Stay in shape while in Portland

WHEN IT comes to trip-planning, I used to be a strictly eating, drinking, urban-sightseeing kind of traveler, and exercise fell by the wayside. But that left me lethargic and largely confined to neighborhoods overrun with tourists. So I decided to try to incorporate my love of cardio into my love of travel. And the last few trips I’ve taken, I’ve found that working out is not only a great way to get to know a new destination — it gives me more energy for the aforementioned eating and drinking.

In some cities, that means just getting a temporary pass to a gym, but in Portland, that means taking advantage of hiking, biking, kayaking, running, and more, with little to no logistical challenges. While the city is, of late, best known for artisanal donuts and ice cream, the people of Portland take their physical fitness seriously, and it shows: we’re one of the healthiest cities in the US.

Whether you stay in the city or you rent a car and take a day trip, Portland has plenty of opportunities to work up a sweat all within a few hours of downtown.

Run (or bike!) to the top of Mt. Tabor.

An extinct volcano 5 miles from downtown Portland, Mt. Tabor rises hundreds of feet above the relative flat of the east side. With huge Douglas firs, plenty of open space, and killer views of downtown Portland and Mt. Hood, this spot is a local favorite for runners, cyclists, and walkers.

You can enjoy Mt. Tabor in a few ways: Rent a bike from one of Portland’s many bike shops and do the grueling 2-mile loop up to the top. Or perhaps run the 282 stairs on the Mt. Tabor Summit Stairway.

Take a hike in Forest Park.

Portland

Photo: adie
reed

While Mt. Hood (the big bad centerpiece of the Portland skyline) is just shy of 60 miles outside of the city, you can still get your hiking fill without ever stepping foot outside of the city limits. The largest forested urban park in the US, Forest Park is lined with more than 80 miles of trails and has plenty of entry points that are easily accessible by public transportation.

Walk or run — most of the trails are wide and well-maintained by the Forest Park Conservancy Group — at any level of fitness, with easy trails like Lower MacLeay or more challenging, like the Maple Trail Loop.

Bike or run down the Eastbank Esplanade and Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Portland

Photo: Ian Sane

The breeze floating off the Willamette River is too good to pass up for runners and bikers alike, which is why you’ll find so many cyclists, runners, skaters, and more enjoying the flat, paved pathways along the river on any sunny day.

Rent a bike from Kerr Bikes, a nonprofit rental service which has locations on both sides of the river, or grab a bike from Nike’s Biketown bike sharing service, which I suggest only renting for short rides, due to their unwieldy size and lack of helmets available.

Start with the 1.5-mile Eastbank Esplanade, which runs from the Steel Bridge down to the Hawthorne Bride and features floating walkways, bridges, and plenty of pull-outs for taking in the view. Then you can cross the river at the Hawthorne (or the Steel) and do another 1.5 miles in Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the cherry blossom-lined path that runs along the west side of the river. This ride is a low-stakes way to see the city and get a workout in.

Bike down the Springwater Corridor to Oregon City.

From the Eastbank Esplanade, you can continue south past OMSI and catch the relatively flat Springwater Corridor, a 40-mile paved loop and former rail corridor that runs from downtown Portland out to Boring, Oregon.

With many entry points along the way, you can spend as much or as little time on the trail as you want. Run 3.5 miles from Eastbank to antiques store and coffee shop-heavy neighborhood Sellwood, passing Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge along the way. Keep an eye out for herons, eagles, and deer while you’re in that ‘hood.

Or, if you’re up for something more challenging, you can take your bike on a 30-mile bike ride to and from historical Oregon City. Ride the Springwater until you reach Milwaukie Avenue, then turn south toward the city of Milwaukie. Keep your eye out for the Trolley Trail: It’ll take you right to Oregon City, which has a budding craft beer scene and plenty of good eats to fill up for the ride back.

Do circuit training on Terwilliger Boulevard’s Hill.

