Your ESTA Visa USA Guide for your Holiday Trip to Portland: Vacation Guide and Tips
Before heading out for your holiday in Portland, you’ll have to arrange for your US Visa. Instead of a conventional US Visa, you might consider opting foran ESTA Visa – No matter, if you are an entrepreneur, or work for a large corporation or just want to come on vacation to Portland, those formalities have to be taken care of. You’ll either need a regular USA Visa or an ESTA Visa. You can find the online ESTA application form here. Welcome to our ESTA Visa travel guide for Portland Oregon. “ESTA” stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorisation. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security manages the VWP which issues the ESTA Visa USA.
The ESTA Visa application
You can complete your ESTA application here on this website in minutes, and receive an ESTA US Visa by email within hours. An ESTA US Visa will be valid for 2 years and allow for multiple entries into the United States. A regular USA Visa means that you will have to pay a visit to the US Embassy to apply and it will take many days or weeks for the process to complete. So, instead of a conventional US Visa, complete the ESTA application online here and be on your way to Portland within hours.
Your ESTA Visa Guide for Portland Oregon
Portland, Oregon is a vibrant city located in the heart of the Northwest U.S. It’s known for its hipster-friendly culture, vibrant atmosphere, all topped with an emphasis on love for nature and the outdoors. It’s a wonderful place to visit when traveling and is known around the world for being one of the most progressive cities in modern times. Portland has long been a staple city of the U.S. It was founded in the 1830s as travelers exited the Oregon Trail. They found the location useful for its proximity to water and its beautiful surroundings. It was named after Portland, Maine.
On top of its beautiful sights, restaurants, and culture, it’s known for being extremely environmentally friendly. You’ll find a focus on nature and taking care of our environment throughout the city. Some many parks and gardens replicate other cultures and pay homage to the beauty that they bring the world.
If you’re traveling to Portland, you’ll find an exciting time to be had almost everywhere you go.
From the excitements of Washington Park to the wonders of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, to the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding trails, parks, and sights, Portland will provide anyone with the time of their lives. The best time to visit Portland for a holiday trip is definitely in the Summer months. This is because of Portland’s famous Rose Festival. It’s a multi-month long festival that celebrates the roses through arts, fauna, and a variety of different celebrations.
If you’re unable to make it during the Summer, don’t fret. Portland, and Oregon itself, is known to be one of the most peaceful and beautiful states in the U.S throughout the years. Beyond the inner and surrounding nature of Portland, it offers a plethora of other activities that can be fun for an individual or a group. Families will also have plenty of options for attractions that are child-friendly and fun for everyone. These sightseeing opportunities include several of the museums found in Portland and all the different gardens and parks.
Because Portland is so inclusive, they boast a large and diverse population.
This not only helps produce a friendly and loving atmosphere from everyone, but it also brings in some of the best fusion food and foreign cuisine in the U.S. You’ll find foods from almost every culture throughout Portland, and they’re not afraid to show you how good they are.
If you’re interested in traveling to Portland for the holidays, this article is meant to guide you through the ins and outs of everything you need to know to make your trip unforgettable.
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Flying to/from Portland
Portland has one major airport that takes domestic and international flights. It’s Portland International Airport (PDX). It sits a short six miles south of downtown Portland and rests near the Columbia River. You’ll find most major airlines come into PDX. This includes American Airlines, British Airways, United, and Delta. If you’re traveling from the U.K, you’re in luck as its one of the seven countries that come directly into Portland. Other countries that connect into Portland include Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, Mexico, Iceland, and Japan.
As always, the cost of your ticket when flying to PDX will vary depending on the time of year you’re interested to travel in as well as when you reserve your seats. In general, the sooner the better. Typically, you’ll want to book your flights in January if you know the dates you’re traveling well in advance.
On average, if you’re flying from London to Portland, Oregon, you can expect to pay around $1,750 for a roundtrip flight. The flight time will be approximately 15 hours.
After you’ve arrived, you’ll be happy to find out that Portland (keeping in line with their progressive nature) has plenty of affordable and efficient transportation options. You’ll be able to travel downtown or to any other area within or around the Portland area.
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Getting to/from the airport
Traveling to/from PDX
Portland is known across the U.S for their amazing public transportation. Upon your arrival, you’ll have several options to get to your destination.
