Even from the plane, we could see what our friends, acquaintances, and work colleagues had already enthusiastically told us about: lush green nature as far as the eye can see. And right in the middle of the Pacific Northwest region, we found the “City of Roses”. Although Portland itself is not the state capital, it is the largest metropolis in Oregon and its economic center. With its convenient location nestled in nature at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, we found more than just beards, breweries, and trees (that alone had us already totally excited). We also found one of the most diverse and trans-friendly LGBTQ+ communities we’ve ever encountered on our travels through the USA. How to get to Portland? Where to stay in Portland? What are the best LGBTQ+ places in town? We’ve compiled the most important information for your trip planning in our Gay Portland Travel Guide!
– in paid collaboration with Travel Portland –
Portland – “The City of Roses”
Welcome to Portland! The City of Roses, that’s how Portland is commonly referred to. But why is that? The story of roses in Portland goes back to the year 1888 when the pink variety of hybrid tea rose-bred Madame Caroline Testout was introduced to Portland for the first time. The climatic conditions, with dry, warm summers, and wet but mild winters, make Portland a great location for roses. And the story continues until today, when thousands of rose lovers celebrate the annual Rose Festival, taking place every June with a carnival and parades. Additionally, the oldest International Rose Test Garden can be found in Portland, which we visited right after spending some relaxing hours in the Japanese Garden.
The two U.S. states of Oregon and Washington form the northwestern part of the United States of America. Washington even borders directly on Canada. Lush, green forests, numerous rivers, partly snow-covered mountains, and an adventurously rugged coastline – we loved it to be in Portland and Oregon.
We found some great deals with flights worldwide as well as in and around Europe via Amsterdam (and return) with gay-friendly KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. That includes direct connections with KLM or their partner airlines, Air France and DELTA. *subject to availability / last check: 2023
Summer Trip to Portland, Oregon – When to go?
Travelers from the LGBTQ+ community heading to Portland in the summer can look forward to warm, dry, and especially sunny days in Portland. The period from mid-June to early September is also considered the driest period of the year. The reason for this almost perfect summer weather condition is Portland’s inland location, protected by the Oregon Coast Range to the west of the city. At the same time, Portland is just 70 miles (about 113 km) from the Pacific Ocean. As a result, Portland in Oregon falls under the so-called warm-summer Mediterranean climate, similar to Portugal or parts of Italy. We reached Portland in June, with temperatures around and partly even above 30 degrees Celsius and bright sunshine.
If you don’t mind some cooling down and a few raindrops during your visit, spring and autumn are of course also pleasant times to travel to Portland. The only thing to keep in mind is that some higher mountains and mountain elevations – like Greater Lake – may then already or still be covered with snow and therefore are inaccessible for travelers. Our advice: Add some extra days for Oregon to your travels as we did with our road trip to Oregon!
All Blog Articles about Portland, Oregon
How LGBTQ+ and gay-friendly is Portland in Oregon?
Very! And no, we’re not exaggerating. For many years now, Portland has been considered one of the most LGBTQ+ and gay-friendly cities in the US. This is due in part to the city’s diverse queer community, which organizes a variety of LGBTQ+ events throughout the year and maintains several bars, clubs, venues, and other facilities for lesbian, gay, trans, inter, and queer people. Secondly, the progressive policies of the city and the state of Oregon. In 2016, Kate Brown was the first openly bisexual female person in the U.S. elected to be a governor. Fun fact: In 2018, the City of Portland renamed a 13-block stretch of Southwest Stark Street honoring Harvey Milk into SW Harvey Milk Street.
Interesting to know: Among the Indigenous people of the region that is now known as Oregon, notions of gender and sexuality differed greatly from those of the Western world. The Northern Paiute people, for example, recognize male individuals who act, behave, and live as women. They are referred to as “tüdayapi.” Among the indigenous Modoc and Klamath peoples, the t’winiːq form a so-called “third gender” being either a two-spirit (of either sex); transgender, or a third-gender person (of any sexual orientation).
Perhaps the biggest annual LGBTQ+ event in Portland is the Waterfront Pride Festival and Pride Parade. Furthermore, the city hosts regular queer film festivals, drag queen beauty pageants, and even queer roller-skating events. Portland also hosts regular events of the popular bear event Bearracuda, we attended for the last time in Chicago.