South of downtown, just below Oregon Health and Sciences University, which is perched on what the locals call Pill Hill, is Terwilliger Boulevard, a hilly road that cuts a path through Marquam Nature Park and terminates at famed Duniway Track.

Terwilliger is open to traffic, but runners need not worry about stop signs or intersections. The path, which runs parallel to the road, is 2.6 miles of tree-lined, uninterrupted hill running. (Bonus: if you’re into trail running, Marquam Nature Park has several trailheads that start on Terwilliger.)

This run is a personal favorite of mine, especially since you don’t have to share the path with cyclists, there are bathrooms along the route, and there’s a working water fountain. To boot, if you need to do interval training or anything of the sort, you can head back to Duniway Track, which is a popular training spot for many local athletes.

Boulder at one of Portland’s many rock-climbing gyms.

While you could get a week-long pass to any number of chain gyms in Portland, spending time at one of Portland’s many bouldering and rock-climbing outfits is a fun way to get out of the downtown, touristy core and get into some locals’ favorite neighborhoods while keeping your exercise routine interesting.

Head to The Circuit’s Northeast location (which is just a few blocks from bars on East Burnside and Restaurant Row on NE 28th) and climb to your heart’s content — no ropes needed, no limit to how much you can climb. A day pass is only $16 for adults, $12 for students, which includes fitness and yoga classes.

Join a brewery running group for the night.

If you’re the type who prefers a little booze with your cardio, Brewery Running Series hosts a few “5k-ish” runs to local watering holes like Migration Brewing and The Commons Brewery. Running groups are a great way to get to know locals, and throwing in a little IPA at the end of 3.2 miles is never a bad idea.

Take a group bike ride (to a bunch of breweries) with BrewCycle.

If you’re with a big group, you could sign up for BrewCycle and rent a 15-person cycling monstrosity. Pedal your way between breweries while listening to the music of your choice. While most people who participate in this activity “woo” to their hearts’ content, it’s much harder than it looks. Expect a real workout, especially if you don’t have 15 passengers.

Kayak the Willamette River.

You don’t need to leave the city in order to enjoy water sports: Rent a kayak and take some time to paddle along the Willamette. Just beware of passing water crafts, especially if it’s sunny: The downtown marina is high traffic on nice days. If quiet is more your speed, stay to the south of the Ross Island Bridge: Enjoy a flat-water paddle and maybe even take a break on Ross Island, where there’s a famously nosy herd of deer.

Hike King’s Mountain in the Coastal Range.

While this isn’t technically in Portland, it’s just under an hour outside of the city, and renting a car is worth this hike.

Portlanders can be sensitive about keeping their favorite hikes off the radar, but the 5.1-mile King’s Mountain trail is too good not to share.

Smack in the middle of the coastal range in Tillamook State Forest, this hike isn’t just your regular schlep up to decent views. It comes with a punishing ascent: A 2,562-foot elevation gain over the first 2.5 miles that will leave the ill-prepared turning around and crawling back to the car. Not for nothing, though: After you claw your way to the top, you’ll be rewarded with mountains as far as the eye can see and, on bright days, a hint of Pacific Ocean.

Surf at Indian Beach.

Though Portland is a little over an hour from the coast, the best surfing in the state can be found near Cannon Beach, which is, lucky for you, a straight shot from the city on Route 26. Cannon Beach, a little hamlet with a great main street, is home to Cannon Beach Surf, which offers rentals and lessons to interested parties. Locals love Indian Beach because unlike much of the Oregon Coast, the breaks are far enough out to actually enjoy the ride.

What to do in Portland

Portland’s sudden celebrity may seem to come out of nowhere (or as a direct result of a cutesy indie sketch show), but the folks who grew up here have always known that is one of the best little cities in America. It could be the chillness, could be nature, could be the booze that locals have cleverly dressed up as a cultural amenity, but Portland has an I-don’t-speak-French about it that just keeps drawing shitloads of people.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

Sauvie’s Island

Midnight de Matt Klemsz en 500px.com

Photo: mattklemsz

The prime summer destination for summer fun just outside city limits. Good for berry picking, apple picking, hay mazes, pumpkin patches, and nude sunbathing by the river at Collin’s Beach.

