Visit downtown Portland to feel the character of the city - the fun, the quirky, and the unabashedly weird! Walk along the wide sidewalks between skyscrapers and food carts, take a sip from the Benson Bubblers, Portland's iconic drinking fountains, and navigate your way to Pioneer Courthouse Square to hang out on the red bricks of the city center. On Mondays, the square turns into a large farmers market - perfect for picking up organic ingredients to inspire home-cooked meals in your downtown Portland vacation rental!
Where is Downtown Portland?
Situated on the west side of the Willamette River, downtown spans roughly from the river to 14th Street, with Portland State University at the southern end and Union Station to the north. It is divided into three subdistricts - Downtown, Old Town Chinatown, and the Pearl.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a beautiful destination, with green grass year-round and a walkway along the river that runs from the Steel Bridge all the way down past the Hawthorne Bridge. From March to December, the famous Portland Saturday Market takes place in the northern end of the park - an eclectic collection of local artists, food carts, hand-made souvenirs, and most importantly, some prime people watching! Come here to see the quirkiness and diversity of Portland, and find out for yourself the meaning behind the city's unofficial slogan: "Keep Portland Weird."
Art and Music
Portland is a popular stop for touring musical artists, who always have something good to say about the energy of the audience. Downtown is home to a wide variety of venues - McMenamins Crystal Ballroom and the Roseland host big-name artists in rock and similar genres, while the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is known for symphonies and other intimate shows. Check out Keller Auditorium for a visiting Broadway musical!
For visual stimulation, head to the Portland Art Museum for a day and check out the rotating galleries of artists near and far. Founded in 1892, this is the oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest, and is sure to fill you with ideas, inspiration, and awe. Tour the museum, or simply walk through the grassy parks to glimpse statues of important figures and learn about the history of the city.
Shopping in Downtown Portland
Start at Pioneer Square for your shopping spree, hitting the department stores of the multi-block mall connected by sky bridges and tunnels. Stop for a bite in the underground food court, and head out to the streets where you'll find other big-name stores like Nike, Adidas, Nordstrom, and Columbia Sportswear.
Head to the Pearl District for more shopping, and stop at any café that catches your eye to recharge with some delicious coffee. For book-lovers, Powell's City of Books is a must-see destination. Located on 10th and Burnside, it is a four-floor maze of vast, color-coded rooms that you're bound to get lost in, but you probably won't mind! Venture farther to Northwest 23rd for a long avenue of boutiques, teashops, and more.
Restaurants in Downtown Portland
Explore a wide taste of cuisines from around the world with Portland's amazing restaurants and foodcarts. Try Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen, the Peruvian food at Andina, or delicious Latin food and cocktails at Oba. Head to 12th and Washington for Italian cuisine at Grassa, or go one block over to dine at a local favorite, Tasty n Alder. Thirsty Lion down by the waterfront has delicious burgers and pub food, as well as a very wide selection of local microbrews.
For a quicker (but arguably just as delicious) experience, head to the food truck corner at 9th and Alder for a wide choice of authentic ethnic foods, including Thai, Mexican, Greek, Ethiopian, French, and more! There's no seating here, but head kitty-corner to O'Bryant Square and find a comfy spot on the steps.
Bars and Nightlife in Downtown Portland
There are myriad bars spread all throughout downtown, each with their own unique take on libations. For whiskey connoisseurs, head to the Multnomah Whiskey Library at 12th and Alder for the largest selection of whiskey in town, and sip in style in their luxurious den. For local brews, head to Deschutes Brewery, Bridgeport Brewpub, Fat Head's Brewery, and Rogue Distillery & Pub.
For nightclubs and dancing, Old Town Chinatown is your scene - Jones is an 80s and 90s-themed dance club that is always popping, and across the street is the Whiskey Bar, where you'll find Electronic Dance Music. The Barrel Room is another popular club, found one block west. On weekend nights, be sure to bring cash for cover!
No matter what you plan to do, a visit to Portland's eclectic downtown can't be missed when you visit this lively and unapologetically quirky city. Book your stay in one of our vacation rentals in downtown Portland today!
Photo Credit: Nathan via Flickr