Your flights to Portland are booked, so now you have to decide which things to see in Portland!
You’ve seen all the photos of the amazing Portland attractions, you’ve heard all about the things to do in Portland, Oregon, and of course, their restaurants.
Now it’s time to plan your weekend in Portland! If you have an extra day, plan the ultimate day trip from Portland to the see the coast!
There are so many things to do in downtown Portland, but don’t forget about what’s right outside the city! Nature.
For your weekend trip, we recommend that you rent a car. Although there are places to visit in Portland that don’t require one, you’ll want one to explore all the waterfalls and hiking trails near Portland.
Most folks visit Portland, Oregon for the abundance of waterfalls, hiking trails, and views. Having a car will make this easier and will allow you to explore at your own pace.
Besides all the wonderful things to do in nature outside the city, one of the best things to do in Portland is where you can find more nature. We’ll talk about this soon.
This post will include the best places to eat in Portland as well. I mean, you can’t really get the feel for a city without eating locally, can you?
Well, we hope you enjoy planning your own Portland travel guide!
Where to Stay in Portland
There are so many choices when looking where to stay in Portland, Oregon. There are hundreds of Portland hotels and many Airbnbs.
Airbnb stays are a great way to plan your weekend getaways in Oregon. When staying at an Airbnb, you feel like you’re living like a local.
The Urban Tree Guesthouse is one of the best places to stay in Portland, and here’s why:
1. It’s located on a gated property.
2. There’s a Koi pond and a babbling brook in the yard.
3. They have chickens!
4. The house is immaculately clean.
5. It’s close to everything, but you feel like you’re in secluded woods.
6. Free parking.
7. The hosts are extremely kind.
Overall, you can’t go wrong by booking this Airbnb for your Portland sightseeing vacation! It checks all the boxes, and offers special amenities to allow for an unique stay.
What to do in Portland
Oh my gosh! There are so many wonderful things to do in Portland! From chasing waterfalls (one of the top things to do in Portland), to Chinese tea gardens, to hiking, to gorgeous views…you’re sure to not get bored with any of these fun things to do in Portland.
Bridal Veil Falls: This waterfall was our favorite by far! I’d say this hike and waterfall is one of the best things to do in Portland, Oregon, because it’s not overly crowded and the hike is gorgeous, but easy.
The lower trail is what I recommend, so it’s a mile round trip and it takes you to the deck that overlooks the waterfall.
The trail is not wheelchair friendly and it can be steep in some places. They also warn about poison oak being in the area, so it’s important to stay on the trail.
Once you get to the waterfall, you can take it in by admiring it from the deck, or if you’re adventurous, you can climb the massive rock to get closer to the roaring waters of Bridal Veil Falls.
Climbing the rock offers you amazing photos like the first photo below.
Multnomah Falls: Out of all the Portland, Oregon attractions, I’d say that Multnomah Falls is one of the most popular.
This waterfall should not be missed, and it’s rather easy to see. However, that being said, if you want to find a parking spot, head out first thing in the morning!
The parking lot fills up quickly and it’s right off the interstate, so if it’s full, you’ll have to hop back onto the interstate to circle around.
If you don’t have a car, I know there are shuttles that run to the falls.
When we were there, the trails were closed due to fire damage the year before. Make sure you check here to see if the trails are open and operating if you’re wanting to hike some.
The great thing about visiting Multnomah Falls is that there’s also a restaurant on-site. We didn’t eat there, but it looked good!
If you’re lucky enough to be there in the fall, you’ll be able to see the leaves around the waterfall changing colors. It’s stunning. Click to the second photo to see.
Latourell Falls: I know that these waterfalls and trails are popular Portland tourist attractions, but if you time it right, you can avoid most crowds.
I suggest you visit Latourell Falls that same morning you visit Multnomah and Bridal Veil Falls. Latourell Falls Loop is about two miles long and you’re immersed in nature!
When you think of Oregon, you typically think of forests of pine trees. Well, this hike it just that. In and out of giant trees. It’s amazing.
The hike itself isn’t too difficult, although, parts of the trail can be muddy. You can also get very close to the waterfall, so you can totally get wet if you wanted.
If you have kids, they’ll love this hike! There are so many fallen trees to climb over, under, and on. If you’re wanting to burn some energy, head to Latourell Falls Loop!
Overall, you can’t go wrong visiting any of the waterfalls and trails mentioned above. There’s so much fun stuff to do in Portland, but nothing beats a morning chasing waterfalls.
HELPFUL HINT: If you’re planning on adding these waterfalls and hikes to your Portland itinerary, I highly recommend you wear good hiking boots. At least wear something you don’t mind getting muddy and that gives you support while playing along the trails.
