Travel Tips: 5 Free or Cheap Things to Do in Portland, Oregon
If you’re looking for affordable things to do in Portland, you’re in the right place. This summer, I was lucky to have been invited to visit this awesome city again, and it was amazing. I got to experience Portland’s great breweries, forested scenic views, tasty delights and so much more. Do you want to know what the best part is? I didn’t have to break the bank.
The most popular activities in the city are budget-friendly and family-friendly (almost). So, put away your Benjamins and read my short travel tips below. Discover five free or cheap things to do in Portland, Oregon:
1. Visit Multnomah Falls! (Free)
Portland is full of outdoor places to explore. One being Multnomah Falls. This place is a must-see as it’s gorgeous and breathtaking. Plus, it's free99!
After you park, it's only a short walk to the visitor center. From there it's a 100-meter walk to the first of the two stunning falls. But don't stop there! You can have a closer look of the second waterfall by taking a short scenic hike up to the bridge shown above. For more adventurous hikers, you can continue on the trail past the bridge for 2.2 miles for the most spectacular view at the top of Multnomah Falls.
The only caveat to visiting this place is that it could get pretty crowded. Be sure to arrive early in morning so you can find a parking spot and B.Y.O.C. (Bring your own COFFEE)!
Multnomah Falls is highly visited amongst tourists from all over the world, and it’s no coincidence that their merchandise was quite expensive. I bought a “medium-sized” cup of coffee for $5 and it was halfway filled. Right? No, thank you.
2. Go beer tasting! (Cheap)
Portland is known as one of the greatest beer cities in the world. It has over 200 breweries, and it has become a consistent leader in the U.S. for craft beer sales.
Some tourists will choose to participate on a beer tour but if you're on a budget, you can visit the breweries yourself and go beer tasting. You can have five or ten cold ones for as low as $10.
Below you’ll find the top breweries in town and their prices for a beer flight sampler.
Beer flight (includes five 4.7 oz. sampler): $11
Make your own sampler: $12
Beer flight sampler: $12
Beer flight sampler (includes 10 samplers): $10
Beer Flight Sampler (includes four glasses) $9
One shot glass of beer: $2.25
Personally, my favorite was 10 Barrel Brewing. I spent a few hours there with my boyfriend and his family, and got a taste of Portland’s chill nightlife. We had a blast drinking and talking to tourists and locals. They even gave us travel tips for the next day!
3. Eat artsy donuts (Cheap... kind of)
Need to sober up? Eat Portland’s artsy donuts! Downtown has several coffee shops and bakeries with mouthwatering pastries you’ll love. Some of my favorites are Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai, VooDoo Doughnut and Blue Star Donuts. Each store has a unique way of making delights.
If you’re looking for something light, head over to Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai for irresistible mini donuts. Pip’s is good but if you want to fully experience Portland, you have to try its staple treat, VooDoo Doughnut. They offer creative and crazy pastries that are Instagram-worthy. Last but not least, Blue Star Donuts! The quality of the dough at this bakery is much better than Voodoo Doughnut. The texture was just perfect as it is made by hand every day.
4. Wander off to the International Rose Test Garden and Japanese Garden (Free and Cheap!)
If you’re ready to wind down and take a beer brake, be sure to visit the Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden. Both gardens are stunning in their own way. Plus, they are only 10-15 minutes away from the Pearl District. (And that’s with traffic!)
The Japanese Garden has everything you could imagine a perfect Japanese-style garden would have: gorgeous plants, waterfalls, Koi fish and landscaping. The International Rose Test Garden will also surprise you with its blooming roses. When you visit these two gardens, be sure to take some time to sit back and enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.
The Rose Garden offers free admission to all visitors. But unlike the Rose Garden, you have to pay a small fee for the park next door. The admission prices for the Japanese Garden are $14.95 for adults, $12.95 for seniors (65+), $11.95 for students, $10.45 for youth (6-17) and FREE for children (5 and under). I highly recommend that you get tickets in advance or show up early in the day to avoid waiting in line.
5. Walk the incredible Tilikum Bridge (Free)
If you’re ready to burn some carbs or if you’re just ready for an afternoon stroll, you ought to visit the Tilikum Bridge or the “Bride of the People.” This cable-stayed bridge defines what this city is all about: modern, sustainable, active and cool. There are no vehicles allowed, but only buses, rails, and pedestrians. It offers a very serene walk in the park - and in the end, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of downtown.
Whether you’re into a cool city nightlife or outdoor activities, this city can sure give you the best of both worlds without having to drain your bank account.
Check out my latest adventure and read, “Portland, Oregon: Our 48-Hour Adventure.”
Have you ever been to Portland? Share your experience and tips below. I’d love to read about your trip!
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A travel & lifestyle blog about working, hiking and traveling.
Hey there! My name is Margareth. I'm a curious individual, with a great desire to explore eclectic cities, gaze at the great wonders of the world, and more importantly - inspire others to live, love and travel.