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13 Reasons You'll Love a Layover in Portland

Portland Insider Guides
by Henry Miller Jul 18, 2017


Because our airport has been ranked number 1 IN THE NATION four times in a row from 2013 to 2016, and that might have something with the plentiful locations where you can get a good local microbrew. Get a taste of Rogue’s and Laurelwood’s finest IPA’s or try a new whiskey at the House Spirits location.


Another thing that makes PDX so great for shopping for local merch? The Port of Portland guarantees that the prices of all goods sold in the airport are not inflated from city prices. So don’t worry about over-spending on your own Pendleton blanket or a Columbia Sportswear raincoat.


Because even in the heat of rush hour it takes less than an hour to drive from the airport to the world-famous International Rose Test Gardens, clear on the other side of the city. Be sure to check out our recently renovated and much praised Japanese Gardens while you are in the area.


Because you can take our nationally renowned streetcars straight to the center of downtown in about the same time you can drive there. For only $2.50, the light-rail MAX Red Line will speed you from PDX to Pioneer Courthouse Square, also known as Portland’s Living Room. While there, try some of our famous coffee at nearby Water Avenue,Case Study Coffee Roasters or Public Domain.


Shorter layover? Alberta Street, a hip avenue packed with new restaurants and bars, is less than a fifteen-minute cab ride away. Try the Bye and Bye or The Alleyway for local grub and brews that make for a perfect late lunch.


15-minutes in the opposite direction gets you to Portland’s favorite local rock-climbing spot, Rocky Butte. The park-on-a-hill also offers some of the best panoramas of the city- including stunning views of Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, the Columbia Gorge, and downtown Portland silhouetted by the skyscraping Doug Firs of Washington Park.


Because the Portland Expo Center, Oregon’s biggest indoor event space, is just down the road. You can find just about any event at the Portland Expo- from Cirque Du Soleil shows, to a Lego festival, to “America’s Largest Antique and Collectible” show, to car expos, to Lego festivals, to “America’s Largest Christmas Bazaar”- and you typically wont have to fork over too many bucks to get in.


Because our early-riser breakfast scene is just as spectacular as our nightlife scene, so there are no wrong hours to be in town. Every Portlander has a love for the plate-sized blueberry hotcakes and cheese-stuffed omelets you can chow down on at diners such as Fuller’s CoffeeThe Original Hotcake HouseMy Father’s Place and Tom’s Restaurant. If you are feeling a little more modern and brunch-y, try Tasty And AlderScreendoorCafé Nell or Pine State Biscuits.


Because in 30 minutes you can be at the gateway to the Columbia Gorge. For the folks who love Portland for its natural setting, there are few spots more iconic than The Vista House. Enjoy that breathtaking view of the Gorge before taking the scenic Historic Columbia River Highway back into town. Be sure to stop for lunch and a bit of knick-knack shopping in Troutdale.


Because Fort Vancouver is only 20 minutes away. Okay, this pioneer fort is technically in Vancouver, WA, but Portland’s history essentially begins at Fort Vancouver. And how often do you get to learn about the Wild West days of Oregon Country from within a 200 year-old wooden fort?


Because we have more than your standard airport hotels. Local hotspot and boutique hotel The Kennedy School is less than 15 minutes from PDX, and it comes with an outdoor soaking tub to relieve that flyer’s tension.


Because Portland has a serious Escape Room scene with five unique venues scattered across the city. And there is no better way to blow through an hour of an extended layover than by making new friends in a human-sized puzzle. Try Labyrinth or 60 Minutes to Escape for a fun yet challenging first escape experience.


Because, no matter when you land, you can always grab a dozen of Voodoo Doughnuts’ finest bacon-covered maple bars and their Bavarian cream-filled Cock-N-Balls. Open 24-7, ya’ll.

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