Any visit to Portland’s downtown district should start in Pioneer Courthouse Square, the cultural hub of the city. It’s likely your trip will coincide with one of the more than 300 events that take place in the square each year. You are bound to catch a festival, concert or, in the summer, a free movie in the amphitheater.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is also a popular area of downtown Portland, with wide pathways to bike, blade or walk along beneath the trees. A number of larger festivals are held here over the summer, including some of the events on the Portland Rose Festival calendar.
Shoppers, foodies and culture buffs are catered to as well in the downtown area. The major attractions include the Portland Museum of Art and Powell’s City of Books. Powell’s occupies an entire block and contains over one million titles at any one time.
On sidewalks, throughout parks and in parking lots you’ll see evidence of Portland’s mobile dining phenomenon. The city lays claim to more than 470 food carts, usually grouped in “pods” and offering a range of tastes from Greek gyros to Czech goulash, tacos to waffles. Some pods set up covered seating areas so even in wet weather you can enjoy a low-cost meal.
For more traditional restaurants, Portland does not disappoint. There are many options for quality food at a reasonable prices. You will find plenty of cafes and restaurants using organic, locally sourced ingredients. Breakfast and brunch are treated with as much respect, and often innovation, as any other meal.
With accommodation options to suit all budgets, Downtown Portland is a good home base for exploring the area.