 Sauvie IslandPortland, United StatesSummer/fall playground for locals. Sandy river beaches, hay rides, pumpkin patches, berry patches and pear picking with the chance to see stellar sunsets over skyline ridge. #outdoors #nature #farm #river #beach #fruit #veggies #summervibes #bargins

Crystal Ballroom

 McMenamins Crystal BallroomPortland, United StatesEverybody went to the Crystal for their first show, even if it was just to jump on the spring loaded wood floor. Turns out, it’s just as fun as a grown up #music #dance #party #livemusic #historic #livemusic #downtown #food #club #cover-charge

Growing up it was hard for a Portlander to imagine a cooler venue than the Crystal. Not only does it open its doors to minors so kids can get to see the best visiting acts in town up close, its wooden dance floor is spring-loaded. Jumping around to indie rock in a century-old building never felt so freeing.

Lloyd Center Ice Skating

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Photo: chanster

Look, nobody relishes going into Lloyd center, but being the biggest mall in the state comes with a quality of people watching that you just can’t get anywhere else, and the fake snow makes the ice rink a unique holiday experience in the city. Or is it the shoe-gaze teens throwing up orange soda at the back of the Regal Cinemas theaters?

Dan And Louis Oyster Bar

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One of the mainstays of the old Ankeny Alley, which is also home to the original Voodoo Donuts and Kit Kat Club. What makes the old oyster bar stand out, apart from the original décor that makes the dining room look like the hull of a fishing ship, is that it is one of the few places where visitors can see an entrance to the famous Shanghai Tunnels up close.

 Dan & Louis Oyster BarPortland, United StatesOne of the last and best old oyster bars in town. Spectacular for a quick oyster shot and a peek into one of the original #shanghaitunnels #oysters #pub #history #food #open-late #cheap-eats

Blazer Game/Timbers Game

Although it is often left out in our new reputation, Portland is a true sports town, and nothing proves that more than the raucous home games at Providence Park and the Rose Garden. Be sure to get a seat near the Timbers Army for a Portland/Seattle game.

Oregon Historical Society

Sacagawea? Lewis and Clark? The Chinook? Marie Equi? The OHS is the place where all Portland kids go to learn about the history of their home state (partially because all Multnomah County residents get in for free). Still, $11 bucks for an adult ticket isn’t bad considering how much you can learn about The Beaver State in a single afternoon.

Waterfront Esplanade

 Eastbank EsplanadePortland, United StatesOne of Portland’s biggest quality-of-life successes is also one of the best ways to enjoy the Willamette River- the heart of Portland. Good for kids, especially if you rent the frilly quad bikes at the end of Salmon Street #hiking #playground #biking #waterfront #touristspots #parks

One of Portland’s biggest quality-of-life successes is also one of the best ways to enjoy the Willamette River- the heart of Portland. Good for kids, especially if you rent the frilly quad-bikes at the end of Salmon Street.

Oaks Amusement Park

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A local classic, this park showcases all the rides and games of Americana lore. Prices starting at $15.75 will get you on things like the teacup ride and a session at the old wooden roller rink. Pay $31.25 and you get unlimited access to the Screamin’ Eagle, Go Carts, Mini-Golf and the open picnic grounds by the river.

Washington Park

 Oregon ZooPortland, United StatesOne of the best in the Nw. Hosts an immense variety of animals- from polar bears to orangutans. Of zoos aren’t your thing, the free Hoyt Arboretum is nearby and full of fantastic day hikes #zoo #animals #nature #polarbear #arboretum #kidslearning #hiking #funforteens

Not only does this park have top-of-the-line views of the city and miles of foot and bike paths, it is also has International Rose Test Gardens, Portland Japanese Gardens, the Hoyt Arboretum, Oregon Zoo, the Children’s Museum, World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, the Zoo Train, an outdoor amphitheater and an archery range.

