The Western Museums Association’s 2022 Annual Meeting will be held on October, 6-9 in Portland, Oregon, in partnership with the Oregon Museums Association. With the theme of FORWARD, the 2022 Annual Meeting will focus on the ways museums can be adaptable, FORWARD-thinking institutions.
If you're joining us for the 2022 Annual Meeting, but have never been to Portland, there is much to know about this unique, vibrant, and culture-rich city. To help you feel prepared for the trip, we've put together the following guide full of practical information.
ABOUT PORTLAND (PDX)
Portland – Oregon's largest and most populous city – is known for its outdoor adventures, eco-friendliness, locally-made brewpubs, and coffee shops on every corner. It's residents are friendly and uniquely hipster, and just about everyone has an outdoor hobby.
Portland's iconic Washington Park encompasses sites from the formal Japanese Garden to the Oregon Zoo, and the city as a whole, is a thriving arts community. Divided into five neighborhoods, (Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest, and North Portland) – which are referred to by locals as “quadrants” – each has its own unique community and vibe to experience. Anchored to the Southwest quadrant and on the west bank of the Willamette River is Downtown Portland – the location of the Annual Meeting and Annual Meeting Hotel.
Nickname: "City of Roses" Slogan: "Keep Portland Wierd"
GEOGRAPHY + CLIMATE
A place of natural beauty and about 60 miles east of the Pacific Ocean, Portland sits along the Columbia and Willamette rivers in the shadow of snow-capped Mount Hood, not far from the vast Oregon coastline, Willamette Valley, and epic waterfalls. Though much of downtown Portland is relatively flat, the region is filled with gorgeous foothills.
Despite its reputation for rain (the city sees approximately 164 rainy days a year), Portland doesn’t even make the top ten U.S. cities with the highest annual rainfall. It's not that Portland gets a lot of rain, it just rains often and very sporadically. Portlanders call the intermittent rains "Portland mist."
In Portland the summers are short, warm, dry, and mostly clear, while the winters are very cold, wet, and overcast. During October, the month of the Annual Meeting, the average high temperature is 64° and the average low is 46°. So make sure to pack layers and be prepared for microbursts of rain.
ARTS + CULTURE
From traditional fine art museums to mini street museums and everything weird, Portland is full of unique cultural experiences. Located in Portland's Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, is the largest museum dedicated to the documented and visual history of the Jews of Oregon, the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education. Just around the corner from there, you can visit the intimate Japanese American Museum or learn about the Chinese Immigrant experience at the Portland Chinatown Museum.
Take a peek inside the Portland Art Museum's vast collection of Native American art, housed in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Center for Native American Art. Or take a trip to The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) and to PDX's finest historical house museum, The Pittock Mansion.
For the street art curious, put on your walking shoes or bike helmets and go explore PDX's vibrantly colorful street art scene. PDX is known for it's DIY mentality and its colorfully decorated neighborhoods filled with art created by internationally known artists, local legends, and Portlanders. To make sure you catch every piece of art along your journey, follow these contemporary Street Art Maps designed by local PDX artists.
Whether it's visiting a museum, touring through graffiti, or listening to music, culture in Portland takes on many forms. For a full view of Portland's many cultural offerings, read through Travel Portland's Culture page.
In downtown's Pearl District sits the legendary independent book store, Powell's Books, who has been "Serving since 1971." Taking up an entire city block, Powell's Books is an independent bookstore, home to approximately one-million books. Inside, you'll find nine color-coded rooms and 3,500 different sections filled with books on every subject, even unique out-of-print and hard-to-find titles.
A year-round wonder, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is an authentic Ming Dynasty style garden, built by Suzhou artisans, that takes up an entire block of the city’s historic Chinatown district. It's covered walkways, bridges, open colonnades, pavilions, and richly planted landscape framing the man-made Zither Lake have created an urban oasis of tranquil beauty and harmony. You can even quietly enjoy a cup of tea served at "The Tao of Tea" in the Tower of Cosmic Reflections, or attend a public tour of the grounds led by expert horticulturalists.
