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Layover In Portland: The Ultimate Guide 2022

17 September, 2021by Bounce

If you happen to find yourself on a Portland Airport layover there is certainly no reason to despair. This town is overflowing with things to do and places to see. There is a thriving arts scene, abundant outdoor activities, and a wealth of coffee bars, restaurants and micro-breweries.

As far as getting into the downtown area is concerned, there are plenty of options ranging from the usual taxi and Uber possibilities through to buses and shuttles. For an easy connection, you might want to consider the Trimet Max Light Rail system which leaves from the main level every fifteen minutes. Tickets are cheap and the journey time is around thirty-eight minutes.

Don't fall into the classic trap of trying to carry your bags with you. They will only weigh you down and inhibit your adventure. Instead, look for a convenient Portland luggage storage service to store your bags while you explore.

6 hour Portland layover


Your Portland layover is going to be short, so you will need to plan ahead. To avoid disappointment, book in advance for any sites you might like to visit. One of those you should consider is Pittock Mansion, especially if you are interested in turn of the century art and architecture.

Henry Pittock was a businessman, industrialist, and publisher who founded the Oregonian newspaper that is still being read in Portland today. Set in the West Hills, a taxi ride from the city, the mansion offers stunning views which take in the whole of Portland. For public transport hop the 20 Trimet bus and then walk half a mile from the Burns Road stop.

Inside, you will discover twenty-three rooms packed with impressive art and antiques gathered by Henry and his wife Georgiana. There is also a constant turnaround of visiting exhibitions, artifacts, and photographs.

On a short Portland layover, you won't have much time to hang around and so you are going to need to think about your return journey. Hopefully, this mini-break has broken the tedium of being stuck at the airport for six hours.

  • It's easy to lose track of time on a short layover so keep an eye on your watch.

  • Allow time to clear security before your connecting flight.

  • Pittock Mansion offers an unusual way to pass a short layover in Portland.

8 hour Portland layover


An eight hour layover in Portland gives you a little more time to explore, but it’s important not to try to do too much. With a couple of extra hours at your disposal, it might be a good idea to take a break from the city and get some serenity in some natural surroundings.

The Lan Su Chinese Garden combines easily with a visit to Portland's Chinatown. Covering a whole city block, the garden is styled on a Ming dynasty garden and offers a peaceful respite from city life. Of course, the presence of Chinatown nearby means you won’t be short of options for a good meal either.

  • Don’t try to do too much on an eight hour layover.

  • Visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden and Portland’s Chinatown to enjoy nature and delicious food.

10 hour Portland layover


Portland has much to offer if you are a fan of gardening, horticulture, or simply spending some time outdoors between flights. Here are some popular possibilities and, if you are light on your toes and organized, you might be able to visit more than one of them on a long Portland layover.

The Portland International Rose Test Garden is the oldest of its kind in the United States and with over 10 000 roses to admire, is a must-see for any rose lover. After that, if you hurry, you might still find the time to squeeze in a visit to the Portland Japanese Garden. Unashamedly claiming to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan, this peaceful retreat contains bubbling streams, gorgeous maples and also offers splendid views of Mount Hood.

Whether you are a gardener or not, these gardens all offer the travel-weary flyer a wonderful place to break their journey. Just pace yourself and don't try to visit everything if you aren't sure you have the time. 

  • If the weather is agreeable, it can be nice to get outdoors between flights.

  • These gardens offer a wonderful respite from the rigors of travel but you don’t have to do all of them on one visit.

12 hour Portland layover


The Portland Museum of Art is the largest in Oregon and one of the oldest in the US. It offers a wonderful collection that ranges from Native American artifacts through to some of the great North Western painters, as well as many great pieces from among the old masters of Europe. You could easily lose hours in here but time is short, so you might want to think about moving on.

If you are traveling with kids, they might have been all arted out by now and so you might like to console them with a visit to Oregon Zoo. On the way, drop in at Voodoo Donuts. This place has become something of an institution in Portland. It offers all sorts of sugary treats that you won’t find in any health food shop.

The Oregon Zoo is home to more than 10 000 animals and is the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi. You will easily be able to kill a few hours here and the hardest part is going to be pulling yourself away. 

  • The Portland Museum of Art provides a fascinating insight into some of the art of the North West.

  • Oregon Zoo makes a great place to break a journey for both children and adults.

  • Build in travel time back to the airport when planning your layover. It's

24 hour Portland layover


Staying overnight in Portland opens a whole new range of opportunities as you get to experience some of the best nightlife in Oregon. Here you can dance the night away, sing your heart out at a karaoke bar or leave it to the pros and take in a concert. 

For a combination of many of the above in one unique setting, McMenamins Kennedy School is the place to go. This 1915 elementary school has been converted into an unusual social venue. Here you will find a hotel, six bars and restaurants, a public pool, a cinema and a wide range of special events. Pretty much all you could hope for under one roof.

Of course, with an early morning flight to catch, you might not want to go too wild. For an altogether more laid back nighttime experience, you could spend a few hours browsing the shelves in the largest bookshop in the world. Powell's City of Books offers both new and second-hand books in an environment that will make any bibliophile drool in delight.

  • The choices of nightlife are wide in Portland but consider your connecting flight.

  • Choose a hotel with easy access both to your chosen attractions and the airport.

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