Here are your best bets:
- Ridesharing services
- The AX Light Rail Red Line
Uber & Lyft
Ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft are also extremely popular within Portland and the surrounding metro areas. They are also more affordable than a taxicab. However, you’ll have to wait for them to arrive as they will need to drive to your location. Ridesharing services are ideal if you’re not wanting to waste a lot of time, but don’t want to spend an exorbitant amount of money just to get to where you’re staying. Plan on spending about $20 to $25 for a ride from Uber or Lyft to get to downtown Portland.
Taxicabs will be your most expensive, but also the fastest option. Cabs will wait outside of the baggage claim of PDX as they can get a steady stream of customers coming out of the airport. The cabs will run you a fair bit more than a ridesharing service, but you’ll have the luxury of immediately finding a ride and getting to your location. These are best if you’re in a rush or don’t want to waste any time. You can expect to pay between $35 and $45 for a taxicab to downtown Portland.
Shuttles can also be found directly outside of the baggage claim area. These are often set to service a specific hotel. They won’t be free, but they don’t cost an exorbitant amount either. Typically, they’ll travel back and forth between their home hotels. If you’ve arranged to stay at one of these hotels, they will frequently offer you free transportation through these shuttles. Take advantage of them if you’re in that boat.
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MAX Light Rail
Last, but certainly not least, the MAX Light Rail Red Line is the most popular way to travel to downtown Portland from PDX. This piece of transportation technology highlights how well Portland does public transportation. Tickets will cost only $2.50 per adult and $1.25 or youth and honored citizens. Simply hop onto the rail line with your luggage and be you’ll be off. You’ll spend roughly the same amount of time traveling as other services (20 to 40 minutes) and you’ll have done it by paying next to nothing.
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Lounges and Suites at PDX
If you’re looking to relax between flights or as you wait for someone to arrive at PDX, lounges can be a great option to help you pass the time. Luckily for you, PDX has a robust selection of lounges that can help you be comfortable during your time at the airport. Some lounges are public while others will ask for a fee or require you to be a member of the club program. Take note of which ones you qualify for.
USO Northwest – Portland Center
The USO Northwest lounge is easily found near the main terminal. It’s open to the public and operates on semi-regular business hours. You’ll be able to pop in and spend time there between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m.
Here is a list of the amenities they provide:
- Internet terminals
- Newspapers and magazines
If you’re not a club member for a lounge or don’t want to pay a fee for entry into a lounge, this is likely your best bet. Be warned that because it’s open to the public, it’s extremely popular. If you’re wanting to hang out in the lounge, try to get there as soon as possible. It may quickly fill up in between arriving flights.
Capers Café Le Bar
Capers Café Le Bar is a great place to take a load off and grab some good food and some good drinks. However, they require you to be a part of their Priority Pass program to enter. Those who don’t have the Priority Pass will be asked to be a fee to enter the area. On top of this fee, you’ll still have to pay for drinks and food as normal.
Capers Café Le Bar is located airside right after security.
Here are the amenities they provide:
- Disabled access
- Air conditioning
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
- Free WiFi
Just like Capers Café Le Bar, Westward Whiskey will require you to be charged to enter the lounge. You may also be a member of their Priority Pass to gain entry as well. Westward Whiskey is a place where you can taste fine Whiskeys that are made by Westward. You’ll find various bottles that range from moderately priced to high end. There is also a tasting room where you can enjoy drinks. Cocktail flights are also available.
Westward Whiskey is located airside near Gate C6.
Beyond the whiskey and bar, here are the amenities they provide:
- Disabled access
- Air conditioning
- Alcoholic beverages
- Free WiFi
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ESTA Guide – Portland Holiday Hotels
The Nines, Portland (5 Stars)
The Nines is your go-to spot if you’re looking to travel in luxury while enjoying your holiday trip to Portland. They have a chic-styled décor and vibrant rooms that help you feel intertwined in a luxurious lifestyle.
You’ll find a steakhouse within the restaurant that serves up some of the finest dining found in Portland. On the other hand, you can find a restaurant serving Asian fusion fare on the rooftop. This rooftop restaurant is great if you’re looking to socialize with others who are visiting the city.
The Nines is located in downtown Portland and is near many locations you’d want to visit during a holiday trip. You’ll be near the Lan Su Chinese Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden, located within the nearby Washington Park. These are all must-visits, especially if you’re visiting during the Spring or Summer months when nature displays its luscious beauty.
It’s also near Union Station, so you’ll have easy access to the metro to gain quick access to most major points within the city.
