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Portland Travel Tips

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Set amid the lush forests of the Oregon countryside; Portland is an oasis of urban cool. The hipster population has brought cutting-edge culture to the city, from art shows to experimental theater, and there’s a wealth of museums and galleries to explore. The urban landscape is broken up by the Willamette River which runs through the city, as well as large parks where you can enjoy the changing seasons.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

Spring and early summer are popular times to visit Portland, with the Portland Rose Festival in late May luring visitors to see the blooms, and only light spring showers to contend with. Summers bring long days and balmy evenings perfect for outdoor events such as the Waterfront Blues Festival. The fall foliage gives the city a warm glow, and winter can be very wet, although the temperatures don't generally drop below freezing, and so you can still explore when wielding an umbrella as long as you have a back up plan to see indoor attractions.

 

Not to Miss

 

There's many major events throughout the year in Portland, from the unashamedly cultural to the fun and family friendly. The Chinese New Year is celebrated with lanterns and cultural events at the walled Lan Su Chinese Garden, and the Women’s Film Festival in spring brings diverse screenings from the best female filmmakers from around the world. The Beer and Wine Festival around April allows you to try local produce and drinks, while kookier events include zombie walks and the annual ZooLights display at Oregon Zoo.

 

Getting around

 

The city is well served by Portland International Airport, with flights arriving from across the USA, as well as a few services direct from Europe. Portland likes to encourage the use of public transport, and the airport is connected to the city via the MAX Light Rail service. There's a streetcar that circuits around the downtown area, as well as plenty of bus and light rail services to the suburbs and beyond. Another popular arrival point is Union Station, which has Amtrak services that connect to Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, and other major cities.

 

Cuisine

 

The city's reputation for being eco-friendly extends to its food scene, with locally sourced and sustainably grown ingredients that are cooked to perfection. You'll find many restaurants serving American favorites, such as burgers and steaks, but with their own flair and unusual twists to turn them into culinary masterpieces. The close proximity to the coast means that you can enjoy freshly caught salmon and shellfish in Portland, and craft beers and wines are very popular accompaniments to meals.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

Portland is a friendly city which is liberal and diverse, with a large LGBT population, and welcoming locals. As in most American cities, service staff rely on tips, and so 15-20% is standard in restaurants and for cab drivers. When being served at a coffee shop or food cart, a dollar in the tip jar is always appreciated by those who have helped you out, and hotel staff who handle luggage also expect a small token of your appreciation.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 610000

Spoken languages: English

Electrical: The USA runs on 120V, 60 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +1 503911