Where Is Portland? See Its Map Location and State

Written by Shreya Agrawal
Updated: September 8, 2023
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Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Portland is a city that captures the essence of urban vibrancy while maintaining a deep connection to the natural beauty that surrounds it. As the largest city in Oregon, Portland also boasts a unique blend of creativity, cultural richness, and stunning landscapes.

Portland’s Map Location: Bridging Nature and Urbanity

Portland is located in Oregon, a state known for its diverse landscapes ranging from lush forests in the West to arid deserts in the East. Positioned in the northwest corner of the United States, Portland is situated along the Willamette River, which meanders through the heart of the city. Its strategic location near the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers has historically contributed to its growth as a major trade hub and port city.

Distance from Major Cities in Oregon

To provide a sense of Portland’s geographical context within the state, let’s explore the distances between Portland and other major cities in Oregon. The following table illustrates the approximate mileage between Portland and other cities in Oregon:

CityDistance from Portland (Miles)
Tilikum Crossing, over the Williamette River in Portland, Oregon.

Tilikum Crossing over the Willamette River is one gateway to Portland, Oregon.

©ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com

Is Portland a Good Place to Live?

Portland has a reputation as a desirable place to call home. It therefore attracts individuals who seek a balanced blend of urban amenities and natural beauty. The city’s strong focus on sustainability, extensive public transportation options, and walkable neighborhoods also contribute to its appeal. Moreover, it also has a thriving arts and cultural scene, a diverse culinary landscape, and a commitment to environmental stewardship. Thus, all of these make Portland an inviting destination for residents and visitors alike.

What Is Portland Famous For?

Portland is also renowned for its unique character and cultural contributions. Over the years, it has gained fame as a hub for creativity, innovation, and progressive ideals. The city’s motto, “Keep Portland Weird,” encapsulates its celebration of individuality and the arts. Television programs like New Girl have featured characters from Portland who celebrate their originality by being who they are.

Portland is also famous for its craft beer scene, boasting a high number of microbreweries and a passionate community of beer enthusiasts. Additionally, the city’s commitment to sustainability and eco-conscious living has earned it accolades as one of the greenest cities in the United States.

The Geography of Portland: A Landscape of Diversity

Portland’s topography is characterized by a blend of rolling hills, river valleys, and lush green spaces. Thus, the city’s elevation varies a lot, with downtown Portland sitting at approximately 50 feet above sea level. The towering peaks of the Cascade Range are visible to the east, while the city’s western boundary is framed by the Tualatin Mountains. Since it is close to Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the country, citizens of Portland are offered hiking trails and a sense of wilderness within city limits.

Fishhawk Lake is a beautiful small lake in the Coastal range of Oregon about 70 miles from Portland. It is a private man-made lake. The photo illustrates the drainage channel and the reflection.

Fishhawk Lake is a beautiful small lake in the Coastal Range of Oregon about 70 miles from Portland. It is a private man-made lake. The photo illustrates the drainage channel and the reflection.


What Is the Climate in Portland?

Portland experiences a temperate climate with distinct seasons, influenced by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains. Summers are typically mild and dry, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s in degrees Fahrenheit (24-28°C).

However, rainfall is infrequent during the summer months, which allows residents to enjoy outdoor activities comfortably. Winters are characterized by overcast skies and a higher likelihood of rain, due to its proximity to the Mediterranean zone, with temperatures averaging in the mid-40s to low 50s in degrees Fahrenheit (7-14°C). Snowfall in Portland is rare but not unheard of.

One notable aspect of Portland’s climate is its reputation for “liquid sunshine,” which refers to the frequent drizzles and light rain that contribute to the region’s lush vegetation. This climate pattern fosters the city’s vibrant green landscapes and supports the growth of native plants and trees.

Exploring the Best of Portland: Must-See Sights and Hidden Gems

As seen so far, Portland, Oregon, is a city that seamlessly blends urban sophistication with natural beauty, offering a myriad of attractions that cater to a diverse range of interests. From lush parks and iconic landmarks to vibrant neighborhoods and cultural hotspots, Portland has something for everyone to discover.

