Welcome to Portland (PDX for short)
When you land, you will be at America’s top-rated airport.
PDX is clean and modern with a variety of restaurants, shops, and pubs. The food is outstanding; the beer amazing (after all, we are the nation’s top craft brew city). There is an Oregon Welcome Center in baggage claim for maps and advice from a friendly volunteer.
Since we are also a dog-loving town, you won’t be surprised to find a “pet relief station” at the airport.
If you are accustomed to getting ripped off for food at airports, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at PDX. “Street pricing” has been in effect since the 1980s, guaranteeing the price at the airport will be the same as you would pay elsewhere in the city. The prices everywhere are reasonable.
Getting to the City Center
The MAX Train stops right outside baggage claim. It will take you to Portland City Center and beyond for $2.50 (adults) or $1.25 (seniors 65 years and older, and children, ages 7-17). Children 6 and younger are free. Purchase your ticket at machines on the Max Train departure platform.
The trip to Portland City Center takes 30 minutes.
Public Transit Alternatives
- Portland local cab company, Radio Cabs (503-227-1212).
- Lyft and Uber – a pickup area has been set aside for these popular services (the pickup area is heated in winter).
Car Rentals – To Rent or Not to Rent
Should you rent a car? Only if you like hassling with parking. Public transit in Portland is great; available street parking not so much.
On the other hand, public transportation is reliable and the transit operators friendly and helpful. Nearly everyone says ‘thank you’ to the bus drivers when they exit. We guess it is a Portland thing and a reflection of the service. And good manners.
- Public transit will get you to all of the city’s major attractions. There is even an express bus in summer that takes you to the Columbia River Gorge, alias “The Gorge” to see waterfalls.
- If you’re set on having a car, you’ve got choices. Dollar and Enterprise have offices in the City Center so you can decide to get a rental car after arriving downtown.
Car-Sharing Rentals: By the Hour or Day
If you skipped renting a car at the airport, but have decided you want to make a day trip outside Portland, don’t fret. Portland’s car-sharing services allow you to have a car for as long — or as short — as you like. Gas and insurance all included. You only pay when you use them. All cars are big enough for four people or more.
You’ll need an App on your smartphone or tablet, scan a window code, enter the car and your off. Drop it anywhere (in a legal parking spot) and the car is ready for the next user. If you need another car, your App will identify the nearest one (usually within two or three blocks).
Bike and e-Scooter Rentals (a pilot program ended Nov. 15, 2018; all scooters were removed from city streets pending review).
If you want to take a break from walking — or need to get out of your car — rent a bike from a Biketown or an electric scooter from Bird, Lime or Skip.
Finding parking spaces can be expensive and time-consuming. The five City of Portland-owned SmartPark garages in the City Center offer a space with a price tag of only $7 for four hours. SmartPark offers its customers electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at three garages: 4th and Yamhill, 3rd and Alder, and 10th and Yamhill. Parking is free for electric cars.
To speed the street parking process, use the Parking Kitty App on your smartphone (available for Apple and Android) to register your license and pay. If you need more time, no need to run back to your car. Just dial up your App, add time and you’re done. It’s all in the Cloud.
Many hotels offer free shuttles.
Enjoy your visit.