By Jennifer Cuellar, on January 29, 2020

Your Guide to Portland Dining Month

What is Portland, Oregon, famous for? Striking natural beauty, an unrivaled coffee scene, keeping things wonderfully weird…oh, and fantastic food. As a port city near lush farmland, evergreen forests, and the Pacific Ocean, Portland boasts restaurants full of fresh ingredients and global influences. During Portland Dining Month, all those flavors are on full display

Things You Need to Know

baskets of Portland dim sum - Portland Dining Month
Via KPG_Payless /

When is Portland Dining Month?

Portland Dining Month is in March, when winter is melting away and all the good things start growing.  It’s a perfect time to check out the city before tourist season kicks into gear.

Where does Portland Dining Month take place?

Portland Dining Month menus turn up at restaurants throughout the city. In 2019, over 100 restaurants participated in Portland Dining Month, serving pub grub, ethnic specialties, farm-fresh dishes, and luxe bistro bites. You’ll get to know Portland—both east and west of the Willamette River—as you make your way through the city one plate at a time.

How much does Portland Dining Month cost?

During March, participating Portland Dining Month restaurants offer a special 3-course meal for $33. That often means an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert, but every restaurant’s interpretation is a little different. The price for each Portland Dining Month meal is always $33, so the number of restaurants you visit is entirely up to you.

What type of food is Portland known for?

When you think of Portland, you might think of beverages first: coffee, Oregon wine, and craft-brewed beer. But Portland is also known for food that’s eclectic and inventive, with global cuisine and locally sourced farm-to-table meals both featuring prominently in restaurants across the city. From dim sum and food trucks to wild-caught seafood and next-level donuts, there are awesome restaurants in Portland to suit every palate.

Portland is also ahead of the curve when it comes to great food for people with dietary restrictions. You’re likely to find vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free items on menus at both highbrow and low-key joints.

What is the best time of year to go to Portland, Oregon, and how’s the weather in Portland in March?

Like any city with a temperate climate and stunning natural landscape, Portland is beautiful year-round. In March, when Portland, Oregon Dining Month takes place, temperatures are mild (with highs in the upper 50s) and skies can be drizzly. But the grass is green, flowers are blooming, and the rainy weather sets the perfect mood for cozy days spent inside warm restaurants.

Getting There & Getting Around

Taxis lined up - Portland Dining Month
Via Cameris /

Flights to Portland arrive at Portland International Airport (PDX), about a 12-mile drive from downtown Portland. From the airport, there are several quick and easy ways to get to town and tuck into some good dinner in Portland, Oregon:

  • MAX Light Rail: The Metropolitan Area Express (MAX) is Portland’s light rail system, and you can catch it right at the airport. The MAX Red Line goes all the way downtown—no train-switching necessary! But if you do want to use the MAX to explore all of Portland’s exciting neighborhoods, you can get a full-day pass for only $5. Otherwise, adult tickets good for 2 1/2 hours are only $2.50.
  • Rental Car: If you have a lot of luggage or crave a day trip to Mt. Hood, you might want to rent a car. PDX has five onsite rental agencies, all located on the first floor of the short-term parking garage. There are also a few off-airport rental agencies available by shuttle.
  • Rideshare: Use island 2 at the lower-level passenger pickup area, outside baggage claim, to hail a rideshare service. At PDX, you’ll be matched with a driver using a PIN system and join the pickup line. Uber, Lyft, and Wingz are all available at PDX. Remember: Surge pricing during peak days or hours might make rideshares a little more expensive than usual.
  • Taxi: Taxis can be hailed in the lower-level roadway outside baggage claim, at the third island (near the parking garage). Though simple and hassle-free, keep in mind that a taxi may not be the most cost-effective way to travel, particularly considering how easy it is to catch the MAX at PDX.

Where to Stay in Portland

Portland Waterfront at Hawthorne Bridge - Portland Dining Month
Via zhu difeng /

Portland is almost as rich in captivating neighborhoods as it is in great grub, and there are hotels in Portland to suit any interest and any budget. If you’re not sure which part of town to stay in during Portland Restaurant Month, check out one of these food- and culture-forward districts:

  • In downtown Portland, you can point in any direction and find a bistro, a boutique, or a historical building. Downtown is easily walkable and full of character. Visit Portland Art Museum, catch a concert at “The Schnitz” (the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall), or get lost in Powell’s City of Books.
  • Northwest 23rd Ave is just north of the Downtown bustle, but it has a vibe all its own. Locally made clothing and jewelry, informal eateries, cute cafes, and plentiful watering holes abound on this tree-lined street.
  • If food trucks, record stores, and craft brews—both beer and coffee—are your thing, the rustic, homegrown energy of Southeast Portland is for you. You’ll also find vintage furniture stores, artisanal ice cream, and lots of small theaters.

Other Things to Do in Portland

Portland beer taster flight - Portland Dining Month
Via Robert Allen Photography /

Though Portland dining will be your primary focus during your visit, there are so many exciting things to do in Portland that it would be a shame to pass them up. Don’t leave before you’ve checked these things off the list:

  • Ride the aerial tram: Portland is one of the most beautiful cities in America, and you won’t get a better view than from the Portland Aerial Tram. Passengers board the tram near the waterfront and glide up a hill to an observation deck at OHSU. Expect spectacular vistas of the Willamette River, Mt. Hood, and downtown Portland. Round-trip fare is only $5.10, and there are MAX and bus stops near the lower terminal.
  • The Crystal Ballroom: Housed in an upstairs room in a century-old building, the Crystal Ballroom is one of Portland’s most legendary music venues. Many hometown heroes have graced the stage, and big names still add the Ballroom to their tour stop. Check out the venue’s event calendar to see who’s playing while you’re in town.
  • Take a beer tour: Oregon is world-famous for its wines, but the greater Portland area also has a formidable craft brew culture. Book a pub or brewery tour and get acquainted with the delicious variety of Portland’s flavorful beers.
  • Day trip: Don’t get us wrong—you could spend all of March Dining Month in Portland without getting sick of the city. But the wilderness around Portland is not to be missed. Head west and drive down the Oregon coast, stopping for buttery clam chowder along the way. Or head east and get an eyeful of the view from Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. If the lodge looks oddly familiar, that’s because it was used for exterior shots of the Overlook Hotel in the classic horror film “The Shining.”

Go ahead and munch your way through the City of Roses during Portland Dining Month, and you might end up ready to write your own Portland dining guide.