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Discover bustling Portland

Some people call it ‘P-town’, ‘PDX’ or ‘Stumptown’, others prefer to call it the ‘City of Roses’ or ‘Beervana’. For a limited time only, Portland’s city guide can be downloaded free of charge via the CityZapper app!

Whatever you call Portland, Oregon’s largest city remains a fabulous destination on the West Coast of the United States. Its bustling city centre, its countless restaurants, its pleasant neighbourhoods, the fact that sales tax is not levied in Portland and an abundance of green areas make Portland a magnificent start of an adventurous voyage along the Pacific Coast.

Portland might not have been on your bucket list, but with CityZapper’s unique travel tips you’ll want to put this great city on it for sure. From Europe, this true metropole of a city can be reached within 11 hours; often with non-stop flights. Only in the past two decades, Portland has become an up-and-coming city which makes it a great alternative for other destinations since it’s still not overrun by tourists. This leaves a lot to be discovered and that’s what makes Portland such a special destination.

Turn your city break into a voyage of discovery, taking in all the hotspots such as the city’s many green gardens and its different boroughs and neighbourhoods, all of them brimming with cultural diversity. Travel between your destinations by bicycle to make your trip a fun and easy one. If you can’t get enough of ‘wining and dining’, you’ll want to head to either Division Street or to the Pearl District. Both are bursting at the seams with great restaurants and inspiring cafés to suit every budget. Having lunch at one of the city’s many food carts can also be an experience of a lifetime since it will introduce you to many sensational flavours from various countries and cultures. Visit the district of Alberta if you consider yourself to be an art fan since Alberta’s street scene consists of various art galleries. And of course a visit to some of Portland’s wonderful museums should also be on your to-to list. 

Fashionistas will also feel right at home in Portland, especially upon finding out that the state of Oregon doesn’t levy a sales tax. Shopping has never been more fun! The city’s different neighbourhoods offer a wealth of unique boutiques, selling things that are even more unique, whilst the large malls will ensure that you’ll find everything your heart desires without much effort. 

Even when the sun has traded places in the sky with the moon, Portland continues to sparkle. Various bars serve beer that is brewed locally. Did you know that Oregon also goes by the name ‘America’s Beer State’? This no coincidence since Oregon has more beer brewing companies within its borders than any other state in the United States. This is reason enough to try various beers while in Portland.

If you want to venture outside the city as well, the surrounding area will offer you plenty of opportunities that will allow you to discover the North West’s outstanding countryside. It is not a coincidence that Portland is the ideal starting point for a trip along the West Coast. Don’t wait, go and explore!


The history of Portland, Oregon, began in 1843 on the Willamette River in what was then called Oregon Country. The small stopping place along the west bank of the river was known as ‘The Clearing’ to American, Canadian, and British traders and settlers of the 1830s and early 1840s that travelled between Oregon City and Fort Vancouver. In 1843, William Overton realised the small community had a lot of potential. Since he didn’t have the funds necessary to finance the project alone, Overton found a business partner in Asa Lovejoy, a Boston lawyer. Legend has it that Lovejoy paid the 25-cent filing fee after which the land was theirs. 

In 1853, Overton became disenchanted with the project and sold his share to fellow pioneer Francis William Pettygrove. By a tossing a coin, it was decided that the town would be known as Portland from then onwards, named after the birthplace of Pettygrove. If Lovejoy would have won the toss, it would have been named Boston after Boston in Massachusetts. Over the years, the town of Portland changed ownership several times.

At the time of the first census in 1850, 821 peopled lived in Portland. The town even had its own newspaper back then; the Weekly Oregonian.

As Portland was a border town, many foreigners mockingly called it ‘Stumptown’ and ‘Mudtown’ since the streets often flooded in spring. In the 19th century, the view people had of Portland wasn’t a very positive one. In 1889, Portland became known as the dirtiest city in the Northern States due to the absence of a sewer system and drains. Up to 1890, Portland was the Pacific Northwest’s most important port. Later, with the completion of a new railway line, Seattle became the most important port in this part of the United States.

In 1905, Portland hosted the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition, a large international fair. This event increased the city’s recognition and standing. It also meant that Portland doubled in size where it concerned the number of inhabitants. At the end of the 20th century, great numbers of young and creative people came to Portland to start a new life for themselves. The promise of a city that offered outstanding countryside, urban growth and possibilities to find employment in the city’s creative industries attracted many people to Portland. But the city didn’t just appeal to people in search of a new challenge, companies like Nike, Doc Martens and Adidas were also convinced of the city’s potential and its possibilities. The 2000 US Census stated that Portland was home to more than 10.000 artists.