SaF’s Ultimate Portland Guide (And Beyond)

Did you know the naming of the city of Portland was decided by a coin toss? In 1845, pioneers Francis Pettygrove - from Portland, Maine - and Asa Lovejoy - from Boston Massachusetts - argued whether or not their land claim along the Willamette River should be incorporated as Boston or Portland. While we all know the result of that historic coin toss, today, Portland is known for its quirky, weird, yet laid back vibe. 

From the mountains to the coast to all the breweries and delicious food in between, it’s a city we are proud to call home. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate city guide for visitors and locals alike. This guide is designed to empower you to maximize your time so that you can invest it enjoying all Portland has to offer with the people that matter most.

The City of Roses’ Best Eats

We hope you’re hungry because Portland is home to some of the best restaurants, sweets and breweries. Here are a few of our favorites to sink your teeth into: 

Favorite Brunch Spots: 

Favorite Lunch Spots: 

Favorite Dinner Spots: 

Favorite Sweet Treats:

Favorite Breweries:

Stumptown Adventures:

Now that we’re deliciously full, it’s time to take a stroll through one of Portland’s many parks or hit the road for nearby day-trips.

Favorite Parks:

  • Mill Ends Park: Listed in the Guinness Book of Records for being the smallest park in the world at only 2 feet wide, you won’t walk off a meal here, but it’s worth taking a peek to see if you can spot any leprechaun’s as columnist Dick Fagan dedicated the park on St. Patrick’s Day in 1976. 

  • Tom McCall Waterfront Park: Across from the median that houses the Mill Ends park on SW Natio Parkway sits the Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Home to many of Portland’s festivals and provides miles of walking paths, this is a great place to stroll the riverfront, run through the water fountain, enjoy the blooming of the cherry blossom trees in the Spring, or board the Portland Spirit to cruise the river.

  • International Rose Test Garden: Providing sweeping views of downtown and Mt. Hood, the best time to visit the Rose Garden is between April through October to enjoy a stroll amongst the nearly 7,000 rose bushes. Portland is nicknamed the City of Roses stemming from Leo Samuel who founded the Oregon Life Insurance Company and grew roses outside his home. He placed shears in the garden allowing people to snip roses for themselves. There’s no time like the present to stop and smell the roses!

  • Portland Japanese Garden: Nestled inside Washington Park across from the Rose Garden sits the tranquil 12 acres of eight Japanese Gardens and an authentic Japanese Tea House. 

  • Lan Su Chinese Garden: Located in Portland’s Chinatown, this 40,000 square foot city block is an oasis amongst the city. The garden is home to 90% native plants from China influenced by the classic gardens of Suzhou, a sister city of Portland. 

  • Mt. Tabor: Situated on the Eastside of Portland this park used to be an active volcano and now provides 636 feet in elevation for views of downtown, hiking, basketball courts, a playground, and is home to a number of reservoirs.

  • Forest Park: Situated on the NW side of Portland, this park is one of the country’s largest urban forest reserves. Forest Park is home to more than 70 miles of hiking trails and will be easy to get lost amongst the Pacific Northwest’s beauty. Check out Portland Monthly’s 8 Essential Forest Park Hikes

Favorite Day-Trips:

  • Multnomah Falls: Located ~30 minutes outside of Portland up the historic Columbia River Gorge, these spectacular falls offer beautiful northwest scenery and hiking. 

  • Mt. Hood and Timberline Lodge: Located about 1.5 hours from Portland is Mt. Hood. Its white peak can be seen from Portland and is perfect for winter skiing or summer hiking. The historic Timberline Lodge is a cozy ski lodge perfect for staying, relaxing, dining, or sipping a peppermint schnapps hot chocolate after a day on the slopes. 

  • The Oregon Coast: With over 360+ miles of coastline between the Washington State and California states lines, the Oregon Coast offers the perfect getaway to Cannon Beach, Pacific City, or Astoria all within a few hour's drive of Portland. 

  • Wine Country: The perfect pairing to Portland’s food scene, the Willamette Valley in the heart of Oregon wine country is home to over 500 wineries known for its world-class Pinot Noir.

Rip City Must-Sees

Now that we’re full and back from exploring, be sure to check out these must-see sites within the city of Portland: 

  • Pittock Mansion: This historic house museum tells the story of Portland’s transformation from pioneer town to the city we know today.

  • The Grotto: An internationally-renowned Catholic shrine and botanical garden

  • The Oregon Zoo: The “wildest place in Oregon” isn’t just for kids. The Oregon Zoo offers many events for the whole family as well as kid-free themed happy hours. 

  • Portland Art Museum: Located in the heart of downtown, the Portland Art Museum is the oldest museum on the West Coast and home to many exhibitions and events.

  • Portland Saturday Market: Stroll the 200+ booths of vendors each Saturday and Sunday from March through Christmas Eve in the historic Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. 

  • Powel’s Books: No visit to Portland is complete without a visit to Powell’s Books. The world’s largest independent chain of bookstores, you’ll get lost amongst the stacks for hours exploring the 9 rooms of 68,000 square feet of books on every topic. 

  • Basketball Fan? Head to the Moda Center to catch the Trail Blazers and the RIP City fans. The RIP City nickname came from the Trail Blazer’s first NBA season when the team's play-by-play announcer Bill Schonely called, “RIP city” as a wild, long-distance shot that ultimately went in. 

  • Soccer Fan? The Portland Timbers are an American professional soccer club. Head to Providence Park to catch a game.

No matter if you’re only visiting Portland for the weekend, are new to town or have lived here for awhile, getting out and exploring everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer is a real treat. Enjoy the best Portland has to offer by downloading the SaF App to skip the wait times and lines at some of these popular destinations by hiring a line concierge. We have a feeling you’ll quickly realize why we call this city home. 

Shahrzad Fakhravar