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Gay Portland Travel Journal: Eco-Friendliness, Pure Nature, & a Vibrant LGBTQ+ Community

Gay Portland Travel Journal: Eco-Friendliness, Pure Nature, & a Vibrant LGBTQ+ Community

When we think back to our first trip to Portland, the following words immediately pop into our heads: nature, beer, and beards. And probably the most diverse LGBTQ+ community we’ve ever encountered at a Pride event in the USA. Located on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood, we didn’t have to leave the city to experience the nature of the Pacific Northwest region. Eco-friendliness, microbreweries, and cafés? Portland in Oregon can do even more! But enough of the teasing and let’s get right to it! Enjoy reading our Gay Portland Travel Journal and, of course, planning your trip to Oregon’s second-largest city with Couple of Men!

– in paid collaboration with Travel Portland –

Gay Portland Travel Guide: Welcome in gay-friendly Portland © Coupleofmen.com
Welcome to gay-friendly Portland © Coupleofmen.com

Traveling to gay-friendly Portland in Oregon

As a European, the question naturally arises, what is the best way to get to Portland or Oregon? Our partner airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has just resumed its direct connection between Europe via Amsterdam to Portland in May 2022. After only 10.5 hours in the air, you will reach Portland comfortably. If, as we often do, you would rather not travel to just one region in the U.S. – also because of your carbon footprint – you can also plan a road trip to Oregon or even by train from, for example, California. But flying within the US is very common, with convenient connections nationwide.

On the run! Drag Queen on a speedy scooter © Coupleofmen.com
A Drag Queen on a speedy scooter on Portland’s streets © Coupleofmen.com

Portland itself has a well-developed public transportation network with the Portland Streetcar, the MAX Light Rail, buses, and bike paths – besides Uber and caps. Of course, walking is a great alternative, too. After all, it was not without reason that the city was voted one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the USA by Travel + Leisure. These are already some first reasons why Portland and Oregon enjoy an environmentally conscious reputation of being one of the most eco-friendly cities in the USA.


Gay Portland Travel Guide

The U.S. state of Oregon is a particularly scenic and diverse vacation region. Especially the largest city and economically most important metropolis, Portland. But how gay-friendly is Portland? And where is the best place to stay? What is there to do? We’ll answer your questions for a gay-friendly adventure in Portland, OR!

Plan & book your Portland trip here >


Gay-friendly Hotel Jupiter NEXT in Portland

After picking up our luggage at PDX Portland International Airport and listening to a musician playing Irish music in the reception area for a few minutes, we headed towards Portland, OR. Our first destination was, of course, our accommodation. The Hotel Jupiter NEXT, which is considered to be a gay-friendly address in Portland, lived up to its reputation. Queer and LGBTQ+ friendly staff at the reception, the modern design of the lobby, and stylish rooms with a great view of the city – yes, we could feel at home here for the next few days.

Gay-friendly Jupiter NEXT Hotel in Portland © Coupleofmen.com
Gay-friendly Jupiter NEXT Hotel in Portland © Coupleofmen.com

Starting with a cold beer on a rooftop bar

Even if it’s not quite true that Portland seems to have the highest density of breweries and independent microbreweries, beer gourmets like us also get their money’s worth in Portland. And so, we kick off our Portland stay on this hot summer evening (we had over 36 Degrees Celsius the day we arrived) with a delicious, refreshing beer on the rooftop terrace of the 10 Barrel Brewing Company.

Cheers, on our first night in Portland at 10 Barrel Brewing Company © Coupleofmen.com
Cheers, on our first night in Portland at 10 Barrel Brewing Company © Coupleofmen.com

It’s also where we finally meet our friends again, gay influencer couple Michael and Matt, who have chosen Portland as their adoptive home. With a fresh breeze above the rooftops and in such cozy company, our first evening in Portland couldn’t have come to a better end. Cheers!

Portland Pride Gay-LGBTQ+ Celebration in Oregon © Coupleofmen.com

Portland Pride Celebration

The United States of America is a great country to travel to. Especially the bigger cities along its East and West coast conquered our hearts during our travels as an openly gay couple in the past couple of years. But where to stay? Where to go? What to do? We give answers to your questions about a gay-friendly gaycation in the USA!

All about Portland Pride 2022 here >

A Gay Portland City Tour with Matt & Michael

We allowed ourselves a capful of sleep and arranged to meet the guys for lunch the following day. Together, we opted to eat light, which resulted in picking the XLB restaurant on N Williams Avenue, where numerous other restaurants and cafés are also located. We made ourselves comfortable outside with soup dumplings, noodle dishes, and delicious Chinese comfort food. The meals were delicious and light, and therefore perfect for the warm summer temperatures.

Daan and Matthew having fun with their chopsticks during lunch at XLB in Portland © Coupleofmen.com
Fun with chopsticks during lunch at XLB in Portland © Coupleofmen.com

Then our little Gay Portland city tour was about to begin in the center on the west side of the Willamette River. First, though, it was time for a coffee from the best coffee house in town, according to Matt, the Stumptown Coffee Roasters next to the Ace Hotel. With a coffee to go in one hand and a camera in the other, we strolled together through the streets, through parks, urban canyons, and along different bigger and smaller stores and boutiques. Then it was time for a visit to an exceptional shopping mall in Portland.

Delicious food at XLB Restaurant in Portland © Coupleofmen.com
Delicious food at XLB Restaurant in Portland © Coupleofmen.com

Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest used & new bookstore

From the outside, this shopping center is an unassuming building, if the large glass windows on the first floor didn’t already offer a glimpse into the paper-rich interior. Powell’s City of Books is located in the Pearl District in downtown Portland and is regarded as the world’s largest bookstore for used and new books. We really didn’t realize the size of the bookstore until we strolled through the aisles on several floors, as Powell’s Book Store covers an entire city block and is home to about a million books.

