The comprehensive resource for vacations and
hotels marketed to the LGBT community
■ Portland, Oregon, skyline with Mount Hood
Photo: Travel Portland
■ NW 23rd Street in the Northwest/Nob Hill district of
Photo: Travel Portland
■ Inside the Newmark Theatre, Portland
Photo by Michale Dahlstrom
courtesy Portland Center for the Performing Arts
■ You can even experience a good old-fashioned hold-up by
"James Gang" on a Crooked River Railroad train.
Photo courtesy Visit Central Oregon
Click on image to order
a free copy of Gay
(Currently out of print
but new guide out in early 2009)
In the UK, the Gay Portland
brochure and other information on Portland can be obtained from:
Travel Oregon, PO Box 184, Mawnan Smith, Falmouth, TR11 5FA, by
emailing E-mail: oregon.uk at btinternet.com (remove the spaces and replace "at" with
"@") or telephoning 01326 250213.
It's Different ... It's
Opened in March 2007, the Ace Hotel
Photos by Jeremy Pelley courtesy Ace Hotels.
■ Portland boasts two hotels in the Kimpton group - the 5th Avenue Suites
Hotel (above) and the Hotel Vintage Plaza (a guest room - below).
Photos: Kimpton Hotels.
Queer news, views and
For the girls - The Egyptian Club, Portland ...
... and the Red Cap for the boys
The Public Bar of the Horse Brass English Pub in Portland
Telephone area code 503
(from outside USA , dial +1 and then listed number below )
(Currency mentioned on this page is USD ($) with approx English Pounds (£)
and Euros (€) on Nov 8, 2008
- and remember quoted prices do not include local taxes, where applicable)
All prices were correct on November 8,
2008. Prices are a guide only as the international currency market can
XE.com Personal Currency Assistant for
14 March 2010
HIV restrictions on visitors entering
the USA have now been lifted.
Portland is the largest city in the United States to elect
an openly gay mayor. At one minute past midnight on January 1, 2009,
Sam Adams was sworn-in as Mayor. "I'm running not to be a gay mayor,
but a great mayor," he said during the election campaign last summer.
It is a very
gay-friendly city where one's sexuality is your business, is racking
up kudos in major national media outlets - including many GLBT publications
for its blend of a laid-back, tolerant attitude and abundant, eclectic
offerings in the arts, cuisine, tax-free shopping and a lot more.
And the "lot more" bit will
interest gay (and straight, for that matter) connoisseurs of real beer.
In fact Portland is the only destination in the USA for the gay beer-lover!
There are now no less than 32
breweries in the city - and we mean "breweries", not factories that produce
"beer". Add to that an additional 6 in Portland's metro area.
And it is not just beer that is a locally-made "tipple".
There are 130 Williamette Valley wineries within an hour's drive of
Portland. You can often chat up a local winemaker over a glass of
superb Oregon wine! Check with the Portland Visitor Center for maps,
routes and suggestions.
Portland International Airport (PDX) is to the north-east of the city.
There is a direct light rail link from downtown to the airport (MAX Red Line,
journey time about 38 minutes, fare is $2.30 (£1.47,
€1.80) - note: the ticket is good for
two hours anywhere on the system. From the UK, United fly to Portland
via Chicago as does Virgin Atlantic to Los Angeles (LA-Portland by Alaska
Airlines) or San Francisco (connection to Portland on United). British
Airways flies to Seattle (connection with Alaska Airlines) and Air Canada
via Vancouver. Lufthansa and KLM are the only European
airlines with direct flights to PDX. Lufthansa flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and
Sunday in both directions to/from Frankfurt, while KLM flies to and from
Amsterdam on Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Mexicana serves Portland
from Guadalajara and Mexico City, Northwest flies the Portland - Tokyo route
and Air Canada serves Portland from Vancouver.
- Amtrak serves Portland - on the Los Angeles - Oakland - Sacramento -
Seattle line ("Coast Starlight"). Daily service in each direction.
The 1,200-mile journey between Portland and LA takes just under 30 hours.
Portland to Seattle is three and a half hours (185 miles)
and can also be done on Amtrak’s "Cascades" train (daily service). Amtrak
Local Public Transport - The MAX light railway, buses, and
the streetcars are operated by TriMet.
