Keepin’ It Weird in Portland: A Quirky Guide to the City of Roses

Green trees line a walking trail in the forest

Portland, Oregon is known as the city of Roses, which sounds lovely until you throw in our unofficial city motto: “Keep Portland Weird,” then things get, well, weird. Whether you are eating and drinking your way through the city, hiking through acres of parks, or taking in the breathtaking views Portland has something for everyone. Lucky for you, we keep it all just on the right side of weird.

Colorful food carts on the side streets

Eat, drink and be hungry enough to eat and drink some more.

Craving some Besara from Egypt? Maybe some Carolina Barbeque? What about a Baja fish taco? You can eat your way around the world without ever leaving Portland! The city has over 500 food carts throughout downtown and other neighborhoods on any given day. Most carts are organized into “Pods,” which can sometimes take up an entire city block! With that many options, you’ll definitely find what you’re craving.

Portland goes nuts for donuts. Blue Star Donuts and Pip’s Doughnuts & Chai are local favorites but Voodoo Doughnuts is by far the quirkiest option. Step inside the store and you’ll have an interesting choice in front of you, Pot Hole, Portland Cream, Voodoo Doll, Dirt, and Maple Blazer Blunt are just some of the choices that await the lines of customers who wait patiently in rain, snow, and sunshine.

Portland could arguably be named the microbrewery capital of the United States. With over 60 breweries operating within the city, the brewmasters are always pouring something to appease any and every beer connoisseur. Breakside Brewing is a personal favorite not only because they have a phenomenal Passionfruit Sour, but their menu is quintessentially Portland. The NW location has a large outdoor section, a private room for small groups, and a menu with options for vegans, vegetarians, carnivores, and the ever picky child under 10. If you can’t decide on just one to visit, schedule a Brewery Tour to go behind the scenes to see where the hops are stored and how the beer is made at some of the most popular microbreweries.

Cruise boat in the Willamette River

Explore by land, by boat or by air

Portland has over 10,000 acres of public parks and natural areas. Forest Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the country and has 70 miles of recreational trails that intersect and loop around the park. Douglas-Firs dominate the park and can grow over 200 feet tall, creating a beautiful habitat for native wildlife and vegetation. Not feeling up for a hike? Visit Mills End Park, the smallest park in the world and located right in downtown. It’s only 452 square inches, so don’t blink or you might miss it.

Portland Spirit River Cruises travel up and down the Willamette River, which bisects the city into East and West. Docking right into downtown Portland, the two-hour tour includes a meal, live entertainment, and narration of sights. They also offer a “Flashback Dance Cruise” on Saturday nights in case you are feeling nostalgic for an 80s dance party.

The Portland Aerial Tram will carry you over 500 feet in the air as you travel between the South Waterfront and Oregon Health & Science University. The trip lasts less than 4 minutes and is a spectacular way to take in the view of downtown’s bridges and buildings as well as the surrounding mountains. Make sure you play the Northwest-themed piano before you depart!

weekend market food stands

Don’t forget to shop and smell the roses

Visitors love discovering that Portland does not charge sales tax! The best place to put this to good use is at Saturday Market, a local arts & craft market with delicious food and hundreds of booths. You can snack as you stroll the aisles and then listen to live music at the main stage. It’s open every weekend beginning in March up until Christmas Eve.

Pink and yellow roses bushes line a grass path

And what guide to the City of Roses would be complete without mentioning any roses? The International Rose Test Garden is located in Washington Park, only a short walk from downtown. Thousands of bushes with over 600 varieties bloom from April to October. You can explore on your own, take in a yoga class, or see a concert at the amphitheater.

Black & White Piano outdoors at the Aerial Tram

Discover the beauty and weirdness for yourself

Portland has something for every visitor and the beauty of the Northwest should not be missed. It is green year-round, but visit in spring or fall and you’ll get to see a rainbow of colors while you explore our wonderfully weird city.

To access more information about local restaurants, unique attractions, and special offers in CITY, visit our Destination Guide, or explore Hilton properties in CITY below.

Know Before You Go

This post was written by Hilton Suggests Team Member, Lydia K. Are you interested in traveling to Portland? Let us know if we can help you with any other recommendations. Tweet us for more great local travel tips!

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