Portland Walking Tours

From City Streets to Curated Galleries, Portland Art is Everywhere!

July 15th, 2016

Portland has become an art mecca and you can find different styles of art on almost every corner. Whether it’s adding a whimsical mural on the side of a hotel, styling a statue in knitted attire to keep them warm, city-inspired tattoos adorning residents’ bodies, or even adding a “D” to the “NE” on the street sign “NE Flanders St” (The Simpsons reference), we absolutely adore it! Below you will find the various ways Portland expresses itself through art. Some of these are a little unconventional, but as the motto says … “Keep Portland Weird!”

Bridges, trees, rain, roses … did we mention bridges? On your way through downtown you might pass by a person or two sporting some Portland-inspired body art to express their endless devotion to this city they call home. There’s even one tattoo artist in town who is known for inking up Timbers Army members and even Timbers team members.

What’s more fun than taking a casual stroll through downtown? Taking selfies with the numerous statues and public art masterpieces, of course! There’s even an app called Public Art PDX to help you locate the public art that seems to be just everywhere in Portland. Included are “Animals in Pools,” which some jest how they illustrate the divide between the Beaver and Duck universities, “The Quest,” which some schools decide not to include in tours due to the representation of the naked human body, and of course “Portlandia,” which is the second largest copper statue right after the iconic “Statue of Liberty.” Or, if you want a more personal touch including the stories behind a lot of the public art, you can hang out with one of our Resident Experts on our guided, daily Best of Portland walking tour. Don’t forget your selfie stick!

Portland’s grungy, punk, and quirky side really comes out in the graffiti and murals splashed all over the city. Some are located right downtown, while others are actually placed in outlying neighborhoods. You will see this art on street signs, brick walls, roads, and even on sidewalks. Some will definitely give you a double take with their abstract interpretations as well as plays on Portland’s hipster culture. For more information, check out the Portland Street Art Alliance.


Photo courtesy of Stephanie Paris

Art walks in Portland always bring out an array of creative individuals including musicians, performers, and of course visual artists. Not only are they a free way to get into the art scene, you might even get some free refreshments from participating galleries. Free wine, cheese, and art? I think so! For a more classic Portland art scene, check out First Thursdays. For a more eclectic, festival vibe, check out Last Thursdays. Stroll down the city streets on a warm summer night and you’ll likely fall in love with more aspects of Portland than just the incredible art.

If you’re looking for a more classic museum experience, check out The Portland Art Museum, The Oregon Historical Society, and PICA.

Article by Adriana Bordea

Find Your Perfect Piece of Portland at the New Gift Shop at Pioneer Courthouse Square

July 11th, 2016


Chachkies, souvenirs, artisan gifts … whatever your preferred nomenclature, you’re sure to find a perfect piece of Portland to take home at the new gift shop located in the Portland Walking Tours box office under Pioneer Courthouse Square. You’ll find a large selection of more than 80 unique and clever expressions of Portland for your own stash, or a special gift for friends and family. Featured items include t-shirts, keychains, magnets, tote bags, locally published Portland-themed books, postcards, stickers, shot glasses, coffee mugs, water bottles, and much more! These unique items are a tribute to Portland’s most well-loved traditions and landmarks, and many are even created by local Portland artists!

Whether it’s a St Johns bridge tote bag, Oregon is for Lovers t-shirt, Keep Portland Weird bumper sticker, or a PDX carpet postcard, the variety of super cool Portland swag in the shop ensures that you’ll have as much fun shopping as you will watching faces light up when you give these special gifts. Open daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

Mention this blog post for a FREE “Keep Portland Weird” bumper sticker when you spend $10 or more on gift shop merchandise! Offer valid through July 2016, and while supplies last. Limit one sticker per person.


Article by Stephanie Paris

Piano. Push. Play. Music and Art Gracing the Streets, Parks, and Establishments of Portland

July 1st, 2016

Photo courtesy of Natasha Kelly

Imagine you woke up one day and were told that many beautifully decorated pianos had arrived in the coolest locations around Portland for anyone to play. You’d think you were dreaming, right? Well, thanks to the organization Piano.Push.Play., you’re not! They rescue pianos from local piano companies, send them to local designers to put their individual creative stamp on them, and then deliver them every summer to various places in downtown and other areas of Portland. Finding and playing the pianos has become a much awaited activity for many people and every year the number of pianos grows. This year there are 20. Yes, 20! And wait till you see them! Magnificent, magical, colorful, unique, whimsical . . . each one is incredibly special. Their visual splendor alone is reason to seek out these pianos.

Where can you find these precious instruments? In scenic parks with great photo ops such as Mount Tabor, Laurelhurst, Council Crest, and Cathedral Park; to downtown locations such as the Art Museum courtyard, City Hall, and the Oregon Historical Society; to establishments such as Doug Fir Lounge, ADX, and Tidbit Food Farm & Garden food cart pod — oh yes, we are serious, there are pianos everywhere! But they won’t be here forever, and they move around, too, so to keep up with their whereabouts be sure to download the free app, sign up for the PPP newsletter, or follow them on Facebook.

Whether you are an accomplished pianist with Chopin in your back pocket, or chopsticks is more your speed, go find a piano and play your heart out. It’s an experience you won’t forget, and neither will the passersby who are lucky enough to be a part of your musical joy. These pianos are a treat for the eyes, ears, and need we say spirit. Because really, whose day isn’t improved by the happy sounds of a piano being played? For more information, and to see all the pianos, visit the Piano. Push. Play website. 