If your journey starts and ends within the city centre, the journey is "on
the house" - the "Fareless Square". An all-zone day travel pass is
€3.70) and a seven-day all-zone pass
is $22.50 (£14.40,
€17.60). For details including where
to buy and how to use, click
Portland Information Center: Pioneer Courthouse
The most important thing to remember when shopping is that there is no sales
tax in Oregon - so, unlike most other places in the USA, what is on the
price tag is what you actually pay! For details of shopping areas and
Culture: Portland Jazz
Festival is from February 13 to 22, 2009. Artists who have appeared in
previous festivals include
Chick Corea, Gary
Burton, Branford Marsalis and Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. For details see the festival
Portland Art Museum presents La Volupté du Goût: French Painting in the
Age of Madame de Pompadour from February 7 to May 17, 2009. Experience
some of the most sumptuous paintings ever made when the museum and the Musée
des Beaux-Arts bring this exhibition to Portland for its exclusive US
presentation. Art Museum website
Portland Center for the
Performing Arts features the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the Oregon
Ballet Theatre, the Portland Opera and
Fred Meyer Broadway Across America - Portland.
Theatre is the city’s oldest professional theater company; it presents
regional premieres, commissioned works and selected classics in an intimate
Sports: The major professional sports team is
Portland Trail Blazers (basketball) who play home NBA games in the Rose
Garden arena (tickets, bookable online, cost from $10 (£6.40,
to $131 (£84,
Winter Hawks are an ice hockey team playing in the Western Hockey
League, also at the Rose Garden arena. In the summer, the
Beavers play "Triple A" baseball in PGE Park, which is also the home of
Timbers, the city's professional football team (Americans insist the
sport is called "soccer" and is a summer sport) who play in the United Soccer League First
Division. And don't forget the pro-lacrosse team, the
LumberJax in the Indoor Lacrosse League (home games in the Rose Garden
Oregon is great fishing territory. Who knows, if you go
fishing you might just meet up with State Governor "Ted" Kulongoski who, it
is said, has a bag-full of "the one that got away" stories! There are
world-class golf courses throughout the State, and for more seriously fresh
air you can hire a bicycle and pedal-off to take-in some majestic scenery
and an unhurried pace.
And, on the subject of "the great outdoors", there is
Hood (11,235 feet - 3,424 metres) down the road from Portland - about 56 miles. Much
further, but well worth the trip, is
Hells Canyon (350 miles), at 7,900 feet, the deepest river-carved (Snake
River) gorge in North America, as is a view of the
Painted Hills (200 miles).
The Ultimate Oregon Tour? Fancy a trip back in
time to the days of the old wild west? Well, drive almost 150 miles to
the southeast of Portland and take a ride on the
Crooked River Railroad. You go back in time to the 19th century
for a three-hour train ride through Central Oregon's beautiful Crooked River
Valley, with jagged rim-rock, lush fields, and 19 miles of high desert
terrain. The staff will entertain you the moment you step aboard the western
dinner train and take you back to more than 100 years ago when trains were robbed and
murder was the way of the wild, wild west. The "James Gang"
thoughtfully notifies the railroad company when they will stage a robbery -
and the steam-hauled train will only run on these days! (Don't tell the
Sheriff) Departures are usually at 1pm on selected Wednesdays,
Saturdays and Sundays. Cost is $79
- and that includes a 3-course lunch A "must do" trip if you want to
show your friends a holiday video that it actually not boring.
Clothing-Optional Beaches: Both on the Columbia
River and NOT by the sea. Rooster Rock State Park is 20
miles east of Portland on Interstate 84, and Collins Beach on Sauvine Island
is to the west off Highway 30. Get directions from the Gay Portland
Singer Johnny Ray (born in Hopwell, OR, but was raised in Portland).
Was in immensely popular singer in the 1950s and, in the "teenage idol"
department, is said to be the link between Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
Johnny Ray was gay, his lover was his manager Bill Franklin. His
decline in popularity started in 1959 when he was arrested and prosecuted
for indecency in a public toilet. Perhaps his best-remembered song was
(originally with the Four Lads), which, when performed live, he acted out with real
tears to give him the nickname "The Prince of Wails". Other hits
included "Please Mr. Sun" (again with the Four Lads), "Let's Walk That-A-Way
(with Doris Day), "Such A Night", "
Just Walking In The Rain", "Yes Tonight,
Josephine" and "Walkin' My Baby Back Home". On March 6, 1952, Johnny
Ray had three records in the Billboard Top 10 ("Cry" #1, "Please Mr. Sun" #3
and at #6 "The Little White Cloud That Cried").
Links are to historical TV footage of Johnny Ray performances - from YouTube.
