The Benson’s Guide To Portland
Things We Love About Downtown Portland
We don’t just work at our downtown Portland hotel we live and play here too. These are some of our favorite spots near the Benson Hotel Portland you won’t want to miss while you’re in town. We’ve highlighted a few well-known attractions such as the Pearl District, which is near our hotel as well as a couple of local gems you may not have heard about, but we think are well worth a visit. Need more hints about where to go and what to do around our historic hotel? Just ask! We’d love to give you the inside scoop.
Portland Art Museum
Conveniently located on the historic Park Blocks in the center of downtown Portland, the Portland Art Museum is the seventh oldest museum in the United States and the oldest in the Pacific Northwest. The museum houses a large and wide-ranging collection of artworks that complement Native American culture.
Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
Founded in 1944 and one of the nation’s top ten science museums, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a world-class tourist attraction and educational resource that puts the “WOW!” in science for the kid in each of us. 5 unique exhibit halls, 8 hands-on science labs, Kendall Planetarium and more!
Portland Center for the Performing Arts
The Portland Center for the Performing Arts is your premier arts and entertainment venue in the Pacific Northwest. Nationally recognized as one of the top 10 performing arts centers in the nation, the PCPA hosts every type of event imaginable from music, theater, dance, and lecture performances.
The Pearl District
Our hotel is located on the cusp of the vibrant Pearl District. Once dominated by factories, the Pearl is now home to some of Portland’s most exciting art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, bars, Portland Center Stage and Powell’s City of Books. The area is located just north of downtown between West Burnside Street on the South, the Willamette River on the North, NW Broadway on the east and I-405 Freeway on the west. Walking distance from The Benson, in the heart of it all.
The Rose Quarter is a 30-acre sports and entertainment district located in Portland’s Lloyd District, on the east bank of the Willamette River, just east of downtown Portland. Home to the best NBA team in the country (the Blazers, of course), the Rose Garden is also host to the Winter Hawks, concerts, performances, tradeshows, and a whole lot more. Just a mile away, The Benson is the ideal place for you to stay! Park your car with us, hop the MAX to the Rose Garden and enjoy your event.
Just a short bike, bus, or drive away you’ll find Washington Park: a gorgeous landscape with 400 acres of trees, gardens, playgrounds, and other attractions. Not only does this park house the renowned Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, Hoyt Arboretum, World Forestry Center, International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden and more—it has over 15 miles of trails for you to explore!
Powell’s City of Books
This famous bookstore is the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world—and it’s a place every book lover should experience. It occupies a full city block, three short blocks from The Benson. Avid readers may find themselves engrossed, spending hours perusing the shelves!
This indie doughnut shop is a Portland darling. Opened in 2003, it’s become famous for its amazing, outlandish creations. Like bacon on your doughnut? This is the place for you –just a few short blocks from The Benson!
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Pioneer Courthouse Square is affectionately known as the City’s “living room.” With more than 26,000 people passing by the Square each day, and thousands more visiting directly, it is the single most visited premier outdoor venue, hosting over 300 events a year!
Food Carts Portland
Some of Portland’s best dishes come in to-go containers. Peckish for Peruvian? Tantalized by Thai? Just want a good taco? Food carts have you covered. Just blocks from The Benson, you’ll find a staggering selection of lunch items (and sometimes breakfast) that are as appealing to your wallet as they are to your taste buds.
Rose Festival CityFair – Opening WeekendMay 25, 2018 7:00 pm — May 28, 2018 4:00 pm
Weekend Theme: Superheroes and Villains
Opening Night Fireworks is on Friday night, May 25, featuring a concert in the RoZone with local favorite Hit Machine and the legendary One More Time Around Again Marching Band kicking it off at 7:00 p.m.! (Free concert with CityFair admission.)
Join us on Saturday May 26th as Disciple Records takes over the RoZone stage, bringing the hottest in dubstep and bass music! Show starts at 6:00 p.m.! (Free concert with CityFair admission.)
We’re open all day on Memorial Day, May 28 — bring the entire family out for Kids, Clowns and Characters from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for an event featuring the best in children’s entertainment including magic, clowns, bubble shows, face painting, kindie rock music and much more! (Free event with CityFair admission.)
Our Memorial Day Scavenger Hunt will run from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Monday May 28.
Dragon Boat RacesJun 9, 2018 8:00 am — Jun 10, 2018 5:00 pm
The Rose Festival is proud to host the Portland Rose Festival Dragon Boat Races, an event that has been bringing an exciting Chinese tradition to Portland for more than 26 years. Held on the Willamette River near the Hawthorne Bridge, the races feature exciting four-team heats held every nine minutes. More than 80 different teams – local, national and international – compete in boats graciously provided through the Portland-Kaohsiung Sister City Association. This event is free to the public.
Rose Festival CityFair – Second WeekendJun 1, 2018 8:00 am — Jun 2, 2018 5:00 pm
Weekend Theme: Princes and Princesses
The second weekend of CityFair is jam-packed with music on the Rose City Stage, performing arts on the Artslandia stage, crafts and puppet shows in the Kids Zone, and cool artifacts in the Rose Festival Museum – all FREE with CityFair admission. The Game On Arcade is open all day for kiddos and all night for adults. Grab a brew at the Old Town Brewing Taphouse or a local cocktail from the Eastside Distilling Lounge and enjoy Rose Festival after dark!
