Portland is a cosmopolitan city. Perhaps not quite on the level that Seattle is, but just enough to make you appreciate the divine eating, shopping and extracurricular options she has to offer. And Portland also has a plethora of wonderfully unique places to lay your head at night!
As always, for an authentic local experience, I recommend exploring the world of Airbnb. I’ve used them several times and have never been disappointed. You get your own private space while enjoying as much (or as little) interaction with your host as possible. They can give you the inside scoop on what to do and see in the area.
But if you want to hang your hat in a more hotel-like environment, I recommend the below options. I have listed them in order of budget. All will bring you a uniquely Portland experience (i.e. no sterile chain hotels here!)
The Grand Lodge or Edgefield offer bunk-bed rooms with shared bathrooms down the hall. Here’s a detailed article about the magic that is the McMenamins Hotel experience.
With a bamboo-flanked courtyard, roaming wi-fi and tons of natural light, this is a popular place. The fabulous Doug Fir Lounge is just across the way offering incredible nightlife. Note: They are expanding their property in 2018 with Jupiter NEXT. Can’t wait to see what they have in store!
This boutique property has consistently made the ‘best in Portland’ list for several years. It’s a unique ‘vintage’ hotel experience, featuring those red Etch-a-Sketch toys, and brightly colored all-suite rooms with décor reminiscent of the 1960’s.
A boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Portland, among top-rated restaurants, art galleries, and the theater district. Their courtyard features the city’s first green ‘living’ wall. It has a restaurant on site and an ultra-hip lobby area.
A funky-fun boutique hotel located downtown directly across from the scenic Tom McCall Waterfront Park along the Willamette River. They have an on-site restaurant, dog-friendly rooms and plenty of wi-fi. And the best part? Each room has complimentary slippers you can take home with you!
A boutique hotel in downtown Portland, the building is listed as one of Portland’s historic places, built in 1909. But don’t let the age of the property deter you, this is a modern establishment. With ultra-modern décor in the lobby, and tastefully updated rooms. This hotel boasts its wonderful photography collection by David Hume Kennerly.
Featured in (ahem) Fifty Shades of Grey, this property is lush, classic luxury at its finest. The Heathman has standard rooms, but if you have the means to splurge, reserve one of their signature suites. Choose from the Literary Arts Suite, the Portland Center Stage Suite, The Oregon Symphony Suite, the Grand Suite, or the Andy Warhol Suite!
A luxurious property with a storied past. Built in 1909, it’s lobby has a curated art collection, with actual sentinels lining the rooftop, and is listed as a national historical landmark. Portland filmmaker Gus Van Sant shot several scenes from My Own Private Idaho here.
The quintessential Portland 5-star experience. Located in the historic downtown Meier & Frank building, check in at the ground level front desk, then ride eight stories up to the body of the hotel. Dine in their two restaurants and luxuriate in their well-appointed, elegant rooms featuring art from local Pacific Northwest artists.
Where to Play
In fact, Portland is such a foodie town, there are more restaurants per capita than any other in the U.S. Of course, this means that many restaurants come and go…it’s just part of the restaurant business. But the good ones stay because the locals know a good thing when they taste it. Head over to my Portland Itinerary article for my favorite restaurants. Not up for a sit-down meal? Try Portland’s famous food carts!
Here is what I recommend to people coming into town who need a place to stay. I’ve also included some of my favorite haunts, places I go to ‘play’ in my hometown.
OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) – a hands-on Science Museum that is also great for the kids. Catch a first-run movie in their 3D theater
NW 23rd Street – Also known as Nob Hill, this is an outdoor shopping and dining experience in one of Portland’s oldest neighborhoods.
Pearl District – full of great dining, shopping and art galleries.
Forest Park – One of the largest urban parks in the country. Get lost in the woods without living the city limits.
Pittock Mansion – A great historical mansion (that is now a museum), high atop a hill with sweeping views of the city.
Elk Rock Garden – A hidden respite located in SW Portland, away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Portland.
I hope you enjoy.
*Disclaimer: I have not been compensated in any way by any of the properties or links that I’ve featured here. I just love all of them!
** The gorgeous wood-laden lobby image at the top of the page is The Benson Hotel. Part of the Coast Hotel chain.