Spring Break: Portland, Oregon

Spring Break: Portland, Oregon

GiftTree’s headquarters and West Coast shipping hub is based just outside of Portland, Oregon in beautiful Vancouver, Washington. If you know anything about the Pacific Northwest, you know it rains. As you can imagine, the mention of spring and drier weather excites most residents of this region. However, the traditional timing of spring break can be a bit tricky in this neck of the woods if you’re not a fan of damp weather. Many people in this region will use spring break to head south to sunnier climates. If you don’t mind damp weather and do a bit of planning, there are still many great things to do in the Pacific Northwest during the usually drizzly spring break. Here are a few things to do in and around Portland for spring break.

The Coast

With the wet weather, heading to the coast might seem like a bad combination, however it can provide for some awesome storm watching. You probably won’t be able to get a tan, but spending a relaxing day indoors near a fireplace while the weather wails and huge waves pound the beach is the next best thing. Spring break also falls within the “off season,” so getting a good hotel deal shouldn’t be a problem. The drive starts at 90 minutes to Cannon Beach and Seaside, with a few other beach towns within a three-hour drive.

Mt. Hood

Just a short drive from Portland, Mt. Hood offers many options for recreation, and during this time of year some of the ski slopes are usually still open. With a number of ski areas to choose from winter weather lovers have a few options. One of the ski areas on Mt. Hood, Mt. Hood Skibowl, hosts a spring break themed bash called the Snow Beach Festival. The festival features live music, contests, beverage tasting and of course snow sports. This is a good chance to get some powder time in before it warms up.

Powell’s City of Books

Does a bookstore really deserve it’s own section in a post about spring break? If you’re asking this question, apparently you’ve never been there! They claim to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world and with over 68,000 square feet of retail floor space at their main location alone, that claim sounds pretty accurate. The main location is in the Pearl district of Portland and occupies a full city block. Featuring three levels, 122 subject areas and a café with coffee tea and food, you can easily spend a day browsing.


The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is as the name implies a science and technology museum located on the east bank of the Willamette River. There are a number of exhibition halls, three auditoriums, a submarine and more. OMSI is another place where you can easily spend a day if the weather is not cooperating. This is also a very family friendly option with many things geared directly at children. Some options include the Science Playground (geared at those six and younger) and the Empirical Theater, which offers some family friendly films.


Now for a less family friendly option… along with roses and rain, Portland is well known for it’s plethora of breweries. Having more than 60 breweries (more than any other city in the world), Portland can claim it’s title as Beertown. Most of these breweries fall into the microbrewery category, however there are a few better-known brewers such as Widmer and BridgePort. Although not in Portland some nearby Oregon cities also have excellent breweries. Rogue Ales and Spirits is located on the coast in Newport, Oregon, with a couple of pubs in town. Full Sail Brewing Company is located in Hood River and Deschutes Brewery is located in Bend. A brewery tour around Portland, or a day trip to one of the other nearby cities are great ways to spend a day during spring break.

Parks & Gardens

If a little wet weather doesn’t bother you, Portland has many excellent gardens and public parks. Dressing appropriately will keep you warm and dry and is simpler than you think; all you need is a few layers and a light waterproof shell up top, some waterproof shoes and an umbrella. The umbrella will make you stand out as a tourist, however it’s worth staying dry, so you can enjoy the sites. A few of the well-known gardens are the Lan Su Chinese Garden, the Japanese Garden and the Portland International Rose Test Garden. The Japanese Garden and Rose Garden are next to each in the Washington Park area along with the Hoyt Arboretum and the Oregon Zoo. If hiking, biking or running is your thing; Forest Park has over 70 miles of trails! Listing all of the great parks Portland has to offer would need it’s own post, however a quick web search will help you find them all.

The wet and chilly weather may not fit everyone’s idea of the perfect spring break, but as you can see, there are still tons of great things to do in the Pacific Northwest. These highlights only include Portland and a few of the more popular destinations nearby, there are even more in opportunities in the rest of the Pacific Northwest.

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