Our Starlight Scavenger Hunt will run on June 2 from 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Starlight ParadeJun 2, 2018 9:00 pm — Jun 2, 2018 11:00 pm
One of our most popular events, the Portland General Electric/SOLVE Starlight Parade offers funky, eclectic fun for everyone. From traditional marching bands and flood-lit floats, to glow-in-the-dark umbrellas and unique hand-built entries, you’ll see the best of Portland’s diverse community groups (and surrounding Northwest region) together in one whimsical pageant.
Rose Festival CityFair – Final WeekendJun 8, 2018 10:00 am — Jun 9, 2018 4:00 pm
Weekend Theme: Pirates and Mermaids
The final weekend of CityFair starts on Friday June 8 with a Military Band Showcase honoring all branches of the military. (Free concert with CityFair admission.)
Our Grand Floral Scavenger Hunt will run on June 9 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Fleet Week is a highlight this weekend with ships from the US Navy, US Coast Guard, and Royal Canadian Navy along the waterfront sea wall, and the amazing all-floral float creations from the Spirit Mountain Casino Grand Floral Parade will line Naito Parkway on Saturday afternoon and Sunday for up-close viewing, punctuating a rosy end to Rose Festival Waterfront activities.
Grand Floral ParadeJun 9, 2018 10:00 am — Jun 9, 2018 2:00 pm
A cherished highlight of the Portland Rose Festival, this popular procession is more than a spectacular floral-filled parade; it’s a beloved annual tradition.
Portland Pride Waterfront FestivalJun 16, 2018 12:00 pm — Jun 17, 2018 6:00 pm
The 2018 Portland Pride Festival takes place June 16-17 at Waterfront Park. This annual festival and parade is the largest LGBTQ cultural celebration between San Francisco and Seattle.
World Naked Bike RideJun 23, 2018 8:00 pm — Jun 23, 2018 10:00 pm
The World Naked Bike Ride is an annual, worldwide bike ride that highlights the vulnerability of cyclists everywhere and decries society’s dependence on pollution-based transport. It’s also a lot of fun and it’s free for all! Portland’s route to be announced soon.
Safeway Waterfront Blues FestivalJul 4, 2018 8:00 am — Jul 7, 2018 5:00 pm
Since 1988, Oregon Food Bank has produced the Waterfront Blues Festival to raise funds and awareness to fight hunger in Oregon and Clark County, Washington. As Oregon Food Bank’s largest annual fundraising event, this Portland flagship festival has become a treasured tradition for locals and visitors alike; it is the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi and the second-largest blues festival in the nation. Since its inception, the festival has raised close to $10 million and over 1,000 tons of food to fight hunger in the region.
STP RideJul 14, 2018 4:45 am — Jul 15, 2018 7:00 pm
This 200+ mile bicycle ride is the largest multi-day bicycle event in the Northwest, with up to 10,000 participants riding from Seattle to Portland in one or two days. The route takes you through the scenic valleys, forests, and farmlands of western Washington and Oregon. Come ride what Bicycling Magazine has listed as one of the best cycling events in the nation!
The Big FloatJul 14, 2018 11:00 am — Jul 14, 2018 10:00 pm
This annual event is a fundraiser for the Human Access Project. Open to all ages, the Big Float begins with, naturally, a parade. Floaters gather at Tom McCall Bowl Beach, then carry or wear their floatation devices and march south along Waterfront Park to the put-in point at Poet’s Beach beneath the Marquam Bridge. Floaters will paddle down river and land on the west bank at the Tom McCall Bowl. Here, Portland’s grandest downtown beach party will be held – complete with music barge and live bands, food carts, beer/wine garden, sponsor booths, and a kids’ activities area. For more information on Portland’s The Big Float
Oregon Brewers FestivalJul 26, 2018 12:00 pm — Jul 29, 2018 7:00 pm
One of the nation’s longest-running craft beer festivals, the Oregon Brewers Festival is considered a destination, and 80,000 craft beer lovers annually make the pilgrimage to Beervana to drink up what the festival has to offer. On a sun soaked July afternoon, there’s no better place to sip more than 80 independent craft beers with friends along the banks of the Willamette River, with the Portland skyline as a backdrop to the west and Mt. Hood towering in the east.
Vanport Jazz FestivalAug 4, 2018
On the site of the historic flood, Portland Meadows is transformed into a cultural revival, welcoming nationally renowned artists and breathing new life into Portland jazz.
Providence Bridge PedalAug 12, 2018
Join your friends and neighbors for the 23rd annual community celebration of Portland’s Willamette River bridges and bicycling. This is the one opportunity each year to bike or walk on Portland’s car-free streets and bridges, including the upper decks of both the Marquam and Fremont bridges.
Portland MarathonOct 7, 2018
The Portland Marathon is rated as one of the premier marathons in the U.S., one of the top 10 road race events in the U.S, and one of the top 40 races of all types and distances. Runner’s World called the Portland Marathon “The best people’s marathon in the West” and for the past ten years has ranked it as one of the top marathons in the country.
Wordstock: Portland’s Book FestivalNov 10, 2018 8:00 am — Nov 10, 2018 5:00 pm
This annual celebration of books features over 100 authors presenting onstage events, pop-up readings, and writing workshops. The Festival includes activities for readers of all ages, an extensive book fair with over 90 vendors, local food trucks, and partner events all day long. This event takes place at the Portland Art Museum and neighboring venues. Visit Wordstock