Other notable Portlanders include: Mel "What's Up
Doc" Blanc (the "voice"
of Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tune favourites), Terrel Brandon (former pro
basketball player and NBA "All Star"), 'Ward' Cunningham (software
programmer who invented "wiki"), Matt Groening (creator of "The Simpsons"),
Tonya Harding (former ice skater and part of the "Nancy Kerrigan
conspiracy"), The Kingsmen (pop group - "Louie, Louie"), Johnny Pesky
(baseball player and manager, mostly with Boston Red Sox), Jane Powell
(singer/actress/dancer - MGM contract star whose best remembered title is
"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers") and Ahmad Rashād (former NFL player and
now a sports announcer/producer).
And talking of sports ... give a university student thirty-five bucks to
get what in a quarter of a century is one of the world's best known
trademarks ... have a boss that thinks Dimension 6 is a great name for the
company, and then have an employee think that it could be named after a
Greek goddess - say the Goddess of Victory ... and swoosh, you have Nike - a
"native" of Portland (World headquarters are now in Beaverton)
Have you anything to say about Portland?
Perhaps you have knowledge of one of the listing below and would like to
give your view, or suggest a new listing.
an email and we will include your thoughts
(Portland Pride 2009 is
Basic Rights Oregon, PO Box 40625, Portland, OR, 97240, USA.
A mean-spirited attack on civil rights in 1988 by the Oregon Citizens
Alliance would become the catalyst for one of the strongest pro-gay rights
organizations in the country! With a track record of success that has made
Oregon a model for organizers nationwide, Basic Rights Oregon is founded on
values that are very Oregonian: "Fairness, Acceptance, Democracy and Justice
Queer news, views and events for Portland ... on-line only.
Regional Gay Publication
Just Out, P.O.Box
14400, Portland, OR 97293-0400.
A free publication published fortnightly. Widely
available throughout the Portland area - and not only in LGBT outlets.
Loud, KBOO, 20 SE 8th Avenue.
A weekly "queer public affairs" radio show on KBOO, Portland's community
station (90.7 FM) at 6pm on a Tuesday. For and about Portland's GLBT
community and their supporters.
Annual Gay Festivals:
Portland Pride (June),
La FemmeMagnifique International Pagent (crowns the most glamerous female
impersonators - September),
Portland Lesbian and
Gay Film Festival (October),
Sovereign Rose Court's Coronation Ball (the night the queens crown their
queen - October).
Portland's official tourist site has a "Big Deal" scheme that gives good deals
on hotel bookings, including some listed below. Visit their
Important Note: There is a 12.5% "room tax" that will be added -
this is imposed by local government. We are in the process of updating
the prices, but the Aloft Hotel shows current November 2008 price.
All hotels below are "gay friendly" and are listed
Ace Hotel - Portland,
1022 S.W. Stark St.
Now open after a total "makeover". Three young
businessmen from Seattle had an idea - take a old building
with character in an emerging location, a small budget requiring lateral
thinking and some clever industrial salvage, a design aesthetic that mixes
uncluttered comfort with a bohemian vibe, and the experience that comes from
being a seasoned traveller and knowing what you do and don’t need when it
comes to resting your weary head...
It works! A 79-room downtown hotel - the owners are
targeting gay travellers who want "quality
but who are also mindful of their budgets".
Prices start at $95
a room per night.
Aloft Hotel, 9920 N.E. Cascades Parkway.
Strictly speaking, the aloft hotel - all lowercase! A Starwood Hotels and
Resorts property - its new lifestyle brand. Opened in September 2008
with 106 rooms in the new Cascade Station area close to the airport.
Rooms feature oversized windows, ultra-comfortable 'signature' beds, stylish
bathrooms with oversized walk-in showers, and 42-inch flat panel HD TV.
The hotel also has a fleet if bicycles which guests can use! Rooms
from around $110 (£70,
Heathman Hotel, 1001 S.W.
This 'National Historic Landmark' in downtown Portland is
a prominent supporter of the city's cultural and fine arts community.
As the only hotel in the city's designated Cultural District, the Heathman
is truly a place "where service is still an art." Many
Condé Nast Traveller Magazine "Gold List" and Travel + Leisure Magazine's
"Best Hotel in the US" awards. From around $140
for a king or queen room per
night up to around $180 for a Symphony Suite or
Renaissance Room with complimentary wi-fi internet.
Hotel Monaco Portland, 506 SW
Until recently, the 5th Avenue Suites Hotel.
