Visit Portland, OR.
At the turn of the 20th century, Portland had a reputation as a dangerous port town, full of miners after the California Gold Rush and sailors passing through. This rep was perpetuated into the ’40s and ’50s by organized crime; however, the naval shipyards and other WWII production brought an influx of labor and investment to the city. In the 1960s, hippies who had wandered up the coast from San Francisco started to establish a subculture of activism in the city. Now, Portland is known as a counterculture stronghold and has attracted a large population of young adults, supported in part by the tech industry that has also settled there. All this makes for a city with a rich history and culture, one deserving of its own sketch comedy TV series.
In fact, Portland has been the setting for a variety of TV series and movies over the years, contributing to the city's thriving movie house culture. You can find a collection of vintage movie theaters showing not just modern movies, but also second-run and revival films. Their beautiful neon marquees illuminate different neighborhoods and draw you into the welcoming dark of the theater. In addition to these movie theaters are live performance theaters and venues that have helped launch punk and rock music careers for decades. These theaters' stunning architecture is part of the fabric of the city in the same way that the music scene weaves in and out of Portland’s history.
Outdoors enthusiasts will also find plenty to explore. The relatively dry summers and temperate, rainy winters make this city the perfect environment for growing roses. Hence the nicknames Rose City and City of Roses. You can spot roses throughout the city, but if you're a horticulturalist, you won't want to miss visiting the International Rose Test Garden. Established to shelter European hybrid roses that gardeners were afraid would be destroyed by WWI bombs, today it is one of the oldest public rose test gardens in the country. You can explore more than 600 varieties of roses there, and if you time it right you can even experience the annual Portland Rose Festival. Even if you don't have a green thumb, visit Portland during their blooming season to remember these beauties for years to come.
If you love hiking, you can experience the Pacific Northwest's lush greenery in Forest Park, the largest wilderness park in the country that is within city limits. Shady paths await you in this park, the Hoyt Arboretum, and Mount Tabor Park, home of one of the few extinct volcanoes in the States. You can even visit the world's smallest park, Mills End Park, a circle just two feet in diameter. If hiking isn't your thing, consider checking out the skateparks—Portland has been described as one of the most skateboard-friendly towns in the country. The city's entire park system has been recognized as one of the best in the United States on the basis of square footage and accessibility to residents.
Wing your way to this gem of the Northwest, sometimes called simply PDX by its residents, and experience its unique culture firsthand. Southwest® is proud to serve Portland International Airport. And when you book with Southwest, know that you can book with confidence. Discover more about what makes the Southwest® Experience so unique and reserve your upcoming flight to Portland, OR.
Got flexible travel plans?
Use our Low Fare Calendar to find the lowest fares on flights to Portland, OR available inside your travel window.Find flights
Things to do in Portland, OR.
- Avalon Theatre
- Bagdad Theater
- Hollywood Theatre
- Japanese American Museum of Oregon
- Kidd's Toy Museum
- Stark's Vacuum Museum
- Hoyt Arboretum
- International Rose Test Garden
- Washington Park