There are many good guides to Portland, both on paper and online — http://www.travelportland.com is hard to beat. This list is not intended to compete with them; instead it offers some hints about places that Portlanders like to hang out, and things that we like to do.
McMenamins is a Portland-are institution. It’s a chain of 65 brewpubs, breweries, music venues, historic hotels, and theater pubs, many of them in quirky old buildings that probably would have been torn-down and re-developed if the McMenamin brothers hadn’t bought them and turned them into brewpubs. Within easy reach of the Marriott are Ringler’s Pub (the ground floor of the Crystal Ballroom), Ringler’s Annex in the historic Flatiron Building, and the Mission Theatre & Pub (a Remodeled evangelical mission). Check out http://www.mcmenamins.com
The Roxy, at 1121 SW Stark St. http://www.theroxydiner.com/ (but http://www.yelp.com/biz/the-roxy-portland may be more informative). This lace is definitely working on "keeping Portland weird”. It’s an almost-24-hour diner that’s a great place to see Portland at its finest, especially late at night. They are vegetarian-friendly and have the best jukebox I’ve seen. Their omelets are probably bigger than your head and if you order coffee, you get cream in a baby bottle — Tim Chevalier
Voodoo Donuts. 26 SW 3rd Avenue Portland, open 24/7. http://voodoodoughnut.com/
Noble Rot Wine Bar http://noblerotpdx.com/ at 1111 E. Burnside, on the Fourth Floor, was Sunset Magazine’s Best Wine Bar in 2009. Don ’t miss their fabled Caramelized Onion Tart
Portland City Grill http://portlandcitygrill.com/ Expensive restaurant located on the 30th floor of “Big Pink” (111 SW 5th Ave) with a fine view over the city. Happy hour is a bargain — 16:30 to 18:30 and 22:00 to midnight (not on Friday).
Bistro Marquee http://www.bistromarquee.com at 200 SW Market closes at 20:30 and can be busy before an opera (it’s across from the opera house), but otherwise offers good food in an all-too hard to find environment where you can hear your friends talk.
Veritable Quandary http://www.veritablequandary.com/ at 1220 SW 1st Ave, is one of my favorite restaurants in downtown. The also have a late night bar menu, serving until midnight. Reservations recommended.
Fonda Rosa http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/24/353184/restaurant/Kerns/Fonda-Rosa-Portland at 108 NE 28th Ave (at Couch, 1 block from the Burnside Bus number 20). Quality handmade Mexican food that doesn’t leave you feeling overstuffed.
3 doors down. Excellent neighborhood restaurant in the trendy Hawthorne district, at 1429 SE 37th Ave. (http://3doorsdowncafe.com/) Expensive. Reservations recommended. Happy hour Tuesday-Thursday 17:00–21:30. Take the Hawthorne Bus (number 14) to 37th Ave.
Beast http://beastpdx.com/ at 30th Ave at NE Killingsworth. Tim O’Conner writes: is pricey but worth it for the out of town foody. Chef Naomi Pomeroy (recently seen on TV on Top Chef Masters) cooks an incredible prix fixe menu. No choices, no substitutions, no regrets. Vegetarians will not be pleased.
Find a happy hour near you: http://www.barflymag.com/happy-hour
Drink a local beer: http://www.google.com/search?q=portland+brewpubs
Eat at a food cart: http://www.foodcartsportland.com/maps/
View Food Carts Portland in a larger map
Lan Su Chinese Garden http://www.lansugarden.org, built by Suzhou classical gardeners. NW 3rd and Everett — where the Perl district meets the Esplanade; a haven of peace in downtown. A city block with pagodas and water features; it also contains tea house, where you can purchase an enormous range of teas and a few light snacks. — Cynthia Gens. Student ID gets you a discount on admission.
Portland Japanese Garden http://japanesegarden.com/ is one of the best in the USA, with great views over the city. Closes at 16:00. Bus 63 (weekdays only) connects to the MAX stations at Jeld-Wen field and Washington Park. Or walk uphill through Washington Park via Salmon Street and Park Place — about 2 miles from the Marriott. Visit the International Rose Test Garden on the way.
Multnomah Village and Hillsdale sidewalk cafe vibe in the SW suburbs.
Ground Kontrol http://groundkontrol.com a downtown “classic” coin-op video and pinball arcade. 511 NW Couch St,
Powell’s Technical Books http://www.powells.com/locations/ (now called Powells 2), at 40 NW 10th Ave, just across the street from the main location Powell’s City of Books at 1005 W. Burnside. Powell’s may well be the largest bookstore in the USA.
Juanita Ewing recommends a tour of the city with an eye for Public Art, from Trompe-l’œil murals to bronze animals in pools along Yamhill. View the map: http://www.travelportland.com/things-to-see-and-do/pdfs/public-art-guide-2010
Thursday, 27th October is Last Thursday on Alberta. Galleries, sidewalk vendors and olive music. NE Alberta between 12th and 30th Streets NE. http://www.lastthursdayonalberta.com/
Go Shopping! There is no sales tax in Oregon. Many shops are on the 4th and 5th Avenue bus mall; if it’s raining, consider Pioneer Place (between 3rd and 5th Avenues at Yamhill St), a fine three square-block, multi-story indoor mall with the usual signature stores (including an Apple Store) http://www.pioneerplace.com/
Walk (or run) the Willamette riverfront. (It’s pronounced will-am-it, and rhymes with damm-it.) From the Hawthorne bridge, walk North along the riverfront to the Steel Bridge, where a low-level pedestrian and bicycle bridge will take you to the Eastside Esplanade. Head south until you are under the Hawthorne Bridge again, where a path climbs up onto the sidewalk of the bridge, and will lead you back to your starting point. The loop is 2.6 miles, and is a popular running route at lunchtime.
