Explore Portland with Expedia’s Travel Guides to find the best hotels, flights, holiday packages and more!
The largest city in the state of Oregon, Portland began life as a bustling port, once known for organised crime and racketeering at the turn of the 20th century, but today more aligned with the liberal values that flourished in the city in the 1960s. Recognised as one of the most environmentally conscious cities for its large community of bicyclists and farm-to-table dining, Portland is synonymous with its thriving counterculture and open-minded attitude to life. Its unique climate of dry summers and cool, rainy winters also make it ideal for growing roses, earning Portland the title of the ‘City of Roses.’
With a hire car, you will be able to explore Portland fully, as well as venture beyond the city limits to destinations such as the Mt Hood National Forest (an hour and a half’s drive from the city centre), which boasts some outstanding areas of natural beauty, from forested mountains and lakes to Mount Hood itself – a stratovolcano that towers over the forest below.
Fly into Portland International Airport and from there it’s an easy 20-minute drive along the 30B, the I-5 and the I-405 to the centre of the city.
With a hire car, other destinations also become available for you to explore, from Salem (an hour’s drive) the capital city of the state and home to the Oregon Garden – a beautiful 80-acre botanical garden and amphitheatre, with water features, wetlands and an extensive forest. Beaverton is also within easy reach, just a 20-minute drive away, where you can enjoy one of the many wine tours which this area is famous for, or take a hike through the Tualatin Hills Nature Park.
Choose from a wide selection of hire car providers in Portland to suit every budget and requirement, from Alamo and Thrifty to Avis and Hertz.
Oregon Zoo is a popular attraction for adults and children alike, featuring a host of endangered animals including a much-loved family of elephants. Washington Park is also a picturesque oasis of calm, boasting a picturesque Japanese garden, as well as a rose garden showcasing the flowers the city is so famous for. For those looking for a slice of culture, the Portland Art Museum boasts an outstanding collection of Asian, American & Native American art, while the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry provides the chance to explore a range of hands-on exhibits, as well as a planetarium.
Further afield, the city of Gresham is just a 40-minute drive away, located on the banks of the Columbia river, where you can climb to the top of Crown Point to enjoy unrivalled views across the water and the landscape beyond. Vancouver is also just a 20-minute drive along the I-5 highway (across the river) where you can explore the Pearson Air Museum – a large hanger displaying World War I-era planes.
Driving in Portland, like much of America, is largely straightforward, with wide lanes and simple road layouts. Cars drive on the right-hand side of the road and you can overtake on both sides. You can also perform a U-turn at the end of most junctions – it will be marked if you are not allowed to do so.
Most American cars are automatic, so remember to request a stick shift if you would prefer one.
Feeling inspired to start exploring Portland and other parts of Oregon? Check out this city guide and use the Expedia search tool to help you find the best car hire, flight and hotel deals and research the best attractions and activities.
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