If you want a hotel that bathes you in luxury but is still a great option to get the most out of your holiday trip to Portland, The Nines heard your call.
The Allison Inn & Spa (5 Stars)
The Allison Inn & Spa isn’t your typical luxury resort and hotel. It’s located just outside of Portland is meant to provide guests with a truly peaceful and spiritual vacation. The Hotel is located on the cusp of the wilderness to help guests feel like they’ve been transported somewhere in the wilderness of Portland. It’s a calming and magical atmosphere. Beyond their pleasant location, they’re known for offering excellent spa services and fine dining. You’ll find professionals waiting on your every need throughout your stay. The staff is also known to be extremely friendly. You make strike up a conversation with the head chef, or be given a guided tour throughout the maze of vineyards and sculptures surrounding the area.
You read that right, there’s a vineyard. Of course, this means that there is also a wine cellar. You can find excellent wines that are affordable and even high-end wines that have been aged and crafted to perfection.
Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland (4 Stars)
The Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland is found in downtown Portland. They label themselves as a sophisticated hotel with fine dining with their in-house Italian restaurant, wine tasting offerings, and in-room spa services. The rooms aren’t fussy and relatively simple, yet stylish. The bathrooms are exceedingly well done and offer a spa-like experience without having to leave the comfort of your room. This is doubly great as you can order spa services where professionals come directly to your room to help you deeply relax.
Because of its central location, you’ll find that it’s near most downtown attractions. This includes Washington Park, the Lan Su Chinese Garden, and various museums throughout downtown. Luxury, a great spot, and great food, all at a relatively affordable price when compared to the five-star hotels it competes with. It’s a great option for those who want the most out of their visit without having to spend too much.
Hilton Garden Inn Portland/Beaverton (3 Stars)
The Hilton Garden Inn represents the Hilton name well. It’s an affordable hotel that provides all the amenities you’d expect from a quality hotel. The rooms come with a modern décor that isn’t fussy. It’s clean, it looks nice, and it isn’t going to try to be anything else. It has a restaurant within it for those who don’t want to leave for a meal. Of course, there’s also an indoor pool and free WiFi is offered.
The Hilton Garden Inn is located a few miles outside of downtown Portland, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many of the attractions that Portland provides lie within the nature around the city. You’ll be closer to attractions such as the Portland Japanese Garden and the historic Pittock Mansion here.
Best Western Plus Cascade Inn & Suites (3 Stars)
This Best Western is aligned with your standard on-brand Best Western hotels. It’s not a fussy place but provides everything you would want in a hotel. It’s located near the river, so you can expect beautiful views without worry about breaking the bank. You’ll also find that the Inn offers an indoor pool, a steam room, and a gym. Free hot breakfast and complimentary WiFi is also provided.
HI Portland Northwest Hostel (2 Stars)
Hostels are always a great option for travelers who are looking to meet and socialize with other people who are on the move. At HI Portland Northwest Hostel, you’ll be able to choose from staying in a dorm or a private room. A coffee bar and communal kitchen will be provided. Free WiFi is also found.
Hostels aren’t known for being the most luxurious. They’re known for being cheap and a great place for travelers to meet other travelers.
If you’re looking to meet other people who are also interested in seeing the sites of Portland, hostels will be your best bet. Many travelers admit that the experiences with the people they’ve met who are staying at their hostel are some of the best memories they’ve made while out and about amongst the world.
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Sightseeing in Portland
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
The OMSI is a highlight of Portland and is known to attract tourists of all demographics. They offer many hands-on displays that help guests interact with science and industry. If you’re traveling with a family and want something everyone can have fun with, the OMSI is a great choice. Don’t be fooled, it’s not just for children. The interactive displays are meant to engage with anyone and everyone. From young adults to seniors, it’s an incredibly popular attraction.
The Lan Su Chinese Garden
Portland’s beauty doesn’t just come from the natural landscape that surrounds it, it’s cultivated within the city as well. The Lan Su Chinese Garden is a testament to that. The environment takes many traditional aspects of Chinese gardens to complete a beautiful area that expands roughly the size of a city block. The architecture surrounding the garden is built to be authentically traditional. All the plants were imported from China in the effort to bring the beauty of another culture to Portland.
You’ll be able to take a self-guided tour or a guided tour if you’re interested in seeing what the Lan Su Chinese Garden is all about.
