Flights to Portland didn't bring settlers to this West Coast city, but Portland remains as a destination spot in U.S. history and welcomes millions of travelers on Portland flights each year. Portland is best known for its pivotal role during the California Gold Rush in the 1850s. The city continued to thrive with the addition of railroads in the late 1800s and was the site of the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in 1905. Today, Portland’s diverse economy, including more than 1,700 high-tech companies that are based here, keep millions of travelers booking flights to Portland every year.
Save money on cheap flights to Portland and use the extra cash to spend in Portland’s vast shopping district. Serious shoppers booking weekend flights to Portland will head straight to the popular Saturday market, the nation’s largest outdoor crafts market. Antique hunters will find a gem in the Sellwood and Westmoreland districts. Shopping book Portland flights should check out the main shopping districts also include downtown, the Pearl District, and the Hawthorne district.
History buffs will enjoy visiting the city and strolling through Portland’s historic Old Town and Waterfront Park. While your flight to Portland might not feature the best in fine dining, visitors booking flights to Portland will be pleased with the acclaimed dining options in the city. Nob Hill, downtown and the Pearl District offer top dining destinations. In addition, tree-huggers book flights to Portland because it is one of the greenest cities in America.
You might not strike gold on your flight to Portland, but many visitors to Portland agree that the city is a diamond in the rough.
Portland has the mild rainy climate of the Pacific Northwest. It doesn’t get that much rain in inches, but it has a lot of days when it rains some. The rainy season is roughly October to May. Summer is the sunniest season in Portland, so that’s when most people visit. It can be hot, with temperatures reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Whenever you go, be prepared for at least a little rain and also for cool evenings even in summer.
Best Time to Fly to Portland
There is much less rain from May to October, and because the summer weather is mild, any time during this half of the year is a great time to book flights to Portland. Summer is the most popular time to visit Portland, but that often means higher Portland flights and hotel rates.
The rainy season goes from October to May. During this time, you'll find cheap flights to Portland and almost as much to see and do. The most pleasant weather in more-or-less off-season times occurs in early May and late September.
Getting around Portland
It’s easy to walk around compact downtown Portland. There are plenty of small parks to rest at and sidewalks are wide. The public transit system is very good. TriMet has buses and light rail, the Metropolitan Area Express (MAX). If you’re traveling in the free rail zone, a 300-block area downtown, a ride won’t cost you a thing. The Portland Streetcar services the cultural district and great areas for shopping and restaurants. The free rates apply to the streetcar too. If you hop on one of the vintage streetcars that run on the weekends, you still won’t have to pay.
Portland Travel Information
- If you have a question or need directions when you’re downtown, look for one of the people wearing bright green jackets. These are Portland Guides, and their job is to answer questions and give directions.
- The Portland Saturday Market (now continuing into Sunday) is a favorite outing for locals and visitors alike. Every weekend, artists and craftspeople, typically close to 300 of them, sell their creations. You’ll also find a variety of ethnic and other interesting foods.
- Portland calls itself the City of Roses, and celebrates the Rose Festival throughout all of June. The festival includes a grand parade, boat and car races, an air show, an arts festival, and of course a rose show. Also during June is Fleet Week, when a variety of U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Royal Canadian Navy ships are in port. Some ships provide river cruises. Ships in port are open for free tours.
- Some of Portland’s main attractions are gardens and parks. The Japanese Garden, one of Portland’s most popular attractions, is considered the finest example of a Japanese garden in North America, and the Portland Classical Chinese Garden is the largest of its type outside China. Though very different, both gardens are lovely, and both have tea rooms.
- The Pittock Mansion is the most impressive mansion in Portland, and it commands an impressive view, looking over the city to the Cascade Range. Built in 1914 in the style of a French Chateau, it has innovative features like a built-in vacuum cleaning system and multiple showerheads. The lawn is a good picnic spot.
- One of Oregon’s best-kept secrets is Sauvie Island, a 24,000-acre island 10 miles northwest of downtown Portland, where you can observe an impressive array of migratory and year-round birds, pick berries, or walk along the beach. A narrow bridge connects the island to the mainland, running along the top of a dyke past houseboats and fruit and dairy farms.
- Portland has been a major port since the 19th century, and in the early days, unsuspecting young men enjoying a night out in Portland’s seedier sections might be drugged and wake up on board a ship heading for Asia, sold to the captain as slave labor—shanghaied. You can tour the Shanghai Tunnels, the restored labyrinth where the victims were imprisoned, and see the cells where they were held and the trapdoors through which they were dropped from bars and brothels. For tours, call the Cascade Geographic Society (503.622.4798).
- Portland has some unusual attractions, but none is more bizarre than the 24-Hour Church of Elvis/Where's the Art?, a cross between performance art and a kitschy collection of found objects and pop art. It’s not a church—but it does have a proprietor who claims to be a minister; it’s not open 24 hours; and Elvis is only a small part of the popular culture represented.