Portland is one of the most progressive cities in the United States, in terms of urban spaces and eco-friendly city planning. Lovers of the outdoors and environmentally conscious travelers book hotels in Portland because the city is full of bike paths, rental stores, and designated areas where you can lock your bicycle, which makes Portland a cyclist’s heaven.
If you want to get a taste of this cool, young city of the Pacific Northwest, the best way to get a feel for Portland is by riding a bike through some of the city’s main attraction. If you’re starting from one of the Portland hotels in the downtown area, here is one of my favorite routes through the city’s parks, hip neighborhoods, and best spots for food and drink:
Rent a bike either in downtown Portland or Chinatown itself, and head through this unique neighborhood that is also considered one of Portland’s oldest communities. If you want to grab a snack at Portland’s Old Town to prep yourself for a day of cycling, head to Ankeny Street between Second and Third Avenues, which has banned car traffic so that the local restaurants and bars can set up picnic tables on the street. On the other hand, if you want to relax and get your Zen on before departing on a grand bike tour, head to Lan Su Chinese Garden to learn a little about Asian culture and immerse yourself in a relaxing, natural atmosphere.
Tom McCall Waterfront Park
As you exit Chinatown, continue cycling along the riverside through Tom McCall Waterfront Park, where you will get great waterfront views as well as the chance to people watch and interact with plenty of locals. Take your time to enjoy the fresh air and the easily navigable bike paths throughout the park. If you want to stop in the park, check out the Japanese American Historical Plaza.
Downtown/Portland Farmers’ Market
Whether you choose to cross the river a couple of times on your bike to get scenic views from the bridges, or you choose to cycle all the way down to the Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront, make sure to head away from the river again through downtown to reach the Portland Farmers’ Market. The downtown area is full of quirky shops and restaurants, including the well-known Jackknife at the Sentinel Hotel, which features unique cocktails and comfort food with a twist. For fans of the outdoors, stop by Poler to buy anything from camping gear to any kind of rugged, active sportswear you may need.
After you have looped through downtown, head back up towards the Pearl District, and end your tour in this culture-rich, artsy neighborhood. Lock your bike up and walk around the streets to discover art galleries like the White Space Gallery, restaurants featuring almost any type of food you can imagine, and bars featuring locally brewed craft beers. The pubs of the Pearl District, including well-known names like Fat Head’s Brewery, are especially famous for their relaxed atmosphere and top-notch food and ales.
Photo by Marc Platt.