A charming "boutique" and very gay-friendly hotel close to Pioneer
Courthouse Square in the downtown area. It only takes four words to fully describe
this hotel: "It's a Kimpton Hotel"! That means you can expect
just that little bit more. The hotel boasts 221 guest rooms, but they treat
each guest as they were in only one in the building. Like all other Kimpton
properties, this hotel takes the word "diversity" towards both customers
(and their pets) and staff very seriously. Their secret? Treat the
staff with respect and they will be happy - and happiness is infectious,
being passed onto the guest, the general manager of Kimpton's hotel in
Vancouver pointed out a few years ago. Considering that this hotel is "world
class" (Condé Nast Traveller Magazine "Gold List" and Travel + Leisure
Magazine's "Best Hotel in the US under $250 a night" - 2004), you will
be pleasantly shocked at the cost of a room. All prices include a hosted evening wine
reception and complimentary wi-fi internet access. A Queen deluxe room
is around $150 a night to $300
for a Grande Suite with Fuji
Tub, not to mention a 52-inch plasma screen TV. Highly recommended - and the
Hotel Monaco has a surprise or two for all guests (and we ain't telling you what
Hotel Vintage Plaza,
422 S.W. Broadway.
Another Kimpton Hotel! So much of the description on the Hotel Monaco. Kimpton
Hotels has scored a perfect 100 in the last four Human Rights Campaign
Foundation's "Corporate Equality Index" and the group was named by The
Advocate magazine as one of the best companies for gay/bisexual men and
women to work for. Identical rate for a Queen deluxe room, but a top
suite is cheaper - $250
. All prices include a hosted evening wine reception and complimentary wi-fi
internet access. A Condé Nast "Gold List" hotel and a Travel + Leisure
Magazine's "Best Hotel in the US under $250 a night".
Jupiter Hotel, 800 E. Burnside.
Very gay friendly hotel - it even has gay "all-boy get-a-way" and
"girls gone wild" Luv and Lust packages from $150 ( a room
a night. Otherwise, room rates are from $80 , but more
at weekends. Was a 1960s motel before renovation a couple of years
ago. Don't let that put you off - rated by GQ Magazine as "one of the
top four new (old) hotels in the US" and by Condé Nast Traveller Magazine as
"one of the 116 best new hotels in the world" [both reviews are from 2005].
Red Lion Inn & Suites Portland Airport, 5019
NE 102nd Avenue.
With easy access from its airport location to the downtown area by the MAX red line and an all-day
ticket priced at $4.25 (good for travel on all MAX lines, buses and
streetcars for one day), this hotel is good value for the budget-conscious.
Rooms from $69 (£44,
night - and special reductions for the over-50s.
Scores of establishments could be listed here. Portlanders just
love good food! But here is a small selection for - pardon the
expression - starters.
250 N.W. 13th Avenue.
A gourmet restaurant in the true sense of the word - and it would be a hard
job to find a better place in town to eat. Located in the Pearl
district Chef Kenny Giambalvo was trained in the classical French/Mediterranian tradition and he changes the
menu virtually every day, often depending on his whim and, of course, what
ingredients are in season. This sort of
restaurant doesn't come cheap! That said, you can dine there for
around $60 (£38 or
€47) a person - the chef's suggested three course meal. A "brunch" on
Saturday or Sunday can be had for around $15
€11.70). Open from 10am on Saturdays and Sundays and at
11.30am on weekdays and continues into late night when a "Café Menu" is
available. Booking is suggested, but around half the seating is
available for "walk-ins". Gay-owned.
Hobo's, 120 NW 3rd Avenue.
Superb food - and kind to your "plastic"! Possible to get change from
$20 (£12.80 or €15.60).
Try the Hobo's Burger - an all natural hand formed half pound burger cooked
to order and served with lettuce, tomato & red onions for a mere $7.75
(£5 or €6). Good wine list. Jim Blackburn "tickles the ivories" from
Wednesday to Sunday from 8pm in the piano lounge. Gay friendly.
Touchstone Coffee House, 445 NE
This is some coffee house! It is some six blocks west of the 'little pink
house', its original 'home'. You can enjoy coffee - made from organic beans, a
cuppa tea and perhaps a
Panini grilled sandwich or bagels, cookies,
muffins, scones etc. If you want to surf the web, hook into the free
wi-fi - or there might even be a Scrabble game going (be warned, Americans
often spell words differently!). If the weather is
kind, you can sit out in the "Secret Garden" - and even volunteer to do a
little weeding! A must-visit establishment - in the north east part of town,
a 19 Tri-Met Bus goes to Glisan Street (get off at 76th Avenue) .
7 am to 6 pm Monday-Friday, and 8 am to 4 pm Saturdays and Sundays.
The Mint/820, 816 North Russell Street.
The Mint Restaurant, so named as in Greek mythology mint is the symbol of
hospitality, and the 820 Lounge are owned by Lucy Brennan, a native of
England (London) who moved to New York City when she was 18. Ms.
