City Guides Portland Oregon

What to do in Portland, Oregon as a Travel Nurse

If you’re a fan of the television series Portlandia, you probably think Portland is full of a bunch of hipster millennials working tirelessly to save the environment one vegan pork chop at a time. The truth is, residents of the “City of Roses” are extremely passionate about many things, including, but certainly not limited to, the environment. A travel nurse assignment in Portland, Oregon is the perfect opportunity to explore a city that truly offers travelers the best of both worlds: drivers so friendly they actually slow down to let you in when you put on your turn signal to change lanes, and, if you prefer not to drive at all, a public transportation system that is so clean, efficient and convenient that many people only use their cars on the weekends. Here is our guide for travel nurses wondering what to eat, drink, do and Instagram while on a travel assignment in Portland, Oregon.

Eat This!

Pine State Biscuits

When it comes to food, is there anything more delicious than a homemade, flaky, buttery biscuit? The three childhood friends from North Carolina who conceived of Pine State Biscuits set out to create it, and their perfected result is now revered throughout Portland. After getting their start at the Portland Farmer’s Market, the friends quickly expanded their fanbase and added new locations throughout the city to meet the increased demand. Their winning biscuit recipe, topped with gravy, fried chicken, beef brisket, pulled pork or bacon and eggs makes for an unforgettable breakfast or lunch you’ll want to revisit often on your travel nurse assignment in Portland. Don’t forget to try their homemade pie for dessert!

Portland Farmer’s Market

Portland has no shortage of excellent restaurants serving every type of food you’ve ever heard of – and some you haven’t! – at virtually every price point. Eventually, though, travel nurses on assignment in Portland will want to do some home cooking, whether it’s for economical or health reasons. While the city is also teeming with an abundance of grocery options, you’ll definitely want to give the Portland Farmer’s Market a shot. The main market at Portland State University is open year-round on Saturdays, but satellite markets open throughout the city during the summer months. The markets feature offerings from more than 200 local vendors, including fresh, colorful produce, a variety of specialty shops and one-of-a-kind prepared food booths. It’s a wonderful way to spend a few hours eating, shopping and people-watching.

Drink This!

Jet Black Coffee Company

Portland is known as one of the greatest cities in the world for coffee and finding just one to call your favorite will certainly prove difficult. There is also no shortage of shops and restaurants that cater to the meat- and dairy-free lifestyle, and Jet Black Coffee company is the perfect combination of both. All of their coffee specialties are plant-based, and made with your choice of coconut, hemp, almond, oat or soy milk. The ambiance is wonderful, with a variety of beautiful plants on display, vinyl records for sale, and comfortable, gadget-friendly seating spaces both indoor and out. They also offer a variety of delectable vegan pastries and baked goods from several local vegan bakeries.

Hale Pele Tiki Bar

Travel nurses on assignment in Portland who are craving a cocktail after a long shift will be spoiled for choice when it comes to where to go. There are martini bars, speakeasys, dive bars, live music bars, sports bars and even a horror-themed dark goth bar. What you probably wouldn’t expect to find in Portland is a tiki bar, and Hale Pele – “House of the Volcano Goddess” -- is considered one of the best in the country. They mix their exotic beverages using fresh juices, premium spirits and house-made syrups. From the original Mai Tai or Zombie Punch (limit two per customer!) cocktails to more modern selections like the 151 Swizzle or the Jet Pilot created at Fort Lauderdale’s Mai Kai in the 1960s, their menu will transport you from your troubles to a tropical island far away.

Do This!

Multnomah Falls

Portland is a wonderful place for travel nurses who love the outdoors. The city features more than 10,000 acres of public parks, with plenty of areas for hiking, biking, swimming, boating, jogging, walking and more. While you are there on assignment, you simply must take a day to go and visit Multnomah Falls. Located just 40 minutes outside the city, this breathtaking waterfall –which was formed some 15,000 years ago– is the fifth largest in the United States at more than 600 feet tall and spans two tiers on basalt cliffs. If possible, try to go during the week to avoid the crowds, as this popular tourist attraction has more than two million visitors per year. If you must go on the weekend, try going around 7:00 am and you may find that you have the stunning view all to yourself before other visitors begin to roll in.

International Rose Test Garden

Portland’s climate – warm and dry in the summer and cool and wet in the winter -- is ideal for growing roses and why it is often referred to as the “City of Roses.” If you are lucky enough to be here on a travel assignment between the months of April and October, be sure to visit The International Rose Test Garden located in the city’s Washington Park. Featuring more than 10,000 rose bushes of more than 600 varieties, this is the oldest continuously operating public rose test garden in the United States and attracts more than 700,000 visitors annually. Free public tours are offered daily at 1:00 pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This is an ideal spot for a picnic on a beautiful day.

Instagram This!

Portland Japanese Garden

If you love taking pictures of and in nature, you will not find a more inspiring place to do just that than the Portland Japanese Garden. Created to strengthen the cultural ties between Japanese and American citizens in an effort to contribute to long-lasting peace after World War II, this exquisite, expansive space lets you immerse yourself in traditional Japanese culture. Considered a “living classroom,” the garden teaches visitors how Japanese trees grow and how moss grows on stone as well as about the lives of the Japanese people who developed and nurtured these centuries-old art forms. The garden’s cultural village features seasonal activities, performances and demonstrations including koto (Japanese harp) and chado (the Way of Tea) that bring Japanese culture to life.

Cathedral Park and the St. John’s Bridge

Travel nurses visiting Portland, Oregon and seeking photographic beauty as well as serenity should spend an afternoon at Cathedral Park. The park itself isn’t much to speak of; it’s small and doesn’t contain any fancy flowerbeds or ancient trees. The draw here is the St. John’s Bridge, a steel suspension bridge that serves as the unofficial front door leading visitors into the park itself. Designed by internationally renowned engineer David B. Steinman and Holton D. Robinson, it’s the only major highway suspension bridge in the Willamette Valley. The bridge’s gothic, cathedral-style appearance lends itself to some exceptionally dramatic imagery, making it a favorite of both local photographers and those visiting Portland alike.

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