20 BEST things to do in Portland Oregon

Portland is in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, famous for its coffee, brewpubs and green spaces.

Citybop has the coolest things to do in Portland 

Portland Oregon is in the beautiful Pacific Northwest of the USA. It's a quirky, ultra-liberal town famous for its coffee, restaurants, microbreweries, and hipster hotels.  

There are an abundance of lush gardens and green spaces around the city, home to the largest urban park in the U.S.  Each neighborhood has its own distinctive vibe, with popular shopping strips like Mississippi Ave, Alberta Arts and NW 23rd.  Find the best things to do in Portland.

Portland's exquisite gardens

Portland's temperate climate and fertile soil is perfect for gardens. These gorgeous gardens are some of the best things to do in Portland.

Washington Park in the southwest hills has two world-class gardens; the popular Portland Japanese Garden, and enchanting Rose Garden. Across the river in North Portland, Peninsula Park is home to an early 1900's sunken rose garden. The Grotto in North-East Portland is a 62-acre sanctuary that attracts visitors from around the world. The tranquil Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is in southwest Portland, and has abundant birdlife on a picturesque lake.

Old Town Portland

Step into the heart of Portland's oldest neighborhood.  The atmospheric Pine Street Market in Old Town is full of delicious food vendors.  Don't forget to stop at Voodoo Donuts along the way for one of their quirky creations. Take a photo at the Keep Portland Weird sign, across the road from Voodoo.

China Town

Wander the grounds of the stunning Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland's China Town, and stop for refreshments at the traditional Tea House.  The calendar is full of popular events like the magical Chinese New Year Lantern Viewing Festival.

Portland's downtown museums

The excellent Portland Art Museum is in the heart of downtown.  It has gallery space encompassing 112,000 square feet.  Just across the road is the Oregon Historical Society Museum with fascinating exhibits documenting the history of this region.  Learn about the mass migration of people from the midwest across the 2,000 mile Oregon Trail, in search of a better life.

Pittock Mansion

The exquisite Pittock Mansion is a must-see, built by Portland pioneers Henry and Georgiana Pittock.  It's one of the most stunning things to do in Portland.  The Pittock Mansion is in the West Hills of Portland with magnificent views of the city.  There's also a lovely hike up to Pittock Mansion that starts at the Lower MacLeay Trail.

Powells Books

Powells Books is the world's largest, independent bookstore with an incredible selection of 2 million titles.  It's just north of downtown.

Local theaters

The Portland Center Stage at the Armory is a renowned theater group housed in a magnificent, historic building in the Pearl District.  Each season they present an average of 10-12 shows.  

The leafy South Park Blocks is in the old theater district of Portland, with the striking Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, and adjacent Antoinette Hatfield Hall.  The Keller Auditorium is closer to the waterfront.  

Trendy Pearl District

The Pearl District is famous for its blend of modern architecture, historic buildings, and unique public spaces.  Visit sophisticated restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, and the world's largest independent bookstore, Powells Books

Stop for dinner at upscale restaurants like Le PigeonBlue Hour, or Andina, or hip restaurants like Oven and Shaker (pizza). Choose from fun brewpubs like Deschutes Brewery10 Barrel Brewing or Von Ebert Brewing.  Grab a coffee at Barista, or watch a live performance at the Portland Center Stage at The Armory

There are three lovely parks in the Pearl; Jamison SquareTanner Springs Park and The Fields.  Include the Pearl on your list of things to do in Portland.

European inspired Nob Hill

Nob Hill is one of Portland's most popular shopping areas.  It's located on the West Side of Portland just a few blocks from the Pearl District.  Stroll along tree-lined NW 23rd for a great selection of clothing stores, gift shops and restaurants.  This is one of Portland's prettiest streets with a distinctively European vibe.  Some of the best picks for brunch include Besaws or Papa Haydn.  Enjoy a coffee at trendy Barista on 23rd.

Cool Mississippi Ave

Historic Mississippi Ave is located on the East Side of Portland across the Fremont Bridge.  Start at the intersection of North Mississippi Avenue and Fremont to explore this trendy shopping district.  Stop for a sweet treat at Ruby Jewel Scoops, or indulge at the decadent Meadow Chocolate and Wine

North Mississippi is also a great destination for dinner, including the atmospheric Interurban Publican's Table, and Por Que No Mexican restaurant.  North Mississippi is on everyone's list of fun things to do in Portland.

Alberta Arts District

The Alberta Arts District has a wonderfully eclectic street along NE Alberta.  Experience popular restaurants like Pine State Biscuits and the Tin Shed Garden Cafe with comfort food in a casual, relaxed atmosphere.  Get a feel for an authentic Portland neighborhood.

The sleek and sophisticated West End

The West End in downtown Portland has Portland's hippest restaurants with gorgeous styling, like Tasty n Alder, Bamboo Sushi, and Cheryls on 12th.  

Best shopping in downtown Portland

Check out the best shopping in downtown Portland.  This includes department stores like Nordstrom and the Pioneer Place Mall

There's also major brand experience stores like the Nike flagship store, and cool independent boutiques.  Check out the hipster-inspired Union Way Portland shopping arcade. 

Best things to do with kids in Portland

Portland is a kid-friendly town.  Drive up to beautiful Washington Park to visit the Oregon Zoo and fun Portland Childrens Museum.  There's also a fabulous playground at Washington Park.  

Cross the river to visit OMSI in southwest Portland.  It has a planetarium, laser light shows and motion simulator ride, and play area for little kids.  

The Pearl District near downtown has Jamison Square with a splashpad for kids, and The Fields park with a playground and sandpit.  When in downtown Portland, find a cool selection of unique gifts at Finnegans Toys.