Part of getting around any city is understanding how it is laid out. The Portland area is intrinsically navigable, designed to be easy to get around. The city is divided into quadrants. The Willamette River (it’s “will-am-mette, dammit!) divides the city into east and west halves. Burnside Street (or, just “Burnside”) divides it into north and south. Avenues run north and south, and streets run east to west. Any street sign can tell you how far you are from the river: if it says 2900 SE Belmont Street it means you’re 29 blocks east of the river, and south of Burnside. Because we wouldn’t want to make things too easy on you, North Portland is our 5th quadrant (get it?). It’s a peninsula formed where the river makes its turn to the northwest.
The Society Hotel and the Old Town Chinatown Neighborhood are located in the Portland’s densest public transportation hub, with access to frequent bus, light rail, and street car lines within a few blocks in every direction. We are also just 5 blocks from the Amtrak station and a short red line Max train ride to and from the Airport. Guests at the Society Hotel can forget the hassle and expense of downtown parking and take advantage of our central location and one of the best public transportation systems in the United States.
Now that you’ve got the basics, let’s get you out into town.
Getting around is easy and hassle free on the Tri-Met (Metro), Portland’s cutting-edge transit agency. The Tri-Met system consists of one-pass access buses, light rail (MAX), streetcar system, and even an aerial tram, which runs through downtown’s transit mall on 5th and 6th Avenues. Get a ticket at the transit mall, on a bus, or at a max stop and ride for a few stops, for two hours, or the whole day. Don’t forget your transfer slip as you get on the bus! Services run every 15 minutes or faster, and planning your travel is as simple as downloading the free app PDX Bus or by visiting Trimet.org.
Biking is practically a religion in Portland. Here we battle for the crown of “Most Bike Friendly City in America”. A bicyclist’s paradise, Portland offers gentle hills and miles of dedicated bike lanes, bike-only trails, and as of late our very own bike bridge, the Tillicum Crossing, Bridge of the People! Bike riding events are frequent and worth trying, such as the “Worst Day of the Year Ride,” the “Providence Bridge Pedal,” and everyone’s favorite, the “World Naked Bike Ride.” If you breakdown, just remember, you’re never more than a few blocks from a bike repair shop, because in Portland, that’s how we roll.
When it comes to cars, you’ve got options, and plenty of them. Portland’s a very transit-oriented, and car-friendly place. Parking downtown is cheap at just $1.60 an hour, but DO NOT get a ticket. That extra hour can cost you upwards of 40 bucks. SmartPark garages are also a great way to park for a reasonable price when you’re downtown. If you don’t have a car, there’s still a vehicle option out there for you. Portland now has Lyft and Uber, and even offers GetAround, ZipCar, or Car2Go to allow you to borrow somebody else’s car. Come on, it’s Portland. If you really want to, you can even rent a VW Bus. – Seriously.