Portland

About Town

Get your bearings – get out and take in the air. Portland is an immensely, enjoyably walkable city. Trails, green spaces and waterside walks snake through downtown and along the river. The best way to find your feet? Go explore!

Walk around the esplanade

It’s official – Portland loves bikes. And nowhere is this more evident than along its breezy riverside esplanade (it’s not just riverside. In parts, it seems to float on the steely blue surface of the Willamette river itself). Run, cycle or take a Segway tour – the riverfront views are pretty special along this mile-and-a-half boardwalk.

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

Vivid with cherry blossom in spring, bustling with picnicking city types in summer, the leafy and lovely Tom McCall Park is a riverside oasis that offers a quick blast of R’n’R. But there is civic history here too – the Japanese American Historical Plaza is dedicated to the memory of Japanese deported during World War II.

 

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Pearl District

Every city has them – once-industrious neighborhoods of lock ups and light industry, born again as artsy enclaves of start-ups, boutique hotels and bars, this is Portland’s. But it’s not all sandblasted warehouses and single-estate coffee grinders. There are plazas and parks here too. Tanner Springs Park is a meditative spot (ideal for al fresco yoga classes) and the perfect place to connect with nature.

 

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Brewery Blocks

No, this isn’t Willy Wonka’s Oregon outpost. But you could be forgiven for thinking it. The red-bricked, chimney-stacked behemoth was once home to the city’s Blitz-Weinhard brewery, but now houses creative spaces for the city’s makers, bakers and – yes – brewers. A cornerstone of the vibrant Pearl District, the Blocks mixes up made-in-Portland gifts, sportswear and salons, with the obligatory big names too.

Northwest Portland/Nob Hill

Retail and residential mix amiably in Northwest Portland – a buzzy district with an affluent air but a friendly, easy-going vibe. Go for a weekend morning mooch and you won’t be disappointed. Start your wanderings on Northwest 23rd Avenue, where retro shops (Three Monkeys) and local designers (we love Betsy and Iya jewellery) mix it up with big name stores (Pottery Barn) and European and Asian-flavoured bistros.

 

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Alberta Arts District

Positively encouraging the artisan and the hand crafted, the thriving workshops and galleries of Alberta Arts district, Mississippi Ave, and Hawthorne/Belmont areas are a lesson in what happens when you turn away from the chain store (and put a bird on it).  Last Thursdays on Alberta is an art walk that stretches 15 blocks along Northeast Alberta Street. And it’s been going for 20 years – that’s how cool Portland is! You want to buy art – paintings, sculptures, jewelry, textiles, anything…this is the place.

 

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