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Trying to journey solo in Portland, Oregon? This information is for you — and I’ll begin with an anecdote from my life right here.
Standing in line for espresso one morning, I observed the straitlaced gentleman forward of me was not an everyday. When he approached the barista to position his order, I heard him say, “Forgive me, however I’m from out of city. What’s with the entire tattoos?”
And not using a beat, the well-tattooed barista smiled warmly and stated, “That is Portland. There’s no judgment right here.” And proceeded to inform him the story behind his bodily adornments as he ready his espresso.
From the very first day I landed in her hipster-friendly arms, I observed the distinctive inventive vitality of the individuals right here. With its repute for outside recreation, cultural actions, and welcoming residents, I fell in love with Portland and knew it could be my house for a very long time.
This submit was written by Susan Stephens. Learn extra about her on the finish of the submit.
Why Journey Solo To Portland?
Portland has been my house for over twenty years. Throughout that point, I’ve seen it develop from the southern shadow of Seattle to a significant vacationer vacation spot. The Rose Metropolis is a dwelling, respiratory entity, alive with inexperienced areas and communities stuffed with inventive individuals.
Portland’s motto is “Maintain Portland Bizarre” and it tends to dwell as much as that moniker (in a great way!) with its big inventive group and ever-evolving music scene.
For individuals who are conversant in the present Portlandia, I can let you know that on this occasion, artwork actually does imitate life! Portland is loads like how the present portrays it. Chances are you’ll very properly run right into a Fred Armisen lookalike at a restaurant waxing philosophical concerning the well-being of the organically-grown rooster who made the final word sacrifice to grace his plate.
The beauty of Portland is that it’s a giant metropolis with a small-town really feel. That is thanks largely to its assortment of various and eclectic neighborhoods – every with its personal group. Whether or not you might be an introvert or extrovert, Portland will welcome you into her open arms and convey out your greatest self.
Is Portland Good for First-Time Solo Feminine Vacationers?
Portlanders are a welcoming bunch, and with the benefit of getting round and so many solo-centric issues to do, Portland is among the greatest cities for first-time solo feminine vacationers. You will see that this city is stuffed with progressive, think-outside-of-the-box souls, prepared and prepared to share their data and experiences with those that are curious.
There’s additionally a big LGBTQ+ group that makes Portland some of the inclusive cities within the nation, if not the world. The identical is true for individuals of colour. Portland has a repute for being a white metropolis, however that’s probably not true. You’ll discover many ethnicities right here and a giant African-American group on the northeast facet, with a number of Black-owned companies concentrated on this a part of city.
Portland not solely accepts however promotes individualism and it’s common to see individuals younger and previous going about their enterprise solo. On this metropolis, you may have the liberty to “do you!”
Is Portland Good for Skilled Solo Feminine Vacationers?
Completely! In case you are an skilled feminine solo traveler, you’ll really feel very a lot at house in Portland. With the entire distinct neighborhoods you’ll discover inside the metropolis limits, there are such a lot of fabulous nooks and crannies to get you off the crushed path. Due to Portland’s quirky, vibrant, and off-beat vitality, there’s all the time one thing new to find.
For instance, the Pearl District is floor central for artwork galleries, high-rise house buildings, and a classy vibe. You’ll all the time see new artists exhibiting their work and inventive pop-up endeavors all over the place. Throughout a wet afternoon, I like visiting the artwork galleries to see what’s new. Extra about this eclectic neighborhood later on this article!
Is Portland Protected?
Portland is by-and-large a protected metropolis to go to. As a long-time Portland resident, I’ve by no means felt unsafe, even strolling alone within the downtown space after hours. That stated, it’s best to all the time concentrate on your environment and stroll away from conditions that make you are feeling uncomfortable — like anyplace else on the earth.
You could have observed that Portland was within the information rather a lot in the course of the summer time of 2020. With COVID simply beginning to take maintain and the homicide of George Floyd resulting in nation-wide protests, the highlight was constantly on the protests in Portland.
