- Whether you're visiting for just few days or longer, there's always plenty to do in Portland, Oregon.
- Here's a list of must-do activities according to a local to help map out your travel itinerary.
- Visit Insider's hub for travel guides, tips, and recommendations.
A journalist who grew up in Portland, I've spent almost a decade of my career writing in this city. As a business reporter, I always hear about new openings and cool things to do around town.
Throughout the years, I've found my favorite spots to go to on the weekends with my husband and to show visiting family and friends. Here are my favorite activities and things to do in and around Portland that visitors should check out.
Fill up on street food at food-cart pods.
I often pick something up from a food-cart pod for lunch. You'll find every neighborhood has one (or two, or three) of these spots if you walk down a thoroughfare. They're crowd-pleasers no matter how big or small your party is, and most have picnic-table seating areas.
In the Northwest district, there's Nob Hill Food Carts along 23rd Place and Thurman Street near Phuket Cafe. At the Nob Hill Food Carts, I usually go for Drunken Noodles or Ramen Ippo. At Phuket Cafe, I like to order the Thai paella, but the curry is also delicious.
Cartopia is at the northwest corner of Ladd's Addition along SE Hawthorne (which also has fun shopping). I usually spring for BKK Pad Thai and sit in the beer garden.
I also recommend checking out the food-cart pods at Third Avenue and Fifth Avenue, the Portland Mercado, and the indoor food-court hall at Pine Street Market. At Pine Street Market, inside a historic horse-drawn-carriage facility, I like to pick up something from Pleasure Burger and a coffee cocktail from Pine Street Tap Room.
My absolute favorite food cart in Portland is Kama'aina, a Hawaiian truck that visits different neighborhoods. My order is the Kalua pig and edamame with garlic on the side — but the shoyu ahi tuna is a close second.
Visit a cannabis dispensary.
Marijuana is legal here, so visitors over 21 are welcome to check out the city's supply of recreational greens. Many dispensaries are upscale boutiques with a luxe vibe. If you don't like smoking, there are tons of options for edibles, vaping, dabbing, topical rubs, water-soluble oils, and more.
I recommend first-timers visit the spa-like Serra Dispensary. Gorgeous glass displays welcome guests, and friendly attendants can explain the differences between THC, CBD, and hemp, and which might be the best strain for your needs. You can also order discreet delivery from Serra.
For visitors already familiar with cannabis, Nectar, a fast-growing chain that can be found in several neighborhoods, has some of the best deals —and fun apparel, swag, and glass souvenirs to shop for.
Explore Washington Park.
Washington Park is a 410-acre urban park with 40-plus miles of hiking trails designed by John Charles Olmsted, the son of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York's Central Park.
Washington Park is home to the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden, which are all well worth a visit. The park is big, but you can take a free shuttle around it. I recommend bringing a camera and spending the afternoon getting lost on an urban hike — see if you can spot the statue of Sacagawea, the amphitheater, and the arboretum.
The International Rose Test Garden is free to enter and offers expansive skyline views backed by Mount Hood among rows of prize-winning roses. Nearby is the Japanese Garden, which will cost you about $20 to get in. Adult tickets for the Oregon Zoo are about $25. You can take the shuttle between locations, so you won't need to worry about moving your car and finding parking.
See live music at the Crystal Ballroom.
The Crystal Ballroom may be one of the most iconic music venues in the city. Famous local bands have played here, and it offers numerous shows from local musicians of all genres. The Crystal Ballroom has a dance-hall vibe with wood floors, a 21-plus section, and not much seating.
For a more classical experience, visit the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Affectionately called The Schnitz, this historical theater hosts orchestra concerts; jazz, folk, and dance performances; films; and more.
Find festivals in Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park is where Portlanders celebrate the Rose Festival, the Waterfront Blues Festival, Pride, and more. There are gorgeous cherry trees in April, and the Portland Saturday Market happens weekly from March through December. The park runs along the Willamette River, offering views of the water and bridges. Head down to this park, and chances are you'll find a festival.
Shop in the Jade District.
