Portland, known as the City of Roses, is the largest city in the state of Oregon and is generally considered the greenest city in the country and also one of the most liberal. It is also home to amazing brew pubs, wonderful coffee shops, nice museums, good restaurants and world famous bookstores. This is a wonderful city to spend a few days in before adventuring off to explore the amazing wilderness nearby.
Portland has roughly 2 million people living in the greater metro-area. The city was built near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers making it an important center for river traffic and the city's port is still very important to this day. When the town was first founded the two founding fathers of Asa Lovejoy and Francis W. Pettygrove both wanted to name the city after their home towns. This was settled on a 2 out of 3 coin toss and Pettygorve won. The Portland Penny can still be seen at the Oregon Historical Society. Portland was officially incorporated in 1851 as the county seat and grew from there.
Portland has mild weather year-round with rainy winters. Most of the rain falls from late October to early April, while snow is possible from December to February but only a few inches in total. The best time of the year to visit would be late spring to early fall. Average highs from June to September are mostly between 23 °C and 27 °C, with nights around 12-14 °C. Winters from December to February see highs of 7-10 °C with nights still above zero.
|Avg Max||7.4 °C||10.6 °C||13.3 °C||15.9 °C||19.5 °C||23.3 °C||26.6 °C||26.8 °C||23.7 °C||17.8 °C||11.4 °C||7.6 °C|
|Avg Min||0.9 °C||2.3 °C||3.7 °C||5.2 °C||8.3 °C||11.6 °C||13.6 °C||13.8 °C||11.1 °C||7.2 °C||4.2 °C||1.6 °C|
|Rainfall||135.9 mm||97.8 mm||90.4 mm||60.7 mm||52.3 mm||37.6 mm||16 mm||27.7 mm||44.4 mm||67.8 mm||135.6 mm||155.7 mm|
Portland International Airport (IATA: PDX, ICAO:KPDX) has numerous connections to other states and cities in the United States and destinations further away, for example to Canada and Japan. The budget airlines Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Jet Blue Airways operate out of this airport.
To/from the airport
A taxi from the airport to downtown is around $30. The MAX light rail red line, which has a stop right at the airport terminal, will cost only $2.30 and will take you directly downtown in about 40 minutes. This includes a transfer to any of the buses to get you to your final destination.
From Washington to the north and California as well as most of the rest of Oregon to the south, the easiest way to get to Portland is on Interstate 5. From Boise and other points east, Interstate 84 leads along the Columbia into Portland.
Greyhound has buses to other cities in Oregon and beyond.
No useful boat lines exist, although you can take cruises up and down the Willamette River and multi-day tourist cruises from Portand to Clarkston, Washington.
Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.
For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.
Most of downtown is covered by the Free Rail Zone, where rides on the MAX and Portland Streetcar are free as long as you board and leave within the zone.
A very special way of transport is the Portland Aerial Tram which connects the South Waterfront neighborhood to the Oregon Health Sciences University campus on a hill to the west. The trip offers an excellent view of Downtown and the surrounding area, with splendid views of the mountains as well.
Portland is a great city for walking around, and there are some excellent routes and maps available to make the most out of your foot-trip.
Check the options for renting a bicycle. Portland probably is one of the best cities in the USA to get around by bike.
Foodies may find their nirvana in Portland. With its location in one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the nation, an abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood raised not far from its boundaries, award-winning wines and beers, and a food culture that supports food artisans and emphasizes local, seasonal food served fresh, it's no surprise that the culinary scene in Portland has received national attention in recent years. Restaurants and food carts have popped up in large number throughout the city, making it quite easy to enjoy a good meal at a reasonable price.
Portland has an amazing selection of farmers markets. The PSU Saturday Market offers a wide range of cuisines made from healthy, local ingredients, and is great if you only have time for one. The downtown core is home to a small army of food carts; with less overhead than the traditional indoor restaurant, you can pick up a delicious meal on the cheap and choose from a variety of foods including Indian, Mexican, pastries, and hot dogs.
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Portland is famous for its Brew Pubs, Microbreweries and Ale Houses. There are many to chose from and for the big beer fan they could spend a lot of time trying the different beers at these pubs. Many of the pubs and microbreweries also serve good food making for a solid evening out. At many of the brew pubs it is not possible to buy there beer anywhere but at the pub.
|AAE Banfield Portland||1525 N E 37th Ave||Hostel||74|
|AAE Portland Downtown||415 SW Montgomery Street||Hotel||72|
|Courtesy Inn Motel Portland||11324 NE Sandy Blvd.||Hotel||-|
|HI - Portland - Hawthorne||3031 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Oregon||Hostel||79|
|HI - Portland - Northwest||425 NW 18th Avenue Oregon||Hostel||85|
|Portland Pensione||109 ne san rafael st. Portland, Oregon||Guesthouse||-|
|Portland Hawthorne Guesthouse||1235 SE Salmon St||Guesthouse||-|
|Howard Johnson PDX||8247 N.E. Sandy Blvd||Hotel||-|
|Motel 6 Portland East - Troutdale||1610 Nw Frontage Road I-84 at Exit #17 Troutdale||HOTEL||-|
|Northwest Portland Guesthouse||425 NW 18th Avenue||GUESTHOUSE||-|
Former Oregon Governor Tom McCall (to whom a major riverfront park downtown is dedicated) said in a 1971 speech, somewhat famously, "We want you to visit our State of Excitement often. Come again and again. But for heaven's sake, don't move here to live. Or if you do have to move in to live, don't tell any of your neighbors where you are going."
Since then, the Governor's request has been widely repeated by people who ignore it, then quote it. Around 2009, Portland was one of the hardest cities in which to find work. Underemployment is a rampant problem, and wages tend to be artificially low compared to the cost of living. These forces combine to make Portland a tough job market to navigate. Many Portlanders commute to one of the suburbs such as Hillsboro or Beaverton. You are likely better off moving to one of those cities instead however, unless you like taking overcrowded light-rail trains or sitting in perpetual gridlock for 2 hours in the morning. Just ask a local.
There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.
See also International Telephone Calls
The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.
The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.
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