Powell’s City of Books: the world’s largest bookstore for used and new books © Coupleofmen.com

Moreover, we also discover an extensive section on LGBTQ+ books. Let’s hope that in the very near future a translation of our book Couple of Men – Ein Männerpaar reist um die Welt will make it to this exceptional city of books in Portland as well!

A Gay Couple of Men is reading books in Powell's Book Store in Portland, Oregon © Coupleofmen.com
LGBTQ+ Books in English at Powell’s City of Books © Coupleofmen.com

Of course, Portland has several other spots for nature and city lovers alike to enjoy the symbiosis of urban city life and green oases in and around Portland. Among them are numerous city parks, such as Waterfront Park with the Oregon Maritime Museum, where the annual Waterfront Pride Festival takes place. At the same time, there are also cozy neighborhoods, such as the Northwest District with its charming little stores, boutiques, and opportunities for a drink or snack that want to get discovered.

Enjoying real Portland feeling at the Northwest District © Coupleofmen.com
Enjoying real Portland feeling at the Northwest District © Coupleofmen.com

For dinner, by the way, we would recommend various LGBTQ+ welcoming places. First, of course, the pizzerias of Sizzle Pie one located in Downtown – a great place to power up after the Pride parade – and Sizzle Pie Central Eastside, is located just around the corner from our hotel.

Fun with Michael & Matt at ¿Por Qué No Restaurant © Coupleofmen.com
Fun with Michael & Matt at ¿Por Qué No Restaurant © Coupleofmen.com

For our evening together with the four of us, however, we had to wait in line in the Boise neighborhood of Northeast Portland. When we tried the first bites of delicious Mexican food at the ¿Por Qué No? Restaurant, we understood why. Delicious, spicy, relaxed. We completely forgot the time while feasting and enjoying the relaxed, yet lively atmosphere. Truly a dining tip for Portland.

Fun with Michael & Matt at ¿Por Qué No Restaurant © Coupleofmen.com
Fun with Michael & Matt at ¿Por Qué No Restaurant © Coupleofmen.com
7 Top Nature Adventures in Portland, OR © Coupleofmen.com

9 Nature Highlights in Portland, OR

Kayaking, Waterfalls, Chinese & Japanese Gardens, Rose Test Garden, or Waterfront Park – Portland has a strong connection to nature. In our blog article, we are introducing you to our nine favorite places to experience the unique bond with nature in and around Portland, that you should not miss when visiting Oregon.

Click here for the complete list >

Kayaking on the Willamette River in Portland

In the following days, we set out to discover the green side of Portland; OR. First, from the water, by kayak. The Portland Kayak Company is located in the South Portland district. Equipped with drinks, our camera, sunscreen, and filled with energy, we boarded our kayaks and set out to circumnavigate Ross Island. The current of the Willamette River is not strong at this point.

Kayaking on Willamette River in Portland © Coupleofmen.com
Kayaking on Willamette River in Portland © Coupleofmen.com

After crossing the river, we were set to paddle comfortably through green river landscapes, observe animals, and marvel at Portland from the water. Especially impressive and therefore worth mentioning are the Ross Island Bridge and Tilikum Crossing Bridge. A wonderful, refreshing trip on the water!

A Couple of Men Selfie in front of the Ross Island Bridge and Tilikum Crossing Bridge in Portland © Coupleofmen.com
Ross Island and Tilikum Crossing Bridge © Coupleofmen.com

Portland Japanese Garden

Our time in Portland just flew by. But before our road trip through Oregon was supposed to begin, a stort trip to Japan was on the agenda. Since our first travels to Japan, the land of the rising sun had never let us go. After we had checked out of our hotel and crossed the Willamette River, we drove uphill towards Beaverton.

Entrance to the Japanese Garden in Portland © Coupleofmen.com
Entrance to the Japanese Garden in Portland © Coupleofmen.com

Located on the right-hand side, the Portland Japanese Garden is surrounded by dense, mountainous forests. Parking and the entrance is located opposite the International Rose Test Garden, which we briefly visited before entering the garden. And then we walked along stone paths, passing beautifully landscaped water features, taking deep breaths in the soothing atmosphere of dense woods. It seriously was the best ending to our Portland trip we could have imagined. Our Tip: Coming early ensures good parking!

Japanese inspired landscaping above Portland © Coupleofmen.com
Japanese inspired landscaping above Portland © Coupleofmen.com

Gay Oregon Travel Guide © Coupleofmen.com

Gay Oregon Travel Guide

From the “City of Roses to” the stunning nature of Oregon. After our summer city trip to Portland, we jumped into our rental car and made our way once around the state in the Pacific Northwest region. Stunning waterfalls, the deep blue crater lake, and the Pacific coastline are simply stunning and a great place for a diverse vacation close to nature.

Plan & Book your Oregon Trip >


Now it’s time to plan your trip to Oregon with our Gay Portland Travel Journal

During our time in Portland, we were holding hands for the most part and always gave each other a kiss in between, whether it was because we were happy, comfortable, or because we just wanted to show affection. Ultimately, we felt at ease and encountered no hostility, insults, or strange looks being an openly gay couple traveling in Portland and Oregon.

Do you want to know and see more of us gay couple travel bloggers? Stay tuned and follow along on FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest, and Instagram! See you around in the United States of America, Northern America, and on one of our next gay pride trips worldwide!

Karl & Daan.

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Please note: This trip was made possible in close collaboration with Travel Portland and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. A special thanks for the tips and support goes to our wonderful readers, followers, new and old friends from all over the world. Nevertheless, our photos, our videos, our opinions, and our writings are our own, as always.