Everyone knows about Portland's ritzy Pearl District, but the Jade District is a gem of the city. Head east to 82nd Avenue and Division to experience Portland's richly diverse Asian communities, and be sure to visit the Fubonn Shopping Center, which describes itself as the largest Asian shopping center in Oregon.
Visit the Goat Blocks.
The 2-acre Goat Blocks property on the east side used to be home to the urban Belmont goat herd. Now it's a mixed-used complex with apartments, restaurants, and stores. Grab a cider from Schilling Cider House and eat at Kachka, the Russian restaurant featured on Netflix's "Somebody Feed Phil." If you'd like, you can still pet the Belmont Goats at their new nonprofit home in North Portland.
Peruse Powell's Books.
Powell's, which bills itself as the world's largest independently owned bookstore, is a must-visit in the heart of downtown. Be prepared to get lost in there for longer than you probably anticipate. Topics and floors are color-coded (but it's never helped me). If you're lucky, you'll find the coffee shop inside. Powell's also sells fun tchotchkes and stationary.
Visit Willamette Falls.
Everyone will tell you to go to Multnomah Falls (and definitely do if you have time), but Willamette Falls is a similarly great option that's closer to Portland. Willamette Falls is in Oregon City, the official end of the Oregon Trail, about 30 miles south of Portland's city center.
I wouldn't swim in these treacherous falls, but I have seen kayakers bravely paddle very near the drop-off. Walk along the McLoughlin Promenade for a great view of the water, and learn more about the falls and Oregon Trail history at the nearby Museum of the Oregon Territory. You can also take the Oregon City Municipal Elevator up the bluff for an even better view of the falls.
Walk (or bike) the historical Vista Bridge.
Many people forget about the Vista Bridge because it doesn't connect east Portland to west Portland — it connects the King's Hill and Goose Hollow neighborhoods. This historical bridge is both walkable and bikeable from Washington Park and the uptown area.
One of the oldest bridges in the city, the Vista Bridge isn't on the river but up in the West Hills, meaning it provides a unique view of the skyline from up above the city. End your visit at Washington Park or shopping along 23rd Avenue.
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Q: Where can I smoke or consume recreational cannabis? products at home or on private property away from unaided public view. Cannabis cannot be smoked or consumed in public or within unaided public view.What is Portland famous for food? ›
While Portland doesn't have a single iconic food, like cheesesteaks in Philadelphia or clam chowder in Boston, it has a number of must-taste delicacies. The Maple Bacon bar at Voodoo Doughnuts, the Reggie Deluxe at Pine State Biscuits and khao man gai at Nong's usually make the top of the citywide best-of lists.Can you smoke a joint in public in Portland? ›
If you consume an intoxicant, please don't drive. Using marijuana in a public place remains illegal and can result in a citation being issued by law enforcement. Possession of more than one ounce on your person (in public), or more than eight ounces in your household remain crimes and can result in your arrest.Can you be high in public in Oregon? ›
Adults 21 and older can use recreational marijuana at home or on private property. You can't use recreational marijuana in public places.Can you smoke on the street in Oregon? ›
ORS § 433.845 prohibits smoking or carry of any lighted smoking, or vaporizing instrument in a public place except in areas designated as smoking areas.Can you smoke in bars in Oregon? ›
The Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act, also known as the Smokefree Workplace Law, is a measure passed in 1981 by the US State of Oregon prohibiting smoking in public indoor places except in certain designated smoking areas.Can you smoke in your car in Oregon? ›
A new Oregon law went into effect January 1st making it a crime to smoke cigarettes in a vehicle with minors. It is a secondary offense to smoke in the car with minors. This means law enforcement has to stop a driver for a separate violation first.What should I buy in Portland? ›
- Jacobsen Salt Co. Finishing Sea Salt (flavored and regular), Kosher Salt, Sea Salt Caramels. ...
- Bee Local Honey. ...
- Hand Made Pottery by Local Artisans. ...
- Local Wine. ...
- Fine Textiles. ...
- Pendleton Wools. ...
