From rafting the Columbia River Gorge to hiking Ecola State Park, discover Portland, Oregon's fit-friendly hot spots

By Amy Schlinger
July 12, 2015
Corbis Images

While it gets its weird, hippie reputation based on the popular IFC television show Portlandia, this West Coast city is one of the most active in the United States.

Portland is home to 1,250 bike and walking trails, gorgeous parks, imposing mountains, and more areas for outdoor adventures than you could imagine. And on days when the city's infamous rain blows in, there's no shortage of fitness studios where you can sweat it out. Choose to fuel up at farm-to-table restaurants, sip on some cold brew (and no, we don't mean at Starbucks), and indulge at one of the famous doughnut shops (if you're willing to wait in line). Plus, rafting on the border of Washington and a few just-outside-the-city beach getaways make for perfect day or overnight trips.

Sleep Well

Located in the heart of downtown Portland, the newly renovated Kimpton Hotel Vintage (pictured above, left) puts wellness and an active lifestyle at the forefront of what they do. You might recognize the head bellman, a former college basketball player, who shoots hoops with any guests interested on Friday afternoons at the court down the street. Interested in unwinding after a crazy day of travel? Complimentary yoga mats and a yoga channel can be found in every room. Or maybe you're already itching to explore downtown. Leave your car behind and take one of the bikes that can be rented from the front desk at anytime (just be sure to call and let them know if you'll be back after dark). And, in an awesome green initiative, if you decline housekeeping services, you'll receive a credit to dine at the on-site restaurant, Pazzo (pictured above, right), where they serve wine from local Oregon wineries.

Looking for something a bit more mid-century modern but still in the heart of all the action? Head across the river to the Hotel Eastlund on the (you guessed it) east side of the city. You might be tempted to stay inside and work out in their state-of-the-art gym before grabbing a coffee and possibly a pastry from the in-house cafe, Citizen Baker. And if you're looking for dinner with a view, dine at the rooftop restaurant, Altabira City Tavern, overlooking the downtown skyline and the Willamette River.

Stay In Shape

There's a reason Portland tops the active cities list. The city is incredibly bike-friendly, with actual bike parking spaces at many buildings and even a bike valet at the Hassalo on Eight in the Llyod District. If you're looking to be on your feet, head out to Forest Park to run through nature or to the Eastbank Esplanade for a jog along the water.

If the rain dashes your outdoor plans (which does happen frequently), check out one of the popular local fitness studios, like Fire Brand Sports for barre or Pilates or Revocycle.

Fuel Your Trip

If you're going to Portland, you expect a good cup o' joe-and that's exactly what you'll find at Stumptown (picture above, left). This stop is a must for any coffee lover, and the cold brew is truly incredible.

Stop by Coopers Hall (pictured above, right) for happy hour with some light bites. Housed in what used to be an auto body shop, this now beautifully renovated, clear roof garage, decorated with strings of lights offers numerous wines on tap, with the winery on-site. Or, if you're looking for more food, head to Andina (pictured above, center) for what might be the largest Peruvian tapas menu you have ever seen. From three types of potatoes served with chilled sauces, yuka stuffed croquettes with mozzarella and cotija cheese, and marinated beef heart kebobs with spicy salsa, it's safe to say no choice is the wrong choice.

Pit Stop

If it's nice out and you're looking for a day trip, head just outside the city to Zoller's Outdoor Odysseys. Located on the Oregon/Washington state line, they'll take you rafting along the Columbia River Gorge. You'll need to get suited up in preparation for the cold White Salmon River water and choose which part of the river you want to raft based on adventure level-some of the rapids are level five and there are no promises that you won't capsize. But you will have fun while doing it!


Need a quick beach getaway? Hop in your car and head just an hour and a half northwest to the Surfsand Resort at Cannon Beach. The resort is just steps from the beach, where you can see the iconic Haystack Rock (you might even be able to see it from your window). Rent bikes from the front desk and explore downtown, play tennis at the local courts, or enjoy oysters from the seafood market. When you're ready for a bigger meal, be sure to make reservations at the hotel's Wayfarer Restaurant & Lounge. Think oceanfront dining, incredible local food offerings, and some of the friendliest, most attentive servers ever.

In the morning, head to Cannon Beach Surf shop right next door where you can sign up with an instructor to take a lesson (we recommend Cody). They'll get you suited up, load your boards on top of your car, and lead you just a quick ride down the road to Indian Beach, where the waves are more beginner-friendly. The beach is part of Ecola State Park, so after your lesson, head into the scenic woods and hike up the coastline to experience some of the most beautiful views, including one of an abandoned lighthouse.

Recover Right

Ready for some R and R? Book a visit at one of Loyly Spa's (pictured above) two Northeast or Southeast locations for a relaxing afternoon. Both have cedar saunas and steam rooms, but only the southern one offers holistic skincare facial options. Choose whether you want The Reviver (30-minute), The Renewer (45-minute, plus an aromatherapy foot soak), or The Rejuvenator (60-minute, plus an aromatherapy foot soak) massage off the menu and prepare to disappear into an oasis of bliss.

By the time you're done, it will be wine o'clock in Willamette Valley! Just atop the Dundee Hills sits Vista Hills Vineyard and Winery, known for their pinot nior and pinot gris, thanks to in-house winemaker Dave Petterson. Drop by their Treehouse Tasting Room and enjoy a standard flight on wine and learning about each blend from the staff. Next, pop by JK Carriere Winery in the Chehalem Mountains, where the exceptional wine is only topped by the breathtaking vineyard views. The tasting room is open on Fridays and Saturdays, and you can enjoy your vino on the patio overlooking the vines.


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