Brennan is one of America's top five cocktail "mixologists" who, when she
opened her restaurant in 2001 soon found the demand for her unique cocktail
warranted opening 820 next door! Described as "an
American bistro with influences from the Mediterranean, Latin America and
Asia", eating at The Mint will costs from about
$20 (£12.80 or €15.60) upwards. Cocktails
cost between $8 and $11 (from
and a beer from $3.50 (£2.25 or €2.75) - we are intrigued by the
(presumably) seasonal draft brew
Amnesia Sleigh Jerker at four bucks! Although two separate
adjoining establishments - in the Northeast district - both with the same
menu, chef Scott Guynn supervises one kitchen. Both open early evening and
close at different time before midnight (see website for opening hours).
Each operates a "happy hour" - the "hour" being up to 150 minutes! Gay
Boxxes, 1035 S.W. Stark
Boxxes is Portland's original
and most cutting edge gay dance club. It stays that way by having the
largest and most experienced d.j. ensemble in the city's gay nitelife scene.
Primarily men, but mixed.
CC Slaughter's, 219 N.W. Davie Street.
A nightclub/lounge in the Old Town. On some nights where is a small "cover
charge". The nightclub, one of the largest in Portland, pumps out
22,000 watts of sound and has all the latest robotic lighting, including
laser lights. Can't dance? No problem - dance lessons are
available! For a "quieter" time, then escape to the Rainbow lounge
whish opens daily from 3pm to 2am.
3701 S.E. Division Street.
Lesbian club open seven nights a week. Three separate
"rooms" - Front Lounge for meeting and chatting playing pool, darts or video
games; The Room boasts "the craziest bartenders" and features karaoke every
evening at 9pm; and The Tomb is the "dance room", with poker on Mondays and
Wednesdays. Primarily women.
110 N.W. Broadway.
Bar/club in the Old Town for gay men and women. The Showbar has
something on stage every night of the week. Mixed.
955 North Russell Street.
Part of the Widmer Brothers Brewery.
Lunch and dinner menus (from about $20 - £12.80 or €15.60). The full range
of Widmer beers (from German-style to English-style) is available, plus a
changing range of "guest brews" from other local companies. MAX Lightrail: Albina/Mississippi stop on the Yellow
Horse Brass Pub, 4534
Southeast Belmont Street.
English pub (well, they have darts and English Premiership football on TV).
One of the widest range of beers you will see anywhere - around 50 are "on
tap". And if you must drink English beer, there is Abbott Ale, Bass,
Boddington's, Bombardier, and Newcastle Brown ... but why go 6,000 miles for
a pint you can get round the corner? Try such local brews as
BridgePort IPA, Deschutes Black Butte
Porter, Full Sail Amber, Full Sail Brewmaster's Reserve Equinox ESB,
Hair of the Dog Blue Dot Double IPA, Mt. Hood Hogsback Stout or Rogue Brutal
Bitter. You will NOT be disappointed! Food, like bangers and mash, fish 'n' chips, homemade pasties
or even a "ploughman's", is available. Landlord Don Younger
"calls time" at 2.30am seven days a week. "Twinned" with Princess of
Wales in Morden Road, South Wimbledon, London, and has strong links with the Campaign
for Real Ale in Britain..
Red Cap Garage, 1025 S.W. Stark Street
Part of "Boxxes" (see above). Primarily men, but mixed.
S.W. Stark Street.
Not only a "watering hole" serving a wide range of drinks, including local
"micro beers", but an unofficial gay tourist office offering "what's
on" information to the location of local health services. Open daily from
noon to 2.30am. Scandals has been serving the gay community since
1979. Primarily men.
Silverado, 318 S.W. Third Avenue.
Portland's favourite gay bar/nightclub! No wonder, as it closes at
2.30am and reopens again at 9am, 365 days a year. Plenty of "eye
candy" when the go-go boys are around. Also dancing and games,
including video poker, and a "happy hour".
Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside
The world's largest independent bookstore. Massive gay and lesbian
section in the "Purple Room" on the second floor (first floor to 'Brits').
The company also operates five other bookshops in the Portland area,
including one at Portland International airport (see website for details).
If you like books, you could spend an entire day browsing in the main branch
on W Burnside Street and not get bored.
Steam Portland, 2885 NE Sandy Blvd.
Open 24/7. Usual facilities.
You can get an "out of area" 3-day membership for $8
(£5.10, €6.25); 6-month membership is $15 (£9.60,
€11.70). Admission (6 hours maximum): from $10 (£6.40, €7.80)
for locker or $22 (£14, €17.20) for "spa room". Extra $3/$5 from
3pm Friday to 8am Monday.