Portland: Need to Know

City Basics

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Arriving. If you're flying, you'll land in one of the gosh-darnedest nicest airports anywhere in the world — Portland International Airport (code name: PDX). This is a place you won't mind being stuck for hours at a time. It's clean, bright and has excellent local food and drink at non-gouging prices.

If you're staying downtown and aren't planning to rent a car, the way to go is the MAX light rail, which has a stop right at the airport terminal. It costs only $2.30 and will take you on a picturesque route downtown in about 40 minutes. Your light rail ticket will also let you get on any bus to connect to places outside of downtown. Nifty.

Cabs and airport shuttles are readily available and a cab ride from PDX to downtown will run you about $30.

Getting Around. You could rent a car, but you could also easily make do without one. If you're a Zipcar member, you'll find loads of rentals parked around the city. Otherwise, you can take Portland's light rail and bus system, which is easy, fast and whisks you in every direction from downtown to major attractions. Individual tickets cost $2 for up to two zones (books of 10 are available), but you can buy passes that last anywhere from one day to one year.

To get around like a real Portlander, though, consider renting a bike (many downtown hotels offer bikes free for guests) and taking advantage of the city's plentiful bike lanes. Try Pedal Bike Tours and Portland Bicycle Tours for rentals.

Taxis. After a late night of carousing, you can call a cab quickly and painlessly. Radio Cab is a local favorite: dial 503-227-1212. It won't cost you more than $25, and probably quite a bit less, to get from anyplace in the city to downtown.

Tipping. At restaurants, it's the usual 18% to 20%. How else is your server going to afford to go on tour in the spring with her indie rock band? At bars, leave $1 per drink.

Wi-Fi. While there's no citywide free Wi-Fi, there are plenty of hot spots around town. Use Wifipdx.com to find them.

@Twitter. Travel Portland has a virtual visitor center via Twitter. Follow @travelportland for frequent updates on goings-on around town, or tweet a specific travel question to hashtag #inpdx.

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