Arriving into Portland, Oregon:
The "Rose City", as Portland Oregon is referred to is a beautiful place to visit no matter the time of year. Flying into Portland International Airport (PDX), you will be only about 30 minutes east of the main downtown area. The MAX line will take you directly from PDX Airport to downtown Portland and beyond. The fair to take the MAX train from the airport to downtown is all of $2 and should take about 35-40 minutes. You can buy your ticket right near the baggage claim area of PDX Airport. Portland International Airport serves all major airlines like United, American, Southwest, Alaska, Delta, Continental, and Lufthansa. There are door to door shuttle buses that transfer passengers from PDX to whatever your destination may be. Check with your hotel staff to see if they provide a courtesy shuttle back and forth from their location. All the major rental car companies like Hertz, Budget, Avis, Dollar and Enterprise operate out of Portland Airport and driving in and around Portland Oregon is not too difficult. In fact, I would say it's advisable to get a rental car when visiting Portland since many of the things to see are just a short drive from the downtown area. If you are driving into the city, take Hwy 205 South from the airport until you reach Hwy 84 and take that West into the city.
Portland offers plenty for singles as well as married couples with kids to do. There are dozens of beer pubs, plenty of shopping, museums, restaurants and the famed Saturday Market under the Burnside Bridge. The Rose Garden is a favorite spot of mine in Washington Park. The view and collection of roses is incredible. In the same vicinity are the Japanese Gardens (open Daily). The grounds are beautiful and ticket prices are $8/adult and $5.25 for students. The website is at Japanesegarden.com. If you wind your way back to the Burnside area of town, you will find the Portland Chinese Garden on NW 3rd & Everett. The garden is open year round and admission is reasonable ($7/adult, $5.50/students). Down below we will get into the major attractions around the Portland Metro area.
Getting Around Portland Oregon:
The TriMet Max lines that run throughout the downtown area of Portland, OR are an excellent way to see the city without having to walk miles. Hop on and off at various stops and avoid having to drive your car and pay for parking. The city buses will also take you around Portland and they stop at convenient places like Pioneer Square, the Pearl District, the waterfront, Portland Art Museum, the Portland Zoo and more. Trimet.org
provides detailed maps, schedules and fares so that you can plan your travel accordingly. Keep in mind that Portland is not a very big city and when the weather is nice it's really beautiful to walk the streets and stroll along the waterfront (especially during the events and festivals). If you are up for a river cruise, we suggest an old fashioned paddle wheel experience at Sternwheelerrose.com
. For a faster and more exciting tour of the Willamette River in the Portland area, try the Willamette Jetboat Excursions that depart from OMSI in downtown Portland. The boats run from April to September and cost $31/adult and $19/kids. The website for bookings and reservations is at Willamettejet.com
Portland Oregon Weather:
Having lived in Portland, Oregon for almost 6 years now and having visited for nearly 15, I have a pretty solid understanding of how the weather works. From late October to early March expect rain showers on and off with periodic storms that dump inches of rain and occassional snow on the valley floors. It's not that you wouldn't want to visit Portland in the dead of winter, but certainly other times of the year are much more favorable. I really enjoy the springtime around here with flowers in full bloom and snow covered Mt. Hood off in the distance. Winters can be cold (in the 30's) while the summer months can easily get into the mid to high 90's. Unless you are coming for the skiing on Mt. Hood, I recommend planning your trip for late spring through early fall for the best weather and chance to get outdoors and do all sorts of fun activities. For the latest 10 day forecast in Portland, OR go
Where to Stay - Best Hotels in Portland, Oregon:
Downtown Portland is not very big and there are plenty of hotels to choose from so that your location is central to everything. If you enjoy views of the waterfront, we suggest staying at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront
on SW Naito Parkway. There official website is HERE
. The location leaves you within easy walking distance of many of the downtown stores and activities. Another favorite location of ours is the Embassy Suites Hotel
in downtown Portland, OR. The main website for the hotel is HERE
and its location off of SW Pine Street is convenient to the Saturday Market, Pioneer Courthouse Square, Waterfront and the Rose Garden. Prices for hotels rooms in Portland vary from $120 to $240 a night.
Multnomah Falls - Mt. Hood - Art Museum - OMSI:
One of the main reasons families are drawn to Portland, OR is because the city is small enough to navigate and it's located only 1 1/2 hours from the Oregon coast and even less than that to the ski areas around Mt. Hood. Within the downtown vicinity, we suggest touring the OMSI
(Oregon Museum of Science & Industry) which is on the east side of the Willamette River. There are exhibits for all ages with fun areas of exploration for even the youngest children in your group. OMSI.edu
is a great place to start to see what exhibits are currently being shown. The museum has seasonal hours and admission is $9/adult and $7/youth. Check the website for the latest activities and hours. There is an IMAX theater at OMSI that shows some incredible movies (cost is extra) so be sure to see what is playing while you are there. The Portland Art Museum
is another excellent place to pass your time while in Portland. The Museum carries special exhibits throughout the year plus houses some great artwork. You can find them online at Portlandartmuseum.org
and museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday (10AM-5PM, 8PM Thurs) and Sunday 12PM-5PM (Closed Monday). Admission is $10/adults, $6/youth (5-18) and children 4 and under are FREE. After spending some time in town, we strongly suggest taking a drive down Hwy 84 (about 20 minutes past Troutdale) towards the Columbia River Gorge out to famous Multnomah Falls
. The waterfall drops 620 from Larch Mountain into a big pool down below. Parking is in the middle of the highway (some people miss it) and you take an underground passage over to the main area. The drive up the gorge is beautiful with views stretching across the Columbia River over to the Washington side. There is a rather strenuous hike that takes you up to the top of the falls if you have the energy. A little farther afield is Mt. Hood
which offers great skiing in the winter and outdoor fun in the summer. Even if you only go for the day, be sure to drive up to Timberline Lodge (Timberlinelodge.com) and have lunch overlooking the mountain and ski slopes. Driving in the winter time can be treacherous since the mountain regularly gets large amounts of snow (carry chains).