Top 10 Must-Do PDX Events and Experiences for Portland Visitors

In Arts and Entertainment by matty byloos1 Comment

How to See the Most Portland When You’re Visiting the City

Portland has earned a reputation as a hipster mecca, brimming with handlebar mustaches and bike commuters. With countless options for food, coffee, and activities, it can seem overwhelming to plan a vacation in a city with so much to offer. This list will keep you busy and satisfied, whether you’re just passing through for a weekend or here for a longer vacation. Don’t miss these must-do Portland experiences.

Visit Multnomah Falls

You may recognize this spectacular cascade from Pacific Northwest postcards and preset screensavers, but photos can’t quite capture the breathtaking brilliance that is Multnomah Falls. Located just east of Troutdale, you can reach the 611-foot tall waterfall by taking I-84 east for about 20 minutes. Hike to the top on the handicap accessible trail or enjoy a glass of wine with a view in the Multnomah Falls Lodge.

best things to do in portland for visitors

Portland Art Museum

Located in the Park blocks of Southwest Portland, the Portland Art museum is an ideal destination for people looking to revel in some culture while exploring the city. The Portland Art Museum boasts a rich collection of art from all over the world, promising a fun and enriching experience for the whole family. Children under 17 gain admission for free.

best things to do in portland for visitors

Portland Saturday Market

The Portland Saturday Market operates every Saturday and Sunday from March through November. Located in downtown Portland, it’s a great choice for wandering, munching, shopping, and people watching. From pottery and blown glass work to pizza and beer, the Portland Saturday Market is a must-do activity for weekend visitors.

best things to do in portland for visitors

Powell’s Books

Powell’s Books has been a Portland staple for visitors and locals since 1971. Spreading across an entire city block, this epic bookstore is sure to satisfy the needs of bibliophiles and book junkies alike. Browse the various book rooms themed by subjects ranging from fiction and poetry to computers and the internet, and everything in between. Once you’ve made a selection, you can cozy up to your new book and a coffee in the adjoined coffee shop.

best things to do in portland for visitors

Crystal Ballroom

With bouncing floors, a quirky bar, and gorgeous architecture, the Crystal Ballroom feels kind of like a funhouse for adults. Over the years, the Crystal Ballroom has hosted big names from The Grateful Dead to Tina Turner.

best things to do in portland for visitors

International Rose Test Garden

Portland has affectionately been called “Rose City,” and rightfully so–the International Rose Test Garden is the home of approximately 550 different types of roses. Situated in Washington Park, it is conveniently located so that you can hit the Oregon Zoo and Japanese Gardens all in the same sunny day!

best things to do in portland for visitors

The Many Portland Food Carts

Portland’s eclectic food landscape would not be complete with it’s diverse food cart pods, located all over the city. Perfect for a sunny Saturday out on the town, the Tidbit on SE Division has a giant covered eating area, complete with a beer garden. On chillier days, Cartopia on SE Hawthorne is a great move to make, with cozy outdoor fires and comfort food options like crepes and latin-style chicken.

best things to do in portland for visitors

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Because of Portland’s rainy weather and long winter, coffee has become both a necessity and a hobby for Portlanders. Enter Stumptown Coffee Roasters: delicious cold brew and hot coffee roasted right here in Portland. Stumptown has multiple locations sprinkled around the city, including downtown on SW 3rd, in southeast on both Belmont and Division, and at the airport, so you can pick up a bag of beans before you fly back to reality.

best things to do in portland for visitors

Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo doughnut put Portland on the map for doughnuts. At Voodoo, you can find doughnut flavors that you never knew you needed, sprinkled with cereal, cookies, and candy. Favorites include the “Diablos Rex Doughnut” and the “Voodoo Doll Doughnut.” If you’re really hungry or hoping to take some doughnuts for the road, you can get an actual bucket of day-old doughnuts for $10–you’ll be eating doughnuts for days.

best things to do in portland for visitors

It’s Always (Kind of) Sunny in Portland(?)

Okay, it may not always be sunny, but Portland offers fun for family and friends no matter the weather. With this list of activities, you’ll start seeing rainbows instead of rainclouds. Portland can’t wait to meet you!


  1. what you forgot the Portland Japanese Garden and newly opened Cultural Crossing Center by renown architect Kengo Kuma

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