Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Let's face it, no one plans a trip to the Pacific Northwest expecting to see much sun! Like Seattle, Portland is known to be one of the cloudiest and wettest cities in the US - not because of the amount of rain it gets, but because of the number of days with rain. On average, it rains over 150 days a year in Portland, and one pretty sure way of telling visitors and locals apart is by looking at who's carrying an umbrella :op Most locals don't mind braving Portland's light drizzle on their way to work but to be honest, being slightly wet all the time gets old really fast! Since there was no way I was going to let a little rain stop me from exploring the city, I was really glad I'd decided to pack an umbrella and waterproof boots. So unless you're absolutely desperate to fit in, I'd say that the best way to enjoy Portland is to dress for the occasion!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bringing along a rain jacket is probably a good idea anytime, but definitely during the fall, winter and spring. Tourists stand out as they are the ones walking around with umbrellas, but if you want to stay dry, bring one along.
A good pair of walking shoes will come in handy in this city voted in the top ten walking cities in the United States. Portland is noted for getting its fair share of sprinkles. It may not rain hard but it rains often so an umbrella is a good thing to carry. We were lucky to have nothing but sun during our three days!
Photo Equipment: A wide angle is a great piece of equipment for taking photos of buildings and their interiors. An external flash will give you much better results when taking photos of people indoors as well shots of food.
Miscellaneous: D was one very understanding wife as we made our way around the Portland brewpubs. At least she didn't get stuck driving aside from the first day.
Update: January 2008
Leave them at home.
It rains tourists here. Worse, they bring umbrellas. Open umbrellas help create the watery kind of rain. The more open umbrellas, the wetter it gets. Local folk have learned better then to temp fate. We don't use them. An open umbrella is a bad omen, a sure sign of bad weather in the offing; three or four open at the same time may be enough to induce rain squalls. A score or more all open at the same time may help create a downpour or even a small hurricane.
Luggage and bags:
Large tote bag or backpack. You never know what kind of neat stuff you will pick up and they make hauling your treasures much easier. If you have luggage, make sure it's small and wheeled. Getting on & off the MAX with 70 pounds of luggage is impossible, and irritates other commuters.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: VARIABLE. Just to be safe, plan for the worst. If you come between October and Mid June, plan for rain. (Keep in mind though, locals don't believe in umbrellas.) Beginning in May, the weather tends to be a lot nicer, but summer storms are pretty common so look out.
A good, comfortable pair of shoes are highly reccommended. Walking around Portland is tons of fun on it's own, and you shouldn't miss out just because you are wearing the wrong shoes. Most locals don Birkenstock sandals or Dr. Marten shoes, depending on the season. Both are very comfortable, durable, and weather appropriate.
In the summer, keep a sweatshirt with you. It gets pretty cool at night. In the winter, make sure to layer. Often, the clouds will part and you will suddenly be under direct sun.
Photo Equipment: Make sure to bring lots of film or an extra memory card. There are tons of unique aspects of the city that you will want to take back home with you.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Depends where you want to go. Within 4 hours any way you go is a different experience.
High Desert - Be prepared for ANYTHING. Gets VERY hot in the day and gets VERY cool at night.
Coast - Tends to get more rain than Portland, and is cooler. Great camping though! Some campgrounds even allow camping right on the beach.
Valley - Bring your allergy medication, they grow the most grass seed in the world in the Wilamette Valley.
Mountains - Bring your favorite board, skiis or innertube. Bachelor, Rainier, and Hood are all within a five hour drive of Portland.
Forests - Are everywhere you go. Mt. Hood National Forest is a popular one with avid hikers, bikers, and backpackers. It's truly beautiful too.
