The Insider’s Guide to Portland

At one time Portland, Oregon was one of the west coast’s best-kept secrets. The city’s natural inclination for sustainable living and good food is surpassed only by its unique sense of humor. Beyond the national attention it has attracted, thanks to the television show Portlandia, lies a quiet city with activities for every age.

Portland Tilt-shift


Urban dwellers and foodies alike appreciate Portland’s thriving food cart and artisan food culture. Any visit to Portland should include a stop at one of Portland’s many food cart hubs. Portland boasts one of the first food carts in the country that is dedicated to the popular paleo-style diet. The Cultured Caveman offers bone broth, local grass-fed beef dishes and paleo-friendly desserts.

Voodoo Donuts is another cannot miss spot. They sell the one-of-a-kind, sinfully delicious bacon-maple bar. Although the lines frequently wrap around the building, it is worth the wait to enjoy the kitschy decor and off-the-wall doughnut combinations.

Only in Portland can you take the Brew Bus, a four-hour tour of Portland’s microbreweries. The tour stops at twenty different breweries and includes samples. If taking the bus does not seem environmentally friendly enough, another company offers brewery tours by bicycle.


The Portland Art Museum (PAM), located in the park blocks, has several permanent exhibits of Asian art. It also hosts traveling exhibits from all over the world. A few blocks away from PAM is the Oregon Historical Society Museum. Here, visitors can explore a freestanding timeline of Oregon’s history.

While downtown, be sure to visit Portland’s Saturday Market, a showcase for local arts and crafts. Saturday Market has been a Portland staple for almost forty years. During most of the year, the market is only open on the weekends. During the holidays, it is open seven days a week.

For kids

The Portland Children’s Museum is one of the best places to take children aged eight and under. The museum has a kid-size market filled with play food, small shopping carts and several beeping cash registers. The theater area gives kids the chance to dress up, as well as play with stage lighting and sound effects. Portland’s love of recycling is highlighted at the digging pit. It features recycled rubber pellets in place of dirt.

Older children will enjoy OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. The sprawling museum has notable permanent exhibits, but also hosts traveling science shows. Past shows have included Grossology: The Science of Really Gross Things and Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition. Although OMSI is geared towards older children, there is a play area for children under six.

Beyond Portland

Portland is within driving distance of great skiing and hiking in one direction and the ocean in another. Mt. Hood and the Oregon Coast Aquarium both make fun day trips for the whole family.

Mt. Hood is a popular skiing and hiking destination that is only a one-hour drive outside of Portland. Timberline Lodge, built in the 1930s, showcases stunning woodcarving from that era. The lodge has been featured in several movies and television shows throughout the years.

Although Portland does not have an aquarium of its own, the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport is worth the drive. Visitors can walk through Passages of the Deep exhibit via clear underwater walkways. While in Newport, be sure to visit Rogue Ales microbrewery and restaurant. In true Oregon style, the restaurant is dog friendly and even offers a special menu for dogs.


About the author
Kevin Caldwell is the owner of Airport Hotel Guide. His company helps travelers find hotel accommodations near the airports they visit. Kevin enjoys traveling and often writes about his experiences giving advice to fellow travelers.