Downtown Portland Oregon is the place to be on any Portland vacation as this part of town has the best things to do and restaurants. From Pioneer Courthouse Square to the great shopping options to the close proximity to the waterfront, Downtown Portland has something for everyone.
Boundaries can shift a little depending on which source you consult. The difference of opinions has everything to do with the northern boundary. According to some opinions, the Union Station area is where the northern part of the downtown region begins, while other points of view have Irving Street as the boundary of choice. According these recommendations, the northern realms of Downtown Portland Oregon would be partially comprised by the Pearl District and the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood. When it really comes down to it, W. Burnside Street is arguably the best northern boundary when trying to distinguish Downtown Portland. As for the eastern border, that is formed by the Willamette River, while Interstate 405 is where the southern and western sides end.
Downtown Portland Oregon, however you choose to define it, is a lovely place to explore by foot, as it is quite compact. At the heart of this area is Pioneer Courthouse Square, which is a fine plaza that plays host to numerous events throughout the year and a great place to stop and sit for a while anytime. Surrounding Pioneer Courthouse Square are some of the best Downtown Portland restaurants and shops, not to mention the bulk of the city's top-rated hotels. As such, this is an area of high tourist activity.
The Downtown Portland restaurants, it should be noted, include a few gems that have helped the city gain a very positive dining reputation. Some of the best eateries are found at upscale downtown hotels such as the Benson Hotel. On the shopping side of things, you'll find the excellent Pioneer Place Mall right downtown, as well as a collection of more independent stores. Among the shops and stores are a number of establishments that you won't find anywhere else in Oregon. Shopping and dining are definitely among the most popular things to do in Downtown Portland, as the options are abundant.
In addition to Pioneer Courthouse Square and a number of excellent shops and restaurants, the main Downtown Portland attractions include the Oregon Historical Society, Portland Art Museum, and Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The former are two of the best museums in town, while the latter is a wonderful city park. Much like Pioneer Courthouse Square, tom McCall Waterfront Park plays host to some fun Portland events, making it one of the very best Downtown Portland attractions.
Several high rise buildings help to define Downtown Portland Oregon, with the tallest being the 544-foot-tall Wells Fargo Center. As far as iconic buildings are concerned, the 508-foot-tall KOIN Center with its pyramid-shaped roof is one of the most distinguishable high rises in the land. When discussing the Portland skyscrapers, it is worth noting that the second-tallest building in town, the US Bancorp Center, is where you will find one of the best Downtown Portland restaurants. This 536-foot-tall building is hard to miss, thanks in part to its slightly pinkish color. Due to the building's hue, it is also commonly referred to as "Big Pink."
Regardless of which Downtown Portland attractions you want to visit, getting to them is made easy by the fact that most of the downtown area lies within the city's Free Rail Zone. Within this zone, it doesn't cost anything to ride the light rail, hop on a bus, or take a streetcar. An extension of the system also allows for free rides from Downtown Portland to the Oregon Convention Center, the Lloyd Center Mall, the Rose Quarter, and the Lloyd District. As for driving in and out of the Downtown Portland area, both Interstate 405 and Interstate 5 offer very easy access.
Eight bridges cross the city's two rivers and enter the downtown area for those who are on the wrong side of the water. The Burnside Bridge, the Morrison Bridge, and the Hawthorne Bridge all span the Willamette River and are the best for bringing drivers directly into Downtown Portland Oregon.