- Remember, Oregon doesn't have sales tax, so shop to your hearts content!
The best time to visit Portland is from June to August, when consistently warm weather allows the city's outdoorsy culture to thrive. Plus, summer is when the city's roses (especially at the International Rose Test Garden) are in full bloom.
5. The Marionberry (Corvallis, 1956) In July 2017, Marionberry pie was declared the Official State Pie of Oregon, and it's easy to see why.Is Hash legal in Oregon? ›
Cannabis in Oregon is legal for both medical and recreational use. In recent decades, the U.S. state of Oregon has had a number of legislative, legal, and cultural events surrounding use of cannabis (marijuana, hashish, THC, kief, etc.).Can I smoke a joint in public in Oregon? ›
Recreational cannabis use is legal in Oregon, but public consumption isn't.
No special card, like the card for members of the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, is needed for recreational purchases.What drugs can you buy in Oregon? ›
Are any drugs fully legalized in Oregon? In the state of Oregon, marijuana is legalized. Anyone over the age of 21 can buy marijuana and use it at home or on a private property. The legal limit for public possession is one ounce, and eight ounces for possession on private property.Can you drive while high in Oregon? ›
To put it more directly: It's unlawful in Oregon to drive while drunk, buzzed, high, or high & buzzed. The slightest noticeable impairment by marijuana or cannabis is illegal.Can you smoke on the beach in Oregon? ›
Smoking is allowed on the ocean shore; however Oregon State Parks is asking anyone who smokes on the ocean shore to properly dispose of their cigarette butts and any other litter.Can you smoke in hotels in Oregon? ›
All workplaces and enclosed public places must be smoke, vapor and aerosol free. This includes work vehicles that are not operated exclusively by one employee, as well as hotels and motels.Can you smoke on a patio in Oregon? ›
A local law can prohibit smoking in places not addressed in state law, such as in all businesses (i.e. not exempting smoke shops) outdoor seating/dining areas and other unenclosed public places.Can you smoke indoors in Portland? ›
Oregon's Smoke Free Workplace Law prohibits smoking in almost all public places and workplaces, including: Bars. Bars in restaurants.
Under the law, Oregonians may not use e-cigarettes and other inhalant delivery systems in workplaces, restaurants, bars and other indoor public places in Oregon. As of January 1, 2016 there are no exemptions for electronic cigarette retail outlets, smoke shops, bars or other venues.Can I sit in my car and smoke? ›
You may assume it's OK to smoke so long as you're not the driver, but that's wrong. Smoking while driving or in any moving vehicle is illegal for the driver and the passenger and dangerous in terms of car safety.Is it allowed to smoke while driving? ›
Rule 21(14) Central Motor Vehicles Rule
The act of 'smoking while driving public se to the public.
Enjoy the sunshine and warm weather! It is not illegal to smoke while driving in California—so long as you're smoking cigarettes. However, smoking marijuana while driving is illegal.What do you call a person from Portland? ›
A person who lives in or comes from Portland, Oregon is called a Portlander.What is the coolest thing in Oregon? ›
- International Rose Test Garden. 5,645. Gardens. ...
- Portland Japanese Garden. 6,280. Gardens. ...
- Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. 4,637. ...
- High Desert Museum. 1,948. ...
- Astoria Column. 2,677. ...
- Cascades Raptor Center. 506. ...
- Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. 1,845. ...
- Washington Park. 1,558.
The month with the most wet days in Portland is November, with an average of 17.0 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation. The drier season lasts 5.1 months, from May 9 to October 13.What month gets the most rain in Oregon? ›
The month with the most wet days in Oregon is June, with an average of 11.2 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation. The drier season lasts 6.0 months, from October 4 to April 4. The month with the fewest wet days in Oregon is February, with an average of 3.8 days with at least 0.04 inches of precipitation.What drink is Oregon famous for? ›
Oregon is as well-known for its incredible local ingredients as it is for its stunning natural beauty. The Beaver State is famous for Willamette Valley wine, coffee (Portland ranks among the top coffee cities in the world), local dairy artisanal cheese, craft beer... the list could go on and on.What food is the most popular in Oregon? ›
When it comes to food, Oregon is known for blueberries, huckleberries, marionberries, Dungeness crab, and hazelnuts (Oregon produces 99% of the nation's hazelnut crops). Voodoo donuts, Salt & Straw ice cream, Tillamook cheese, are also all popular foods with origins in Oregon!
