Bisected by the Willamette River just south of its Columbia River confluence, with cloud-shrouded Mount Hood in the far distance, Portland is a public transit-friendly city spanned by scenic river bridges. The MAX Light Rail links Portland International Airport with downtown and an array of suburbs. Locals share a Seattle-style affinity for their bus lines and Vintage Trolley. By traveling around Portland like a local, you save money by reducing automobile expenses. Start by living like a Portland local, forgoing the typical hotel room humdrum for money-saving vacation rental homes, apartments, condos, cottages, guest rooms, or studios.
The whole family can watch or join the locals along the city’s waterfront trails or in the green parks for a stroll, hike, jog, run, or some skating and biking. The Columbia River teems with salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon fishing opportunities. Where the first airplanes used to land, across the river and east of downtown, the golf money-savings are best at the 6,520-yard Rose City Golf Course opened in 1923. Or go north of downtown for a rambling challenge around Scottish-style mounds on the 6,902-yard Great Blue Course designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. If the ski slopes beckon, take the Park & Ride Bus for a weekend or holiday round-trip or drive the 70 miles to Mt. Hood Meadows.
Dining, shopping, museums, theaters, and galleries are most numerous in downtown Portland and the fashionable Pearl District in the Northwest. Save money with a vacation rental and at the same time experience the city in a different way than hotel denizens. Mingle with the locals while updating your reading materials at Powell’s City of Books. Take the young ones to the Portland Children’s Museum. The whole family will appreciate the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Gardens. Hone your arts appreciation skills at the recently renovated and expanded Portland Art Museum. Sip coffee and shop for art alongside the locals in the Pearl District. Gabriel Park, several minutes southwest of downtown, is on the same side of the river.
Downtown and the Pearl District are just minutes across the Columbia River bridges to the Lloyd District and Oregon Convention Center. Crossing the Burnside, Morrison, Hawthorne, or Ross Island Bridges from downtown leads to the Northeast, Southeast, and the antique stores of Moreland and Sellwood. Near the Ross Island Bridge on the Southeast side are Ladd’s Circle and Rose Garden, Reed College, Oak Bottom Wildlife Refuge, and locally-popular Laurelhurst Park. Mount Tabor City Park, on the site of an extinct volcano, is popular with local hikers and bikers.