Gay-friendly Hotels in Portland, OR
Although Portland does not have a hotel specifically designated as a gay hotel, most of the accommodations in the city advertise that they welcome all travelers regardless of them being LGBTQ+, queer or gay. During our gay trip to Portland, we stayed at the Hotel Jupiter NEXT, which we can recommend universally. During our little city tour with our friends Michael and Matt, we also visited the ACE Hotel, which also comes highly recommended. We hope that on a future trip to Portland, we will again be able to look for a new test property that we can then present to you here on our blog as gay-friendly accommodation.
Gay-friendly Activities in & around Portland, OR
In Portland, we never got bored at any point. On the contrary, we had to restrain ourselves from being on our feet all day. Besides Pride Week and the queer events mentioned above, there’s plenty to do, especially outdoors in the open air. Kayaking on the Willamette River with Portland Kayak Company, a visit to the Oregon Zoo or the Portland Japanese Garden, day trips to various waterfalls or the Pacific Coast – the question is rather, what do you feel like doing? And if it should rain or get too hot outside, we recommend a visit to one of the many museums, such as the Portland Art Museum, the Oregon Maritime Museum, or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
A shopping tour or two should also be part of the experience. After all, visitors can find hip souvenirs and special books from Powell’s City of Books, as well as plenty of smaller boutiques all over the city. So if you’re looking for an adventurous and adventurous city trip (with the option of an extension in the lush green nature of Oregon), we can only recommend the city of Portland, Oregon.
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.
Gay Bars, Clubs, Beaches & Gay Saunas in Portland, OR
Bars, Clubs, Restaurants, Beaches, and Hotels – Portland has it all. During our stay, we visited several queer and LGBTQ+ friendly spaces, mostly located in Portland. This is an almost complete list of queer-friendly spaces in Portland:
List of our favorite Gay & Queer places in Portland:
- CC Slaughters Nightclub and Lounge, 219 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209
- LGBTQ+ Bar Crush Bar, 1400 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214
- Bear & Leather Bar Eagle Portland, 835 N Lombard St, Portland, OR 97217
- Gay Bar Scandals, 1125 SW Harvey Milk St, Portland, OR 97205
- Gay bar and male strip club, Silverado, 610 NW Couch St, Portland, OR 97209
- Gay gentleman’s club/lounge Stag PDX, 317 NW Broadway, Portland, OR 97209
- Sports bar for women, The Sports Bra, 2512 NE Broadway, Portland, OR 97232
- Queer Bar Rebel Rebel Bar, 20 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209
- Queer Show-bar, The Queen’s Head, 19 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204
- Drag venue Darcelle XV, 208 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209
- Lesbian bar (new July 2022), Doc Marie’s, 203 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97214
List of Gay Saunas & Bathhouses in Portland:
- Gay bathhouse Hawks PDX, 335 SE 99th Ave, Portland, OR 97216
- Gay bathhouse Steam Portland, 2885 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland, OR 97202
List of Gay Beach and Nude (clothing optional) Beaches in Portland:
- Rooster Rock Nude Beach at the Columbia River (look on Google Maps)
- Rooster Collins Beach (clothing optional) at the Columbia River (look on Google Maps)
In case we have forgotten a bar, club, restaurant, sauna, or gay beach despite intensive research, please email us or comment below this post. We’ll fill in any missing information as soon as possible, with the goal of supporting the local Portland LGBTQ+ community and queer travelers as much as possible! Thank you 🙂
Our first trip to the United States of America brought us via Atlanta to Florida, where we spent some beautiful days in Orlando’s Disney Parks and Universal Studios. In the same year, we explored the South Western part of the USA, starting with California from San Francisco. Meanwhile, we visited more states in the USA including Illinois, Oregon, Nevada and are planning to back every year at least once.
Plan your Oregon Trip with our Gay Portland Travel Guide
Our experiences in Portland and Oregon have been unexceptionally positive: Holding hands in public, giving each other a kiss, or checking in a hotel asking for a double bed – we never faced any difficulties and could thereby fully enjoy our trip to Portland and Oregon. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions.
Nevertheless, please consider our Portland, OR tips as suggestions, with no guarantee that it still will be like that when you are traveling there. Though we did our research and all our opinions written in this article are honest, authentic, and true. So, are our photos and videos always aiming to prove our experiences to be authentic? We would like to thank Travel Portland for their invitation, support, and the possibility to experience the US metropolis in a very free and authentic way.
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For any clarifications about your plans for traveling to Portland, Oregon, and the USA, follow us and email us or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram. See you around the world and the next time in Portland, Oregon!
Karl & Daan.