Color Warp de Evgeny Tchebotarev en 500px.com

Photo: tchebotarev

McMenamins St. Johns Theater & Pub

 McMenamins St. Johns Theater & PubPortland, United StatesOne of the top #mcmenamins in town. Historic venue with a quirky theater in an old Lewis and Clark Exposition building. Good for pub food, better for bumping into locals. #pub #beer #food #history #independent #theatre #movies #decor #cheap-eats #open-late

There are few images as symbolic of the Rose City as St. John’s bridges with Forest Park rising behind it, and no better place than to see it than from Cathedral Park. While you are in the neighborhood, check out the pub to see the last structure remaining from Oregon’s name-making 1905 Lewis And Clark Exposition.

Portland Swifts

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Photo: ashleygrove

If you are here at the beginning of autumn, thousands of Vaux’s Swifts descend upon the Chapman Elementary School to nest in its unused chimney on their way south for the winter. The helices created by the mass of swirling birds are a sight to behold and draw thousands of locals to watch from a nearby grassy hill every year.

Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens

 Crystal Springs Rhododendron GardenPortland, United StatesThe ultimate springtime destination. Cascading waterfalls and fountains lend ambience to some of the brightest natural colors I have ever seen. Top notch. #nature #gardens #springcolor #rhododendron #beauty #meditation #beauty #cityparks

The perfect spring appetizer for the summer’s Rose Garden entree. This botanical garden is loaded with more than 2,500 rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants that begin to “light” up with color at the end of every winter. Thanks to a variety of pools and fountains, this is a fantastic spot to meditate in the middle of a city.

Mt Tabor

 Mount TaborPortland, United StatesBest park on the east side of town and the best spot for a view of the city skyline. Great for summer picnics and morning jogs #hiking #picnic #cityscape #outdoor #park

The East Side’s most illustrious park and best spot for a full view of the city skyline, also just so happens to be a baby dormant volcano. An amphitheater, stone mason reservoirs and statues of locals add spectacle to the park’s series of hiking and biking trails.

Portland Streetcar A or B loop

Who needs sun when the colors from the streetcars can brighten up the cloudy day? de Frank Zhao en 500px.com

Photo: frankzhao1

Lots of folks know Portland as a streetcar city (locals are rightfully proud to have just finished the first pedestrian-bike-streetcar bridge in the modern era), and these two lines are the most fun of the bunch. Not only will you get to go over the Tillicum Crossing, but you will also pass through some of downtown’s best shopping and architectural districts, as well as the core neighborhood of the East Side’s nightlife.

OMSI After Dark

 OMSIPortland, United StatesThe coolest science museum in the state (with its own submarine!). Kids love the planetarium, adults go crazy for OMSI After Dark #science #interactive #museum #planetarium #kidslearning

Nothing beats drinking beer at a science museum. Although After Dark only happens on the last Wednesday of every month, it is a highly anticipated event for local adults who are stoked to play with the logic puzzles, ride the earthquake machine, and trip out in the planetarium without their kids ruining it for them.

Best hikes around Portland

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If there is one thing Portlanders pride themselves on it’s our dedication to outdoor recreation. The hikes the region has to offer range from incredibly challenging to blissfully soothing. All hikes end with the peace of mind that only the great outdoors can offer. Below is a list of the best hikes within a two-hour drive of Portland, Oregon.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

Rooster rock

 Rooster Rock State ParkCorbett, United StatesJust across Highway 30 from Latourell Falls, Rooster Rock is an under appreciated way to experience the Gorge from river-level. Good for an afternoon picnic on your way to Hood River #picnic #outdoors #columbiagorge #hiking

A casual, mostly flat stroll alongside the Columbia River is sometimes all you need. Named after an impressive rock formation that hangs over the river, this trailhead is perfect for getting a quick summer dip after a short meditative walk and a picnic.

