Is this your first fall on campus?

Here are 8 ways to experience Portland this fall

By Chiara Profenna | September 30, 2021 8:48pm

Portland is a city of hidden wonders. Take some time to explore the city we call home.

Media Credit: Cole Carden / The Beacon

Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore or just didn’t get off campus pre-COVID, chances are you’re not as familiar with Portland as you could be. 

As businesses and tourist destinations cautiously reopen, Portland is beginning to feel “normal” again. To get the fall experience in the Portland area, check out some of these locations, near and far from campus.

Pier Park

A little bit farther from campus, Pier Park is a beautiful spot to spend afternoons watching the leaves fall and change colors.

Equipped with plenty of trails, a skate park, baseball fields and a disk golf course, it has something for everyone. To find Pier Park, make the short drive, or bike ride, just past downtown St. Johns.

Forest Park

Even if you haven’t heard of Forest Park, you’ve definitely seen it from campus. Directly across the Willamette River, Forest Park is a popular hiking spot in North Portland. With over 80 miles of trails, you won’t get bored of these hikes or the views at the top.

Saturday market

Take a trip downtown Saturday mornings from mid-April to mid-December to catch the Portland Saturday Market, open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Shop a variety of booths featuring handmade art, jewelry, soaps, and other treats, while enjoying the view of the Willamette River from Waterfront Park. While you’re at it, pick up a donut from Portland's own Voodoo Donut, located only a few blocks away.

Alberta Street

The Alberta Arts District is perfect for a weekend lunch date or a night out. Lined with restaurants and art for a mile and a half, there’s something everyone will enjoy. 

Visit on the last Thursday of each month during the evening for a street fair with art galleries, performers and vendors. Or check out the Alberta Rose Theater for a show, then finish the night with Salt and Straw for some seasonal and unique flavor options. 

The Pearl

Explore the Pearl District in downtown Portland to see the city at its best. Only 15 minutes away from campus is one of Portland's biggest food scenes. Try some local cafes and trendy eateries for a quick bite, or stay late for dinner at an award winning restaurant.

If you’re not hungry, try shopping in one of Portland’s top shopping districts, stop by Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore, or appreciate one of the artist galleries that give the Pearl District its name (like pearls inside oysters).

Sauvie Island

North of Portland, Sauvie Island is only a 30 minute drive away from campus. Visit during the fall season to get lost in Portland’s Original Corn Maze or get some pictures in front of Sauvie Island’s Pumpkin Patch, both open daily through October.

For other seasons, visit Topaz Farm to go berry-picking in the summer, pet the animals at the petting zoo, or relax on one of the many beaches.

Oregon Coast - Cannon Beach

With lots of beaches to choose from, there’s no way to go wrong with the Oregon Coast.

Cannon Beach spans four miles along the Oregon coast, and happens to be the closest coastal access point from Portland. Spend your weekend relaxing by the seaside, enjoying the views from Ecola State Park, or stopping by the Seaside Aquarium.

No matter how busy you are this semester, take some time to get off campus and experience fall in Portland. You’ll never know how precious our time as students is until it’s too late. 

Multnomah Falls

If you want a classic Portland day-trip, Multnomah Falls is the perfect spot to hike and see a beautiful Oregon waterfall up close.

Located in the Columbia River Gorge, 45 minutes east of Portland, the falls are the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest for good reason.

Chiara Profenna is a reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at