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Portland Hotel Concierge

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Local Things to Do in Downtown Portland

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At Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland, we’re lucky to be at the epicenter of Downtown near Pioneer Courthouse Square, Brewery Blocks and Pearl District. From shopping or sightseeing, happy hours or hiking, whatever you desire, our locals on staff are ready to create an epic itinerary for your visit. Check out our Hotel Events & Activities Calendar for what’s happening and scope out Seasonal Attractions for themed events perfect for that time of year.

Planning a special occasion or have a burning question about things to do in Portland? Stop by the front desk, or call 1-503-228-1212.

Local Tips for Portland Visitors

Portland offers a boundless array of activities, catering to all ages and interests, ensuring every visitor finds something to captivate their curiosity.

What are your favorite things to do in Portland in summer?

Summer is a great time to visit Portland, from outdoor shopping to wine tasting. Here are a few of our favorites:

Where are the best areas for shopping?

The closest area to the hotel for shopping major retailers is Pioneer Courthouse Square. The Pearl District is also within easy walking distance and home to the largest independent bookstore Powell’s Books. A favorite go to area for boutique and local shopping is NW 23rd St. also called Nob Hill. The entire street is lined with a great mixture of local and national retailers. It’s also a nice mix of men’s and woman’s shopping. Also worth mentioning is that the NW 23rd St. also has some excellent places for dining, or grabbing a cup of coffee.

Where are nice places to hike?

If you have access to a car, the best place to hike is the Columbia River Gorge, which is a 45 minute drive from Portland. The Gorge offers dozens of trails and all different skill levels. On a hot summer day, you cannot go wrong hiking the scenic Oneonta Falls. Another close second is Angel’s rest. If you do not have access to a car, Forest Park and Washington Park both offer scenic hikes and are much closer to the city. The Pittock Mansion, Portland Zoo and Japanese Garden are also near downtown.

What are the best live music venues nearby?

There are no shortage of places to see live music in Portland. From rock to underground, it’s here. Some local favorites:

  • Doug Fir - for that real Portland hipster vibe and local Portland talent
  • Dante’s - best karaoke bar in Portland, and only place you can sing with a live band
  • Crystal Ballroom - from grunge to 80’s several different levels of music genres
  • Wonder Ballroom - attracts local talent and bands coming onto the music scene – true Portland vibe
  • Moda Center - formerly the Rose Garden, this multiuse arena hosts concerts, indoor sports and more
  • Roseland Theater - located in Old Town Chinatown in a building that was originally a church, Roseland is a staple of the PDX music scene
  • Revolution Hall - music venue in the Buckman neighborhood in the historic Washington High School building
  • Star Theater - formerly known as the Princess Theatre, this is a significant former silent film theater
  • Mississippi Studios - owned and operated by musicians, this Boise neighborhood music venue is also a recording studio
  • T.O.C. Concert Hall - (The Old Church) – landmark and concert hall in a Gothic former church in Portland’s West End district

What are the best nearby restaurants?

We are fortunate to be in an excellent location for some great dining options. While Portland is no stranger to good food, some of the best is just outside our front door. Some personal favorites:

  • Q - Romantic atmosphere serving Pacific Northwest cuisine, also offers an extensive Oregon wine list
  • Southpark Seafood - Locally owned, menu updated daily, and contemporary atmosphere with outdoor seating
  • Food Carts - Portland’s food trucks stay put in groups including nearby pods on Fifth Avenue and Pioneer Courthouse Square
  • Portland City Grill - New American restaurant serving locally-sourced food with skyline views from 30 floors up
  • Bullard Tavern - enjoy classic cocktails and a Tex-Mex-inspired menu at this laidback spot

What’s the best brewery?

A short distance from our front door are the Brewery Blocks. Home to some of the best breweries in Portland. This makes it easy to stumble from one great brewery right into another! Some of the more popular spots within the Brewery Blocks are: Van Eberts, Fat Heads, 10 Barrel, Deschutes, Rogue and Kells Brew Pub.

Best day trips from the city?

A very popular day trip is to the Willamette Valley. In about an hour you can be out of the city noise and completely surrounded by rolling hills, never ending rows of trees, various mountain tops and some wonderful Pinot Noir. Some of the best Pinot in the United States is just an hour away! It’s a day trip that never gets old and you never have to visit the same winery twice.

From skiing to summer camps, Mount Hood is a must-see attraction and only 90 minutes from the hotel. If you prefer the Oregon coast, head west for 90 minutes instead. Be sure to stop at the town of Tillamook on your way and tour the famed creamery by its same name. Outdoorsy types will love hiking the various Portland Waterfalls, only 30 minutes from the city.

What’s one thing I should not miss out on while I am in Portland?

Portlanders are very proud of are their bridges. On a nice day, stroll down to the riverfront and you will see various bridges stretching across the Willamette River all in different architectural styles. It’s fascinating to see how the architectural styles changed over the decades as modes of transportation did as well, from the days of trains, to ships to cars. A personal favorite of mine is the Steel Bridge. The Steel Bridge is a pedestrian friendly bridge that allows you to get up-close and see history firsthand and the detail put into it. Be sure to cruise the White Stag sign in downtown facing the Burnside Bridge. The Portland Saturday Market is the largest open-air arts and crafts market open all year in the country and another must-do.

Another uniquely Portland-ian thing to do is take the Bigfoot Adventure Cruise by Portland Spirit. Portland is rife with tales of the famous Sasquatch. Explore the history of Bigfoot when you book our special package that includes tickets, accommodations and more.

Where should I walk my dog?

Located a short walk from the hotel is a grassy park. Ask your concierge for detailed directions. Don’t forget to see the front desk for doggie bags, just in case! Be sure to check out our pet-friendly hotel page for more info.

Best coffee in Portland?

Just like wine, beer and rain, there is no shortage of great coffee shops. Some local favorite spots around Portland are: Barista and Heart. Everyone loves getting a grab and go cup of jo at Barista, and if you have time to sit down and enjoy it, Heart is the place to be. It’s a great place just to bring a book or check your email. The constant flow of patrons, makes for excellent people watching. Stumptown Coffee also has their largest shop in Old Town and is a lively spot to soak in the scene. Java Man Coffee is another laidback favorite nearby.

On a rainy day, what are the best things to do?

There are no shortage of rainy days in Portland. The best way to stay dry and occupied is to take a trip to Powell’s Powell’s is the largest independent chain of bookstores in the world. Four levels and a city block wide. If it’s in print, it’s at Powell’s. We’d also recommend checking out any of our notable museums including the diverse Portland Art Museum, the oldest in the PNW.

Best family-friendly activities in or near Portland?

The OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) is a short distance from the hotel. Having visited it myself, OMSI is not just for the kiddos, adults are sure have a great time too. However, if you are traveling with kids, the streetcar is a great way to get to OMSI. Not to mention the kids get a train ride along the way. On the opposite side of town is the Oregon Zoo, and Japanese Garden. Both destinations are fantastic for all ages. See our family-friendly hotel page for more info.

Where’s the best place to rent a bike?

The hotel has a select number of PUBLIC bikes that guests can check out free of charge. Portland also participates in bike share programs like other cities. These bikes are always available to rent for a small fee. As a very bike friendly town, many of the streets have dedicated bike lanes. A favorite area to ride is along the riverfront away from traffic. Washington Park also is a nice spot, just be warned there are hills involved with going up to Washington Park, but very much worth it, once you reach the top.

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pioneer courthouse square in portland

Local's Guide

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Portland Oregon vineyard

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