Oregon is famous for its rocky coastline, beautiful forests, unique wildlife, and easygoing culture. Tourists visit the state to explore the famous Oregon Trail and other natural landmarks like the Multnomah Falls, Willamette Valley, and Hells Canyon.Where can I smoke in Oregon? ›
Consume cannabis on private property and away from public view. Possess up to an ounce of cannabis on their person. Share, give away and receive cannabis (as long as all parties are over 21) within the state of Oregon.
To put it more directly: It's unlawful in Oregon to drive while drunk, buzzed, high, or high & buzzed. The slightest noticeable impairment by marijuana or cannabis is illegal.How long does a beginners high last? ›
A weed high generally lasts between 1–6 hours. The time varies depending on how a person ingests the product, alongside other factors. Vapor generally creates the fastest but strongest high, while edibles are slower to kick in but cause longer-lasting effects.Will ACDC get you high? ›
While they do not produce any psychoactive effects, high-CBD cannabis strains like AC/DC are in ultra high demand due to their non-intoxicating, 100% natural form of therapy.Can you smoke on the street in Oregon? ›
ORS § 433.845 prohibits smoking or carry of any lighted smoking, or vaporizing instrument in a public place except in areas designated as smoking areas.Can you smoke in your car in Oregon? ›
A new Oregon law went into effect January 1st making it a crime to smoke cigarettes in a vehicle with minors. It is a secondary offense to smoke in the car with minors. This means law enforcement has to stop a driver for a separate violation first.Can you smoke in bars in Oregon? ›
The Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act, also known as the Smokefree Workplace Law, is a measure passed in 1981 by the US State of Oregon prohibiting smoking in public indoor places except in certain designated smoking areas.How long should I wait to drive if high? ›
At the very least, you should wait two hours after one hit, if not four hours or more—and that's highly dependent on the THC level of the joint. You should wait even longer after you gobble an edible. The easy answer is: don't toke and drive.How long do you have to wait after being high to drive? ›
Experts suggest waiting a minimum of four to six hours after cannabis use before driving.
The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, can lead to poor judgment, delayed reflexes, and impaired coordination — all things that might affect your driving skills. Combining marijuana with alcohol is dangerous, and it definitely increases your risk for a car crash.What to expect after getting high for the first time? ›
Time may slow down quite a bit and you may find yourself feeling peaceful, euphoric and downright happy. Your senses might be heightened, so expect music and touch, for example, to feel extra incredible, loud, layered — you name it.Is it easy to tell if your high? ›
Signs Someone Is High
Physical signs of marijuana use include red eyes, poor muscle coordination, delayed reaction times, and increased appetite. A sudden shift in mood from tense to relaxed could indicate marijuana use, as could abrupt symptoms of anxiety, panic, and/or hallucinations.
Start with a low-THC strain. Keep your dose low and wait at least 2 hours before re-dosing, especially if using edibles. Try it when you have a chunk of free time to ride out the high, like on your day off. Have water handy to help avoid dry mouth and a cannabis hangover.
Yes, delta-8 THC is stronger than CBD.
Delta-8 binds to both cannabinoid receptors, resulting in a euphoric high similar to THC but with roughly half the potency. CBD, on the other hand, doesn't bind to either of the cannabinoid receptors, thus causing no euphoric high or intoxicating effects.
- Northern Lights. This CBD-dominant strain is highly sedative strain and best for nights. ...
- Cherry Wine. ...
- Grape Soda. ...
- Super Silver Haze. ...
- White CBG.
Harlequin: In Conclusion
Although there are cannabis strains that impart even less psychoactivity—Charlotte's Web and ACDC come to mind—most find that Harlequin is very mildly intoxicating, if at all.