That stated, the protests came about primarily within the downtown space, and regardless of some stories, the police helped restore issues to normalcy as peacefully as attainable. This is not going to have an effect on your travels to Portland at the moment, and if a protest takes place, it’s all the time straightforward to keep away from (once more, like anyplace else on the earth).
There’s additionally a homelessness difficulty in downtown Portland, simply as there may be in any giant metropolitan space. For individuals who don’t dwell in a metropolis with a big unhoused inhabitants, it may be jarring to witness at first, and hard to see so many individuals in ache.
Whereas it is a main difficulty — and it’s a disgrace how poorly the U.S. cares for its most weak individuals — this isn’t a hazard to you. Homeless people in Portland largely preserve to themselves and are attempting to get by way of the day.
Issues to Do in Portland Whereas Solo
Go on an city hike
With so many parks and inexperienced areas, there are many locations to select from. Take a stroll or bike trip on the Eastside esplanade alongside the Willamette River, which runs north-south by way of the center of Portland. The three-mile loop takes you throughout two of Portland’s iconic bridges to the picturesque Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
If a surprising riverwalk that includes Portland’s downtown skyline doesn’t enchantment to you, go to Forest Park. It’s one of many largest city parks within the U.S. Hike to the Witches Citadel – it’s presumably haunted! Forest Park has 80 miles of trails to select from and is protected for solo hikers.
Cathedral Park in St. Johns
One of many many city parks and situated beneath the long-lasting St. Johns Bridge in “NoPo” (north Portland), the gothic spires make it essentially the most lovely bridge in Portland. It’s an ideal place to hang around and folks watch. Catch some free dwell music in the course of the summer time months.
Not solely is Pittock Mansion a historic attraction, but it surely affords one of the best view of downtown Portland from its magnificent hilltop location. As soon as occupied by Portland’s newspaper mogul, Henry Pittock, the mansion affords excursions, a small museum, and a present store.
NW 23rd Ave
Often known as Knob Hill, that is by far my favourite neighborhood to go to. Encompassing each Northwest 23rd and Norwest 21st avenues north of downtown, right here you’ll discover a smorgasbord of enjoyable, eclectic outlets, and culinary selections to swimsuit any palette.
City Outfitters is nice for attire and reward procuring, whereas Southland Whiskey Kitchen has some nice BBQ and different homestyle fare. Their Smokehouse sandwich is a celebration in your mouth!
Calling all artwork lovers and wine aficionados! That is THE neighborhood to hit up a lot of the artwork galleries and classy eateries.
First Thursdays within the Pearl is a district-wide artwork and dwell music occasion that happens on the primary Thursday of every month, with lots of the streets closed off to autos.
Alberta Arts District
A big inventive group thrives on this neighborhood and also you’ll see proof of it by the entire road artwork murals peppered alongside NE Alberta St.
It has turn into considerably gentrified lately, however with that comes an ideal number of outlets, eating places, and bars that make for a really “Portland” afternoon.
McMenamins Resorts and Pubs
The McMenamins Brothers have created a incredible regional chain of accommodations, music venues, and pubs situated all through western Oregon and Washington. Every property options whimsical art work all through and the entire accommodations have been transformed from previous deserted buildings. Plan on staying a minimum of an evening or two in one in every of their Portland space accommodations, such because the Crystal Lodge or Kennedy College Lodge.
The Sellwood neighborhood
Keep in mind that small-town neighborhood vibe I used to be speaking about? You’ll get that right here. There are many native family-owned outlets, eating places, espresso, and tea homes to discover.
Sellwood can also be vintage central for Portland, so in the event you love vintage procuring, Sellwood has the biggest focus within the metropolis, situated alongside SE Milwaukie Avenue. For a diner-style breakfast that may final you well past lunchtime, head to Fats Albert’s Breakfast Café.
North Mississippi Ave
Just like Nob Hill and NW 23rd Ave., this road is jam-packed with distinctive outlets, intimate bars, and locally-owned eating places. One in every of my favourite locations to catch some dwell music is Mississippi Studios. Extra on that later!
Greatest Issues to Do in Portland for Solo Vacationers
Mill’s Finish Park
Mill’s Finish Park is the smallest park on the earth. The Guinness E book of Data even says so! Volunteers will enhance the one lone bush or tree within the park for holidays, particularly Christmas.