Vista House at Crown Point:
While in the Columbia River Gorge area, you’ll have to make the time to stop by Crown Point to check out some of the best views of the river below!
There is no fee to visit this area, and the Vista House is a national historic landmark that is used as a rest stop for visitors.
You don’t have to plan much time here at all, but it’s pretty, there are plenty of photo opportunities, and there are even picnic tables if you want to bring a picnic.
Lan Su Chinese Garden:
Honestly, the Lan Su Chinese Garden has to be one of the top places to go in Portland. You feel like you’ve been transported from the PNW to China within minutes.
Lan Su is one of the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China itself. It was built by artisans from the China city, Suzhou.
This is one of the most unique places to see in Portland, because it’s ever-changing. Every season offers a different scenery, different colors, and a different perspective.
This garden offers paths that wind in and out of nature, over ponds, and around traditional Chinese architecture.
We spent about two and a half hours here. We also ordered tea and steamed buns at the Teahouse that is located in the garden. I do recommend making time for the Teahouse, as it’s very traditional just heightens your overall experience at Lan Su.
One last thing, before you head to the gardens, take a look at their calendar online. It’ll list all their Portland events. If you’re lucky enough, you might get to partake in one.
Swipe through the photos below to see just how amazing this place is. You’ll understand why Lan Su falls under cool things to do in Portland!
Where to Eat When You Visit Portland
Besides all the fun things to do in Portland, Oregon, there are also many wonderful places to eat! From donuts (or doughnuts), to breakfast, to killer southern food…well, you get it.
Here are our recommendations/reviews on where to go in Portland to eat.
Pine Street Biscuits:
Let me tell you right now. Eat at Pine Street Biscuits as soon as you get to Portland! I mean it. Chances are, you’ll want to return!
These biscuits are loaded with so much, that there’s no way it’ll fit in your mouth! You’ll have to attack this bad boy with a fork and knife, but that ain’t a bad problem to have.
Be sure to check the hours, as most of the locations open and close around 7:00am – 3:00pm…some close earlier.
Bottom line, take a look at the photo below and wear your fat pants, because it’s going to happen for you.
Screen Door Restaurant:
You might wondering if southern food can be truly represented in the Pacific Northwest, but with a great chef, it most definitely can!
Screen Door has to be one of the best places in Portland, because this place is packed! I think they have a (good) reputation for their fried chicken.
The chicken is good, but I’m hear to tell ya…try the shrimp and grits. This is one of my go-to dishes, and they nailed it. It made my southern heart proud.
Eating here is a “to do in Portland”, but good news, if you want a relaxing night in, they deliver! Fried chicken and shrimp and grits delivered to my door? Yes. Please.
Blue Star Donuts:
We have a thing. We REALLY like donuts and we try them all over the world! There were two places to visit in Portland, Oregon that we could not miss!
One being Blue Star Donuts. If you like flavors outside the box, modern, and bold, well then, these are the donuts for you!
Not only are they full of flavor, but they’re gorgeous to look at, and you’re going to have a hard time deciding which ones to order.
You might want to get there rather early in the morning if you want first dibs, because they were picked through when we got there.
I recommend you grab a few to-go and either head off on a road trip or save them for the picnic you might have later at the Vista House.
Downtown Portland things to do? Visit Voodoo Doughnut. All. Day. Long. There is a reason why this place is so popular.
The doughnuts are amazing and they live up the hype. Can I recommend you try the Portland cream? Oh my gosh, what I’d give for one right now!
There are no places to eat inside, so you’ll have to grab your little pink box of sweetness to go.
Overall, Voodoo Doughnut shouldn’t be missed. Especially, since they originated from Portland. You’re getting the real deal.
Salt and Straw:
Salt and Straw is one of the most popular Portland places to visit with locals and tourists alike. Makes sense though, it’s ice cream. A common ground for everyone.
Unfortunately, after a day of travel, I wasn’t feeling my normal adventurous self, so I passed on all the cool flavors of ice cream that Salt and Straw offers. (I’m still bummed about that.)
However, I did enjoy an old school classic, a root beer float. It had their vanilla ice cream and then I got a bottle of root beer. It’s always better when it comes from a glass bottle, am I right?
Salt and Straw is one of the cool places in Portland to eat, but not because of the ice cream. The vibe of the place is great too. Window seating to people watch while stuffing my face with ice cream? I’m there.
Weekend in Portland
How excited are you to be heading to Portland?! We hope that this post has helped with your future planning.
These are just a few of the top things to do in Portland, Oregon. We’ve barely scratched the surface.
You do know where to stay, what waterfalls and hikes to see, other places to explore, and most importantly, where to eat!
Now that you have a better understanding of what to do in Portland, Oregon, and what to see in Portland, have so much fun planning your weekend getaway!