Puff Falls

 Puff FallsCarson, United StatesOne of the best short hikes for those who like to walk in the water. Not always easy to find, but extremely popular in the summer #daytrip #familyfriendly #hiking #extreme

This short hike is quickly becoming the most popular in the Gorge area as it offers visitors the rare chance to get your feet wet hiking upstream. Although there are few trail markers and it can get a little tricky walking through the water, this is the kind of family hike that kids will go nuts over. Wear a swimsuit and hiking sandals!

Tamanawas Falls

 East Fork Tamanawas Falls TrailheadMount Hood, United StatesEverybody’s favorite waterfall on the backside of the Hood in wine country. Short, easy hike with a pretty incredible finish #outdoor #mounthood #waterfall #hiking #activekids

Even in a state known for spectacular waterfalls, this stands out for its size and setting (a bowl-shaped canyon that provides a hypnotic echo for the falls, which you can climb behind). The hike itself begins at the Sherwood Trailhead and is short and sweet, following the babbling creek filled with mini-falls all the way to the source.

Tillamook Head

 Ecola State ParkSeaside, United StatesThe closest beach hike from Portland, hiking the head is perfect for a summer escape to the sea. Be sure to check out #indianbeach while you are there. #summer #kidfriendly #outdoor #hiking #camping

Sandwiched between Cannon Beach and Seaside, the Head offers three of the best coastal hikes in Oregon (the Indian Beach Trailhead, Tillamook Head Trailhead and Ecola State Park Trailhead). The short, easy-to-get-to hikes feature vistas of the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, a WW2 bunker, log cabins and access to Indian Beach.

Indian Point Loop

 Indian PointCascade Locks, United StatesDefinitely do not underestimate this trail. One of the best #Gorge trails with panoramic views and meant for those with a challenge in mind #columbiariver #outdoor #hiking #extreme

One of the most sweeping views of the Columbia Gorge can be found at the end of one of its most challenging hikes. Open year round but especially popular in the summer with Oregonians looking for a tan, this steep incline runs along exposed cliffs and is not to be messed with. Its accessibility from Highway 30 makes it the perfect place for newcomers to begin testing their Oregon hiking grit.

Hoyt Arboretum

 Hoyt ArboretumPortland, United StatesOne of portland’s outdoor treasures. Learn about local trees and plants while taking in some of the best views of downtown #outdoor #hiking #gallery #free

The best thing about the arboretum is the limitless freedom its dozens of paths offer to visitors. Only a few minutes drive from downtown Portland, the arboretum is a beloved local spot filled with benches, open lawns and tags labelling the broad variety of species along the trail. To get the most out of the arboretum, try the Wildwood Trail loop.

Saddle Mountain

 Saddle Mountain TrailheadSeaside, United StatesBeautiful panoramic views on the summer. Saddle Mt is perfect for giving your kid their first mountain conquest. #mountain #outdoor #kids #familyfriendly #hiking

Located off Highway 26 between Portland and Seaside, Saddle Mountain is a dramatic rocky butte in the middle of timber country. A not-too-steep hike with panoramic views, this hike is the perfect way to introduce kids to a lifetime of outdoor adventure.

Timberline Lodge Trailhead

 Timberline Lodge TrailheadsGovernment Camp, United StatesMount Hood is covered with trail heads, but the Timberline trail is the longest and most beautiful. Hard hiking, pack for three days minimum #outdoors #hiking #extreme #snow #camping

The most iconic mountain in Oregon comes with one of the most challenging multi-day hikes in the state. Starting and finishing at Timberline Lodge, this trek offers a 360-degree panorama of all of northwestern Oregon and southern Washington and offers a variety of geological formations, creeks and alpine meadowlands. An excellent coming-of-age experience for Oregonians, this is the perfect long-weekend summer escape from the city life.

