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What to do in Portland

Renowned for both its flourishing arts scene and status as America’s most environmentally friendly city, Portland is both Oregon’s largest habitation and one of the US’ fastest growing tourist destinations.

Whilst not one of America’s larger cities, Portland has developed a distinctive reputation for two things – the growing of beautiful roses and creativity. Indeed some of America’s most popular authors such as Chuck Palahniuk and Ursula K. Le Guin come from the city, alongside popular bands and musicians like The Dandy Warhols and the late Elliot Smith amongst many others.

Which such an impressive list of Portland natives, it’s no surprise that many of the city’s most popular destinations relate to the arts. Whilst small galleries can be found all over the trendy Pearl and Alberta Arts districts of the city, Portland Art Museum is the oldest on the West Coast and home to more than 42,000 works of art. For more modern tastes, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art is surely not to be missed whilst the Blue Sky Gallery is renowned for its exhibitions of both local and national photographers. Gamers are certain to find a piece of nirvana at Ground Kontrol – the city’s celebrated bar and arcade recognised as one of the best in America due to its focus on ‘golden age’ gaming.

Portland is also a centre of excellence in the performing arts with several prominent institutions such as the Oregon Ballet Theatre, Oregon Symphony and Oregon Opera. The city is also home to various off and off-off Broadway style venues such as the Miracle and Tears of Joy Theatres.

More traditional culture and arts are also extremely well represented in Portland, not least in the Lan Su Chinese Garden, a stunning walled garden covering an entire city block offering a wonderfully elegant representation of a traditional Suzhou style garden. Likewise, Washington Park offers more sculpted outdoor recreation that contains Oregon Zoo, the World Forestry Centre and the Portland Japanese Garden – a must for any visit to the city.

Whilst Oregon is famous for its arts, it is also a popular shopping destination, with many major stores and malls in the Pearl, Lloyd and Downtown Districts. The Portland Saturday Market offers something different, with a bazaar type of environment with everything from craft to food on sale. The Pearl District is also home to Powell’s World of Books – an enormous bookstore the size of a whole city block which is thought to be the largest in the world. It could only be in Portland.


Guide to Exploring Portland


Top Hotel Deals

See all 368 Hotels in Portland
Oakwood Portland Pearl District

Oakwood Portland Pearl District

1155 NW Everett Street, Portland
3.5
of 5, from 2 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Downtown Portland, this apartment is within a 15-minute walk of Art Institute of Portland, Providence Park, and Pioneer Courthouse Square. Moda Center and Portland State University are also within 1 mi (2 km).

£137
Hotel Modera

Hotel Modera

515 Southwest Clay St, Portland
4.3
of 5, from 1,017 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Downtown boutique hotel adjacent to light rail; close to Tom McCall Waterfront Park; within 4 blocks of Portland Art Museum.

£93
Heathman Lodge

Heathman Lodge

7801 NE Greenwood Dr, Vancouver
4.6
of 5, from 638 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Evoking a rustic mountain lodge, this four-story hotel is 5 miles from downtown Vancouver and 13 miles from downtown Portland; shopping and restaurants are within a half-mile.

£47
Ramada Portland Airport

Ramada Portland Airport

6221 NE 82nd Ave, Portland
2.9
of 5, from 1,789 reviews
2.5 out of 5.0

The Ramada Portland Airport is a half-mile from the Colwood National Golf Club and 1.5 miles from Portland International Airport.

£138
The Benson, a Coast Hotel

The Benson, a Coast Hotel

309 SW Broadway, Portland
4.3
of 5, from 1,194 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Built in 1913, this hotel is 4 blocks from Pioneer Square, MAX light rail trains, downtown shopping, and Pearl District shops, galleries, and restaurants. The Portland Center for the Performing Arts is nearby.

£102
Hotel Rose - A Piece of Pineapple Hospitality

Hotel Rose - A Piece of Pineapple Hospitality

50 SW Morrison Street, Portland
4.3
of 5, from 1,270 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Set across from the Willamette River and Tom McCall Waterfront Park, and river walk, this 5-story hotel is 4 blocks from downtown's Pioneer Place.

£71
Red Lion Hotel Portland Airport

Red Lion Hotel Portland Airport

7101 NE 82nd Ave, Portland
3.6
of 5, from 1,622 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Guests on the go appreciate the hotel's complimentary, 24-hour airport shuttle and a convenient location about 5 miles from Lloyd Center shopping and 8 miles from downtown Portland.

£106
The Westin Portland

The Westin Portland

750 Southwest Alder Street, Portland
4.3
of 5, from 449 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This downtown Portland hotel is close to the Pearl District's nightlife, prized restaurants, unique shops, arts/cultural venues, and the waterfront. It is also a few blocks from Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall and the Portland Art Museum.

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