About Portland, Or

Photography by Kai Hayashi


Portland has developed a reputation for being wet and cloudy most of the time. In early November, Portland usually tries hard to live up to this rep. The month of November is a wet one for the city. Most days consist of rain, drizzle, spittle, clouds, and a vague but constant degree of precipitation that threatens all who venture outdoors with damp hair and soggy socks. While the sun may be in hiding behind a wall of clouds, it’s unlikely to get too cold. One can expect 50's during the day (warmer if the sun makes an appearance), and nights in the low 40's with a crisp air. So though rain gear is a good idea to ensure clothing stays dry, a wet sweater and dampened jeans won’t cause the worst of chills. A pair or two of nice wool socks and waterproof shoes can do wonders to keep the cold out while exploring the city. Also, though it is a rainy month Portland’s rain tends to be more misty than heavy droplets. You’ll see many Portlanders braving the weather without an umbrella in sight.


If you’re not excited by the thought of walking in the rain, avoiding puddles, and arriving sodden at your destination, you might want to take advantage of TriMet, Portland’s wonderful public transit system. The system has buses running all around Portland, and three trams going through the heart of the city (including one coming from the PDX airport directly to downtown). With bus stops nearly everywhere and a plethora of bus lines intersecting one another, getting from point A to point B is quite easy. For those of you who prefer driving around the city, Portland has lots of parking and is easy to navigate. However, drivers, be cautious- the streets are also filled with bikers. Portland is extremely bike friendly, with a bike path on most streets to accommodate the two-wheeled commuters. Be mindful of your two-wheeled friends!


Good food is central to Portland culture. Restaurants are absolutely everywhere in this city- baffling, but very convenient. Portlanders like their beer and invite you to enjoy it as well. Microbreweries are an especially wonderful place to get a taste of the local hospitality. For a novel local experience, you could see a movie on the big screen while enjoying a nice meal and a cold drink. But if you've got a hankering for something other than bar food, Portland has options from nearly any culture you’d care to savor: Lebanese, Indian, Ethiopian, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Cuban, South American...and the list goes on. Many Portland restaurants close before the sun rises, though. If you make it to the end of the night and find yourself hungry after all that dancing, Voodoo Donuts will serve you nicely with some fine friend friends (including vegan options). They make their donuts daily, with unusual toppings- candy, breakfast cereal, even bacon! A uniquely Portland experience not to be missed.

If you've got a craving for quick food with lots of options, Portland’s food carts might take your fancy. Carts don't just stand alone on street corners in this town, but can be found in pods. Want a wood-fired pizza, some top quality poutine, a crepe, and a gourmet grilled cheese, all at the same place? There’s a pod for that.


If you’re looking for a nice place to get out of the rain, read a book, or just have a pleasant little interlude, Portland is home to some of the nicest coffee and tea shops around. If you want a lot of character in your coffee house experience, Rimsky-Korsakoffee House or The Pied Cow might be for you. Stumptown Coffee is a Portland-local coffee roaster with a number of shops around the city. Townshend's Tea and Tea Chai Te are Portland’s favorite tea shops (try the kombucha!). If you’re searching for a truly tranquil space, The Tao of Tea is a beautiful Chinese tearoom with fine leaves and small snacks.

Things to Do

We would be remiss not to start out with Powell's Books: the largest independently owned new/used bookstore in the world. It’s Portland’s version of Le Louvre. (Not really.) It’s a truly pleasant treat to get lost in Powell’s, find a good book, and sit down to read in their attached cafe. The Alberta Arts District is a great place to check out shops featuring local artisans, pick up a gluten free pastry, and grab a top-notch drink. Or, try Hawthorne street for quality thrift shopping. If you'd like to do some serious shopping, the Pearl District in Portland is the place to be. If indoor shopping is more your thing, Portland’s malls are The Lloyd Center and Pioneer Place.

If you'd like to brave the weather and spend an afternoon wandering outside, Portland is home to a beautiful Japanese garden and a traditional Chinese garden.  And on Saturday and Sunday of every weekend, the Saturday Marketis up and running from morning to afternoon weekly on Saturday and Sunday. This is a great place to check out the work of local artists and artisans. For you hikers, Mt. Tabor has a variety of great trails, and offers a nice view of Portland once you've reached the top. If you’re craving a longer hike, Forest Park should suit your needs (over 5000 acres). Only a short drive from the city you’ll find the Multnomah Falls, located right by the Columbia River Gorge, a beautiful sight of nature.

We hope you enjoy your time in Portland, OR - with so much to do, the weather will be the last thing on your mind!