Surrounded by spectacular natural beauty, Portland offers visitors a creative journey through its eclectic arts, music, culinary and outdoor scenes, all set against the majestic backdrop of Mt. Hood. Reinforced with a thriving maker community, DIY drive and a passion for sustainability, Portland has an urban buzz waiting to be explored through every season. Read on to discover why Portland should be at the top of your holiday bucket list.
Recognised as one of the culinary capitals of the US, Portland’s foodie scene is second to none. From award-winning restaurants and celebrity chefs, to artisan coffee, doughnuts and craft beer, there is something for everyone. One of America’s most vegan-friendly cities, Portland has also championed the plant-based food movement and boasts the world’s first vegan mini mall. The city is home to an exciting calendar of annual food and drink festivals, including Feast Portland, the Portland Craft Beer Festival, I Love Gamay and many more. A great way to explore Portland’s culinary offerings is to embark on a food and drink tour – on two wheels or walking – visiting food carts, microbreweries, urban wineries, cafés and, of course, doughnut shops.
With more than 200 parks and gardens within the city limits offering hiking, running and biking trails, Portland is a must for outdoor enthusiasts. Also known as the City of Roses, visitors will find multiple attractions, including the Portland International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden and Oregon Zoo in Washington Park just steps from downtown. Nearby, Forest Park welcomes animals and adventurers alike with 70 miles of trails and an iconic viewing spot of the city and surrounding mountains from Pittock Mansion. Mount Tabor in southeast Portland is a dormant volcano and forested urban park, with views, trails, picnic areas and a playground.
The city has many vibrant neighbourhoods, each with a unique flavour and a host of independent eateries, bars and cafes. You’ll find contemporary art galleries in the Pearl District, independent boutiques and international chains in Nob Hill and whimsical street art in the Alberta Arts District. Hawthorne’s indie spirit is reflected in its vintage stores and the laid back Bagdad Theatre and Pub. (Note to shoppers: there’s no sales tax in Oregon!)
Not-to-be-missed attractions can be found throughout the city. Iconic music venues such as the Doug Fir Lounge, Aladdin Theatre and Mississippi Studios have seen many young bands rise to fame. Downtown, you’ll find Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest new and used bookstore that spans three floors and an entire city block, and the Portland Farmers Market where visitors find local bounty from the region’s independent farms and food producers all year ‘round.
Getting into and around the city is easy with the MAX Light Rail system running from the airport to downtown and beyond for $2.50. Downtown is completely walkable and cyclists have it easy with dedicated cycling lanes, parking and Biketown cycle-sharing scheme.
Icelandair offers seasonal service from Dublin to Portland via Reykjavik from April to October. Delta Air Lines serves Portland with a daily direct flight from London Heathrow from May to October.