Dance! AltTango at Norse Hall (111 NE 11th Av — corner of NE 11th & Couch) One of the most popular and fun-filled tango dances in town! Rotating guest DJ’s play a mixture of classic, traditional tango sets alternated with a wide range of alternative tango music — from tango nuevo to international music, funk, rock, blues, and jazz. Every Wednesday: 7:30pm lesson, dancing 8:30pm to Midnight. For more information please contact AmyPK at 503-577-0564 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go RollerSkating http://oakspark.com/ at Oaks Bottom amusement park. Martin Cenek writes: why is it fun? No previous experience necessary, no great fitness needed, but willingness to make a fool out of yourself required. Easily accommodates small and large groups alike, relaxing and “low pressure” environment with music played on a historic organ (overhead). Great for rainy days in Portland. Once I stuck around and watched the roller-derby team’s practice, and that was an experience on its own—definitely a funky Portland experience.
Eat Apples! during the weekend of October 17, 18, and 19, Portland Nursery will host its annual apple tasting (http://www.portlandnursery.com/events/appletasting.shtml) from 10am to 5pm each day. The event is free. It’s a fun chance to taste almost every type of apple grown in the “fruit loop” (a stretch of land near Hood River, OR, known for its excellent orchards). There are usually around 60 types of apples, as well as fresh-pressed apple cider. The tasting is held outdoors (bring a jacket), and it’s a good event for families or groups
Ride the Tram from the South end of the streetcar line, the “tram” — actually an ariel gondola — will take you up to “Pill Hill”, the site of Oregon Health and Science University. Great views.
Rent a bike see Portland like a native. Many locations, but Waterfront Bikes http://www.waterfrontbikes.com/ is probably one of the most convenient.
Astoria Veronika Megler writes: for foreigners, something I strongly recommend as a day trip is: drive to Astoria, Oregon via highway 30; visit the Astoria column and look at the scenery; stop in Astoria downtown for lunch; cross the Astoria-Megler bridge and drive back to Portland along Highway 4. There are viewpoints over the Columbia River along both highways, and it’s a very pretty drive — quite different in each direction. Astoria is a lovely historic fishing town that is making a comeback. The view of the Columbia River from Astoria is truly impressive: you get a real understanding of how massive the river is.
*The Mount Hood Loop Tour take Highway 26 east to the small town of Government Camp, then up the Timberline Road up to Timberline Lodge, a depression-era construction project that changed lives then and still turns head today. Then return to Highway 26, and continue East onto Highway 35 and North to the town of Hood River, the windsurfing and kiteboarding capital of the NorthWest. Return to Portland through the spectacular Columbia River Gorge, getting off of Interstate-84 at Ainsworth State Park to take the Historic Highway past Multnomah Falls and up to the “Comfort Station” at Crown Point. If you start early, you can hike Eagle Creek on the way home http://www.google.com/search?tbm=isch&q=eagle+creek+oregon. If you want to eat dinner at Timberline Lodge, do this drive in the opposite direction.
Maryhill Museum is about 100 miles (1 hour 45 minutes via I-84) East of Portland, through the spectacular Columbia River Gorge. Maryhill houses a world-class collection of art ranging from early 20th century European works, to an extensive Native American collection. A scale replica of Stonehenge is nearby. Set in a castle-like chateau on a stunning 6,000-acre site overlooking the gorge, Maryhill was intended to be used as a residence by railroad baron Sam Hill, but the remote location and lack of water made this impossible. A friend of Sam Hill’s, Loïe Fuller, a pioneer of modern dance in Paris, convinced him to turn his mansion into a museum of art. Through her close association with well known artists in France, she helped obtain an impressive collection, including more than 80 works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin. Hill also transferred his own art collections to the museum, which was dedicated by Queen Marie of Romania in 1926, although it wasn’t completed until 1940. Have dinner in Hood River on the way home.
Columbia River Gorge is a National Scenic Area (http://www.fs.usda.gov/crgnsa) with short and long hikes and a bike trail along the Historic Columbia gorge Highway. Drive to Troutdale on I-84, and then take the Historic Highway through Troutdale Town Center up to Chanticeer Point (Women’s Forum Park) and Crown Point (for the Vista House). Then continue on through the waterfall area for hikes and views. By bicycle, take the MAX Green Line to the East end of the line in Gresham to avoid most of the urban streets. You can also make this an 85 mile full-day bike trip by taking the I-205 bridge bike path to Vancouver, WA, heading East on WA-14, crossing the Bridge of the Gods into Cascade Locks, and then heading back to Portland on the Historic Highway Bike Path. Bike map: http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/columbiagorgebikemap.pdf Eat at McMenamin’s Edgefield, a former Poor Farm converted into a brewpub and hotel complex, on your way home.