Portland is a small town in the northwest of Oregon, USA. The Willamette River flows to its north, through its central areas, dividing the city into the west and east. Over 30 sleeping volcanoes surround it. Portland is a place where young people are "retiring". That means everyone can do anything with the soul component here. It's where a university professor can brew craft beer and produce unique honey. Friends can open a strange doughnut shop, which will become famous all over the world. And an 87-year-old man can be the oldest drag queen in the world. It's not for nothing that the city's main motto is "Keep Portland Weird". It's also the most bike-friendly, vibrant, and creative city in the United States.
Attractions of Portland
Portland is a diverse city where you can find attractions to suit every taste. It offers classic museums, green parks, a large zoo, unusual places and bars, historic buildings, and a lively downtown.
Portland is one of the least religious cities in the United States. Nearly 42% of the population consider themselves to be atheists or agnostics, 16% are Catholic, 6% are evangelical, 3% are Baptists, and the rest are Muslim, Jewish, and others.
In 1843, William Overton paid attention to this territory. But he lacked 25 cents (a large amount at the time) to repurchase it from the government. He turned to Asa Lovejoy, who contributed the missing amount and became a co-owner of the land. Overton later sold his share to Francis Pettygrove.
The official year the city was founded is 1845, when it was decided to call it Portland. And this process was quite unusual. Each of the owners (Pettygrove and Lovejoy) wanted to name the settlement after their home town. The dispute was resolved by flipping a coin. The Pettygrove's side fell out twice out of three, and he was from Portland, Maine. The coin that made the decision was named the Portland Penny (you can see it at the Oregon Historical Society Museum).
Portland began to thrive actively using its fertile land. In addition to agriculture, it developed cargo and river transport, fishing, and wood processing industries. During the First and Second World Wars, the city's military industry, primarily shipbuilding, was boosted.
The population of the city was growing in geometric progression. In 1850, a little over eight hundred people lived here, while in 1900, it was already about 90 thousand, and 20 years later, this figure reached 258 thousand. By 1950, there were over 373,000 people in Portland.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit Portland
January is the coldest month. During this time, the temperature drops to +4 °C. Touches of frost are quite rare, just like snowfalls. The average annual rainfall in Portland is 950 mm.
March is famous for its unusual Women's Film Festival, which features about 50 films made by women directors over four days.
In June, Portland hosts the Rose Festival, which features parades, dragon boat competitions, concerts, carnival processions, and fireworks.
In July, you can visit the Oregon Brewers Festival, the largest beer festival in the United States. During four days, the representatives of more than 80 craft breweries introduce their products to visitors. Here you can also enjoy some good music, taste delicious food and attend workshops.
It's better to use a Hop Fastpass to get around the city on public transport (trams, buses, and trains). You can use a mobile application to avoid buying a plastic card. The daily rate is $5 (one trip without a card will cost $2.5). All necessary information about Hop Fastpass can be found on the official website.
The first Voodoo Doughnut in the Old Town is opened 24 hours a day, but it's not so easy to get in because of the enormous queues. The lines are considerably shorter early in the morning and at night.
The city's guest website has a handy map with marked attractions, routes, and public transport stops, hotels, and venues. There are also brief descriptions of places with telephone numbers.
What should a tourist do in Portland?
- Taste some of the best donuts in the United States at Voodoo Doughnut. Here you can find this sweet of the most unusual shapes. The most popular are doughnuts in the form of a voodoo doll with straw instead of a needle and raspberry filling. They have brought fame to the institution. Here you can also find a doughnut that is the symbol of Portland. It's a classic dessert covered in a chocolate glaze with painted eyes and Bavarian cream inside.
- See the smallest park in the world, Mill Ends. It's only 0.3 square meters in size and looks like a round flowerbed with a tree at the crossroad. Legend has it that the park's founder, Dick Fagan, saw a leprechaun in 1948 at the place where the pole was planned to be installed. Dick got this man to make his wish come true and got his own very miniature park. Since then, the Mill Ends has been considered to be the only residence of this magical creature outside Ireland.
- Drop by the world's largest bookstore, Powell's City of Books. Here you can find new books as well as used ones. It has an area of 6300 square meters. You can get a map of the store to avoid getting lost in the vast territory. You can have coffee on the ground floor and relax in a special room on the second floor.
- Enjoy the views of Portland while riding the Aerial Tram. It runs between South Quay and the university campus. The top station has an observation deck with great views.
- Stroll around Lan Su Chinese Garden, which is done in the traditional style with pagodas and gazebos with pointed roofs. It's not just a garden; it's a whole space dedicated to Eastern culture. It hosts exhibitions, lectures, workshops, tea ceremonies, concerts, etc.
- Relax on the steps of Portland's main piazza — Pioneer Courthouse Square. It was built based on a special design when all the coffee shops, flowerbeds, trees, and numerous steps were placed in such an order that it is comfortable to sit on them. The square is lined with red bricks, each of which has the name of the person who donated money for the construction. Fox Tower, one of the highest skyscrapers in the city, is located nearby.
- Get acquainted with art at the Portland Museum of Art. Here you can see works by contemporary authors and artists of the past. Permanent exhibitions also include Native American artwork, works by Asian, American, and European artists, photography, and a silver collection.