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Portland in the Winter

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portland in the winter
Written by Edith & Juan

Portland has been the most relaxed city and the weirdest I have been too.  I mean that in a good way.  In fact, there is even a big slogan downtown that says “Keep Portland Weird.” I agree!

This trip with my friends included a lot of walking through Portland’s Districts, especially downtown. Some things I loved about this city is that the people are very relaxed, the city is Earth friendly and health conscious, has beautiful architecture, and is tax-free!  Just don’t mind the funky pot smell throughout your time there.

Portland Oregon


Portland in the Winter

With not much time to explore,  my friends and I made sure to check off our top places first with hopes that the rain wouldn’t stop us from enjoying.  Fortunately for us, it seems we brought the sun with us from California and we enjoyed some nice partly cloudy days.  Unfortunately, the winter ice stopped us from exploring certain places but we still maneuvered through it and enjoyed our cold trip to Portland. Here are the places we visited:


Pearl District:

One of the trendiest and upscale districts in Portland, you will find this area just north of downtown quite fun to walk through.  It is known for its shopping boutiques, art galleries, and its entertainment options.   Our favorite stop was:

Powell’s Books

Visiting a library might not be what you were thinking of doing, but this place is the largest new and used book store in the world.   It has an incredible selection of books to read and you will enjoy getting lost in there as you go through the sections. If you plan a visit here, possibly go with a book in mind or else this place can be overwhelming.

Portland in winter

Downtown Portland:

We spent most of our time walking around downtown Portland during our trip because it had a lot to offer.  Here we enjoyed some famous doughnuts, walked past shops (which by the way anything you buy is tax free), and marveled at the beautiful architecture.

Voodoo Doughnuts

Talk about creative!  You will surely have to wait in line to buy a doughnut but once inside you will have access these creative pieces of dough.  They even have vegan options for those who need it.

Voodoo Doughnuts

See the Portland Signs

As you shop around downtown and enter the many different boutiques, you will run into interesting signs to take pictures of.

Portland Oregon

 See Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao

Located in North Park Blocks in Downtown Portland.  This sculpture caught our attention as we walked by.

Portland Oregon

Tom McCall Waterfront Park

One place you can sit down to relax is Tom McCall Waterfront Park to oversee the Willamette River.  Here you can also watch people jogging, skating, or just hanging out.  It’s also where the Portland Rose Festival is held every year.   If you want to enjoy it from another distance, you can walk the Hawthorne Bridge to get the view below.

Portland Oregon

Old Town Historic District:

Old Town China Town

This is Portland’s Official Chinatown.  You will be greeted by an entrance gate marked with two lions at the corner of NW 4th Ave and W Burnside.  Old Town China Town the Lan Su Chinese Garden, which unfortunately we missed due to renovations.  It looks beautiful though, and one day I’ll have Juan join me as we explore this city.

Old Town ChinaTown

Washington Park

Even though the ice prevented us from enjoying this place much more than we already did, we still managed to get around and see what this winter wonderland had to offer. The only bummer was that the Japanese Garden was not open during the winter season, the place I most wanted to see. Either way, here are some of the things you can see at Washington Park.  All you need to do is take the Max Light Rail from downtown and use the Trimet Line 63 to get around the park.

Portland Oregon

Hoyt Arboretum 
Our first stop was Hoyt Arboretum.  We didn’t last long here as the ice was quite dangerous for slips, but we walked around a little bit enjoying the sight of the sequoia trees.  If you are able to, you can enjoy the 12 miles of hiking trails, and the many species of plants such as the dogwood and magnolias.

Portland Oregon

Washington Park had some interesting memorials. My favorite being the Oregon Holocaust Memorial where you will find a bronze suitcase representing the possessions lost in chaos and a wall with engraved quotes from survivors. Apart from the memorial, you will be surrounded by some very cute houses as you head towards the rose garden.

Portland Oregon

International Rose Test Garden

We didn’t quite see any roses besides the maybe 3 survivors of the ice, but we did love the stunning view of Mt.Hood and Portland’s skyline from here. We spent our time walking around the place because even without flowers it was beautiful. I surely need to see this place during Spring because it is home to more than 10,000 rose bushes and over 722 varieties.  Best time to see this places is May through September.

Portland Oregon

Portland was definitely beautiful but as you can see, the weather prevented us from seeing some of the main attractions we were interested in.  However, Portland was slow paced and quite enjoyable in the winter because we found ourselves enjoying everything slowly and fully.  We didn’t need to cram too many tourist attractions into our schedule.  Downtown itself was enough to enjoy this beautiful city.

What experiences have you had in Portland during the winter?  What do you love most about this city?  Leave your thoughts and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

About the author

Edith & Juan

From Arizona but currently traveling through Asia living only from a backpack each. Edith and her husband Juan created Life Beyond 520 to share inspiration from their travels and adventures beyond Arizona-the 520 area code. Edith is the blogger behind these posts, but together they hope to inspire couples and others to get out there and explore new places, including their own city.

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