Portland, Oregon, is an incredibly vibrant, interesting, and exciting city with much to offer. There’s so much to see and do in the City of Roses (Portland’s catchy nickname) that seeing everything in 1 day is almost impossible.
However, if you’re going to pass through Portland or make a 1-day trip to check out the city before moving here, the info below will help you prepare your itinerary. It’s an excellent list of what to do and see in Portland in one day, brought to you by the Oregon storage experts at Northwest Self Storage. If all you’ve got is a single day to see Portland’s many sights, read on!
The Best Time of Year to Visit Portland
Like Seattle, Washington, Portland sees more than its fair share of wet weather during the year, especially in winter. That makes late spring through early fall the best time to visit the city. The weather is milder, warmer, and dryer and most major events in Portland are held from May through early October.
Awesome Itinerary to See Portland in 1 Day
Breakfast at one of Portland’s Bakeries If You’re an Early Bird
Portland is a culinary trailblazer in the Northwest and boasts cuisine usually reserved for much bigger cities. That includes many local bakeries like Voodoo Doughnut, where you’ll find some of the best baked goods in the city. One of our editor’s favorite bakeries is Oyatsupan! This Japanese bakery situated in Beaverton offers fantastic baked goods for the early birds who don’t have time to sit down and need to get started on that morning adventure. From Melon-pans to Curry buns, you’re bound to fall in love with their wide variety of pastries!
Brunch For the Not So Early Birds
If you are starting your day a bit later, why not grab brunch at one of the top brunch restaurants in Portland? Screen Door offers a variety of some of the most popular brunch items, from Southern-style breakfast to some amazing twists on the classic eggs’ benedict. One of our favorite options is the chicken and waffles, and we also recommend trying out some of their sauces with this dish! Whatever you choose, we know you’ll be in awe at how well everything is cooked.
Portland Japanese Garden
If you’re a fan of Japanese gardens and their lovely, tranquil beauty, Portland Japanese Garden is a must-see! It’s considered one of the most beautiful outside of the country itself and has been delighting the residents of Portland for 60 years! You can easily spend 2 hours or more exploring and admiring here! With that in mind, plan your itinerary according to this!
The fall time here is one of the most beautiful times to visit. With the Japanese maple leaf trees starting to turn vibrant shades of orange and the weather cooling down, only one word can describe the experience: perfection.
Lunch at One of Portland’s Many Fantastic Food Trucks
Did you know that CNN ranked Portland as one of the best street food cities in the world in 2018? They did (it’s #13), saying, “With an abundance of fresh and local ingredients, this is a city where street food rivals the finest restaurants.” For this reason, seeking out one of Portland’s many fantastic food trucks is a great idea. Below are several to choose from.
- Bark City BBQ
- Daily Fuel
- Black Dagger
- Pyro Pizza
- Potato Champion
- St. John’s Food & Beer Porch
- Calypso Southwest
- Koi Fusion
Enjoy a Stroll at One of Portland’s Many Family Parks
Now that your belly is full take a quick stroll at one of Portland’s many beautiful and fun family parks. These are great if you have your kids in tow and you’re looking for a park with playgrounds, picnic benches, and trails for a nice, leisurely walk. Two of the best family parks in Portland include Laurelhurst Park and Peninsula Park.
Late Afternoon Choice #1
Marvel at the Artworks of the Portland Art Museum
Portland is a culture-filled city; there’s no better example than the Portland Art Museum. With an impressive collection of artworks from various regions and areas, you’ll thoroughly enjoy taking a (quick) stroll through this art-filled wonderland. Be sure to take in the Black Artists of Oregon exhibit, celebrating the work of black artists in the city.
Late Afternoon Choice #2
Explore the Gorgeous Pearl District
By this point, it’s almost guaranteed that you’re running a little low on energy, making it the perfect time to explore the Pearl District. You will find a wide range of boutique shops, gorgeous galleries, and the “Umbrella Man” sculpture, an iconic Portland landmark. More importantly, the Pearl District includes several of the city’s best restaurants, so you won’t have to travel far to find excellent dining options. Speaking of which…
Dine at a Pearl District Restaurant
As mentioned, the Pearl District in Portland is one of the city’s best destinations for fine dining. (Portland is considered one of the top cities in the United States for fine food and libations!) Below are several of the yummiest restaurants in Portland you’ll find nearby.
- Can Font- This Spanish restaurant specializes in paella and offers six varieties of its signature dishes.
- Via Delizia- Casual Italian dining at its finest; enjoy their fantastic gelato!
- Miyamoto – This incredible sushi spot is another one of our editors’ favorites in Portland! This more casual spot serves unique sushi rolls at a decent price. Even though there are a few more sushi restaurants to recommend, it’s hard to beat Miyamoto for a fun time that will fill the belly!
- Cool Moon Ice Cream- The inventive and unique flavors you’ll find here will have everyone in the fam screaming for ice cream!
- Break Bread- Super-sized, delicious sandwiches are on the menu here. Our recommendation is the Chubby Puggy with its garlic aïoli and bacon jam!
- Andina- This Peruvian restaurant has served delicious ceviche (Peru’s signature dish) for over 20 years!
- Arden Restaurant Portland- A fantastic wine bar with an equally amazing menu!
- Khao San- Water chestnuts wrapped in bean curd and deep-fried? Yes, please!
- Teardrop Lounge- Tucked away on NW. Everett St., this cocktail lounge is one of Portland’s most influential (and delicious!). (It’s also one of the coolest places in the city, with a horseshoe-shaped bar!)
- Oven and Shaker- Genuinely delectable Italian cuisine presented by 6-time James Beard-nominated chef Kathy Whims.
Catch a Portland Trail Blazers Basketball Game
We highly recommend catching a Portland Trail Blazers basketball game if you visit Portland from October through April. Although not considered one of the “elite” teams in the NBA, the Trail Blazers have an NBA championship to their name and several NBA Finals appearances. Interestingly, even though they’ve only won a single title, the Trail Blazers have made it to the playoffs 37 times, making them one of the more successful playoff teams in the NBA.
Northwest Self Storage Portland
We hope this 1-day itinerary has been helpful and allows you to enjoy Portland to the fullest. Northwest Self Storage is the self-storage leader in Portland, with many locations throughout Oregon and Washington. Our love for Portland runs deep, and we hope with this one visit, you’ll be able to fall in love, too!