The Best Things to Do in Portland

Between the drinking and dining to the gallery-hopping and shopping, it’s almost impossible to be bored in PDX. To truly take advantage of all that this vibrant city has to offer, we’ve rounded up all of the top things to see and do. 

Alberta Arts District

For a fun- and food-filled afternoon with a side of arts and culture, make your way to the Alberta Arts District in Northeast Portland. Its central hub, NE Alberta Street, is dotted with unique shops (including Pie Footwear, Frock Boutique, and Tumbleweed) and restaurants, including plenty of vegan fare at The Bye & Bye or Ben & Esther’s. After, pop into one of several art galleries and admire the permanent public art installations from the Alberta Street Black Heritage Markers. 

Nob Hill/NW 23rd Street

This Northwest Portland neighborhood is famous for its charming Victorian homes, many of which have been transformed into boutiques and eateries. Today, travelers can stroll up or down NW 23rd Street as they make their way through the area’s many stores, including New Renaissance Bookshop, Will Leather Goods, and Budd + Finn. Post-shopping spree, treat yourself to a martini at the aptly named martini bar, Bartini, or a latte at The Dragonfly Coffee House

Pearl District

Nestled near downtown Portland, the Pearl District is teeming with indie shops, bars, and restaurants. Bookworms would be remiss not to visit Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore, while art lovers can visit eclectic galleries like Froelick, Upfor, and Augen. The bar and brewery scene is also bustling here: Teardrop Lounge, Pink Rabbit, and Von Ebert Brewing are just a few of our favorites. 

Portland Japanese Garden

Need a break from the city’s hustle and bustle? Make your way to the serene Portland Japanese Garden. This 12-acre space overlooks the city and offers incredible views of Mt. Hood. Here, you’ll also find eight distinct garden styles, a Japanese tea house, rotating art exhibitions, tranquil ponds, and beautiful bonsai trees. 

Portland Art Museum

Dating back to 1892, the Portland Art Museum is among the oldest art museums in America – and the largest in Oregon. The museum, which houses 42,000 objects, is best known for its extensive collection of Native American and Northwest art. You’ll also find Asian, European, and American works. 


The best – and most fun – way to explore Portland and the greater metropolitan area once the weather’s warm? Kayaking! Next Adventure, Portland Kayak Company, and NRG Kayaking all offer guided trips. Alternatively, rent your own kayak and head to one of many popular paddling sites, such as Willamette Falls (the second-largest waterfall by volume in the US), Ross Island, and the Clackamas River, to name a few. 

Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion is a historic home-turned-museum located about three miles from downtown PDX, and it’s nothing short of awe-inspiring. The 1914-era French-Renaissance-style estate, the former home of The Oregonian publisher Henry Pittock and his family, spans a whopping 16,000 square feet and has 23 rooms. Learn more about the influential Pittock family and how they shaped the city – as well as some of the local craftsmen who worked on the mansion — on a self-guided tour. 

Grab Pints at a Brewery

Credit: imkimbodinii

Portland is renowned for its brewery scene, which dates back to the ‘80s. Today, PDX is home to around 70 breweries, making it one of the world’s most brew-populated cities. Not sure where to go? Assembly Brewing offers some of our favorite IPA varieties – plus Detroit-style ‘za to pair with ‘em. Other noteworthy picks include Occidental Brewing Company (known for their ales and lagers), Hammer & Stitch Brewing Co (which offers a variety of options, including limited-edition brews like Raspberry Gose and Pomegranate Sour), and Breakside Brewery (famous for their award-winning IPA). 

Listen to Live Music at Mississippi Studios

Located in Portland’s Boise neighborhood, Mississippi Studios is especially unique in that it’s owned and operated by musicians. The venue hosts local and national acts, attracting locals and travelers alike. While you may initially come for the show, you’ll certainly want to stay for the bar, the burgers, and the all-season patio. 

Hotels Above Par x Travel Portland

Other articles you may like: 

About Hotels Above PAr

My Photo

Subscribe to our newsletter

Privacy Policy