24 Hours in Portland, Oregon

Here are the sights to see, things to do, and places to eat if you only a single day in Portland, Oregon.

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Photo By: Jeremy Pawlowski

Portland is a big city with a lot of things to see, do and experience. Ideally, if you were visiting you’d be able to spend a week here, but someday you may find yourself passing through for just 24 hours, whether it be on business, a layover, or even just stopping on a road trip. Here is a guide to help you make the most out of a single day in Portland.

Voodoo Doughnuts

At any given time no matter where you are in the city you will see someone carrying a pink doughnut box. Inside that box are world famous Voodoo Doughnuts in all their colorful and playful glory. A doughnut shaped like a voodoo doll with a pretzel stick poked right into it; check. A vanilla frosted doughnut piled high with fruit loops; check. Beyond their crazy concoctions, they also offer regular cake doughnuts and a huge variety of vegan selections.

City Bike Share

Portland, Oregon (aka Bike City, USA) has 315 miles of bikeways and paths throughout the city and 7% of the population commute by bike daily, so it’s easy to see why Portland is one of the most bike-friendly cities in not only the country but the world. If you’re only visiting for 24 hours chances are you are not traveling with a bicycle, but luckily there are bike share stations set up in 100 locations spread throughout the city. At only $2.50 per ride or $12.00 for the whole day, traveling by bike is still the cheapest and fastest way to get around Portland.

Riverfront Bike Path

While cruising around on your bicycle to eat, shop or play in Portland, make sure to take some time out to ride around the beautiful waterfront loop. Not only does this river path give you amazing views of downtown, it will also get you from one end of the city to the other without having to deal with traffic or stop lights!

Mill Ends Park

More of a novelty than an actual place to spend any time, Mill Ends Park is the world’s smallest city park. At only two-feet wide it is easy to miss, but there in the middle of a busy waterfront intersection, you’ll find a small bush, or a cactus, or a Christmas tree, or even a miniature swimming pool complete with a tiny diving board. Mill Ends Park has been part of the "Keep Portland Weird" movement since it was first adopted as a park in 1946 when a citizen planted a tree in an empty hole where a light pole was supposed to be installed.

Tilikum Crossing

The Willamette River splits the city of Portland in half, most places would have a bridge or two connecting the North and the South, but not Portland; the "Bridge City" has 12. Some are for cars, some are for trains, and others are just for cyclists and pedestrians, but they are all unique and make the city what it is. There are new bridges, bridges over 100 years old, cable bridges and even drawbridges. The city’s newest bridge, Tilikum Crossing, was built in 2015. Known as the Bridge of the People it is completely off-limits to vehicular traffic making it the perfect bridge to ride your bicycle across.

Afuri Ramen

When this popular Japanese ramen restaurant was in search of their first American outpost they ended up choosing Portland for its soft water and its ability to absorb flavors. Afuri is the perfect place to enjoy a warm and comforting bowl of ramen, especially during Portland’s cold and rainy winter months. If ramen is not your thing, they also offer crispy dumplings, steamed pork buns and fresh sushi. Stop in and see why it was voted one of Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants in 2017.

Portland Art Museum

Founded in 1892, the Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum on the West Coast and the seventh oldest in the United States. It is also one of the larger art museums in America with more than 240,000 square feet of exhibition space. The museum has more than 42,000 pieces including paintings from renowned artists Monet, Renoir, Inness and Vincent van Gogh. With permanent exhibitions featuring Native American and Asian art, the Portland Art Museum sets itself apart by striving to share, preserve, and enhance diversity in the art community.

International Rose Test Garden

They don’t call it the City of Roses for nothing! From April to October, Washington Park is ablaze with the bright colors of more than 7,000 rose plants. Founded in 1917, the International Rose Test Garden is home to more than 550 varieties of roses from everywhere in the world and is the oldest public rose garden in the United States. Entrance to the 4.5-acre garden is completely free, and the park also puts on concerts and plays during the summer months. So swing by to literally stop to smell the roses.

Forest Park

Portlanders love the being outside, from skiing on Mt. Hood, hiking through the Columbia River Gorge, or even cold water surfing on the Pacific Coast; luckily you can still experience the great outdoors even if you are only in town for one day by heading to Forest Park. There is no need to drive hours to one of Oregon’s famous landmarks when the city of Portland is home to one of the country’s largest urban forests. More than 80 miles of trails wind through the hills and old growth forests on the west side of the city, a mere 10 minutes from downtown. Even though it is easily accessible you’ll forget you’re in a city as soon as you walk into the forest. Under a canopy of trees, Forest Park is the perfect place to escape for a few hours while you wander around Portland’s very own lush wonderland.

Powell's Books

These days most people read books on an e-reader, or if they do prefer a printed copy it is usually purchased through a website, it seems like the bookstore is all but dead. That is not the case in Portland thanks to Powell’s Books. Billing itself as the largest independently owned new and used bookstore in the world, can you think of any other bookstore that is an actual tourist destination? Spanning an entire city block, boasting an inventory of over 4 million books, and adding 3,500 used books to its collection every day, it’s easy to see why people still flock to this bookstore.

Breweries and Distilleries

Portland is home to more than 80 breweries and 20 craft distilleries; that’s more than any other city in the world. In any part of town, you will be within walking distance to a handful unique tasting rooms and brewpubs. From renowned and well-established breweries like Rogue to unique small batch brewers offering distinct sours such as Cascade Barrel House; Portland has a long tradition of cultivating some of the best beers around. While not as illustrious as the beer scene, craft distilleries are now popping up all over the city. "Distillery Row" features eight distilleries in a one-mile stretch in the South East part of town where you can easily pop in and out and taste everything from whiskey made with real Oregon cherries at Eastside Distilling to marionberry infused vodka at Wild Roots Vodka.

Hammy's Pizza

After a full day galavanting around Portland you’re bound to work up an appetite. Luckily Hammy’s Pizza offers carry out and delivery until 4 am. Offering both classic round pies and deep dish made to order (with as many toppings as you want) Sicilian slices, Hammy’s is the perfect way to end a long day in the Rose City.