Ramona Falls

 Ramona Falls TrailheadRhododendron, United StatesHands down one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon. Short loop hike good for an afternoon with spectacular views of the Hood #picnic #outdoor #waterfall #hiking #camping

This cascading waterfall is one of Mount Hood’s best. The hike to it offers a gentle climb through alpine woods along the Sandy River. There are plenty of slapdash campsites folks use for picnics, so pack a lunch.

Lost Lake

 Lost Lake ResortCascade Locks, United StatesFantastic view of the Hood. #Camping #fishing #hiking a disappearing lake make this spot great for weekend getaways for a kids first camping trip

A perfect place to catch the sunset on Mount Hood in the summertime and also a stellar spot for your first camping trip. The loop around the lake is easy, and the whole area is ripe for exploring on foot or by rowboat. Fishing ain’t bad either.

Dog Mountain

 Dog Mountain LookoutStevenson, United StatesOne of the most difficult Columbia Gorge trail heads. Beautiful in the spring because of the wildflowers. Pack smart, wear hiking boots and expect one heck of a climb #outdoors #familyfriendly #columbiagorge #extreme #hiking

Probably the most popular spring hike on The Gorge, this ferociously steep trail (with an altitude gain of 2800 feet) is famous for the fields of wildflowers it passes through. For the full magnificent effect, visit in late May. There are two trailheads that create a loop, although they start and end at the same place. If you have the energy for it, follow the signs to Puppy Dog Lookout, an old fire lookout that is perfect for a summer picnic.

Tryon Creek

 Tryon Creek State Natural AreaPortland, United StatesOne of the biggest parks in the city and full of scenic creeks and ravines. Really feels like temperate rainforest at the edge of #portland #outdoor #familyfriendly #biking #hiking #activekids

Slightly smaller than NW Portland’s Forest Park, but no slouch when it comes to activities. Walking paths, bike trails and horse trails are all available within the sprawling forest, which is centered on a web of scenic creeks. Perfect for getting out of Portland for an afternoon walk that ends with an early dinner and ice cream in Lake Oswego.

Balch Creek

 Balch CreekPortland, United StatesOne of the fastest ways to leave NW #Portland for a jaunt in the woods. Stop by the #audubonsociety and the #witchescastle for photo opps

A popular field-trip destination for elementary schools across the city, Balch Creek exemplifies that city-meets-forest visage Portland is so famous for. Kicking off under a funky industrial-looking bridge just a few blocks from the NW 23rd shopping district, Balch Creek leads you deep into the woods where civilization fades almost completely. Popular features include the ruin of Witches Castle and the Audubon Society, which makes for a good afternoon field trip for folks of all ages.

Map: Portland’s Hottest Bars

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Trader Vic’s

Earlier this week we brought you a guide to Sleazy Portland, but now it’s time, courtesy of Eater PDX, to look at some generally classier venues for debauchery. Portland is famously alcohol-inclined, boasting the title of America’s Beervana, hosting a major wine conference (the IPNC) a few weekends ago, and counting some of the nation’s top craft bartenders among its ranks. Add to that the fact that the city has randomly seen a major surge in bar openings lately, and it’s only sensible to get a look at the places to go right now.
– Erin DeJesus

map: Sleazy Portland


[flickr/Taco Hose]

Portland isn’t all biodynamic vineyards, homeopathic lanyard bracelets and artisanal, fair-trade coffee. Just like everywhere else in this fine declining empire, the good people of PDX like their raw milk cheese with a side of sleaze, as is evidenced by operations like the Lucky Devil Lounge and residential sex toy shop It’s My Pleasure. Whatever tickles you pink, the City of Roses has enough sex to turn your cheeks the color of its eponymous flower — just don’t go getting all Georgia O’Keeffe on us. Or maybe do, we’ve always loved a good vag painting.

Zachary Feldman