Store the second-hand shops on Hawthorne Blvd resembling Crimson Gentle Clothes Change. This funky area is a second-hand clothes mecca, with an enormous number of males’s and ladies’s duds in all sizes. I hardly ever stroll out of there empty-handed.
Tender Loving Empire is my native favourite for attire and items that doubles as a file label! They’ve a number of shops all through city and a small outlet on the Portland Airport on Concourses D and E.
Lan Su Chinese language Backyard and Teahouse
If you would like a peaceable and serene spot to chill out, on this Chinese language backyard you’ll absolutely discover your Zen second. It’s an genuine Ming Dynasty-style backyard constructed by Suzhou artisans.
Powells Bookstore is the biggest unbiased bookstore on the earth. I imply…it’s big. With three flooring of books taking over one full metropolis block of area, you possibly can get misplaced on this place and simply spend a complete afternoon right here.
They even present maps and a uncommon ebook part! Go right here, even when simply to browse. It’s a Portland establishment. You’ll discover smaller Powell’s branches all through town.
Mt. Tabor Park
Simply down the highway from Hawthorne Blvd. is Mt. Tabor Park. Set on a dormant volcano, it’s an ideal place to take a heart-pumping uphill hike the place you might be rewarded with a killer view of downtown Portland to the west.
Catch a Present
Catch a present at Mississippi Studios and Crystal Ballroom; each are intimate music venues internet hosting each native and worldwide acts on any given evening. Mississippi Studios has a full bar serving burgers and sandwiches proper subsequent door.
Kennedy College Lodge
In the event you can, spend an evening or two on the Kennedy College Lodge. That is (yep, you guessed it) a historic transformed schoolhouse that could be a vacation spot unto itself. You’ll discover a number of eating places and pubs, a film theatre, and a soaking pool on web site.
I normally make a beeline to the resort’s soaking pool. In case you are not a visitor of the resort, for a mere 8 USD you possibly can have a soothing sizzling soak of their personal outside courtyard. Reservations are really helpful.
Portland State College Farmers’ Market
In the event you love farmers’ markets, Portland State Unversity Farmers’ Market is a must-visit. Not solely have they got dozens of distributors providing up contemporary produce, domestically made honey, bread, jams, and flowers, however you’ll discover made-to-order meals and beverage distributors. As Portland’s flagship farmers’ market since 1992, in the course of the spring and summer time months additionally they have chef demonstrations and dwell music.
Portland Avenue Artwork
One of many nice issues about Portland is the road artwork! As you meander round city, you can not assist however run into a number of incredible murals and sculptures. Portland even has its personal ‘Banksy’ who is called Klutch and also you’ll see his work all through city.
There are tons of of murals throughout city. Here’s a web site that may present you a map of the entire present road artwork; a lot of them are accomplished by artists who’re commissioned by town.
Go on a kayak tour
Exploring the Columbia or Willamette Rivers on a kayak is one in every of my favourite actions and a good way to see the Portland space from the water.
Greatest Time to Journey to Portland
The perfect time to go to Portland is late spring by way of early summer time. As you’ll have heard, Portland will get its share of gray skies and wet climate, and summer time doesn’t normally come into full view till July. However that’s when the crowds (and the costs) are inclined to rise, so coming a bit earlier within the yr is all the time a very good factor.
Portland loves its festivals and road festivals. Through the summer time months, there may be all the time one thing occurring. Right here is a superb useful resource to maintain tabs on the road festivals.
Bare Bike Trip. Put up-COVID, this most well-known of Portland occasions is again on! Usually held in July, this clothing-optional group bike trip doesn’t promote its bike route till the final minute, however normally follows some route within the close-in downtown space.
Some notable festivals that happen in Portland are the Waterfront Blues Pageant, Portland Rose Pageant, and Craft Beer Pageant, to call however a only a few! Extra festivals might be discovered right here all year long.
Easy methods to Get Round Portland Solo
The general public transportation system in Portland is among the many greatest you’ll discover in any metropolis. Buses, trams, and light-weight rail are considerable and are run by TriMet. Obtain the TriMet app to simply get you the place you need to go, and the place yow will discover one of the best path to get from A to B.
