Arial view of Portland Oregon

Explore the best parts of West Coast living in Portland, Oregon. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tips + Trends

Portland, Oregon, Shines on the Pacific Rim: 6 Reasons the Rose City Lives Well

Portland, Oregon’s, appreciation for delicious, locally sourced food, premium wine and the beloved outdoors lends to its global magnetism and allure for travelers and those seeking a vibrant home base.

Discover six reasons why the city represents the best of U.S. West Coast living with its adventurous spirit, walkable urban core and proximity to wild spaces to roam.

As always, check for travel restrictions and closures before planning your trip.

Local Food and Drinks of the Highest Order

To call Portland’s food scene bountiful is an understatement. Farm fresh is the norm. Anything less is the exception. Portlanders are passionate about their local ingredients, whether cooking at home or dining and drinking around town.

The city’s restaurant scene includes cozy farm-sourced spots like Scotch Lodge, much loved for its coveted whisky selection and creative small plates — think pickle-spiced fries with sour cream or pappardelle with duck breast, seaweed butter and Grana Padano cheese.

Other standouts highlight Portland’s location on the Pacific Rim. The hard-to-book Gado Gado dishes up Dutch-Indonesian fusion and is best known for its family style Rice Table — a feast of dumplings, breads, curries, grilled meats and fish, and sambals. Seafood-centered Nimblefish is a cozy 12-seat spot with a meticulously curated selection of Edomae-style omakase.

Seeking an after-dinner drink? Head toward Distillery Row — a much-hyped stretch of more than a dozen craft distilleries that extends from Portland’s SE Industrial District to the Northwest and Slabtown Districts across the river.

Whatever your spirit of choice — whiskey, vodka, rum, gin, brandy, amaro, even specialty bottled cocktails — you’ll find a craft distiller hawking it somewhere along the Row. Try Wild Roots Spirits for premium botanical and local fruit-infused gin to pair with your tonic or Pilot House Distilling for agave-based spirits, absinthe and craft cocktails in cans.

Vineyard in Willamette Valley Oregon
Roam through vineyards and sip on Pinot Noir. (Photo: Getty Images)

Wine to Rival the Greats

Oregon’s Willamette Valley is tucked between Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and the Coast Range, and it has become somewhat of a haven for oenophiles thanks to its reputation as one of the world’s premier pinot noir–producing regions.

Just a 30-minute drive south of Portland and stretching for some 150 miles, this wine country is home to more than 700 wineries and 10 distinct American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) — an impressive resume.

The town of Dundee is a perfect jumping-off point for exploring the valley, home to dozens of closely set tasting rooms sprawling across scenic hillsides. Start a day of tasting at Domaine Roy & fils, which dazzles tasters with its views overlooking the estate’s organically farmed vineyard.

Work your way up Worden Hill Road to Furioso Vineyards, another stunner with a glass-enclosed tasting room and unobstructed vistas of the Willamette Valley. With a winemaking ethos rooted in terroir, Furioso Vineyards produces must-tries like pinot noirs aged in French oak barrels.

Movement as a Lifestyle

Oregonians seem to be in constant motion; hiking and running meetups mark the local social scene, and athletic or outdoor gear make up the unofficial uniform.

The city’s 5,200-acre Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the United States, with more than 80 miles of trails and forest roads; trails are accessible right from downtown Portland.

Alternatively, head to Washington Park and the scenic International Rose Test Garden. Or trek the Lower Macleay Park trailhead to hike through a temperate rainforest and uphill toward the historic Pittock Mansion, where city vistas await.

Biker on a waterfront trail in Portland
Bike along waterfront trails. (Photo: Getty Images)

Sports Mean More Here

Soccer is a passion sport in Portland, with fandom for the men’s MLS Timbers and women’s NWSL Thorns clubs comparable to European club loyalties. A soccer game at historic Providence Park showcases the aptly nicknamed “Soccer City.” Fans show up rain or shine on match day and relentlessly chant for both their men and women on the pitch. It is a sight to behold.

Across the river, the Portland Trail Blazers always have a loud legion of Rip City basketball fans filling the Rose Garden Arena. For baseball fans, the Hillsboro Hops are a minor league team with a field that — fittingly — serves premium local craft beer all summer long.