Miscellaneous: The Oregon Zoo is an excellent diversion if you have children, or want to get away from the city for a while. Beautifully landscaped, there is plenty to see and do. The Zoo is famous for it's conservation efforts, including one of the top elephant breeding programs in the nation.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: You should always be prepared for rain when coming here. For when the rains come they come heavy. As you can see in the pic I am always prepared. My red-cap coke for the Hilton Honors points in the bag. Good shoes because you never know where you have to look your best. And of course my flyertalk tag. All completely dry under my umbrella, because I'll be sleeping in these clothes tonight on a plane going home.
Umbrella (though locals rarely use them unless there's an absolute downpour), warm clothes and cool clothes since the weather can change in a matter of minutes. It generally rains from October-May, but the summer months can be pretty dry and warm. The weather here is pretty mild.
Photo Equipment: Definitley bring a camera! There are so many beautiful places.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: There are many places to camp, so bring your camping gear (make sure it is waterproof).
Miscellaneous: bug repellent is useful
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you are coming any time other than summer, the key word here is 'Gore-Tex'. It doesn't pour here much, but there is an almost constant drizzle and overcast between December and March. Oh, and don't use an umbrella...Oregonians love to make fun of people who use them.
Luggage and bags:
Easily handled luggage with wheels
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Depends on the Season..jacket and sweaters in winter,shorts and sunscreen in summer
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen
Photo Equipment: Bring it all...you will need lots of digital capacity or loads of film
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Just a few miles from Portland is the best camping, and the most beautful beaches.
Luggage and bags:
backpack, it is a very walkable city
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Good waterproof jacket - thickness depends on the season.
Portland is very casual, jeans and sneakers are seen in nice restaurants. Not preffered, but the locals still do it.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: the standard
Photo Equipment: great photo opps here
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Plenty of outdoor activities here, camping, hiking, beach, mountains, ski/snowboard, some of the best wind surfing on the planet.
Miscellaneous: Less cash- thats right no sales tax!
It's really dry during the summer here, honest! Too bad you couldn't have come then...
UMBRELLA -- most young Portlanders scoff at these, but if you visit between the months of October and May, and don't like getting drizzled on, this is definitely essential.
RAINCOAT -- Bring a coat you trust, or find one here at Portland's own Columbia Sportswear.
BOOTS -- Yes, we love Birkenstocks here in the Pacific Northwest, but not in February. During the rainy season a good set of hiking boots will get you through the trails of Forest Park and the puddles of Sixth Avenue.
Miscellaneous: I was at Portland's own 'Zine Symposium (Independant literature conference) and came across THE greatest tour booklet about Portland in existance. Created by Alex Wrekk and Shawn Granton, the Zinester's guide was made for people visiting the symposium, but I think anyone looking for great dive bars, cheap places to stay, best small places to eat, etc. would find this essential. It has a Park guide and a neighborhood guide. Where to go for punk rock bowling nights. There's a great illustrated guide to PDX's coolest bridges, directions to the "Pirate Ship" where there are occasionaly beach parties, and detailed explenations on how to get around town. (ie what the quadrants mean, bus lines, how to use the max, etc) There's even a detailed streep map that was hand drawn. Its about thirty pages long and fits in your back pocket. They only cost a dollar and a SASE. Send one with a request to the address below. Extremely cool.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: No matter what season it is, pack warm clothing... just in case. It can tend to get pretty cool at night in the summer. The beaches are normally very cool, about 65 degrees during the day is possible. The water is also VERY cold, plan accordingly!
Luggage and bags:
Depends on what you want to do.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you don't like rain, bring a rainjacket or something waterproof (poncho, umbrella.)
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: It could always rain, especially if you're staying at the coast...waterproof your tent.
Plan for all types of weather. The saying goes that if you don't like the weather in Portland, wait 10 minutes, it will change. Plan for cool evenings and rain just about any time. It can actually get quite hot for about a week or so in the summer but you never know which week that might be.
Photo Equipment: Plan for overcast days that can suddenly turn bright.
Miscellaneous: Good walking shoes are a must for the downtown area. Just too much to see and driving can be too frustrating if you want to get around.