You possibly can even buy and present your fare proper from the app or utilizing the Hop Fastpass.
It’s also possible to discover Portland by bike. Scattered all through Portland you’ll see vibrant orange banks of parked bikes. Funded by Nike (their worldwide headquarters is within the Portland suburb of Beaverton) that is the proper solution to simply lease a motorbike utilizing the Biketown app and discover town on two wheels. Portland is a really bike-friendly city and also you’ll discover bike lanes on a lot of the principal thoroughfares and plenty of facet streets.
In the event you do lease a automobile, know that within the extra densely populated areas, you DO NOT pump your individual gasoline. Don’t even strive – it’s in opposition to the legislation. Simply drive as much as a gasoline station, wait in your automobile, and a pleasant gasoline station attendant will pump your gasoline for you. Fairly superior, proper?
In rural areas, nonetheless, you’ll be able to pump your individual gasoline. In the event you’re undecided, simply ask!
Consuming Alone in Portland
Portland is such an individualistic metropolis that it’s fairly commonplace to see individuals consuming alone in a restaurant, café, or bar. A number of the greatest spots for a wonderful solo meal are:
Fireplace on the Mountain. An excellent place to hang around solo along with your laptop computer whereas having fun with one of the best rooster wings ever. Select from a wide range of distinctive and house-made sauces starting from gentle to super-spicy. Additionally they have burgers, sandwiches, and an ideal craft beer choice.
Portland Meals Carts – a vacation spot unto themselves! This city has extra meals carts per capita than simply about anyplace and it could take many months to discover all of them. You’ll discover quick, cheap meals from each culinary nook of the world, and a few are run by educated cooks!
They’re known as meals carts and never meals vans as a result of they’re largely stationary and are gathered in “pods” scattered throughout Portland. The meals cart pods I like to recommend are Cartlandia and Prost Market. Different meals cart choices are listed right here.
With a reputation that I all the time discovered intriguing, Lardo has some nice upscale pub-style meals that includes handcrafted burgers and sandwiches in a soothing, dare I say, fashionable environment. With wholesome parts, strive as I’d, I couldn’t end my Pork Meatball Banh Mi so I saved the opposite half for later, and it was simply as scrumptious chilly!
Portland doughnuts are one of the best. First, I wish to steer you away from VooDoo Doughnut. You’ll see this world-famous donut store in the entire different blogs about Portland. Don’t get me improper, it’s a incredible place, however get off the crushed path and go to Pip’s Donuts. They serve tiny, bite-sized doughnuts in amazingly distinctive flavors, with scrumptious chai.
Portland is the place beer and occasional rule, so in the event you like both/or, you may have a dizzying array of choices. I prefer to satiate my caffeine craving at Bison Espresso Home. It’s one in every of dozens of locally-owned espresso outlets, and this one has a beautiful Native American historical past to it.
In the event you’re into craft beer, head to Deschutes Brewery and Public Home. I like their laid-back environment and upscale pub meals. However actually, you possibly can’t go improper with any native brewery on the town and Portland is a world chief in beer-making. Additionally they supply excursions of their brewery.
In the event you like sports activities (and even in the event you don’t!) head to the brand new Sports activities Bra Bar. This one is getting a variety of press as a result of it’s the primary women-owned-and-operated bar that celebrates ladies in sports activities. They’ve a incredible meals and cocktail menu, together with wine and beer.
For a few of the greatest New Orleans’-style soul meals on the town, check out Miss Delta on Mississippi Avenue. They’ve incredible gumbo, po’ boys, bowls, and extra, with the best craft beer to clean all of it down.
Easy methods to Meet Individuals in Portland
Be a part of a meetup on Meetup.com. Whether or not you’re into journey, working, films, board video games, or simply need to meet a gaggle of good individuals, there’s a Meetup for that. Meetup.com is a superb useful resource with a number of completely different Portland-area teams with all types of pursuits.
Be a part of a tour or exercise. Becoming a member of one thing like a Portland meals tour is a enjoyable solution to meet fellow vacationers (and sometimes locals) whereas attending to know the neighborhoods higher!
