Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon: Things to Do and Where to Go on a Budget

Planning a trip to the west coast of the United States? You should consider making a stop in Portland, Oregon. 

It's relatively close to Washington State, whether you plan to travel from Seattle or Spokane.

On top of that, there are so many things to do in Portland, Oregon. As the most populous city in Oregon State, the vibrant city offers various things to see – whether you love nature or prefer diving into the big city life!

This time, we'll have John Paul from The Hangry Backpacker to share some insights about what to do and where to go in Portland, OR, especially if you're looking for cheap activities in Portland. Let's dive in!

Top 4 Cheap Things to Do in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon is not a cheap place to live. For tourists, it's not the cheapest destination either.

However, that doesn't mean you can't save a few bucks in Portland. There is plenty to do on the cheap and even more to do for free in Portland.

Visiting Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is synonymous with Portland, Oregon. Located just east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge, 620-foot Multnomah Falls is a stunning symbol of the natural beauty in Oregon.

From Portland, there is a shuttle that takes about 30 minutes from Portland. It stops directly at the falls, where visitors can enjoy the view, take photos or go for a hike.

There are several beautiful waterfalls nearby, and hiking up and beyond leads to fun trails and more waterfalls! The shuttle, for a round trip, is only $5 USD. Everything else is free!

Alternatively, you can also do the day trip from Portland by joining a tour to explore Columbia Rivers Gorge. The tour usually includes Multnomah and some other waterfalls in the area, which will give you an opportunity to visit one of the most instagram-worthy spots in Oregon!

Multnomah Falls, one of the natural wonders in Oregon.

Enjoy various outdoor activities at Pittock Mansion

The best view of Portland is found at Pittock Mansion in the West Hills, a free garden area with a great panorama of the city. On clear days, Mount Hood, Mount Saint Helens, and Mount Adams – over 50 miles away! – are all visible.

The easiest way to reach Pittock Mansion is to drive, but the best way is to take the scenic route! The West Hills are largely covered by Forest Park, and there are nearly one hundred miles of trails inside the park. At the top, the view is fantastic.

Other great outdoor spaces include the downtown riverfront, Laurelhurst Park, Mount Tabor Park and Powell Butte Nature Park. Some of these notable parks in Oregon are also included in this Portland city tour, so you may also want to consider signing up for it to explore the best of the city. 

Portland view from Pittock Mansion.

Try the signature Portland IPA beer

Portlanders love their India Pale Ales (IPA). This bitter beer with a sweet finish and a heavy kick is undoubtedly the preferred beverage of choice in Portland.

Every bar in town will have at least one IPA on draft. Most bars have several. For about $5 USD, less during happy hour, an Oregon IPA is the best method to wind down after a long day of sightseeing. Best of all, it's the local way!

Portland alone has over 80 – yes, more than EIGHTY! – breweries from which to choose.

Indulge in varieties of local food trucks in Portland

While you can also opt for Portland lunch cruise option to enjoy hearty meals while cruising through the Willamete River, there are also various options for cheap culinary adventures in Portland, Oregon. 

For those who don't want to spend their last few bucks on beer or lunch cruise, there are cheap eating options in Portland.

The city is home to over 500 food carts/trucks. The best and most economically friendly options at food carts are typically tacos or gyros.

Though there are dozens of cuisines and ethnicities represented, street tacos in Portland are surprisingly great.

They are cheap and fresh, and it's not unusual to pick up two or three tacos for less than $10 USD!

Contributor: John Paul from The Hangry Backpacker

John Paul is a travel and food blogger from Louisiana, based out of Portland, Oregon, USA. His focus is on eating delicious, local food off the beaten path. Presenting travel in an honest, unfiltered way for prospective travelers is his goal.

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