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Portland on a Budget
Affordable ways to explore Oregon’s quirky, beloved city

Many people consider Portland, Oregon a dream destination within the United States for its culture, artistry and natural beauty. But, the price of vacationing there often deters people from visiting, especially considering how costly it is just to get to the West Coast.

Luckily, it is possible to visit the City of Roses and explore its wonders while still adhering to your budget. Here are some ways to explore, eat and sleep at a discount in Portland.

Things to do

It’s possible to explore Portland without spending much, or anything on admission fees. You can easily spend an entire day seeing the city’s natural beauty at the many serene and breathtaking parks around Portland. Local Adventurer and USA Today outline the best ones: Forest Park, the International Rose Test Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, The Grotto, Washington Park, Jamison Square, Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Ira Keller Forecourt Fountain Park and Mill Ends Park, the world’s smallest park. Pack a backpack for a day of hiking or tour the scenery from your bicycle.

Find shops to browse without having to buy anything, like the Portland Saturday Market and Powell’s City of Books. Spend time in historic areas that you can see at cheap or free admission, such as the Historic Belmont Firehouse, Pittock Mansion, the Oregon Rail Heritage Center and Portland Central Library. Some of these venues even offer tours.

Places to eat

Portland offers an abundance of healthy, organic and creative cuisine; unfortunately, that quality often translates to higher meal prices. With some searching, though, you can find eateries with tasty and memorable fare around the Portland area.

Eater and The Oregonian suggest a variety of restaurants in the Portland area where you can eat affordably. Discover fresh tastes at the many food trucks around town, such as Lindo Michoacan Taqueria, which serves generous portions of Mexican fare, or Chez Dodo, which offers African, French, Indian, Chinese and Creole-inspired menu options.

You’ll also find many counter-serve establishments serving affordable, mobile street food. Get a healthy, customizable rice dish from The Whole Bowl. Grab a flavorful Chinese jian bing from the Bing Mi food cart. The city’s best hot dogs are at Otto's Sausage Kitchen, and you can order pizza by the slice at Scottie’s Pizza Parlor.

 All of these establishments offer meals for well under $10. 

Where to stay

Once you’re done filling your camera with pictures and stomach with grub from around Portland, you’ll certainly want to get some shut-eye. While the town contains some of the most unique lodging you’ll find in the country, everything from converted schoolhouses to upcycled trailers, most of these inns aren’t cheap. There are alternatives, though. In addition to the standard chain hotels, which usually have rooms for under $100 a night, Portland has plenty of bed-and-breakfast accommodations outside downtown, as well as numerous guest rooms and apartments offered as Airbnb sites.  

For bare-bones overnight accommodations, consider the Northwest Portland Hostel or the Portland Hostel Hawthorne District. Travelers’ House is a more refined, boutique-style hostel venue that is still affordable for overnight housing.

For a real adventure, there’s no place more unique on the West Coast than Portland, Oregon. With enough planning, you can visit without emptying your wallet.

This article is presented by Gossett Volkswagen.


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