Life Outside Residency

Image of the Willamette River and the city of Portland at twilight.

Portland has a wide range of activities, events, shops, and food. It has something for everyone, so don’t be fooled by the “keep Portland weird” motto that seems to follow it around. While it can be “weird” - hello naked bike ride - it also has a more sophisticated and fun side. We are known for our great coffee and variety of food. We also have many art galleries, individually owned shops, multiple breweries, and outdoor activities.  

Portland is great because we get to experience all four seasons. Our weather is very mild year-round, which makes it a fun and comfortable place to be. While it does rain, there are many activities to keep you busy and it does not stop most Portlanders from enjoying the outdoors. Check out some of our favorite places in Portland, and photos of our residents enjoying them, below. 

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Otolaryngology Resident hiking

Portland is home to many parks, running trails, and fun outdoor activities. There is no better place where you can walk your dog, go for a hike, or enjoy local gardens. Here are some of our favorites: 

1. Forest Park

This park is one of the United States largest urban forests. There is over 70 miles of hiking trails where you can walk, run, or ride your bike. Bonus: It is within walking distance to OHSU. 

2. Portland Japanese Garden

This garden is said to be one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Enjoy looking at beautiful cherry blossom trees while strolling down a stone path. It has a gorgeous of view of Mt. Hood and many places to sit and enjoy the plants and views. 

3. Portland International Rose Garden

This garden is part of a Washington Park, and is the U.S.’s oldest public rose test gardens. You can visit anytime but going between May-Sept. will ensure you get to see over 10,000 roses. 

4. Pittock Mansion 

One of Portland’s historic homes. They offer tours and beautiful views of Mt. Hood all while learning about Portland’s history.

Things to do nearby Portland

wherley at crater lake
Senior resident Jennifer Wherley and her partner visiting the historic Crater Lake National Park in southern-central Oregon

 Portland is unique in that within 2 hours, you can be at the beach, mountains, or the Gorge which features many hiking trails. With so many options nearby, it is easy to do quick day trips or spend a weekend at some of our favorite places. 

1. The Coast 

There are many different beaches in Oregon. Seaside, Lincoln City, and Newport beaches are all very popular. You can go crabbing, surfing, shopping, or just enjoy the views.  

2. Mt. Hood 

Mt. Hood is about an hour outside of Portland and you can enjoy skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and even nighttime tubing here. Some of the popular stops for these activities are Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood Ski Bowl, and Meadows.  

3. The Columbia River Gorge, AKA “The Gorge”

Take a short 2 hour ride to get to the Gorge, you won’t regret it. There are hundreds of hiking and biking trails that offer spectacular views. Some popular areas include Angel’s Rest, Multnomah Falls, Dog Mountain, and many more. Also check out Hood River’s Fruit Loop if you are going during the summer months. 


Portland is known for its unique food scene. It is one of the best places to be if you are vegetarian or vegan, but also hosts many pubs and unique fusion restaurants. In keeping with Portland’s quirky spirit, it is home to many food carts that will fit in with any of your food fantasies.  

1. Food Cart List 

This is a great list of some of the best food carts in Portland. However, there are many more and it is hard to eat at a bad one.  

2. VooDoo Doughnuts

VooDoo doughnuts has quickly became famous for some of the most “out-there” doughnut concoctions. There is typically a long line but it is well worth the wait! 

3.  Salt and Straw

They are known for their unique and always changing ice cream flavors.  

4. Vegan/Vegetarian Eats

There is no shortage of food options for vegans and vegetarians.  . 

5. Brewpubs

You will find many brewpubs in Portland. See our next section in Beer and Wine for a great list of must-visit places. 

Beer and wine


Speaking of pubs, you can’t have a great pub without great beer. Portland is known for its large beer scene, especially for its IPA’s. Here is a great list to get you started on some of the must-try beer and brew pubs in Portland.  


Oregon is famous for producing some of the world’s best pinot noirs and the wine regions is found in what is called the Willamette Valley. There is no shortage of wineries near Portland. Many wineries are located in Dundee and Hood River, Oregon. Take a tour and experience some of the best wines and beautiful venues around. Not sure where to start? Here is a map that includes all of the wineries in the Willamette Valle region:

OHSU ENT residents talk about their life in Portland and favorite things to do.