Living in Portland Oregon

Students walking through downtown Portland


One of the Best college locations in America

Portland, Oregon is a cool place to live, work and study. It’s why Niche named Portland State University as one of the nation’s top college locations. Our downtown campus is in the middle of a thriving city and only a short drive to both snow-capped peaks and the Pacific Ocean. At PSU, you have easy access to all the fun events and rugged beauty in the Pacific Northwest.

Student running through Forest Park

Nature Within Reach

You don’t have to go far from PSU to have an outdoor adventure. You can ski, hike, raft, climb, bike, camp, or dig your toes in the sand within 90 minutes of campus. Our Outdoor Rec program will show you everything you need to know to see and do it all.

Students walking through downtown Portland

Portland makes it all possible

At Portland State, the city is your classroom. Anything is possible from our urban campus. You can intern with top employers during the day and go out to hear live music at night. One of the nation’s best public transit systems can take you anywhere you want to go.

Portland at its best

Arts & Culture 

A short walk from PSU takes you to the world-class Portland Art Museum, the Oregon Historical Society, a performing arts complex and a concert hall. Portland also hosts monthly art walks, theater companies, and festivals that celebrate film, theater, dance, books, design, comedy, jazz, and even winter lights. In Portland, you can fill your calendar with entertaining and inspiring cultural events.

Forest Park 

Forest Park, the nation’s largest city park, has 70 miles of trails through forested hills. Neighboring Washington Park is home to a zoo, museums, gardens, memorials, and an arboretum. You can see all the best views on the 4T Trail, which takes you on a train, trail, tram and trolley loop through the forest and city.

Willamette River 

The Willamette River is Portland’s summer playground for water sports, including kayaking, water skiing and Dragon Boats. Waterfront Park, a few blocks from campus, is the best place to hang out, take a walk, or ride your bike along the river. In the spring, don’t miss the 100 Japanese cherry trees in full bloom.


Throughout the metro area are thriving, walkable neighborhoods filled with restaurants, record shops, bars, funky clothing stores, antique malls and art galleries. Portland also has an abundance of movie theaters (some even serve beer and pizza), new and used bookstores, coffee shops and clubs.



Portland’s professional sports teams have a large and loyal following. The Timbers and Thorns soccer teams often sell out their outdoor stadium. The Trail Blazers regularly make the NBA playoffs. And don’t forget to cheer on our own PSU Vikings!


Portland is known for international food carts, farm-to-table restaurants, and farmers’ markets. Not to mention locally roasted coffee and unusual ice cream flavors. (Pear and blue cheese, anyone?) No matter what, you’re sure to eat well in Portland.

Live Music

Music lovers will love Portland. You’ll find live music every night, music festivals like the Waterfront Blues Festival, and all sorts of bands, from jazz to rock. Local artists who have made it big include PSU alum Esperanza Spalding.

Go Outside in Oregon

Pacific Ocean

The Oregon Coast is a year-round destination for adventure-seekers and beachcombers alike. You’ll find quaint beach towns next to miles of beach and the crashing Pacific Ocean. The water is cold, the weather is often drizzly, and the wild scenery is breathtaking. Bring a book or a wetsuit, depending on your mood.

Mount Hood

Mount Hood is a skier’s paradise, with downhill slopes and cross country trails. During the spring and summer, campers pitch their tents on glassy mountain lakes along the Pacific Crest Trail. Or you can take in the view from Timberline Lodge, 7,000 feet up the mountain.

Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River stretches through the breathtaking Columbia River Gorge: 80 miles of cliffs and waterfalls starting just 20 minutes from Portland. The Gorge has spectacular vistas, hiking trails, and bike routes. Check out Multnomah Falls, a 620-foot waterfall, and Hood River, the windsurfing capital of the world.


All throughout Oregon, mountains are waiting to be climbed. Visit Crater Lake National Monument, hike through the Coast Range, Steens Mountain, and the Three Sisters, or drop from the rainforests to the beaches in Washington's nearby Olympic National Park.


Just beyond the Cascade mountains, you’re in a different, drier world. The climate and landscape change dramatically. You can see painted hills, fossil beds, lava rocks, go rock climbing on Smith Rock, and experience life in Oregon’s high desert. 


Swim, kayak, canoe, whitewater raft, waterski, fish, or just float in Oregon’s vast network of rivers, lakes, and streams. We’ve also got 200 miles of coastline and lots of waterfalls to explore — or you can just enjoy the view.