Portland is Oregon’s largest city and home to a little over 630,000 people, making it the 26th largest city in the United States. The Portland Metro Area includes seven counties (two inside nearby Washington State), bringing the total population of Greater Portland to 2.4 million people.
Living in Portland puts you geographically between the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, the former creating a natural border between Oregon and Washington State. Hills, rivers and the distant Cascade Mountains dominate the visual landscape.
Portland bears several widely used nicknames:
- Rose City (official city nickname) or City of Roses
- Puddletown (because it rains a lot)
- Stumptown (deforestation, due to rapid city growth around 1847, left many stumps behind)
- PDX (call sign for Portland International Airport)
- Bridge City (there are 12 bridges across the Willamette River)
- P-town (colloquial)
- Rip City (named after a three-point play made during the Portland Trail Blazers’ first season)
Portland’s public transportation agency, TriMet, operates the area’s highly-acclaimed light rail system called Metropolitan Area Express (MAX). MAX spans the entire city of Portland, primarily on an East/West axis. Getting from the Portland International Airport (PDX) to downtown is quite easy. MAX light rail runs every 15 minutes.
Portland’s Max Lines
TriMet also has a top-notch bus system, with most buses running every 20 minutes during busy hours. Street cars frequently run all over downtown. Conveniently, one ticket is good for all three modes of transportation (light rail, bus or streetcar).
The Portland Metro Area has a population of over 2.3 million people and also incorporates cities in SW Washington.
Things to Do Near Portland
Columbia River Gorge
Head up the river from Portland, due east, and you’ll start wedging your way through the Columbia River Gorge. There are 77 waterfalls and countless hiking trails to explore, many with breathtaking views.
Keep heading a little farther east, into the Cascade Mountain Range, and you’ll be greeted by Mt. Hood. Skiing and snowboarding are popular wintertime activities in the Northwest. Timberline Lodge and Mt. Hood Meadows are the closest ski areas to the city, about 1.5 hours by car.
Hop in your car and explore the Willamette Valley, best-known for Pinot Noir wine and home of world-class wineries. The soil, climate and latitude (45° North) compare to France’s Burgundy winemaking region.
Drive 1.5 hours west of city and you’ll find yourself on the Oregon Coast, a safe bet for summer fun. Enjoy the beaches and surf or, if it’s a cloudy day, hang out in a local brew pub or tour the Tillamook Cheese Factory.