About Portland, Or

Photography by Kai Hayashi


Portland has developed a reputation of being wet and cloudy most of the time.  And in early November, Portland seems to be at its most natural state.  The month of November a wet one for the city, with most days consisting of rain, drizzle, spittle, clouds, and a constant but faint amount of precipitation that threatens all who venture outdoors with moist hair and soggy socks.  But while the sun may be hiding behind a wall of clouds, the temperature is not ice cold in the least.  One can expect 50's during the day (warmer if the sun makes an appearance), and a crisp air during the night in the low 40's.  So even though rain gear will make sure clothes with remain dry, a wet sweater and dampened jeans with not cause the worst of chills.  Though, a pair, or two, of nice wool socks and waterproof shoes can do wonders to keep the cold out while exploring the city. Also, although it is a rainy month, Portland rain tends to be of the more misty variety and many Portlanders even brave the weather without an umbrella in sight.


If the thought of walking in the rain, avoiding puddles, and arriving sodden at a destination is not a great one, Portland offers a wonderful system of public transportation called TriMet.  The system has buses running about Portland, and three trams that go through the heart of the city, with one coming from the PDX airport directly to downtown.  Bus stops are nearly everywhere, with bus lines intersecting one another, so one can be sure getting from point A to point B is quite easy.  But of course, these buses aren't the only things on the roads.  Portland has lots of parking and is easy to navigate.  Drivers must be careful though, the streets are also filled with bikers; Portland is extremely bike friendly, and most streets have a bike path to accommodate the two-wheeled commuters.


Portland culture is centered on good food.  The number of restaurants everywhere is quite baffling but super convenient at the same time.  Portlanders like their beer and would like you to enjoy it also.  And while Portland has many bars and restaurants, microbreweries are a wonderful place to have a taste of the local hospitality.  And on top of just having food with your cold one, you could see a movie on the big screen.  But if you've got a hankering for something other than bar food, Portland has nearly any ethnic food you care to savor:  Middle Eastern, Asian, European, Mexican, South American, and the list goes on.  Many of the Portland restaurants close before the sun rises though, so if you find yourself hungry then, and in the need of some fine tasting donuts, Voodoo Donuts with serve you up nicely.  They make their donuts daily and weirdly, with donut toppings like mini-m&ms, captain crunch cereal, and bacon!  You don't want to miss this chance.

If you've got a craving for lots of fast, cheap food, Portland offers its food carts for your fancy.  Carts don't just stand alone on street corners; they often come in pods.  So, you could order a wood-fired pizza, some French fries, a crepe, and finish the meal off with a sweet empanada, all at the same place.  But if you'd rather not stand outside, as it might be raining, Portland is home to some nice coffee and teashops to sit down, warm up, and watch the rainfall.  If you enjoy a lot of character in your coffee house, Rimsky-Korsakoffee House is the place to be.  Stumptown Coffee is a coffee roaster local to Portland and has a few shops around the city.  If you don't need all the bitterness and caffeine of coffee, The Tao of Tea is a fantastic teashop, where you can buy brewed tea or choose a loose-leaf tea from their huge assortment. There is a coffee shop in downtown Portland that is particularly nice, World Cup Coffee, which just happens to be attached to Powell's City of Books.

Things to Do

Powell's Books is the largest independent new/used bookstore in the world.  It is the Portland version of Le Louvre (not really, but it is big!)  You don't need a reason to visit Powell's beyond the fact that you might like to look at a book.  It is a pleasant place to get lost in, find a book, and sit down in the aisles to start reading.  If you'd like to do some shopping, the Pearl District in Portland is the place for you.  Or, to avoid getting wet walking around outside, two large malls in Portland are The Lloyd Center and Pioneer Place.

Now if you'd like to brave the weather and spend an afternoon on a nice walk, Portland is home to a Japanese strolling garden and a traditional Chinese garden.  And on Saturday and Sunday of every weekend, the Saturday Market is up and running from morning to afternoon.  This is a great place to see and buy the work of local artists and artisans. For the hikers, Mt. Tabor has some nice trails, and gives a good few of Portland once you've reached the top.  Or if you'd like the opportunity to go on a longer hike, Forest Park should be big enough (over 5000 acres).  Also, only a short drive from the city, there are 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!