Downtown Portland hotel near Portland State University and Tom McCall Waterfront Park; each room has free WiFi, plus a microwave and fridge
Hotel at a Glance: Downtown Value Inn
Downtown Value Inn sits in the center of the city, steps from the Portland State University campus. It’s within walking distance of attractions including Tom McCall Waterfront Park and the Portland Art Museum, as well as streetcar and light-rail lines with service to other neighborhoods.
- In-room amenities: free WiFi and a mini-fridge and microwave for prepping snacks
- Where to eat: Next door, Pizza Schmizza Pub & Grub pairs 14 draft beers with specialty pizzas like the Zorba with pesto chicken and feta.
- Photo op: Pedestrians on the nearby Hawthorne Bridge can snap pics of the Willamette River and Portland’s skyline.
Portland, Oregon: Quirky Riverfront City Known for Its City Parks
Extensive bikeways, edgy chefs, indie-rock bands, and progressive environmentalists—counterculture is almost a way of life in Portland. And it’s certainly a source of civic pride. Locals have adopted the slogan “Keep Portland Weird,” which is brandished on bumper stickers and in businesses all over the town. The city has always been a little ahead of its time; it was originally planned with strict urban-growth boundaries that left plenty of room for parks and other green spaces. Today, in new developments, shops are built at street level with apartments above them—following a European model that complements Portland’s slightly European, laid-back atmosphere.
The downtown area is a refreshing mix of the traditional and the offbeat: high-rise buildings are interspersed with clothing boutiques and restaurants serving sustainable cuisine. Streets here are narrow and the blocks are compact to encourage walking, which visitors are wont to do to take in the parks, plazas, and fountains. A popular place to hang out is Pioneer Courthouse Square, a 40,000-square-foot public space often referred to as “Portland’s living room.” In warmer months, the square hosts free shows and festivals, as does Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, which was named 1 of 10 Great Public Spaces in America in 2012 by the American Planning Association.