Today’s installment of Creating Really Awesome Free Trips is at the top of my travel list…Portland, OR! Andy’s mama lives in Portland and we still have not been up to visit! I’m excited to have this list 10 Free Things to do in Portland OR fir our next trip!
Hi there! I’m Sarah, I write a blog called New Wave Domesticity & I have been living in Portland, Oregon for the past 11 years & I wake up every day feeling really inspired and in love with this city. I am so excited to share a bit of of that love with you!
1. Food Carts
In the past few years in particular, the food cart scene in Portland has exploded. Some hail Portland as the foot cart capital of the US and the start of the recent craze. Worth all the hype? Heck yeah! You can find some amazing, unique, and delicious foods that you didn’t even dream of and it is affordable! A food cart meal will seldom set you back more than 5-10 bucks. Portland has 500+ food carts, many of them in food court-like clusters (we call them “pods”), so you don’t even need to pick just one! Here are a few of my favorites:
- If you’re looking for delicous vegetarian options, Third Avenue Food Pods in Downtown Portland is a great option. Don’t miss DC Vegetarian.
- For delicious Latin American food in Southeastern Portland, Portland Mercado is a must visit.
As I mentioned, Portland is home to lots of amazing artist and creative types. One of the best ways to take in that creativity is to enjoy one of Portland’s Art Walks. The First Friday Art Walk is an opportunity for local galleries to present new exhibits & for local crafters, artists, and performers to line the streets and show and sell their work. It’s basically an artsy street fair. First Friday takes place on the first Friday evening of every month from 6-9 pm.
Looking to take in some natural wonders & go on a little drive? My favorite is the Historic Columbia River Highway. It starts just outside the city of Portland and will take you on a majestic adventure through the Columbia River Gorge with some of the most amazing views you will ever see. Along the HCRH are about 8 waterfalls that you can hike to or view right from your car. The largest waterfall on the trip is Multhnomah Falls and it is a sight you shouldn’t miss when you are in town!
One of Portland’s many nicknames is “Rose City” and for good reason. Our climate is ideal for growing roses, so you will find them all over the city, but no place will highlight these beauties like the the International Test Garden. Covering 4.5 acres & housing 550 different varieties of roses paired with beautiful views of downtown, it’s definitely a great excuse to stop and smell the roses.
Looking for a super fun rainy day activity? Check out the nickle arcade! one of the 5 locations in the Portland area & enjoy some super fun arcade games for only a nickel! There is a small admission fee of a couple dollars (check the website for buy 1 get one free coupons!), but each of the games are only a nickel or two, so for just a few dollars you can have an awesome arcade adventure and get your skeeball on. You can also catch a movie in the theater for only $3.
7. SCRAP (The School Community Reuse Action Project)
Remember a time before Kindles and iPads? When we used to do our reading on those things called “books”? Powells will definitely bring you back to the good old days if you are a book lover like me. It is the largest book store in America. It takes up a whole city block and is multiple stories (that’s 1.6 acres of space). They carry over 4 million used and new books in ever genre you can imagine as well as some great local gift items. It is a perfect place to spend a little time exploring. You can also find some great locally made gifts or have some coffee in the cafe.
Saturday Market of course happens each Saturday and also Sunday from March-December. You can find it in the Waterfront Park just beyond the Morrison Bridge (conveniently right on the MAX line). Saturday Market is home to 275 different crafters and artists as well as many amazing food vendors. Admission is free.
10. Brewery Tours
Portland is currently home to over 52 different breweries, that is more breweries than any other city in the world! Beer is not only plentiful here, it is an artform. If you are a a beer drinker, you should definitely check out some local brews while you are in town! You can choose to use one of many local companies like BrewCycle or BrewBus for a tour of the city’s breweries, but you can also just take a tour on your own for free! There are plenty of great breweries and distilleries that offer free tours and have great tasting rooms to sample the wares. Here are few of them: Clear Creek Distillery, New Deal Distillery.
Have you ever been to Portland, OR? What would you add to this list? I’d love to hear…