The Pearl District and Other Gems

The sleek Pearl District and Slabtown neighborhoods are paragons of urban renewal. Formerly warehouse and rail yard districts, the areas are now marked by upscale loft conversions, premium cafés and high-end retailers built alongside contemporary parks and a streetcar line.

In Slabtown, dine at Restaurant St. Jack, one of Slabtown’s most consistently popular spots. The Parisian-inspired menu includes rustic French classics featuring seasonal Northwest produce and seafood. An impressive global wine list includes perfectly picked Oregon pinot noirs alongside Burgandies and Champagne.

The Pearl District’s reputation as a hub for creatives started in the 1980s and continues today with monthly First Thursday art gallery walks, when the district springs to life with live music, vendors, food and drink.

After giving the galleries their due, explore the District’s luxury retailers and grocers, boutiques, and popular craft cocktail bars like Pink Rabbit. Don’t leave the neighborhood without a visit to iconic Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore.

Adjacent to the Pearl District, the Portland Art Museum, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, and Keller Auditorium host a global art scene in a compact, walkable downtown core.

Mountain lake with Mount Hood in the background
Take a short trip to Mount Hood for an extraordinary outdoor adventure. (Photo: Getty Images)

Never Short on Getaway Spots

Tucked into the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Portland is an ideal base for quick getaways. Drive little more than one hour in any direction and you’ll find a variety of easy day or weekend trips.

Head east of the city toward the dramatic Columbia River Gorge, an 80-mile canyon carved by the Columbia River, which cuts through the Cascade Mountains. Stop at the outdoorsy village of Hood River for a meal at industrial-chic pFriem Family Brewers, revered for its Belgian-style beers and quality twists on pub food.

In addition to soaking up the Gorge’s stunning beauty, outdoor enthusiasts can hike around Multnomah Falls — at 620 feet, it’s Oregon’s tallest waterfall. Meanwhile, adrenaline junkies can get a rush windsurfing and kiteboarding on the river; the span of Columbia River near Hood River is one of the nation’s top spots for both water sports.

Adventurers can visit Mount Hood, known for year-round downhill skiing and epic winter sports. After a day on the mountain, enjoy cocktails at the historic Ram’s Head Bar, where you can cozy up by the massive stone fireplace and enjoy the view overlooking the 11,000-foot summit of Mount Hood.

Drive one hour west from Portland and you’ll hit the irresistible town of Cannon Beach, teeming with galleries, shingled storefronts, and mom-and-pop restaurants. Hit the more than five miles of sand between Ecola Creek and Arch Cape for unbeatable views of Haystack Rock, one of the state’s most recognizable landmarks. 

Experienced road cyclists can opt to take the 16-mile road tour from Cannon Beach south to Manzanita along Highway 101 as part of the Oregon Coast Bike Trail. The route winds along stacked scenic cliffside pullouts and past old growth forests. The route includes a perfect stop-off at the idyllic Oswald West State Park surf cove.

Further afield, in Central Oregon, you’ll find the irresistible town of Bend. Popular with Portlanders as a weekend getaway or second home spot, the town lies in proximity to rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park, fly-fishing on the Metolius River and whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River.

Bend also ranks as one of the Pacific Northwest’s top craft brew towns. Rent a bike and follow the Bend Ale Trail for a unique tasting tour experience in the summer. In the winter, ski Mount Bachelor just outside of town.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Portland

The Residences shine atop the Pacific Northwest’s first Ritz-Carlton property and Portland’s first Five-Star hotel. Home to 132 highrise residences and penthouses, this one-of-a-kind living experience envelops you in stunning natural views, luxurious amenities, and legendary service – all in the center of one of the country’s most vibrant cities. With amenities curated to elevate, owners will enjoy skyline-view swimming in the 19th floor Health Center before well-deserved pampering in the Luxury Day Spa. When not exploring Portland’s rich arts and culinary offerings, unwind in the exclusive Owner’s Lounge – richly outfitted with features and finishes to celebrate Portland’s love of wine, the outdoors, and entertaining. Reservations are being taken now; opening July 2023.