Located 60 miles east of the Pacific Ocean and spanning the banks of the winding Willamette River, Portland is the largest city of Oregon. This vibrant city is known for its breathtaking mountaintops, scenic parks, and forests. Its wealth of green space makes it a desirable place to live, making it one of the most populated cities in Oregon.
This once run-down port city, is now renowned for its numerous artistic bastions, coffee shops, dazzling craft breweries, cultural communities, festivals, and most importantly, for being home to people of every ethnicity and background. There are numerous tourist attractions throughout the city, giving you an opportunity to explore something new every time you visit. If you’re looking for when to take a trip, here is the best time to visit Portland, Oregon…
Why you can visit Portland at various times of the year
Irrespective of the time of year you choose to visit Portland, you are sure to have something unique to experience. Summers are a time for outdoor adventure. In spring, the city is blooming with beautiful, bright flowers.
Winters are filled with holiday festivities, while the changing colors of fall are simply spectacular. There’s always a chance to experience thrilling debuts at the theatres, shop tax-free, try mouth-watering gourmet cuisines, enjoy live music, and more – throughout the year. No matter what time of the year you visit, Portland never fails to amaze you!
The Best Time of Year in Portland
While Portland makes you feel welcome at any time of the year, most tourists prefer to spend their vacations exploring different places, enjoying activities in nature, indulging in water activities, and so on. If this sounds like your dream vacation, June to August is the best time to visit the Rose City of Portland.
During the summer, though the days are warm with clear skies, the humidity levels remain low. The sun usually doesn’t set till 9:00 pm, so evenings are long but cool. Also, the gardens are in full bloom, the local markets are bustling, and the city is alive with outdoor activities.
Visit Washington Park, the beautiful Japanese Gardens here, and truly take in the city’s natural beauty. Admire the cherry blossoms, at the Tom McCall Waterfront Park, in early summer. This massive park has five different zones to discover!
For history buffs, the Oregon Historical Museum showcases the famous Portland Penny, among other interesting facts about Portland. The coin was flipped in 1835 to decide between the names Boston and Portland; the Copper Penny landed on Portland.
The Orgon Convention Centre, the Museum of Contemporary Craft, the Crystal Springs of Rhododendron Garden, Willamette Valley Wine Tasting, Multnomah Falls, are just some examples of other amazing places worth checking out.
What is the best month to visit – things to do in Portland each month
January – January is cold in Portland and experiences some rainfall. So, it’s best to opt for indoor activities like the Reel Music Film Festival at the Whitesell Auditorium, the Old-Time Music Gathering at the Tiffany Centre, or try experimental food tours.
February – Though the climate is still cool in February, rains are less frequent. This is a great time to explore museums and other historic sights of Portland by the day and unwind at a local bar in the evening. Portland bars are uber-friendly and serve great craft beer.
March – Flowers begin blooming in early March. The atmosphere of Portland becomes aromatic with sweet-smelling roses, rhododendrons, cherry blossoms, and azaleas. Portland Dining Month, St. Patrick’s Day and POW Film Fest are all celebrated during this month.
April – With spring already set in, Portland is bustling with tourists. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival dedicated to tunes, tulips, and wine, is a major attraction. You can also witness other events like the Japanese Currents film festival.
May – Skies get clearer by the month of May, making it perfect for outdoor adventures. International Rose Test Garden, Washington Park, Portland Saturday Market, and Lan Su Chinese Garden are some beautiful parks are worth exploring. Portland Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, UFO Festival and Portland Rose Festival are some exciting events that should be missed if you are visiting in this month.
June – June is warm in Portland, with the sun shining bright all day. Spend your time visiting Portland’s gardens and parks, waterfalls, or the Hoyt Arboretum. This month also hosts the PDX Beek Week event and the Scandinavian Midsummer Festival, where you can enjoy food, drinks, and bonfires.
July – Besides peak summer activities, Portland is especially known for its 4th of July fireworks – and celebratory Waterfront Blues Festival. Take a brewery tour and partake in the Oregon Brewers Festival or enjoy the Chamber Music Northwest Summer Festival.
August – Temperatures are at their peak in August. This month is dedicated to dahlias and the Dahlia Festival in Swan Island Dahlia allows visitors to wander in their dahlia farm spread across 30 acres of land.
September – With fall around the corner, this is the best time to take on outdoor adventures to enjoy the autumn scenery. You can explore the waterfalls, hike the forests, or visit a pumpkin patch. A must-visit is the city’s own Oktoberfest, where you can enjoy German beer.
October – This is a great time to experience Portland’s buzzing theatre industry. You can witness interesting Halloween events, visit the corn maize on Sauvie Island or enjoy local cheese at the Wedge Festival. The weather is beginning to get a bit chillier with average temperatures hovering around 50 degrees then giving it a very cozy feel.
