Portland is a city that’s constantly evolving, and two days here offers plenty of things to do and sights to see. Mostly known for its quirky and laid-back attitude, it’s a city filled with green parks and gardens filled with flowering plants. The city’s high concentration of breweries and coffeehouses sit next to hipster-heaven shops selling odds and ends, and the city’s food truck scene is second-to-none, featuring delicious fare from around the globe. With a mantra like “Keep Portland Weird,” it’s not surprising that the city is full of infectious charm. If you have 48 hours to spend in Portland, this itinerary will help you get the most out of your stay.
Hit the hiking trails for the best views of the city and stop and take some time to stop and smell the roses.
Morning: Hike Multnomah Falls
Start your first day with an invigorating hike through some of the area’s prettiest scenery. Located just 30 minutes outside of Portland, this popular trek attracts crowds, so head here early in the morning or mid-week if you’re looking for a little solitude. The falls are great to visit any time of year—peak water flow is in late winter and spring, but if you head there in the summer when the water flow isn’t as intense, the falls look higher. If hiking isn’t your forte, a guided tour of the region’s waterfalls is another fantastic way to spend your morning.
Lunchtime: Grab a bite at Portland Mercado
Hiking works up an appetite, and Portland Mercado is the perfect place to replenish all those calories. You’ll have your choice of international fare from any of the food carts, and the outdoor picnic tables are the perfect place to settle in and chow down. Wash it all down with a coffee, wine, or beer, depending on your mood.
Afternoon: Inhale the scents at the International Rose Test Garden
With over 10,000 rose bushes and 650 varieties, the International Rose Test Garden is the oldest continuously operated rose test garden in the country. Take a guided tour, or set your own pace as you explore the garden’s paths and inhale the scent of the beautiful blooms. Plus, the views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood can’t be beat. Afterwards, once you’ve had your fill of roses and if time allows, head to Pittock Mansion to ogle the views from the home’s breathtaking vantage point or soak in the serenity at Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Evening: Hop from one great brewery to the next
Fun fact: Portland has the most breweries of any city in the world, so it’s only natural to spend your first evening sampling the local craft brews and deciding which is your favorite. Take a tour and let a passionate beer guru lead the way, or set your own schedule. If the actual act of brewing beer is interesting to you, each brewery offers a behind-the-scenes tour of how their suds are made. If bellying up to the bar for a flight of samples is more your speed, you can do that, too. Either way, you’re bound to end your night with a belly full of delicious, local, Portland-made beer.
Spend your second day getting lost among a mountain of books and exploring the city streets by bicycle.
Morning: Get lost in Powell’s Books
Bookworms, this one is for you—although even self-proclaimed non-readers will be impressed by this Portland gem. Powell’s is the largest independent bookstore in the world, and this multi-story landmark has over two million new and used titles lining the shelves. You can easily spend hours here without making a dent in all they have to offer. Grab a latte from the adjoining coffee shop and spend the morning lost among the rows and rows of books. If reading really isn’t your thing, OMSI—the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry—is another Portland gem worth exploring.
Lunchtime: Dine al fresco on Burnside Street
Portland may get a lot of rain, but you’d never know it based on the amount of outdoor dining available. After all, fresh air makes everything taste better, doesn’t it? Head to foodie hot spot Burnside Street and snag a seat at any of the outdoor patios this area has to offer. And no worries if it’s raining—the city is well-prepared for bad weather, and many of the outdoor dining areas are covered. Sip a drink, nosh on some apps, and people watch as you plan your afternoon.
Afternoon: Ride a bike over some bridges (lots of bridges)
Portland’s nickname is Bridgetown—no further explanation needed. A bike ride through Portland is an ideal way to see a lot of the city’s most popular landmarks, like Chinatown and Tom McCall Waterfront Park, in a short period of time (perfect for a short, 48-hour stay, don’t you think?) Take a guided tour or rent a bike to go it alone. No matter where you go, you’re bound to bike over a bridge or two (or three). Most of Portland’s bridges are bicycle friendly—we recommend adding the Hawthorne and Tilikum Bridge to your route.
Evening: Spend a night on the town in Central Eastside
This trendy Portland neighborhood is home to hip eateries, hot restaurants, and cocktail bars serving up original drinks. Close to Downtown, it’s artsy vibe lends a creative energy to the streets. Head to a rooftop patio to soak in the views over dinner, and then hit up any of the after-hours hot spots for a night of dancing and bar hopping.