Car Rental Portland
Portland is scattered with wonderful museums, parks, and gardens, but half of what brings people to Portland is actually outside Portland. Here, having a car is indispensable for anyone who loves the great outdoors!
Cheap Car Rental: Portland’s Best Deals
Depending on the time of year, discount car rentals can be found when you comparison shop between agencies. Unless you’re a member of a loyalty program, you’ll find the biggest savings by shopping around. Portland is home to most of the big rental agencies, including Avis, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and National, which all have presences on site at PDX and all around the city.
Renting a Car at Portland International Airport
PDX is certainly the easiest place to rent a car. Portland International Airport has five agencies located in the terminal for the most seamless experience. You’ll find Avis, Hertz, National, Dollar and Enterprise with the cars parked right there in the main garage, ready to go. (Enterprise even has hybrid and electric cars available.) You can also grab a quick free shuttle to the Alamo, Budget, Payless, and Thrifty locations just 10 minutes from the airport.
More Locations: Flexibility and Choice
Some seasoned travelers recommend going into the city to rent your car to avoid paying airport fees. Since Portland has good public transport links to downtown, this is a feasible option if you’re not dragging loads of luggage. Take the MAX Red Line to center city and you’re just a few blocks away from the Enterprise office at 445 Sw Pine St.
If you’re traveling by Amtrak, it’s handy to know that the Avis downtown location, at 330 SW Washington St. offers pick up from the train station.
Driving in Portland: What to Expect
Portland traffic gets a pretty bad rap. Many residents choose to walk, bike, or hop on public transport, but even so, rush hour is a bear. Downtown Portland has several one-way streets, which can be confusing for visitors: they generally alternate directions. West Burnside Street has a quirk of its own: although it carries two-way traffic, left turns are generally not allowed. Portland also has many cyclists, and some intersections have green “Bike Boxes.” You must stop at the white line before the box, and always yield to oncoming cyclists.
Parking in Portland: Everything You Need to Know
Finding parking in Portland isn’t difficult, but prices vary. In terms of street parking, there are 9,700 metered parking spaces, which use two different kinds of meters: the traditional coin-operated meters and the new “smart meters” that serve several spaces, take coins or cards and produce tickets that must be displayed in your vehicle. Portland also operates six parking garages downtown under the SmartPark program: you can get 2 hours of free parking validation for these garages from many local businesses. In addition to these options, there are plenty of private lots and garages at different price points, and many hotels also offer free overnight parking.
Exploring Portland by Car
While downtown Portland is fairly compact, some of the best attractions are spread out: that’s when it comes in handy to rent a car.
The Pittock Mansion is a perfectly preserved house full of the art, furniture, and belongings of its last Victorian residents. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is riveting for adults and children alike. Gorgeous Washington Park, covering 410 acres, is home to many wonders like the Oregon Zoo and the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum, shaped like an enormous log cabin. In early summer, the enchanting International Rose Test Garden in will make you understand how Portland got the nickname “City of Roses.”