Holiday help: Where to take visitors this season

Have friends or family in town this year? We’re here to help plan their visit.

This photograph was taken looking down at a city from a higher elevation. The sky isn't completely dark, but tinted shades of pink and purple, with warm lights illuminating city buildings. A snowcapped mountain rises in the background.

Portland’s rose gardens may be resting during winter, but there’s still plenty of beauty to be found around the city.

Photo by @sishashin13

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If you’re hosting out-of-town guests for the holidays, it’s time to step into the role of “official Portland tour guide.” We’ve got plenty of recommendations for you to build the perfect itinerary for your visitors.

A close up of a young orangutan looking upward, hair askew.

Look for orangutan baby Jolene at the Oregon Zoo’s Red Ape Reserve.

Photo by Michael Durham, Oregon Zoo

🏙️ Sightseeing

Is it even a trip to Portland without seeing Forest Park? While you’re in the area, you can swing by Pittock Mansion for the perfect holiday family photo. And if there are any animal lovers in the group, head to the Oregon Zoo to see 1-year-old orangutan Jolene, basketball-playing otters, elephants, and more.

A cafe with a convex glass roof is decorated with warm string lights, lanterns, and holiday greenery. Inside are tables and mismatched chairs.

Produce Row in Southeast Portland is a gastropub with no shortage of festive cheer.

🥘 Eat and drink

If your guests need a caffeine pick-me-up, Either/Or, Adapt Cafe, and Keeper Coffee are all offering a range of seasonal drinks. If you’re looking for a different kind of brew, the City of Roses is home to 70+ breweries with Great Notion and Wayfinder being two local hot spots.

Get ready to get your grub on because we’ve got plenty of articles to help you navigate the local food scene. You can’t miss these restaurants that offer heated outdoor seating. Or if you’re craving award-winning cuisine, check out one of these James Beard Award-recognized spots. Plus, satisfy your holiday sweet tooth at Papa Haydn.

A double waterfall cuts through a cliff. The surrounding area is dusted with snow and part of the water at the foot of the waterfall is frozen. A foot bridge stretches between rocky outcroppings at the top of the lower waterfall.

Multnomah Falls is the most-visited natural recreation site in the PNW, seeing more than 2 million visitors annually.

📚 Activities

If your visitors are ready for some outdoor fun, head into the Columbia River Gorge to see world-famous Multnomah Falls. Spend a few hours taking in the exhibits at one of the oldest art museums on the West Coast, the Portland Art Museum, or immerse yourself in the interactive, mind-bending experiences at Hopscotch Portland. And don’t forget to make a stop at Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world.

A snowy gingerbread castle with marzipan trees, houses, and an icy lake sits on display in a hotel lobby.

The 2023 Gingerbread Masterpiece at The Benson will be on display through Dec. 30.

Photo by The Benson Portland

🛏️ Stay

If your visitors aren’t planning to crash with you, here are some places they can stay:

The Benson Portland, 309 SW Broadway | $132+
Every holiday season for over 50 years, this historic hotel in downtown Portland has displayed incredible gingerbread masterpieces. Master pastry chef David Diffendorfer recreated Neuschwanstein Castle this year using 150 pounds of gingerbread, 50 pounds of marzipan, 20 pounds of chocolate, and 10 pounds of Rice Krispies Treats.

Cozy urban cabin, Alberta Arts District | $142
Get the full Portland experience with a stay in this tiny house located in one of the city’s most hipster neighborhoods. Wake up and walk to a coffee shop, find art galleries and street art, do some shopping at small businesses, and get a bite to eat at one of the area’s many restaurants.

The fun doesn’t stop there… Be sure to send your visitors the link to our events page in advance to get a feel for what they’ll want to see and do while in town.

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