Your ultimate guide to the city that keeps it weird
So, you've decided to take a trip to the land of craft beer and flannel. Excellent choice! Portland, Oregon has a well-deserved reputation as one of the most welcoming cities in America, with quirky attractions, great food, a hopping music scene and endless outdoor adventure. But one question remains – when's the best time to go?
Planning your visit
Choosing the ideal time to visit Portland depends, at least in part, on what you want to get out of the experience. If you'd like to catch the city's parks and flower gardens in full bloom, head over in spring. If you want to be there while festival season is in full swing, summer is the time for you. If sunny weather is important to you, bless your heart, you might not be going to the right place, but there's still a chance if you time your visit just right.
The rainy season in Portland
This is the Pacific Northwest we're talking about here, home to the largest temperate rain forest on earth, so yea, there's going to be some rain. Your best chance to avoid a soaking is to plan your trip in July or August, the only months that average less than an inch of rainfall. Steer clear of November and December, which each see more than five inches of precipitation, most of the liquid variety.
Any time other than the dog days of summer, your best approach is to simply accept that you'll get a little rain and learn to embrace it. The good news is that Portland doesn't tend to get drenching, all-day downpours. Even during seasons when rain falls nearly every day, it's usually just a brief drizzle that clears up before too long.
The tourist season in Portland
Unsurprisingly, the sunniest months in Portland are also the busiest. Tourist traffic peaks during summer, and then bottoms out from roughly October to February. Of course, people visit in summer for good reason. This season offers an abundance of fun festivals, great hiking opportunities and comfortable weather, with most days hitting a high right around 80 F.
The downside, other than waiting in line at the ice cream stand, is that higher tourist volume comes with higher hotel rates. The price of a room hits its annual peak in August, with July not far behind. If you plan on visiting Portland in summer, book in advance.
All around, summer is the best time to visit Portland. The weather is great, the cafes open their outdoor seating areas and your chance of running out of things to do is virtually zero. You can also visit during the not-quite-summer months of June and September to take advantage of slightly lower hotel rates and thinner crowds.
If you're traveling on a budget or want to steer clear of your fellow tourists, just pack an umbrella and head to Portland during the winter off-season. Worst-case scenario, you'll end up spending a lot of time in bookstores and coffee shops, of which Portland offers no shortage.