Article by Natasha Kelly

Native Fashion Now: A New Exhibit at the Portland Art Museum

June 20th, 2016

Native Fashion Now, a new magnificent and groundbreaking exhibit of contemporary Native American fashion at the Portland Art Museum, is sure to please, inspire, and amaze. Featuring almost 100 works from 71 designers representing a wide range of Native communities in both the US and Canada, the exhibit spans the 1950s to the present. You’ll see garments, accessories, and footwear illustrating everything from casual streetwear to glamorous haute couture. The exuberant, colorful and innovative pieces emphasize highly skilled hand craftsmanship and reflect themes of cultural identity and tradition from this population that is bursting forth with self expression on the fashion scene. Read more »»»

Experience Beervana in Portland at PDX Beer Week

June 12th, 2016


By now you should know well that Portland is the greatest beer city in the world and that our cups runneth over with a splendid abundance of great beers, brew masters, and culture. So why not have another beer festival?! PDX Beer week is an 11-day event celebrating everything surrounding this oh so beloved libation. We guarantee that you can find something to tickle your taste buds with all the beer releases, seminars, dinners, festivals, tastings, games, and pop up pubs being offered. It truly is Beervana. Read more »»»

Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races Are Here Again!

June 10th, 2016


Did you know that Dragon Boat Races have been a part of the Portland Rose Festival since 1989? It’s a no-brainer that this annual cultural event is so popular — the races combine beauty, tradition, athleticism, and exciting competition for all to watch down on the waterfront over a two-day period. And it’s free! Over 80 teams from all over the world participate and you can come any time and catch a four-team heat occurring every nine minutes. The colorful authentic Taiwan-style boats holding 20 paddlers each are provided by the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association which promotes “friendship and understanding between the people of Portland, Oregon and Kaohsiung, Taiwan.” Adding to the anticipation is that local teams have been practicing for 10 weeks leading up to the competition. Wow! We applaud everyone who participates and encourage you to stop by to be a part of something truly spectacular.

WHAT: Dragon Boat Races
WHEN: Saturday June 11 and Sunday June 12 from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
COST: Free!
WHERE: Tom McCAll Waterfront Park South End (near the Hawthorne Bridge)

For more information, visit rosefestival.org/event/dragon-boat-races.

Article by Natasha Kelly

See Why PDX is the #1 Beer City in the Country at the Portland Fruit Beer Festival

June 8th, 2016


Being the #1 beer city in the country, it feels like we have a beer festival every weekend. And you know what? We don’t mind it one bit. One festival we are proud to have is the first and largest of its kind in the world, and now is in a bigger and better venue. The Portland Fruit Beer Festival is back for its 6th year! This event focuses on bringing the very best and even more selections than ever before of fruit beers and ciders. Also included will be local favorite food vendors, and DJ’s spinning some tunes while you take in the sun and sip away. And the best part, you won’t need a babysitter for the kiddos since the event is family friendly! For nonalcohol-drinkers there will be Hot Lips fruit juices and sodas.

WHAT: 2016 Portland Fruit Beer Festival
WHEN: Friday June 10th (11:30am-9:00pm), Saturday June 11th (11:00am-9:00pm), and Sunday June 12th (11:00am-6:00pm)
COST: $25 per person, includes a branded Govino 16oz cup and 12 drink tickets
WHERE: North Park Blocks in Portland (entrance at NW Davis between 8th Ave and Park Ave in Portland, OR 97209)
WHY: To drink in the number one beer city of course!

Check out fruitbeerfest.com for more details.

Article by Adriana Bordea

The Benson Bubbler: A Refreshing Piece of Portland History

May 9th, 2016

No doubt you’ve noticed the elegant bronze water fountains in many locations downtown, and perhaps you even know that they are called Benson Bubblers. So what’s the deal behind these iconic pieces of Portland history that still flow reliably today? Let us tell you the true tale!

Benson Bubbler

There once was a guy named Simon Benson who was born in Norway and immigrated to Wisconsin with his family when he was 16. In 1880 he moved to Portland with his wife and children and proceeded to take over the Pacific Northwest timber industry by storm. In fact, as a lumber baron he became so wealthy that he was officially one of Oregon’s first millionaires. What did he do with his money? He used it to help others and make the world a better place.

In 1912, to try to prevent his workers from becoming drunk at lunchtime in the saloons, Benson gave the city of Portland $10,000 to create 20 water fountains. Read more »»»

5 Great Meals Around $5 Each for the Frugal Portland Foodie

April 8th, 2016

In most cities, including our own Portland, we know it can sometimes be difficult to find inexpensive dining options that also embody the flavors and essence of a great meal. Most would agree that high quality and sustainable foods are the most desirable choice, yet some of us just do not have the funds. Good news! We found some food spots in Portland where you can actually get a meal for around $5, not including tip of course. You heard us right! And some of these restaurants are actually outside of downtown which means you’ll be hitting up the spots of devout locals. You’ll be a true Portland foodie by the end of your expedition, and without even breaking the bank! Read more »»»

March is Portland Dining Month!

March 17th, 2016

In case you hadn’t heard, we eat well in Portland. Really well. Our local food scene is so celebrated that food aficionados worldwide have showered our talented and passionate chefs with an abundance of attention, awards, and accolades. Our heads have swelled up with pride at how delicious and recognized our culinary scene has become. So while we’re not hungry for positive comments about our restaurants, we are always hungry to try new places and re-visit some of our favorites. Enter Portland Dining Month, the perfect way to make this happen (and here’s the key) affordably! Here’s the skinny (we couldn’t wait to make that pun): 3 courses for just $29 at some of Portland’s best restaurants during the entire month of March. Seriously, we’ll take seconds and even thirds of this sweet deal!


Photo courtesy of Travel Portland

Read more »»»

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