ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Free Portland: tour the Rose City and leave your wallet behind

Updated on August 7, 2013
Stroll Tom McCall Waterfront Park for a free taste of Portland.
Stroll Tom McCall Waterfront Park for a free taste of Portland. | Source

Portland certainly isn’t as pricey as New York or Paris, but it’s not the cheapest place to be a tourist either. While lodging prices might be moderate, hostels and other cheap accommodation are few and far between, and you’ll spend a pretty penny for most of your meals and snack stops while in the Rose City. The good news is that most of the sights and activities of interest to tourists in Portland are free, or almost free. Here are a few favorites:

Stop and smell the roses in the Rose City, gratis.
Stop and smell the roses in the Rose City, gratis. | Source
  1. Powells City of Books: Browse the aisles of the world's largest independent book store free.
  2. East Bank Esplanade and Waterfront Park: Walk along the Willamette River and on the floating docks for views of downtown.
  3. Washington Park: Up above downtown you'll find this beautiful green park where you can enjoy an afternoon overlooking the Northwest neighborhood.
  4. Pioneer Square: Spend some time in Portland's "living room" check out the food carts, events, and window shop.
  5. Street Fairs: First Thursday, Last Thursday, and neighborhood fairs like Hawthorne and Belmont are a great way to get a feel for what Portland is alla bout.
  6. Saturday Market: On the shores of the river and stretching into Old Town, you'll find arts, crafts, and eclectic goods at this weekly market.
  7. Council Crest: Enjoy the best view in town from high in the hills, overlooking downtown.
  8. International Rose Test Garden and Rose Gardens: One of Portland's most popular attractions and inspiration for the nickname the Rose City, is free of charge.
  9. Tour the ‘hoods: Stroll Nob Hill, the Pearl District, Old Town Chinatown, and Hawthorne
  10. The Grotto: This less-visited Portland site blends history and botanic beauty and the lower garden is always free.

Portland's Vintage Trolley is a great way to see the city  for free.
Portland's Vintage Trolley is a great way to see the city for free. | Source

Almost Free: Many Portland attractions offer special free or discount days.

  1. Portland Art Museum: Visit the cities best art collection free every 4th Friday from 5-8.
  2. Secrets of Portlandia Free Walking Tour: Learn about the city and see the sights for free, but tipping your guide is recommended.
  3. Browse the food carts: The best selections are downtown and on the eastside where you'll find creative cuisine and uniquely designed carts and pods, but good luck keeping your belly empty and your wallet full.
  4. The Vintage Trolley: Ride this relic through town on select Sundays only from Union Station to PSU.
  5. OMSI: Visit Portland's science museum on the river for $2 Days on the first Sunday of each month.
  6. The Chinese Gardens: One of Portland's best gardens isn't full of roses, it's these gardens in Chinatown and you can visit on a selection of free days each year.
  7. Oregon Zoo: Save time, money, and lessen your carbon foot print and you'll receive a $1.50 discount by presenting your MAX or Trimet Bus ticket.
  8. Portland Aerial Tram: If you have a Trimet or C-Tran monthly pass you can ride for free and enjoy the spectacular views looking north toward downtown and over the river.
  9. Pittock Mansion: Check out this impressive historic mansion for free during the first full week of every month if you're a Bank of America card holders.
  10. Voodoo Donuts: Visit this Portland icon known for weird and wonderful pastries and browse the selection free of charge, but you’ll have trouble resisting the Bacon Maple Bar.

What's your favorite free attraction in Portland?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 

      5 years ago from Flagstaff, AZ

      During my visit to Portland this weekend I will have some free time on Thursday and Friday. Now I know how to spend it. Thanks for the excellent writing and helpful information.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)