Life in Portland

We are glad to welcome you and your family to Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). We, at the Office of International Affairs (OIA), are here to help you with adjusting to life in America.

Portland maintains big city excitement and small town charm make Portland, known as "the City of Roses," a favorite destination. Portland is situated approximately 70 miles from the Pacific Ocean where the Columbia River meets the Willamette River, has a magnificent setting, combining sparkling waterways with lush greenery rarely found in urban settings.

Portlanders call the rains Portland mist, which brings us a lush green year around. Summer days often last 144 days and reach average temperatures above 79 degrees Fahrenheit (26 degrees Celsius) and a wealth of outdoor settings for cycling, hiking and other activities. Winter days may fall as low as 37 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius). The winter season is characterized by mild temperatures, cloudy skies and rain. In and near this cold sub-freezing air, freezing rain and even snow will occur over eastern and northern Portland.

Portland is referred to as one of the most environmentally friendly or green cities in the world. Portland is known for its abundant outdoor activities, liberal political values, and coffee and beer enthusiasm that contribute to the unofficial slogan "Keep Portland Weird."

The settlement guides listed below are designed to provide the basic information needed to prepare for and start the resettlement process in Portland and beyond. The number one resource for settlement is our Office of International Affairs external website.

Travel Oregon Visitor Guide 2022-2023

Whether you're planning an epic road trip or seeking a hideaway to escape it all, the Travel Oregon Official Visitor Guide includes everything you need to plan your trip here and see Oregon's magic come to life. Click here to view and print online or you can visit the Travel Oregon Visitor website to order a printed copy of the guide to be sent to your home.

Diversity Resource Guide

The Center for Diversity and Inclusion offers The Diversity Resource Guide, helping OHSU students, postdocs, staff, faculty and residents connect with diverse and multicultural organizations and businesses in Portland and beyond. Visit the CDI website for more information.

Portland, Oregon, and the Pacific Northwest region of the US have a lot to offer.  Find out more using the links below.  Get inspired!

The Seven Wonders of Oregon

Portland Travel Video

Guides for the Oregon region

Moving to a different country and adjusting to all the language, social norms, politics, religion, cuisine, and customs can take some time to get used to. Below are some tips on making your cultural adaptation an easier and more comfortable process.

When feeling overwhelmed

Your feelings are perfectly normal, and talking to another person about your frustrations, especially someone who has gone through a similar process, can be relieving.

Join an organization

There are many interest based organizations that can help keep you occupied whether it be with friends or in the community, which can help ease feelings of homesickness.

Make small talk

Oregonians are known to be friendly and striking up a random conversations with strangers is a perfectly social normal. This may push your out of your comfort zone or entirely be a new social experience for you. Small talk can help you adjust to your new home, learn about American people, and make new friends.

Try local food

Food is a common ground for everyone to get together and share a piece of culture identity. American food is more than cheeseburgers and hotdogs, and if you try to identify "what is American food" you will find a plethora of cultural influences from all over the world.

Sharing life experiences

Conversations about your life in your home country are bound to happen, but be mindful about making comparisons. Focusing on cultural differences can lead to negative results and it can make your adjustment more difficult these types of comments only highlight what separates you from your current home.

Explore Oregon

There are plenty of activities and hobbies to experience and explore, from beaches to snow covered mountains, and everything else in-between Oregon has it all. If you are willing to be open-minded then get out to a Timbers game, hike the Columbia Gorge, surf at Cannon Beach and have fun!


Travel Portland

Travel Oregon

For city guides, arts & culture, music, and more, check out Willamette Week's website

Portland gardens

  • Rose Garden: Portland is known as the city of roses. The Portland Rose Garden is located in NW Portland's Washington Park, and it features an extensive array of roses and a gorgeous view of the city
  • Japanese Garden: The Japanese Garden is composed of 5 garden styles on 5.5 acres. The Garden is located in the west hills of Portland, directly above the Rose Gardens in Washington Park
  • Chinese Garden: The Lan Su Chinese Garden is features a beautiful botanical garden with a bridged lake surrounded by pavilions, courtyards, and walkways as well as a Tao Tea House. The Garden is located at 239 NW Everett Street, at the corner of Northwest 3rd and Everest in Portland's historic Old Town Chinatown.

Places, activities and things to do

The Oregon Zoo

Portland's 64 acres zoo is located at Washington Park. The Park delights visitors with award-winning exhibits, concerts, and special seasonal events, in addition to a wide-variety of animals.

The Portland Art Museum

As the Northwest's oldest museum, represents 35 centuries of traditional and contemporary art from around the world. Visit The Portland Art Museum for more information

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

Come explore all five unique exhibit halls, eight hands-on science labs, the USS Blueback submarine, Kendall Planetarium, The Empirical Theater and much more. Visit OMSI for more information.

Pittock Mansion

The mansion overlook's the city and is surrounding with mountain side hiking trails, and hold a great deal of Portland's history. You may tour the home for a small entrance fee, or enjoy the grounds and the view for free. Visit Pittock Mansion for information.

Portland Saturday Market

Enjoy the largest continuous open-air market in the nation featuring live music, prepared foods, clothing, jewelry, and locally produced arts and crafts. View what's new with Portland Saturday Market.

Powell's City of Books

One of Portland top sights to visit is also known as one of the most famous bookstores in the nation .Powell's book store covers an entire city block of new and used books of all kinds. If you love books, you won't want to miss Powell's.

Sport teams

Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers, is an NBA basketball team whose home games can be seen at the MODA Center.

Portland Timbers

Portland is also home to the Portland Timbers soccer team whose home games are held at Providence Park near Goose Hollow in SW Portland.

Winterhawks WHL Hockey

The Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks may not boast big-name talent, but make no mistake, the National Hockey League starts here.

Rose City Roller Derby

The Rose City Rollers are Portland's all-female roller derby league. Check out these hard-hitting ladies monthly at the Portland Exp Center.

There are many indoor and outdoor activities for families to enjoy all over the greater Portland area, and local regions. Below you will find a few suggestions for your family to get out and have a good time.

Things to see

Portland's Children Museum

The PCM captures the wild imagination of children by engaging them through hands-on learning exhibits that are fun to enjoy for both for parents and children.

Jamison Square

On a hot sunny day Jamison Square, features a fountain with a shallow tidal pool to help families cool down and splash about.

The Oregon Zoo

Portland's 64 acres zoo is located at Washington Park.  The Park delights visitors with award-winning exhibits, concerts, and special seasonal events, in addition to a wide-variety of animals.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)

Come explore all five unique exhibit halls, eight hands-on science labs, the USS Blueback submarine, Kendall Planetarium, The Empirical Theater and much more. Visit OMSI for more information

Forest Park

As the largest urban forested park in the nation. Forest Park has 30 miles of trails for families to explore. The park is home to more than 100 species!

Oaks Amusement Park

Through the months of March – September, Oaks Amusement Park is a great place for families to roller skate, mini golf, ride bumper cars and roller coasters, plus enjoy out door picnic areas.

Disclaimer: This list is provided as an information service only. It is not an exhaustive list of services or companies and is not an endorsement by OHSU of any company listed.