The Met it ain't, but for a small city museum, the PAM does a great job both of displaying items that are unique to the Pacific Northwest (both Native art as well as fine art reflecting the landscape and culture of the area) as well as bringing bits and pieces of larger collections to share with the locals. One exhibit, for example, was *one single picture* by Monet, but it was beautifully placed and led visitors to the rest of the Impressionists available as well as to a recently acquired Pizarro, so resources are used thoughtfully. In addition to art, the museum is home to the Northwest Film Institute, so during the winter months there is usually an intriguing selection of international or indy film to enhance your visit. As of 2012, the museum was free the last Friday of the month from 5-8, and it's usually packed.
The venue is stretched over two buildings via an underground tunnel. There is a wonderful gift shop and a modest coffee corner. Fortunately, the museum is located on Portland's wonderful streetcar line, so dozens of more interesting restaurants are quickly in reach. That being said, on warm days there are usually a couple of Portland's famous food carts in the courtyard to refresh you after your visit.