1. Powell’s City of Books: A Literary Wonderland

No visit to Portland is complete without exploring Powell’s City of Books, an iconic independent bookstore that spans an entire city block. This literary wonderland houses over a million new and used books, creating an enchanting maze in which bibliophiles can get lost. Whether seeking a rare find or simply browsing through the stacks, Powell’s is a paradise for all book lovers.

2. Washington Park: A Natural Oasis

Washington Park offers a lush escape within the heart of the city. Explore the sprawling landscapes of the International Rose Test Garden, where thousands of roses bloom in vibrant colors. The Oregon Zoo and Portland Japanese Garden are also nestled within the park, providing opportunities for wildlife encounters and moments of tranquility amidst meticulously designed landscapes.

Many roses in front of a forest at the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon

Many roses in front of a forest at the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon

©Nagel Photography/Shutterstock.com

3. Lan Su Chinese Garden: A Serene Retreat

Step into a tranquil oasis in the heart of Portland at the Lan Su Chinese Garden. This authentic Suzhou-style garden showcases intricate architecture, serene water features, and carefully curated plants that evoke the elegance of classical Chinese gardens. As you wander through the garden’s pathways, you’ll be transported to a world of harmony and beauty.

Japanese Garden in Portland, OR

In the months of October and November, photographers flock to the Japanese Garden like bugs to a light.


4. Portland Art Museum: Cultural Enrichment

Immerse yourself in art and culture at the Portland Art Museum, the oldest art museum on the West Coast. The museum’s diverse collection spans centuries and continents, featuring everything from European masterpieces to contemporary works by local artists. Special exhibitions and events also ensure that every visit offers something new to explore.

5. Pittock Mansion: Historic Elegance

Perched atop a hill, the Pittock Mansion offers panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. This historic mansion provides a glimpse into the city’s past, as well as the luxurious lifestyle of its former residents. Through the opulent interiors, people can learn about the mansion’s history and marvel at the stunning vistas from its vantage point.

6. Portland Saturday Market: Artistic Flair

If you’re visiting the city on a weekend, make sure to experience the vibrant energy of the Portland Saturday Market. This open-air market showcases a diverse array of art, crafts, jewelry, and local goods crafted by local artisans. Stroll through the market, engage with artists, and indulge in delicious street food for a true taste of Portland’s creative spirit.

Portland farmers market

A farmer has a large display of vegetables available for sale at a farmer’s market in Portland, Oregon.


7. St. Johns Bridge: Architectural Marvel

The St. Johns Bridge is more than just a mode of transportation. It’s also a masterpiece of engineering and design. With its Gothic-style towers and emerald green hue, the bridge is a sight to behold and offers stunning views of the Willamette River and the surrounding landscape. Take a leisurely walk across the bridge or view it from Cathedral Park below.

St Johns Bridge as seen from Cathedral Park, Portland, OR

St Johns Bridge is a masterpiece of engineering and design in Portland, Oregon.

©Bill Reynolds from Lake Oswego, Oregon, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

8. Alberta Arts District: Creative Vibe

The Alberta Arts District is a haven for artistic expression, featuring galleries, boutiques, and vibrant street art. Explore the colorful murals that adorn the buildings, discover unique shops, and enjoy a diverse range of dining options. First Thursdays in the district are particularly special, with art openings, live music, and a lively atmosphere.

9. Pioneer Courthouse Square: Urban Gathering Space

Known as “Portland’s living room,” Pioneer Courthouse Square is a bustling urban hub where locals and visitors gather to relax, attend events, and people-watch. The square also hosts concerts, festivals, and markets throughout the year, making it a central point of community and culture in the heart of downtown Portland.

10. Portland Aerial Tram: Sky-High Views

For panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscape, take a ride on the Portland Aerial Tram. The tram provides a unique perspective as it glides above the city, offering breathtaking vistas of the Willamette River, the West Hills, and beyond. It’s a thrilling experience that allows you to appreciate Portland’s beauty from a whole new angle.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Sean Pavone

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About the Author

Shreya is a climate scientist. She also studies paleontology and evolutionary biology. She enjoys reading all kinds of literature and listening to rock music in her free time.

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