Cheap and Deep: Portland, Oregon, on a Budget

An hour from the mountains, an hour from the beach and with a whole lot of craft beer and artisan eats in between, it’s no wonder that Portland, Oregon, is one of the country’s fastest-growing cities.

In Portland, the dirtbag dream lives on. Photo: Zack Spear/Unsplash

Unfortunately, with popularity comes a price tag, and the Rose City has struggled in recent years with gentrification and the closing of some of its most eclectic and iconic landmarks.

But the recent price swell shouldn’t make you second guess your next trip to the Pacific Northwest, as Portlanders always find a way to enjoy the finer things in life (you know, like bikes, beer and brunch) no matter how steep the rent rises. Here are a few of our favorite ways to do Stumptown — and do it right — on a budget.

Portland’s best view is from a mansion

When the sun comes out in Portland, there are few places better than here. Photo: Adriana/Unsplash
But don’t worry: The view isn’t expensive. Pittock Mansion was once home to newspaper publisher Henry Pittock (ah, those were the days), but is now a tourist attraction with one darn pretty vista. When the skies finally clear and you want to see it all, nothing beats this (free) view.

Music should free your mind and your wallet

Catch the next big thing for free every Sunday. Photo: Matheus Ferrero/Unsplash
If Portland’s indie music scene intrigues you, look no further than Rontoms Sunday Sessions. Sure, the restaurant may be crawling with coiffed hipster mustaches by day, but by night — more specifically, by Sunday night — Rontoms offers free music sessions from some of the best up-and-coming PNWers. Hurry — as with most free concerts, these sessions tend to fill up lickety-split.

Happy hour should come in threes

Cheers to the $3 cocktail. Photo: Jez Timms/Unsplash
That’s the mantra that Aalto Lounge took to heart, offering four signature cocktails and a handful of bites for just $3 between 5 and 7 p.m. If cheap PBR just isn’t cutting the Dijon mustard, try the serrano-infused vodka, pineapple and lemon juiced Slow Burn on for size.

If beer is the only answer, Sassy’s Bar and Grill offers $2.50 pints of nearly 30 microbrews. Note of warning: These suds are not family friendly.

Sports aren’t just for stadiums

Under the bridge downtown … is where you’ll find Portland’s skate paradise. Photo: Courtesy of Ed Devereaux/Flickr
In fact, some of the best athletic feats in Bridgetown happen under, well, a city bridge. Tucked underneath the east end of the Burnside Bridge, Burnside Skatepark is the Mecca of the DIY skate scene and one of the coolest places to watch skating in person. Plus, the price of admission is nil, saving you a little extra cash for that microbrew with lunch.

Portland is bike crazy

Rest easy with your bike nearby at the Friendly Bike Guest House. Photo: Adrian Flores/Unsplash
So why not stay someplace that’s bike crazy too? The Friendly Bike Guest House is a quasi-hostel along Portland’s famed Riverside Loop cycling trail that offers $36-a-night stays and indoor bike lockups perfect for any bike tourist. Ditch the car at the door and make your Portland stay a two-wheel adventure.

The morning after might hurt

No frills, just darn cheap morning food. Photo: Courtesy of Daniel Lee/Flickr
But it doesn’t need to hurt your wallet. For a crisp $2 bill, you can score two eggs, two strips of bacon and two slices of wheat or sourdough toast at Marathon Taverna. See? You’re feeling better already.

Explore the woods without leaving the city

Not your typical walk in the park. Photo: Courtesy of Fred Murphy/Flickr
Take a hike or make it a trail day in Portland’s Forest Park. Considered one of the largest urban parks in the U.S., Forest Park boasts a gaggle of wilderness trails that will transport you from urban hip to backwoods grit faster than you can say “Voodoo Doughnut.”

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