Want to be part of the Portland bike scene, but don’t want to do it on your own? Book a ride with Pedal Bike Tours, 133 SW Second Ave. (www.pedalbiketours.com; tel. 503/243-2453), which offers a wide range of outings, including those that focus on Portland history, brewpubs, and foodcarts. Farther afield, they operate tours of the wine country and the Columbia Gorge. Prices for in-town tours range from $59 to $69 per person. Portland Bicycle Tours, 345 NW Everett St. (www.portlandbicycletours.com; tel. 503/902-5035), has a basic city tour, as well as tours that focus on Portland, the city’s food carts and, of course, brewpubs. Tours cost $39 to $59 per person.
Cruises & Sea Kayaking
Portland Spirit (www.portlandspirit.com; tel. 800/224-3901 or 503/224-3900), a 150-foot yacht, leaves daily year-round from Tom McCall Waterfront Park at the foot of SW Salmon Street and cruises west along the Willamette River, offering views of the city skyline and residential areas along the way. It’s not terribly exciting terrain, and I have to regretfully report that the meals served on board the lunch and dinner cruises are overpriced and not particularly noteworthy. If you want to see the city by boat, I would recommend taking a basic sightseeing cruise instead. Prices range from $30 to $40 for adults and $20 to $40 for children.
For a more active water-level tour of the Willamette, arrange for a sea kayak tour through the Portland Kayak Company , 6600 SW Macadam Ave. (www.portlandrivercompany.com; tel. 503/459-4050); they operate tours out of the RiverPlace Marina at the south end of Tom McCall Waterfront Park. A 2 1/2-hour tour that circles nearby Ross Island costs $49 per person. This company also rents sea kayaks, canoes, and standup paddleboards for $14 to $22 per hour.
If you just want to get an overview of Portland highlights, hop a ride on Big Pink Sightseeing’s trolley bus, which is operated by Gray Line of Portland (www.graylineofportland.com; tel. 503/241-7373). From its starting point at Pioneer Courthouse Square, the trolley bus makes 14 stops around Portland. If you buy an all-day ticket ($34 for adults, $17 children 6–12), you can hop on and off the bus all day. Each stop has service every 40 to 60 minutes. The trolley operates from late May to mid-October.
Do we recommend Big Pink? Not really. The commentary is perfunctory, the price is pretty steep, and because the stops are serviced every 40 to 60 minutes, you’ll spend a lot of time waiting around if you choose to hop off and hop on. We think you’ll get to know Portland a lot better, and for far less money, if you simply buy a cheap day pass on TriMet (see “Getting Around”, above) and take public transportation or walk to the sights that interest you.
EcoTours of Oregon (www.ecotours-of-oregon.com; tel. 503/475-0226) runs bus tours to the Oregon coast, wine country, Mount St. Helens, and up the Columbia River Gorge to Mount Hood. These tours, led by knowledgeable guides, are a good value and let you relax while learning more about the diverse landscapes and ecology of Oregon. Tour prices range from $119 to $179.
With more microbreweries than any other city in the world, Portland has come to be known as Beervana. If you’re a lover of craft beers and want to learn more about the local microbrewing scene, book a tour with Brewvana Portland Brewery Tours (www.experiencebrewvana.com; tel. 503/729-6804), which charges $60 to $74 per person for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday tours that include transportation, tastings, and food. Brewpub tours are also offered on Saturday afternoons by the Portland BrewBus (www.brewbus.com; tel. 503/647-0021), for $45 per person. Slightly more economical brewery tours that utilize TriMet’s light rail line and the Portland streetcar are offered by Pubs of Portland Tours (www.pubsofportlandtours.com; tel. 512/917-2464). Tours cost $30 and stop at four or more breweries or pubs; you’ll also have to purchase a TriMet all-day pass ($5). The quirkiest (and greenest) option? PDX Pedicabs (www.pdxpedicab.com; [tel] 503/828-9888) offers eco-friendly, pedal-powered brewpub tours for $25 per person.
Peter’s Walking Tours of Portland (www.walkportland.com; tel. 503/704-7900), led by Peter Chausse, are a great way to learn more about the city. The downtown visits last 3 hours and take in fountains, parks, historic places, art, and architecture. He also leads walks in the Pearl District, Old Town, and other areas in and around the city. Tours are by reservation and cost $15 for adults and $10 for teens.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.