Moving to Portland: A New Student’s Guide

Moving to Portland for the fall semester? Get the lowdown on the best local things to do, tips for getting around, and more all before move-in day. Read on for our newcomers’ tips and tricks to conquering Portland like a pro.

Getting Around

Don’t have a car? No problem! Portland is one of the country’s most walkable cities. Known for its shortened city blocks — each only 200 feet long (less than half the size of a New York City block) — Portland is easily explored on foot. From both the Portland State University and the University of Oregon campuses, you’ll find countless shops and restaurants within close walking and biking distance. Guests of The Hotel Zags enjoy complimentary access to bike rentals from our Gear Shed.

If you need to travel a little farther than you’re willing to walk, look to the various public transit options, including the MAX light rail, streetcars, and buses. From Portland State University, enjoy easy access to the green and yellow lines of the light rail. The NS Line of Portland’s streetcars runs right through Portland State University all the way to Nob Hill. There are more than 84 bus routes, together servicing much of the Portland metro area. With so many transit options within close reach, you’ll become a seasoned Portland explorer in no time!

Must-See Attractions

In your first semester in Portland, get to know some of the city’s most popular local attractions and destinations. Stop by the Saturday Market, where you can explore the mix of food stalls and local arts and crafts — a quintessential Portland experience. Opt to go on an art sightseeing tour of downtown Portland and admire the famous murals, like Clarence the Cloud Creator and Star Catcher, as well as the Portland Art Museum.

Best Bars & Restaurants

Eat and drink your way through some of the best restaurants and bars in Portland. The downtown area near Portland State University and the University of Portland offers a diverse array of cuisines. For your morning caffeine fix, stop by Revolución Coffee House. For delectable eats perfect for lunch and dinner, be sure to add Duck House Chinese Restaurant, Phat Cart, Luc Lac, and the Pine Street Market to your Portland foodie bucket list. End the night at collegiate staples, including Suki’s Bar and the Cheerful Tortoise. For something a little more upscale, stop by Abigail Hall or the Teardrop Lounge, both known for their craft cocktails.

Nearby Shopping

Style your next chapter in classic Portland fashion. Elevate your dorm style at Budd + Finn with their collection of home goods and decor. For all your organizational needs, stop by MUJI or Target, both just a few blocks away. Then, give your wardrobe the local treatment at hip retailer Portland Gear, where you’ll find an assortment of Portland-inspired clothing for men and women.

Parents getting ready to take on move-in day can enjoy a stress-free experience from The Hotel Zags. Our hotel near Portland State University offers easy access to the nearby student housing, allowing you and your child to enjoy a seamless moving day.