I recently had the opportunity to stay at the brand new Radisson RED Portland Downtown thanks to my friends at Radisson Rewards and spend a few days exploring all that the city has to offer and finding all the fun things to do in Portland. From donuts to iconic signs to gardens, I curated this list of some of my favorite photo spots to spice up your ‘gram while you’re visiting PDX so that you never run out of things to do during your visit. If you’re interested in learning all about my stay at the Radisson RED, you can also read all about that at the link below.
If you’re wanting to book at stay at a Radisson Hotels property within the next few months, I’m also happy to announce a unique discount code just for readers of my blog for $25 off a stay at any Radisson Blu, Radisson, Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Park Inn by Radisson or Radisson RED hotel in North or South America now through June 30, 2019. To book, use eCertificate code E100000270 over at the Radisson Rewards site. But hurry! The offer is only valid for the first 250 people who book it, and you might be a member of Radisson Rewards to redeem it (don’t worry - it’s super easy to sign up if you’re not already a member).
Truly, there are so many great photo spots in Portland that it was hard to just choose a few for my list. Some of these are absolutely iconic to locals and tourists alike, like the Old Town Portland Sign, and others you may not have heard of before if you’re not a resident of Portlandia. So, behold: here are some of the most Instagrammable photo spots that Portland, Oregon has to offer. Have another photo spot that I should have included or know more awesome things to do in Portland? Let me know in the comment section!
Historic Old Town Portland Sign
Possibly the most famous photo spot in Portland and one of Portland’s top attractions, the historic Old Town Portland sign featuring a white stag is a can’t-miss Instagram op during your trip to PDX. Pro-tip: go up on the bridge on the sidewalk for the best angle of the sign that can fit you and it into a 4:5 frame shot (which is ideal for Insta!).
Whether you’re into landscape photography or more influencer-type shots, there’s no denying that Pittock Mansion is one of the best views in Portland. On a clear day, you can see Mt Hood in the distance beyond the skyline. If conditions allow, it can also make for a great sunrise spot. Pittock Mansion can make for the perfect afternoon activity in Portland.
Powell’s Books is absolutely iconic in Portland, so you have to drop by and browse their shelves on any visit to PDX. It can be a challenge to get a good shot here because of how crowded it always is, but if you’re patient enough, the aisles might clear and you can score the perfect bookshop photo. Maybe pick up a good travel memoir to read while you’re there as well!
Cathedral City Park and St. Johns Bridge
Under the bridge. On the bridge. There are so many photo options around St. Johns Bridge! My personal favorite angle is from Cathedral Park just underneath the bridge. Visiting Cathedral City Park is one of my personal top choices for places to visit in Portland.
International Rose Test Garden
There’s a reason Portland is called the City of Roses. Here at the International Rose Test Garden, you’ll find over 10,000 rose bushes of around 650 different varieties. While they don’t bloom year around, they do peak in June, making it the optimal time to come by. All these roses definitely make for an Instagram wonderland. And best of all - it’s free! Make sure to not miss out on this amazing free Portland attraction.
Portland Art Museum
Conveniently, the Portland Art Museum is just around the block from the Radisson RED Downtown Portland, which made it really easy for me to visit during my stay. Fun fact: the Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum on the West Coast since it was founded in 1892. While the museum isn’t free, there are some really cool pieces on display, especially if you’re a fan of neon. You can find shots taken at the museum like the ones below all over Insta. This is also a great activity to do if it’s a rainy day in Portland (which, let’s face it, will probably happen at some point on your trip knowing the famous PNW weather).
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
Another iconic photo spot that is just down the street from the Radisson RED, literally. The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall is probably the second most famous “Portland” sign in town (after the Old Town one). My favorite angle for a photo here was across and up the street and slightly into the street. Just obviously watch for cars and try not to get in the way. Also, make sure to check what’s on at the concert hall, as this can be a fun thing to do, especially with a family. While I was there, they had the Nightmare Before Christmas In Concert!
Portland Japanese Garden
Featuring what is probably the dreamiest tree in PDX, its famous Japanese maple (as seen below), the Japanese Garden is conveniently located right next to the International Rose Test Garden, so you can easily do both within a few hours while you’re out sightseeing. If you’re lucky enough to be in Portland during the autumn, the Japanese Garden is an amazing spot to see the trees burst into colors like red, yellow, and orange.
Here is where I decided to split the list and make food and restaurants its own section. Portland is especially famous for its donuts, so make sure to stop by spots like Voodoo Doughut and Blue Star Donuts while you’re in town!
OUIBar + KTCHN at the Radisson RED
The hotel restaurant at the Radisson RED Portland made my list because of its fun decor (I love the colorful graffiti vibes) and its waffle on a stick. Because let’s face it people - it doesn’t get much more Instagrammable than a waffle on a stick!
Salt & Straw
Is this the prettiest ice cream in Portland? I think it just might be. Salt & Straw launched in 2011 in Portland and has since become so popular (which I’m sure their popularity on Instagram helped with) that it now has locations all over the Pacific Northwest and California. Currently at the time of publishing this article, they have four locations in Portland alone.
Blue Star Donuts
Blue Star Donuts were the closest to our hotel during our stay, so we ended up making several stops there to pick up donuts (I even brought some home with me). You’ll have to try all the famous donut shops of Portland and decide for yourself which is the best. For me, I ended up preferring the taste of Blue Star over Voodoo - but that’s just my personal opinion! Either way, you’d be remiss to not stop by one of the Blue Star Donuts around town during your visit.
Voodoo Doughnut is undeniably the most famous of Portland’s donut exports. They’ve expanded all over at this point. We have one where I live in Austin, and I saw one last month while visiting Universal Studios Orlando City Walk. Do they live up to the hype? It depends. I really love their creativity. Some fun flavors to try include the Voodoo Doll (shaped like a voodoo doll, of course), The Homer (as seen below), the Marshall Mathers (M&M’s, get it?), and The Loop (which is covered with Fruit Loops). Personally though, I like more plain donuts, like cinnamon sugar, but maybe I’m the weird one here! After all, there must be something magical about Voodoo Doughnuts with all of their success. And if you’re looking for some crazy donuts as a prop in your Instagram photo, there’s really no better place to go than Voodoo.
Pip’s Original Doughnuts
Unlike the other donut spots on this list, Pip’s specializes in mini donuts! Before I came to Portland, I had several locals messaging me on Instagram telling me that I had to go to Pip’s because they were the best of the best. I’ll let you be the judge of whether they take the crown for “Best Donuts in Portland”, but either way, there’s no denying that they’re very photogenic!
Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Radisson Hotels and the Radisson RED Portland. As always, all opinions are my own.
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