Since 1974, the Portland Saturday Market has been a beloved city tradition. Combining the vibes of an arts show, a live street concert and an open-air bazaar, the Market is considered the largest continually operating arts-and-crafts fair in the United States, drawing up to 750,000 visitors during its annual season (Feb 29 - December 24). During the Saturday of the Annual Meeting, take a moment to visit the Market. You will be able to tap your heels to jazz musicians, sample ethnic eats like falafel or kielbasa, and browse handcrafted goods at more than 250 vendors.
Aside from these popular attractions, there are many sites to see and fun things to do in PDX.
FOR THE FOODIES + BEER LOVERS
With so many delicious food and drink options in PDX, we found it difficult to narrow down the options. Below, you'll find a list of WMA's favorite spots for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks, all located in downtown not far from the Annual Meeting hotel and conference center.
Coffee & Breakfast
Beer, Wine, & Cocktails
Vegan & Gluten-Free
GETTING AROUND PDX
Portland is known for having one of the easiest, most tourist-friendly public transportation systems in the US. From Portland's TriMet buses and light rail trains, to the Streetcar and taxis, the city makes it extremely easy and affordable for anyone to get around. For more information on how to get around Portland, click here.
Aside from public transporation, when it comes to biking, Portland is known as one of the friendliest-biking cities and it supports the nation's highest percentage of bike commuters for a large city. If you're good on a set of wheels, be sure to take advantage of the city's many bike rental companies and the BIKETOWN bike-share program.
If you're coming from the Portland International Airport (PDX), just hop on the MAX Light-Rail and take it straight to downtown. The most convenient way to purchase a ticket for the MAX Light-Rail, is with the digital Hop Fastpass. If you rather not use Hop, you can purchase a regular ticket from ticket machines located in any MAX station. For other fare-related inquiries, click here.
Lastly, to help you get around Portland in smooth, stress-free manner, Travel Portland offers a wide variety of city maps and helpful information. And for those of you who want to learn more about the wonderful City of Roses, you can book a city tour here.
Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest peak, is located only miles from the city. It's home to six ski areas, alpine lakes, valleys filled with apples, pears, and berries in the fall, and the Timberline Lodge. From skiing and hiking, to rafting and horseback riding, there are recreation opportunties for everyone.
While you're attending the Annual Meeting, absoluetly make some time to wonder around the Oregon coast, filled with 363 miles of beaches, tide pools, and wildlife. Along the Oregon Coast, you can enjoy a scenic hike through one of the 95 state parks, stop by the sea stacks, visit the Sea Lion Caves, wonder through Heceta Head Lighthouse, and so much more. Head over to Visit the Oregon Coast to learn all about the coastline's regions, check out dining experiences, and view guides.
Heading inland, you'll find the world's premier Pinot Noir-producing area, Willamette Valley, home to 2/3 of the state's delectable vineyards. Its nearly 600 wineries and fine dining makes it a popular tourist destination. Need a break from the Annual Meeting? You could be sipping on a tall glass of wine in Willamette Valley in just 45 minutes.
To see the stunning views of the West Coast's mountains, forests, valleys, and Pacific Ocean all in one fun, unique trip, you'll want to hop on the Coast Starlight train. Starting in Seattle and ending in Los Angeles, the Starlight takes passengers through Washington, Oregon, and California allowing them to see everything from an observation car decked out in floor to ceiling windows and comfortable swivel chairs.
2022 ANNUAL MEETING HOTEL
So, now you have an idea of where you'd like to explore in PDX, but where will you be staying?
Book a room at the 2022 Annual Meeting hotel – the iconic Hilton Portland Downtown Hotel. Hilton Portland Downtown has been newly redesigned with an inviting, vibrant lobby, and rooms that incorporate a timeless and contemporary feel. With over 70,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, the Hotel has the most expansive and versatile offering in the state. To learn more about the Annual Meeting hotel and book your reservation, visit our Hotel Page.