Be a part of the native climbing group. The Portland Climbing Meetup Group is an effective one for exploring nature and assembly new pals.
Put out feelers on social media. Usually a good friend of yours can have a cousin or good friend dwelling in San Francisco who will supply to fulfill you for espresso, simply so you understand somebody. Make the most of this in the event you can.
Tinder. In the event you’re trying to date or hook up, have enjoyable!
Portland Journey and Security Ideas
Portland’s airport has constantly been rated as top-of-the-line on the earth. Not just for its consolation and pleasing aesthetic (they lately opened a brand new concourse that’s very good) however for the number of direct flights all through the world.
You actually don’t want a automobile to get across the metropolis. It is rather commonplace for individuals to journey alone utilizing public transportation, even at evening, so if you wish to catch a dwell present after darkish, it’s no downside. Simply use frequent sense and all the time concentrate on your environment.
What to Pack for Portland
Though it rains fairly a bit right here, Portlanders will proudly let you know they by no means use an umbrella. We’re too busy holding espresso cups and canine leashes!
A superb raincoat with a hood will do. Make sure to carry one, even in the course of the summer time months, as you by no means know when Portland will get a downpour. (In fact, in the event you don’t need to spend money on a model new coat, particularly if it’s for a brief journey, it’s advantageous to carry an umbrella with you.)
A superb pair of broken-in climbing sneakers or boots is crucial, as you’ll be doing a variety of strolling.
Journey Insurance coverage for Portland
Even in the event you’re visiting Portland from inside the US, it’s good to get journey insurance coverage. You may not be capable to discover a healthcare supplier in your plan right here, and journey insurance coverage will usually cowl you anyplace that’s 100+ miles away.
In the event you get sick or injured in your journey, in the event you get robbed, or even when it’s important to be evacuated, journey insurance coverage will defend you from monetary spoil. Try World Nomads journey insurance coverage for journeys to Portland and see in the event that they’re best for you.
Journey insurance coverage is the form of factor that looks as if a waste till the second you want it desperately. Don’t underestimate its significance — you should definitely defend your self.
Portland is ready for you!
I’ve spent many a day exploring Portland solo and I’m all the time discovering one thing enjoyable and new to do. There’s a freedom right here I’ve not skilled in every other metropolis.
The easiest way to expertise Portland is to take your time and savor her slowly – have some sights and actions deliberate, but in addition go away loads of free time. You by no means know when serendipity will occur and also you’ll discover one thing wonderful you possibly can by no means have deliberate for.
This occurred to me once I missed my probability to see a live performance because the present was already offered out. As I used to be wandering across the Mississippi Ave space, I occurred upon a tiny, out-of-the-way bar and walked inside.
After ordering a cocktail and taking a seat, I discovered that one in every of my favourite native bands was enjoying later that night. Since I got here early sufficient, I used to be capable of watch them without spending a dime earlier than they began charging on the door and it turned out to be an ideal solo night. Like I stated…serendipity!
Concerning the Creator
Susan Stephens is a scientist-turned-travel-writer and has lived in Portland, Oregon for 25 years. Initially from the Midwest, she started her profession as a journey agent, then rapidly moved on to attempting her hand as a merchandising supervisor, then a biochemist. It was then she found she would by no means actually be completely satisfied except she was touring, so she went again to her old flame and have become a solo traveler and blogger.
Her journey weblog, Explorer Sue, is devoted to serving to individuals uncover the great thing about the Pacific Northwest. When she’s not writing about wonderful locations to go to in Oregon and Washington State, she is an avid solo traveller and hiker. She is passionate about encouraging any feminine to interrupt out of their consolation zone and uncover absolutely the pleasure of solo journey.
Extra Solo Feminine Journey Guides
See our full information to solo feminine journey right here. Additionally you should definitely try our vacation spot guides:
Solo Feminine Journey within the US:
Solo Feminine Journey in Europe:
Solo Feminine Journey in Latin America:
Solo Feminine Journey Across the World:
Have you ever been to Portland? What are your favourite ideas? Share away!
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