Portland Art Museum
Museums are huge in Portland. Both travelers and locals are known to love them. The Portland Art Museum is no exception. It’s the oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest having been founded in 1892. Throughout its long history, it’s gathered quite the collection. It boasts over 1112,000 square feet of gallery space and holds more than 42,000 items in its collection.
This means that only a small number of displays are presented at any given time. You’ll be able to revisit the Portland Art Museum over and over again and discover something new each time.
Washington Park is a hub of activities that are located in downtown Portland. They hold numerous museums and attractions and is known to be a central location during the Rose Festival during the Summer months. If you’re interested in seeing gorgeous fauna from other cultures as well as in the U.S, Washington Park highlights both. You’ll find the International Rose Garden within it. It’s a testament to the beauty of the rose and is known around the world.
You’ll also find the Portland Japanese Garden within the park. It’s a garden that’s meant to replicate traditional Japanese gardens. You’ll find most plants are imported and extremely well taken care of. It’s highlighted as being one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.
There are also several museums throughout the park which can be fun for the whole family.
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Top Restaurants in Portland
Portland is frequently referred to as one of the most modern and progressive cities in the U.S, and it shows in a vast array of food that the city boasts. From hipster coffee shops to exquisite meals from every culture, to fine dining, Portland has it all. No matter what kind of meal you’re looking for, you’re guaranteed to have a happy stomach.
Keeping in line with their progressive nature, Portland keeps the flame of fine dining combined with veganism alive through the Farm Spirit. They offer a multi-course menu that’s strictly vegan. It’s known for carrying its strict adherence to vegan guidelines while still offering fine dining and quality food that you likely won’t find elsewhere.
Even if you’re not a vegan, it’s a great option to try something different and delicious.
Despite having a funny name, Le Pigeon takes its food and service extremely seriously. They offer a rotating menu of creative French-inspired dishes. Take note that these meals are French-inspired, and not typically traditional. Because of Portland’s vibrant culture, you’ll find fusion food and unique tastes throughout the city. But, Le Pigeon does it better than most.
You’ll be served this French-inspired fare at communal tables or a bar. These communal tables are great for socializing and help highlight the friendly and positive nature that the locals inherit from the city.
Coquine is a corner kitchen that specializes in serving farm-to-table meals. This means that the entire menu will be seasonal as to adjust to the foods that are currently available. All their ingredients will be fresh so you can expect quality food every time you visit. The rotating menu also helps keep each visit a new experience. What you find on the menu one time might not be there the next. This encourages you to keep trying new food while still being able to have your favorites as the menu rotates throughout the season.
Han Oak Restaurant
Han Oak presents itself as a place that serves up upscale Korean grub. They also offer drink pairings and specialty nights for noodles and dumplings. The inside is fairly minimalist and it may not look as upscale as you’d imagine. However, they deliver. Their food. You’ll have to try the dumplings as you won’t find someone who can say a bad thing about them.
Scottie’s Pizza Parlor
Scottie’s Pizza Parlor is a hidden gem of Portland. It’s not extremely well known to tourists. Lucky for you, you now know. It’s a neighborhood spot that is known for serving up some of the best slices of pie in Portland. If you’re looking for it, be careful. You may easily miss it. It’s a compact restaurant that mainly deals in carry-out and delivery orders, so it won’t seem like much from the outside.
Know that it couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you’re wanting to get a true taste of authentic Portland food, go for their Neapolitan pizza. You’ll be able to order it by the pie or by the slice.
Love Belizean is a favorite amongst the university popular of Oregon. Each day, college kids flock to the restaurants to get what they claim is the best Caribbean food that Oregon can offer. Try their meat plates, stews, and also their unique curries that blend the Portland culture with the Caribbean cuisine.
Basilisk is a counter-serve restaurant that knows what they’re about. They’re about fried chicken sandwiches and Kool-Aid flavored soft serve. And they do it with communal tables. You won’t find a better spot for fried chicken in Portland. If you’re a fan of the food, it’s a must-visit. They also are known for their simplistic yet unique take on soft serves by making them from packets of Kool-Aid. It’s a local favorite and a delicious summer-time treat when the sun is out and about.
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Portland, Oregon is a vibrant and also beautiful city that can be perfect for your next holiday vacation. Try to aim to visit in the Summer months to catch the true beauty of the International Rose Garden as well as the Rose Festival. However, it’s a great place to explore throughout the seasons. With some of the most unique foods, their progressive culture, and their charming, hipster vibes, Portland won’t ever disappoint.