Portland, Oregon is known for its gorgeous scenery, its hiking trails and its outdoorsy lifestyle.
It’s also known for rain – the city gets around 36 inches of rain per year.
But Portlanders are clever, and they’ve created an indoor culture of coffeehouses, donut shops and craft breweries to keep themselves happy whatever the weather.
You could easily spend your days trying them all, but here are nine other reasons you’ll be wishing for rain.
The Nines is all about luxury and comfort — Photo courtesy of The Nines
Located in the historic Meier & Frank Building, this luxury hotel is such a cozy place to hole up for a few days. If you can bear to leave your beautifully-appointed room, there are lots of comfy spots to explore, such as the library – filled with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves – and an indoor atrium surrounded by art.
Also check out their two top-notch restaurants – Departure, on the top floor, offers modern Asian food, the largest sake selection in the city and fantastic views, while Urban Farmer is all about local, sustainable dishes. Thankfully, the Nines’ fitness center never closes, so you can work off some of those calories.
The display case at Twisted Croissant is filled with impossible choices — Photo courtesy of Lois Alter Mark
Okay, you may be better off not knowing about this little gem because you’ll want it to become your morning (or afternoon or anytime) routine. Each croissant at Twisted Croissant takes three days to make – and about five minutes to eat. You’ll try to slow down to really savor the flavor, but it becomes harder and harder as you taste every flaky layer.
There’s a pain au chocolat that puts others to shame, but there are also pastries like the banana maple croissant donut and the pumpkin praline cruffin that will throw you into a tizzy. Because these decisions are just too challenging, don’t be surprised to hear yourself ordering one of each. Sorry.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Test your engineering skills at OMSI — Photo courtesy of Lois Alter Mark
The museum’s official title, “Oregon Museum of Science and Industry,” belies the pure fun you’ll have there, so locals simply refer to it as OMSI.
Five halls are filled with more than 200 interactive activities and exhibits. You can don goggles and conduct a chemistry experiment, get shaken up in an earthquake simulation, solve real-life puzzles and design your own city. Warning: You may have to fight off some little kids to get a turn.
Umami Café, Portland Japanese Garden
Have tea at Umami Café at Portland Japanese Garden — Photo courtesy of Portland Japanese Garden
This world-renowned Japanese Garden is beautiful even when the weather’s not, but the best way to enjoy it on one of those days is in the Umami Café, its authentic Japanese teahouse.
Floating over the hillside, the café’s design is inspired by the Kiyomizu-dera temple in Kyoto and is a lovely setting for a traditional tea ceremony. You can choose from a carefully curated selection of teas along with sweet or savory accompaniments, and you’ll feel so relaxed, you’ll want to make this a daily habit.
Portland Art Museum
Installation view of “Paige Powell: The Ride” (2015) at the Portland Art Museum — Photo courtesy of Portland Art Museum
It’s not surprising that this museum is considered Oregon’s leading cultural institution. Representing a wide variety of diverse communities, with a mission of inclusion for all, the Portland Art Museum houses more than 42,000 objects reflecting the history of art from ancient times to today.
With more than 112,000 square feet of gallery space, Portland Art Museum ranks in the country’s top 25 largest art museums, making it an ideal place to spend a rainy day. It also has a homey coffee shop and museum store.
Pine Street Market
Pine Street Market is Portland’s first food hall — Photo courtesy of Pine Street Market
This city’s first food hall nails it, housing some of Portland’s favorites all under one roof. That roof just happens to be on the famous Carriage & Baggage Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Whatever you’re craving, from Pleasure Burger to Kotsu Ramen to Pine Street Tap Room, you’ll find it here. Quickly becoming the place to meet up with friends or simply answer a craving, Pine Street Market is poised to make history itself.
Powell’s City of Books
Powell’s City of Books is a reader’s paradise — Photo courtesy of Travel Portland
Known as the largest independent bookstore in the world, Powell’s flagship shop takes up an entire city block and is home to one million new and used books. Nine color-coded rooms are categorized into 3,500 sections, making it impossible not to find something you want to read. More accurately, it’s impossible not to find dozens of books you want to read, so keep room in your suitcase.
Visit the Rare Book Room (open on weekends), grab some bookmarks with suggested reading lists and settle in with your purchases in the coffee shop or one of the inviting nooks and crannies. For readers, there is no better place to spend a cold, wet day than this iconic Portland landmark.
Buy handcrafted items from local makers at MadeHere PDX — Photo courtesy of Travel Portland
If you can’t hit the Portland Saturday Market, MadeHere PDX is a great indoor option for finding the best locally-made handcrafted goods.
Portland is a paradise for makers, and 150 of them are represented here. You’ll find everything from unique jewelry and housewares to sauces and soaps. These are the real souvenirs to bring home from a city where creativity reigns.
The Gear Shed at Hotel Zags has everything you need for a rainy (or sunny) day — Photo courtesy of Hotel Zags Portland
What makes the boutique Hotel Zags so special during bad weather, besides a game room boasting everything from a pool table to a life-size Connect Four, is the one-of-a-kind Gear Shed.
The Gear Shed is like a clean version of your garage, storing all kinds of outdoor equipment like bikes and skateboards, as well as things to entertain you indoors, including a guitar, cameras and Nintendo Switch. Best of all, it’s all free for guests to borrow.