There are plenty of fun things to do in Portland, Oregon. It's an eclectic, vibrant city where urbanites and hippies comingle over single-origin espressos and interesting fusion cuisine. And when you choose a Stay Alfred in Portland, you're right in the middle of it all—food, entertainment, shopping, art, and culture. While the list of things to do in Oregon is fairly long, this guide will cover some of the basic Portland attractions that you shouldn't skip.
Get Involved in the Great Donut Debate
The only way to add your two cents to the Great Donut Debate in Portland is to sample the donuts yourself, right? Right. The fiercest contenders are Voodoo Donuts (those are the ones that come in the big pink box) and Blue Star (those are the more fancy-pants ones). Though Voodoo and Blue Star may steal the spotlight, they have some stiff competition all over town. Like Pip's Originals, serving bite-sized donuts and delicious chai, Heavenly Donuts, which are more reminiscent of Krispy Kremes, or Doe Donuts, which is as creative as Voodoo and Blue Star but all vegan (and women-owned AND serves ice cream). And that's just the short list.
Sniff Some Roses
The Portland International Rose Test Garden started as a "garden sanctuary" for roses and hybrids during WWI. Now over 100 years old, it's one of the best free activities in Portland. Thousands of visitors from all over the world come to take pictures and, yes, sniff over 635 varieties of roses.
Go to Brunch
Of all the things to do in Portland, brunch is top of the list. Especially on Sundays. And yes, there will be a line. A long one. But given how good brunch is in Portland, it's worth sticking it out. Popular spots include The Screen Door, a Southern-inspired eatery that makes one of the tallest chicken and waffles you've ever seen (seriously, it's held together by a steak knife) and Pine State Biscuit – obviously their biscuits are killer, but did you know they also make homemade PopTarts?
Take a Hike
After all that eating, you'll need to work it off. No sweat (figuratively, of course) – Portland is well known for its access to the outdoors, even within city limits. If you'd prefer to stay closer to Downtown Portland, pick a trail in Forest Park, which offers urban adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts 70 miles of trails to traverse on foot, by bike, or even on horseback. Even just outside of town offers plenty of choices, whether you head towards the coast, Mt. Hood, or into the Gorge.
Visit Multnomah Falls
Visiting Multnomah Falls is a Portland bucket-list item. It is one of the area's most iconic landmarks and worthy of a visit. One of the best things about this Portland attraction is how versatile it is. Choose your own adventure: You can go all the way to the top of the falls (a mile-ish hike that is quite steep, making it a perfect workout) or you can just go up to the first outlook (which is only a few hundred yards from the parking lot).
Support Local Vendors at a Street Fair
Portland is a vibrant, creative city, and gives their local artisans plenty of opportunities to show off their skills. The largest and most popular outdoor market is the Portland Saturday Market, which runs from March through December on the Waterfront. Vendors of all stripes come to sell their wares, from homemade bows and arrows and unique jewelry to t-shirts. But there are other options, as well. Last Thursday on NE Alberta Street is a summer evening market with food, live music, and gallery openings. And then there's the Portland Night Market in the Industrial District – the perfect free date night. And don't forget the smattering of Farmers Markets throughout the city.
Cheer on a Local Sports Team
And we're not just talking about the big leaguers like the Timbers and the Trail Blazers. A really fun thing to do in Portland is to go to a Rose City Rollers roller derby match.
Get the Scoop on Portland's Seedy Past
It may shock you to know that Portland has some dirty secrets, and the guides at Portland Walking Tours are there to dish with you. From the legendary Shanghai Tunnels to the first (and oldest) strip club in town, you'll get to see behind the scenes of one of the weirdest towns on the West Coast.
Enjoy Your Stay!
No matter how you choose to entertain yourself in Portland, you’ll need a place to stay. If you’re sick of cramped hotel rooms, but wary of vacation rentals where you never know what – or who – you’ll find in the closets, give our professionally managed Portland travel apartments a try. Featuring prime locations, private bedrooms, full kitchens and a washer & dryer, they’re a whole new way to enjoy your trip.