2020 is Portland, Oregon’s year. With a predicted 2,500 new guest rooms arriving downtown—and the brand-new Hyatt Regency Portland at Oregon Convention Center—the city is blooming without losing its relaxed, quirky edge. Pack your flannels and Birkenstocks; we’re taking you through all that’s new and loved in this hip and accommodating Northwest city.
Fly Alaska Airlines to Portland International Airport (PDX). It’s been rated the best airport in the country for seven years in a row by Travel & Leisure. That might have something to do with the retail options (never marked up, no sales tax), local restaurants (hello, Blue Star Donuts!) and free movie theater. From there, attendees can take MAX Light Rail directly to Oregon Convention Center (OCC) or downtown—or call an Uber or a Lyft from the convenient ride-share pickup line (about a 25-minute drive to downtown).
Meet and Sleep
Hyatt Regency Portland at Oregon Convention Center is a meetings game-changer. Opened in January 2020, the hotel brings 600 guest rooms and suites and 39,000 sq. ft. of meeting space to Portland’s Lloyd District, just on the other side of the river from downtown, and steps away from OCC and Moda Center arena. It offers 11,440-square-foot Regency Ballroom, equipped with impressive projection walls, and 36 meeting rooms to accommodate gatherings large and small. Bonus: Its 24-hour market is sourced with high-quality, hyper-local products (we picked up Portland Roasting Coffee beans) and on-site restaurant Unity Q’in serves gourmet international barbecue from a sedan-sized smoker.
Should you need more space, adjacent OCC is fresh off a renovation with more than 3.2 million sq. ft. of total meeting space, 52 meeting rooms and two grand ballrooms.
Off the beaten path, Ilani Resort Casino (in Ridgefield, Washington, a 30-minute drive north of Portland) features a new 30,000-square-foot meeting and entertainment center, concerts and comedians at Cowlitz Ballroom and a 100,000-square-foot casino. In wine country, The Allison Inn and Spa in Newberg is a popular stay for retreats, with 25,000 sq. ft. of event space, including the new outdoor Chef’s Garden tent and a fire pit gathering area.
The boutique, 220-room Hyatt Centric Downtown Portland opens this month in the heart of the city.
It’s difficult to capture the extent of offerings from the nation’s top-ranked foodie city—sorry New Yorkers, Wallethub said so!—so here are some dishes to order on both sides of the river. At intimate downtown Bistro Agnes, try French onion soup and croque monsieur. At neighboring, modern Tasty n Alder, order goat cheese dumplings arrabiata and cocktails. On the east side, enjoy local brews and the cauliflower bahn mi at Wayfinder Beers. And at French-casual Canard, go for the duck stack—savory pancakes topped with duck gravy, duck egg and foie gras. All restaurants take reservations for large parties and showcase Portland’s best.
Head across the river into Forest Park to walk through more than 10,000 plants at International Rose Test Garden or meditate in Portland Japanese Garden, rain or shine. Check out Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore, which takes up an entire city block. Smorgasbord at the Food Cart Pods at Fifth and Third avenues, and catch the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers or a concert at Moda Center.
Need to Know
- #1 Ranking among airports in the United States by Travel & Leisure
- 79.6 Restaurants that are local (vs. chain), according to bestplaces.net
- 12,591 Acres of public parks and open space within city limits