit the mansion to explore its many rooms that include various collections and exhibits, as well as views of downtown Portland and the Cascade Mountains. In addition, the site offers tours to visitors who want an in-depth explanation of its history. You can also visit the museum’s gift shop to shop for souvenirs to take home.
6. Portland Saturday Market
— TravelOregon (@TravelOregon) July 18, 2018
Commonscents Soaps is a popular vendor that carries dried French mill soaps made with organic oatmeal. And Forestlily Designs is a customer favorite that sells handcrafted rustic jewelry made from sterling and fine silver.
You can sample Bavarian roasted nuts from Moondrops as you peruse the market. The food vendor carries a number of snacks and beverages for visitors to enjoy. Or you might have a sip of wine at Catman Cellars, a boutique winery specializing in classic European varietals.
Visitors also enjoy the market’s various recreational activities, including henna tattoos and body massages.
The Portland Saturday Market is open every Saturday from March 5 to December 24. The site can get pretty busy, so try to arrive early to avoid the crowds.