Incorporated in 1851 near the end of the Oregon Trail, Portland, Oregon is now one of the most creative, interesting and vibrant “small cities” in the United States. Many historical accounts of Portland begin with the famed expedition of Lewis and Clark in 1805. However, Native Americans inhabited the Pacific Northwest long before white settlers arrived.
Pioneers, dreamers and adventurers traveled the Oregon Trail, landing in Portland. There were two eastern businessmen that decided the fate of the city name: Maine merchant Francis Pettygrove and Massachusetts lawyer Asa Lovejoy tossed a coin to choose between their respective hometowns of Portland and Boston. The deciding coin, “The Portland Penny,” is on display at the Oregon Historical Society Museum.
Portland is a river city, located on the Willamette River and close to both the Columbia River and Pacific Ocean. Naturally, this became a shipping powerhouse changed by World War II when cargo ships and aircraft carrier escorts were built on site, increasing the population with new residents and spreading suburbs.
Today Portland is an eclectic, evolving and passionate city filled with quirky, only-in-Portland things, neighborhoods and experiences, as well as access to transformational experiences in nearby places such as the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood and the Oregon coast.
Must See: From local artisans such as Orox Leather Company in Portland’s Old Chinatown, to rising hot spots such as the “difficult to get into” Multnomah Whiskey Library, to grunge-hip favorites like Voodoo Doughnut, to a super fun Urban Winery Tour, in reality there is way too much in Portland to see, and taste… on one trip. Other highlights include Portland’s Lan Su Chinese Garden, as well as the world-famous Powell's Books, is one of the world’s greatest, and most successful, independent bookstores.
Lodging: Hotel Monaco–Located in the heart of downtown Portland, near the vibrant Pearl District, the shopping of Pioneer Square and the Willamette River, this boutique, luxury hotel blends service and style with spacious rooms in which guests will enjoy views of the city. Perks, such as free bicycles, a “pet” goldfish for your room if you desire, and a complimentary happy hour that feels more like a high-end neighborhood party, make Hotel Monaco Portland a home away from home.
Cuisine: The enormous, landmark vintage neon “Made in Oregon” sign at the White Stag in Old Town says it all. Portland is the showcase for all of Oregon, where the bounty of the state shines brightly in the spotlight–farmed locally, just-harvested, freshly prepared, and from scratch are typical of elements of Portland cuisine.
Ground Transportation: After arriving in your private jet, Portland is accessible by car, but there is also plenty of public transportation. In addition to standard hotel shuttles, taxis and private drivers, Portland now has the exclusive Tesla Trips, which provide beer and wine tours as well as transport to and from Portland’s International Airport.
Packing Tips: Because Portland’s climate is known for both warm, dry summers and dark, damp, cool-to-chilled winter days, it is best to pack a variety of clothing options that can be layered, mixed, dressed up or worn casually around town. Layered clothing, sweaters, waterproof outerwear, a hat and an umbrella could prove to be useful.
Recommended Book: Chuck Palahniuk’s Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon takes readers through the streets, sewers, and local haunts of the city. From the gritty, to the mysterious to the grunge, Portland has it all.
Currency: The U.S. dollar is the local currency.
Calling Code United States: 1
Best Travel Dates: While Portland has a fairly consistent climate all year, rain is normal from October through May, and then intermittently throughout the summer months. The best time to visit is the fall, as the weather is typically friendly and the rich hues of the changing fall leaves are brilliant against the evergreens of the region.