A Weekend Exploring the Best of Portland

If you reside on the West Coast, Portland is an easy trip to take for a weekend escape. From most places, the flights are an hour to two and you don’t lose anything with a time change. For me, the trip was just as easy as hopping down to Southern California.

Getting Around

When you get to Portland, unlike most places in California, there is easy public transportation to avoid needing to rent a car without hindering your ability to explore. Between the MAX light rail and the buses getting from the airport to the downtown and around was a breeze. For a full day, an adult pass is only $5 and can be purchased with cash or a card at each station.

Where to stay

A Weekend Exploring the Best of Portland - The best things to do, places to eat and how to get around in Portland, Oregon.Portland has a variety of places to stay including unique bed and breakfasts, major hotel chains and now a variety of rooms or apartments through Airbnb. When I visited I stayed in a private room in an apartment in Goose Hollow. It’s a great location for both safety, being a solo traveler, and the ease to get everywhere. I’d recommend looking at some of the neighborhoods just outside of downtown where it might be a little quieter, but you still can walk right into the Pearl district. Haven’t tried Airbnb yet? Try it here with a $25 discount (it will give me one as well).

What to Do

A Weekend Exploring the Best of Portland - The best things to do, places to eat and how to get around in Portland, Oregon.Portland offers a wide variety of entertainment from nature to breweries. Two experiences I’ve already shared with you are exploring the coffee hot spots and breweries. They are not to be missed, but I wanted to share with you two of my favorite spots I visited.

One spot you can’t skip is Powell Bookstore. Now if you’re anything like me you can easily spend an hour in any old bookstore, and that is not Powell. I think I spent about three over two trips, exploring different sections and digging through the stacks. I walked away only buying two books but added many more to my list of things to read. If you’re into bookstore I recommend going twice, it’s a little overwhelming at first and my trip back let me explore some more nuanced sections.

A quick hint if you’re a big reader, Powell’s website has some great lists (often including discounts) on book selections. If you can’t travel you might as well escape into a book instead.

A Weekend Exploring the Best of Portland - The best things to do, places to eat and how to get around in Portland, Oregon.Portland has one of the best urban parks I’ve had a chance to visit so far and includes some unique offerings. Washington Park is just a quick trip from downtown. It is most famous for the Portland Japanese Garden, but also includes the International Rose Test Garden, and the Oregon Zoo. A great way to explore the park is using the public bus that does a circular route around the park. You can use your $5 daily transit pass (this year it is actually free) and hop on Line 83. This way you can hop on and off at the various spots in the park and enjoy the scenic view that come with it. This route is offered seasonally and runs seven days a week Memorial Day through Labor Day, September – October it is offered weekends only.

A Weekend Exploring the Best of Portland - The best things to do, places to eat and how to get around in Portland, Oregon.Enjoy an Escape

Other than the chance to catch up with my brother these two spots were my favorites to explore in Portland. You can find more about where I recommend in my “Things to Do” list here.

Have you had the chance to visit PDX? If so, share with us what you enjoyed so we can add them to our next trip.

About Megan

Megan MacNee is the founder of Traveling Nine to Fiver. From nine to five she works in the non-profit world in California. She focuses on exploring the world from her own backyard to across the globe. You'll find her sharing about explorations through food, books, travel, and more.