Top 10 Portland To-Do’s

Portland Timbers FC Game

I must say, as a huge Portland Timbers FC fan, being in the Timbers Amy on a hot summer day, with a cold beer, while waving a flag around is one of the top five things I miss. If you happen to be in Portland during the soccer season, try and snag yourself a ticket to a match. The stadium has recently expanded its seating, and the food is actually quite good - lots of local eats are available inside. And don’t forget to wear green and gold.

Powell’s Books

Powell’s is the largest, independently owned bookstore in the US - possibly the world (sorry, Strand). I spent many childhood afternoons here thumbing through books in the cafe with my parents. This Portland staple has opened a number of smaller locations scattered across the metro area, but be sure to visit the main location on Burnside.

Rose Garden & Japanese Garden

Portland is also known as the Rose City because she hosts the International Rose Test Garden. It is a fragrant and beautiful place to visit so long as it isn’t raining. There are over 650 varieties of roses, and over 10,000 rose bushes. The nearby Japanese Garden is a serene place to enjoy both art and culture.


The Oregon Health and Science University tram is a cheap and quick way to get a great view of Portland. The aerial tram costs $4.90 to ride, and takes you from the southern end of the Portland waterfront to the top of the Marquam Hill, which connects the two OHSU campuses. The tram is frequented by employees, patients and tourists alike. From the tram, you’ll see downtown Portland, the green hills of Forest Park, the Willamette River, and Mount Hood.

Nature Hike & Columbia River Gorge

If you like the outdoors, you’re going to love Oregon. There are so many hikes that can be done right in the middle of Portland, and many more that can be done just outside of the city. A favorite of mine is the Upper Macleay Trail, which leads from Cornell Road up to Pittock Mansion, where you can enjoy stunning views of Portland, and Mount Hood. You can also check out the beautiful gardens of the mansion and do a tour of the inside if you so desire.

Columbia River Gorge is also great for sailing, boating, and windsurfing if the conditions are right. Local favorite hikes include Dog Mountain and Angel’s Rest.

Multnomah Falls

This is the one that’s on all the Oregon postcards. Very iconic. I would suggest seeing it, but be warned there is a lot of tourist traffic here, for good reason!

McMennamin’s Edgefield

McMennamin’s Edgefield is a little bit outside of Portland, about a 30 minute drive east. The grounds are huge and there are so many fun things to do here. They brew beer and spirits on site, and you can play golf, soak in a pool, or even see a concert. I saw Sam Smith on his very first US tour. There are tiny little bars inside sheds, and murals all over the Grand Lodge. You can even golf on site. I would suggest booking a room for a night to get the full effects, and so that you can take advantage of all the bars on site - if you can find them all.

Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market is actually open both Saturday and Sunday, from March through Christmas. Located under the Burnside Bridge, it boasts local art, hip jewelry, freshly fried churros, boba tea stands, henna stalls, and more. It usually comes with an array of street performers as well. It’s a colorful scene, especially on a sunny summer day. After walking the market, you can head to the waterfront and take a stroll along the Willamette River. If you’re lucky, the brew festival might be going on at the same time.

Brewery Tours

While cities like Seattle and Denver have tried to claim the crown for Beer City of America, Portland still holds the record for most microbreweries per capita. Bragging rights. As an Oregonian, it’s probably one of the things I miss most about the upper left side of the country. If you like beer, go on a walking brew tour - or better yet, go on a group cycling brew tour - and don’t worry, you’re only cycling to power the barge, so technically it’s not drinking and cycling.

Food Carts

Last but not least, Portland is a mecca for delicious yet affordable food. I lived off food carts when I was in college at Portland State Uni. Unfortunately, due to the booming real estate market in Portland, many lots of food carts have recently been bought and turned into condominiums. The Third Avenue Food Cart Pod still stands - across from the country’s brand new and biggest Muji. Hawthorne Food Carts is another great spot if you’re on the east side of town; I suggest Potato Champion.