November – Blazers and coats are already out in this month. With winter coming, it’s ideal to discover cute cafes and try warm coffee and freshly baked goodies. The Holiday Food and Gift Festival gives you an opportunity to shop for holiday season.
December – With Christmas trees put up, streets lit bright, melodious carols heard, and the sweet smell of holiday dishes, Portland feels like winter wonderland. Feast your eyes on decorated Christmas trees at the Festival of Trees or sip on a hearty ale in the Holiday Ale Festival.
Best time to visit when there are less crowds
Portland experiences thinner crowds during the winters. Do you prefer to explore places in peace and quiet, with lesser people? Do you prefer to spend quality ‘me time’? Are you looking for cheaper deals and off-season discounts? Then, winter is the ideal time to visit Portland.
Browse through Portland’s numerous bookstores, unwind at one of its many coffeehouses, or discover its unique art exhibits in its quieter, cooler off-season period.
What are the cheapest months to visit?
From November to February, temperatures in Portland are low. Winters are chilly and often accompanied with heavy rainfall. With fewer visitors, these off-peak months usually have interesting deals and discounts on both flights and hotels.
For those who enjoy cold, crisp winters, Portland is a great destination to visit during this time. You can not only find cheap accommodation but also indulge in fun winter activities and events like skiing at Mount Hood, the Winter Light Festival, and PDX Jazz Festival.
Not-to-miss events that take place in Portland
Portland is multicultural, with events taking place all year round. Some events worth checking out include:
- Fertile Ground Festival – Usually held in January and lasting eleven days, this event hosts hundreds of artists, who perform and flaunt different art forms.
- Winter Light Festival – This four-day festival is celebrated in February, by lighting up the entire city in imaginative ways.
- Kell’s Saint Patrick’s Irish Festival – In March, Portland rejoices in exciting festivity for four days to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with beer, Irish dance, pipers, and boxing.
- Rose Festival – This is the 2nd largest floral-parade in the entire US. It is celebrated with fireworks and dragon boats, and normally falls between the months of May and June.
- Oregon Brewer’s Festival – Held for five days in the month of July, in Waterfront Park, this beer festival hosts over 85,000 drinkers every year, who come together to enjoy beer from over 90 craft breweries.
- Holiday Ale Festival – Visitors and locals alike gather at the Pioneer Courthouse Square to indulge ales and barley wines at this holiday beer festival in December.
Irrespective of when you visit Portland, you can be sure to fill your itinerary with fun events and activities. There is a unique event or festival that takes places every month, and each event is celebrated with enthusiasm and fervor.
Some popular annual events include Soul’d Out Music Festival, Taste of the Nation Portland, PDX Pop Now, Portland Zine Symposium, Fertile Ground Festival and more. Events may be for craft beer, innovative culinary, nightlife, music, art, nature sightseeing, the history of Portland and more.
When is Winter in Portland?
Winter in Portland starts around mid-November and then lasts until mid-March. This is when the temperatures are much lower ranging from highs in the daytime in the 50s to lows in the 40s.
Best time to visit the Portland waterfalls
Falling from a height of 620 ft., the majestic Multnomah Falls is best visited during mid-September and October. It is absolutely mesmerizing to see the leaves changing colors in fall.
A short hour-and-a-half drive away from Portland city are the stunning Silver Falls – a collection of ten waterfalls. It’s best to visit these falls in the autumn months of September and October or the spring months of March and April, when the weather is pleasant and enjoyable.
Best time to visit the local wineries
If you are an oenophile and are hunting for premium-quality wine, then the lush green countryside of Willamette Valley is sure to shelter your travel impulses. The famous Willamette Valley in Portland produces some of the world’s finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. There are more than 500 wineries that you can explore while rolling down the hills of this vast 5,000 square miles region.
Although each one may have their preference of weather, we recommend exploring the Willamette Valley in the winter, when Portland is lesser flooded with tourists and winemakers can spend more time with you.
Best time to visit for beer lovers
With more than 70 breweries in the city, Portland is a playground for beer enthusiasts. The famous hoppy IPA (India Pale Ale) is the staple beer brand. Locals are proud beer lovers and celebrate several beer festivals throughout the year.
From the NW Coffee Beer Invitational festival to ZwickelMania, from the Hillsdale Brewfest to the Holiday Ale Festival, there are events and festivals dedicated to beer every month. Irrespective of the time of your visit, you will certainly be able to go for beer tours to breweries and try some local favorites at the many pubs and bars around the city.
How many days do you need in Portland?
If you want to see just all the main attractions then around 2 to 3 days would be enough for a quick trip, if you want to see some of the cool neighborhoods and include some of the beautiful surroundings as well then 5 to 7 days would be a better time to spend here.
There is no doubt that Portland is full of culture and charisma. Portland has something to everyone, and a single trip to this lively city is never enough. Irrespective of when you visit, a trip to Portland is sure to leave you wanting to return!