Like many people, my first impression of Portland was when I flew into Portland International Airport a couple of years ago. Walking through the terminal to the exit, I passed a lot of cool-looking shops and restaurants and saw tons of sasquatches. My first significant impression though was when I walked outside the airport, and there in front of me was a huge, four-story-high wall covered in vines and plants. I took a deep breath of the freshest air I have ever breathed and I knew this was the place for me.
Now that I’ve lived here for a couple of years, I can definitely say that our airport gives a great impression of the city if it’s your first time traveling here. It captures the culture of Portland so well: it’s relaxed, clean, everyone is nice, and there are even emotional support dogs and cats that you can pet if you’re in the right place at the right time. And, it’s Portland, so there’s obviously tons of fancy coffee options.
The airport does a great job of featuring popular local companies like Pendleton Woolen Mills, Powell’s Books, Columbia Sportswear and Made in Oregon, just to name a few. We have some really great businesses in Oregon and PDX highlights them well. When travelers visit our state they will most likely fly into PDX and so we like to show off all the good things we’ve got going on! Because of this, Portland has become a hub for everything that’s great about Oregon.
If you’re a “foodie” you definitely will be happy at PDX. There are tons of great food options to choose from: local fast-food chains like Burgerville, delicious coffee like Portland Roasting Coffee and Stumptown Roasters, donuts from Blue Star Donuts, dine-in restaurants like Beaches, Hopworks and Deschutes.
Also, my favorite part is the street prices! This means that there is no upcharge on stuff just because you’re in an airport.
My three favorite things in the PDX Airport:
1. Shopping! Street prices and no sales tax. It feels like a discount every time.
2. Transportation options. The MAX Light Rail stops right at the airport, giving easy access to the whole city.
3. Food and coffee options. It’s really hard to pick!
Have some time to spare before a flight? Head over to Concourse C and visit the Microcinema, a mini Hollywood Theatre that features short films for all ages, free for everyone. All the films focus on local stories and are about 15 minutes long.
PDX has won a ton of different awards for being awesome. In 2015, 2016, and 2019 J.D. Power and Associates gave PDX the #1 ranking for US “Large Passenger Airports” and overall highest rating in traveler satisfaction. And for the seventh year in a row, PDX was named the Best Domestic Airport by Travel + Leisure readers.
Locals know that the PDX carpet pattern is a sacred symbol of the city. That’s because Portlanders love our city and the first sign of coming home is seeing that airport carpet. The original print of the airport carpet no longer exists on the floors of PDX, but you can find it in many other places.
I’ve also worked at the airport for two years. I’ve spent a lot of time here and interacted with a ton of different people: travelers from near and far, pilots, construction workers, fellow employees, emotional support dogs. During my time here, I was able to really connect with what PDX contributes to the Portland vibe. In fact, I actually first heard about Portland State University at the airport because every day I would walk past a big advertisement for the MBA program!
Oregon has so many interesting things to do, eat and experience, and so much thought and effort goes into making sure that our airport is a great representation of that. So when people (like me, once) are ready to start exploring and discovering all the fascinating things Oregon has to offer, they have already been given a little taste of the magic of the City of Roses.