Portland residents have a wealth of natural wonders in their backyard and ‘Rip City’ is a fantastic base for nature lovers. Within a short drive from the city, a Portland weekend giveaway will give you access to tumbling waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, peaceful rivers, rugged coastlines, and beautiful hiking trails.
On your journey, don’t miss the multitude of cultural attractions Portland has to offer. Browse the city’s farmers markets, sip on craft beer, and wander unique museums during your trip.
If you’re flying into Portland International Airport, consider making a pit stop to store extra luggage in Portland so you can travel lighter on your weekend getaway.
Whether your adventure is planned months from now or is a spur of the moment trip, here are many of the top places to include in your Portland weekend getaway itinerary.
Cultural Sites in Portland
Portland is a town full of free spirits and you could spend the whole weekend getting to know the city’s quirky personality. Artists and hipsters thrive in Portland and it’s easy to embrace your creative side when waltzing its funky streets.
Don’t miss the chance to check out these cultural gems to kick off your Portland weekend getaway:
Alberta Arts District: Once a shady enclave, the 1.5-mile stretch now boasts independent art galleries, boutique shops, and vibrant bars. The Guardino Gallery hosts numerous art exhibits and the Alberta Rose Theatre has many off-the-wall musical performances.
Zymoglyphic Museum: This fascinating museum personifies Portland’s affinity for weird artifacts, and you’ll see oddball creations from different historical eras. The unusual, elaborate artwork will leave you scratching your head and is a must-see attraction.
Portland Saturday Market: Visit the open-air market to shop for arts & crafts or stock up on tasty produce for the weekend. The market attracts thousands of visitors each year and is an ideal spot to pick out an authentic Portland souvenir.
Portland Art Museum: The West Coast’s oldest art museum features a vast array of American, Native American, and Asian artwork. Exhibits highlight masterful paintings, sculptures, and artifacts, and the Northwest Film Center shows interesting pieces of cinema throughout the year.
Pioneer Courthouse Square: Nicknamed ‘Portland’s Living Room,’ the square is the gathering point of many Portland events. There’s always something exciting going on and there’s no better place in Portland for an afternoon of people watching to capture the city’s idiosyncratic vibe.
Columbia River Gorge
The awe-inspiring landscapes around Portland alone are enough to warrant an exciting weekend trip. One of the places that best illustrates Portland’s wealth of natural beauty is the Columbia River Gorge. Only a 30-minute drive from the city, the Gorge is filled with spectacular adventures to include in your weekend.
Multnomah Falls: Oregon is a land of magical waterfalls, but none are more famous than the 620-foot Multnomah Falls. The waterfall is the tallest in Oregon and its two cascades within the rocky canyon make up one of the state’s most photographed spots.
Hood River: Adrenaline junkies are in for a thrill ride with a trip to the windsurfing capital of the world. Powerful winds circulate through the canyon and the open spaces along the river create lots of chances for a heart-racing ride.
Mount Defiance Trail: Lace up your hiking boots for this lengthy 12.4-mile trail that is leg burner with over 5,000 feet of elevation gain. Only experienced hikers should tackle this path due to its steep inclines and unstable terrain.
Portland is within a two-hour drive of many quaint towns and picturesque beaches scattered along the untamed Oregon Coast. Gaze at imposing sea stacks, hike through old-growth forests, or watch for marine animals from the shoreline before returning to Portland.
Cannon Beach: The quintessential Oregon seaside town is a popular weekend escape for Portlanders. Highlighted by the imposing Haystack Rock and an abundance of forested hiking trails, Cannon Beach is a paradise for nature lovers.
Tillamook Bay: Hiking, kayaking, and fishing are a way of life in this gorgeous area of the Oregon Coast. Make sure you drive the Three Capes Scenic Loop for jaw-dropping panoramic views of the wild Pacific Ocean.
Astoria: One of the most beloved Oregon seaside towns, Astoria enjoys a beautiful location beside the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean. Fishing excursions, hiking trails, and interesting museums highlight this fun-filled weekend destination.
Sand Lake Recreation Area: How about some off-road fun for your weekend getaway? Jump on your ATV and ride around the sand dunes while gazing at the ocean waves crashing against the shoreline.
Oregon’s tallest mountain peak looms in the distance from Portland and it’s impossible not to make a detour to its surrounding wilderness. Adventurous hiking paths, unspoiled forests, sparkling lakes, and romantic stargazing are all within a two-hour drive of the city limits.
Timberline Trail: This looped path circles the iconic snow-capped mountain and is the ultimate escape from city life. Stretching for nearly 40 miles, the hiking path courses through alpine forest and offers dramatic vistas of other snowy peaks in the area. If you’re a veteran trekker, the Timberline Trail is among the most daring challenges for you to conquer during your trip.
Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain Trail: Incredible views of Mount Hood, shimmering lakes, and lot of wildlife highlight this 9-mile trail within the Mount Hood Wilderness. The path snakes around Mirror Lake, through the dense forest, and opens to present a postcard-worthy snapshot of Oregon’s most famous peak.
Trillium Lake: The peaceful lakeside setting lets you sit beneath Mount Hood and listen to the sounds of the adjacent forest. Take your kayak onto the lake, see the mountain’s reflection on the lake’s surface, or sunbathe on the beach beside the shoreline.
Frog Lake: Enjoy a relaxing day on the water while looking up at the majestic snow-capped mountain. Swimming, fishing, kayaking, and camping are popular activities in this scenic location south of Mount Hood.
Timberline Lodge Ski Area: Skiing in the middle of summer? It sounds far-fetched, but Timberline is the lone ski area in the United States that gives skiers and snowboarders year-round access to powder.
Go ahead and enjoy your Portland weekend getaway!