Transportation | The Official Guide to Portland – Travel Portland

The Official Guide to Portland
On a visit to Portland, do as locals do and take advantage of the city’s miles upon miles of protected bike lanes, efficient public transportation system and many (and we mean many) walkable bridges to get around. Renting a car is never necessary for Portland, with plenty of budget-friendly ways to explore the city car-free (and avoid the hassle of finding and paying for parking).
Portland International Airport (PDX) boasts an easy light rail connection to downtown, local food and drink, free Wi-Fi, tax-free shopping with no markups — and 500 flights daily.
Union Station, with its elegant architecture and iconic “Go By Train” neon sign connects passengers with the city by bus, car and of course by train.
Travel to and from Portland with ease on FlixBus and Greyhound buses — both affordable services connect Portland with regional destinations near and far.
Editor’s note: TriMet does accept cash fares, though encourages riders to use contactless bus fares through Hop Fastpass mobile app. Learn more:
– How to ride public transit
– Fares & how to pay
TriMet manages the city’s public transportation system, which includes bus service, the MAX light rail and a streetcar. Public transit offers one of the best ways to get around Portland on a budget, as tickets for one mode of transportation apply to them all.
The TriMet bus system, which covers the city and its suburbs thoroughly, offers low fares, friendly drivers and full wheelchair accessibility. Most buses are equipped with bike racks, making mass transit more user-friendly for cyclists. Frequent bus service on more than a dozen bus lines keeps things moving; these lines come every 15 minutes or less most of the day, every day.
The MAX Light Rail is the heart and soul of the city’s public transportation system. It includes more than 90 stations, and its track stretches for 60 miles, connecting the city, airport and greater Portland region. All five lines (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow and Orange) run through downtown. The MAX is also a frequent service line, meaning it runs every 15 minutes or less.
Portland’s efficient light rail system connects the metro area and downtown core. Learn how to ride and where to go on MAX.
The Portland Streetcar was built in 2011. The original line, now known as the NS line, travels Downtown from Portland State University to the Nob Hill neighborhood. The line goes directly through the Pearl District, a popular shopping and dining area.
The A Loop and the B Loop provide service over Tilikum Crossing, the only bridge in the country dedicated exclusively to pedestrian, bicycle and public transportation traffic. The A Loop runs clockwise and connects the east and west sides of the city through the Pearl District, Broadway BridgeLloydOMSI, Tilikum Crossing and Portland State University. The B Loop passes through the same stops but moves counter-clockwise.
The City of Roses built the nation’s first modern-day streetcar in 2001: the sleek and modern Portland Streetcar.
TriMet encourages riders to use contactless bus fares through Hop Fastpass; here are the three ways to use the mobile app. After downloading the app to your mobile device, you can first pay with your phone using a credit or debit card in a mobile wallet like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay. A second option is to purchase a reloadable Hop card from a local retailer, supermarket or convenience store which can be added to the app to track rides and remaining fares. The last option is to purchase a virtual card, which is used similarly to the Hop card. Fares for the bus, MAX light rail and streetcar are:
Adult (ages 18–64): $2.80 to ride for 2.5 hours; $5.60 for a day pass
Honored Citizen (ages 65 years and older; low income, Medicare or disability): $1.40 to ride for 2.5 hours; $2.80 for a day pass
Youth (ages 7–17): $1.40 to ride for 2.5 hours; $2.80 for a day pass
Exploring Portland on two wheels is east in this purposefully bike-friendly city. The City of Roses boasts miles of protected bike lanes, plenty of places to rent bikes and a treasure trove of bike maps to help you get from point A to B.
Portland’s bike-share program, Biketown, offers access to 1,000 bright-orange, electric bicycles. Once you have a bike, you may want to enjoy a free guided bike tour. Portland By Cycle from the Portland Bureau of Transportation offers them on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings in July and August, while Friends on Bikes hosts regular group rides that cater specifically to women, trans and gender non-conforming people of color.
One of the best ways to explore the Rose City is on two wheels.
E-scooter sharing lets users rent vehicles via an app for one-way trips. Before boarding, check out our dos and don’ts for riding e-scooters in Portland.
From city-run parking garages to private lots to an app for on-street parking, Portland offers reliable options for parking during your visit.
Lyft and Uber both operate in Portland, providing cash-free rides scheduled via mobile app. Both companies serve Portland International Airport (PDX), picking up outside of baggage claim at the far left end of the first island.
Lyft serves the greater Portland metro area with basic service for up to four passengers and Lyft Plus, with room for up to six people.
Uber serves Portland, Gresham, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard and Vancouver, Washington. Services include basic UberX and XL (for up to six passengers), Uber Select (high-end vehicles), Uber Access (wheel-chair-accessible vehicles) and Uber Pedal (vehicles with bike racks).
Those who wish to explore points of interest beyond the city limits, however, might consider renting a car to get from place to place.
Free2Move offers a fleet of free-floating vehicles around the city. The mobile app makes it easy to create an account and reserve nearby vehicles for trips by the minute, hour or by day.
Another peer-to-peer car-sharing service, Getaround is a free-to-join, Facebook-linked network currently in six U.S. cities that promises instant approval for membership applicants over 19 with good driving records
Turo is a peer-to-peer car-sharing service that allows owners to rent out their personal vehicles when they’re not using them to other members who want to rent them for a set time.
Zipcar members from around the country can access a fleet of hundreds of new vehicles in designated parking spots throughout the Portland metro area — there are more than 80 cars in the central city alone.
If you’re looking to get out of town without renting a car, there are regional buses, like Gorge Pass that offer many routes to see the sites, hike the waterfalls and experience the Fruit Loop in the scenic Columbia River Gorge; the Mt. Hood Express that runs from Sandy all the way to Timberline on Mount Hood; or the Columbia County Rider connecting you to outdoor adventures just outside of Portland.
Last but not least, one of the most enjoyable means of getting around the City of Roses is on foot. With many walkable neighborhoods like the Alberta Arts District and Hawthorne, as well as a bustling downtown, those traveling on foot have plenty of places to see and explore. Tilikum Crossing, the only bridge in the country dedicated to light rail, buses, bicycles and pedestrians — without automobile traffic, is a scenic way to explore. The bridge connects the South Waterfront to the Central Eastside.
With easy access to the great outdoors, Portland is a perfect destination for hikers — explore the city’s urban walks, verdant parks and lush gardens, or escape to the nearby gorge and mountains.
The 4T trail is a self-guided tour that lets you explore the city — and see some of the best views — without a car.
Escape the city without leaving Portland; with 70 miles of trails within Portland city limits, 5,156-acre Forest Park is a popular escape for runners, equestrians and hikers alike and supporting more than 112 bird and 62 mammal species.
These fall hikes near Portland prove that autumn is an ideal time to explore Oregon wilderness, admire seasonal flora and fauna, and visit nearby farms.
Autumnal beauty abounds in Portland, and there are plenty of prime places to revel in leaf-crunching relaxation.
Oregon is the perfect place for outdoor adventure, any time of year — explore our selection of all-weather paths and hikes in and near Portland.
Trade muddy trails for winter walks along the smooth, paved walkways of Portland’s parks, then treat yourself to a warm mug of coffee or tea.
There’s something special about the first spring hike of the year. Enjoy wildflowers, bird watching and breathtaking scenery on these springtime rambles.
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