It’s true what they say about Portland, Ore.: It really does rain a lot. In fact, Portland gets an average of 43.5 inches of rain per year and experiences 164 days of precipitation, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Seattle, its famously soggy neighbor to the north, gets just 37.7 inches per year and has just 149 days of precipitation.
But those who fixate on Portland’s watery weather are typically forgetting an important fact: If the city is wet for six months out of the year, that means it’s dry for another six months -- including summertime, when Portland sheds its soaked veneer for a sunny one.
In places like Florida and California, people take sunshine for granted. Not so in Portland. There, summer is like a rare and juicy citrus fruit: Because it’s so fleeting, residents try to squeeze every possible drop out of it. The result is a city teeming with energy, excitement and events, from sidewalk cafés and outdoor festivals to al-fresco art and athletics.
Portlanders’ seasonal joie de vivre makes the City of Roses an ideal destination for summer meetings. Especially when those meetings take place in venues with experiences and views that play to Portland’s summertime strengths. Following are five such venues, each of which promises to make planners and attendees rethink their inclement impressions of Oregon’s largest city.
• The Jupiter Hotel: In Southeast Portland, The Jupiter began operating in 2004, when owners Kelsey Bunker and Tod Breslau turned what once was a seedy motel into an artsy boutique hotel that better reflected the eclectic neighborhood around it. Today, the property offers 148 guest rooms; the Doug Fir Lounge, a restaurant, bar and live music venue; and seven meeting and event spaces totaling over 9,000 square feet, including DreamTENT, a 2,800-square-foot tented outdoor space for groups of up to 187 people (or 250, if you also rent the adjacent indoor meeting room). The property’s newest addition, a contemporary expansion known as Jupiter Next, opened in June 2018 with 67 rooms, a 1,620-square-foot “Secret Garden” for groups of up to 100, and a second restaurant and bar serving tropically inspired food and drink that’s perfect for summer.
• The Hoxton: Boutique hotel The Hoxton opened in November 2018 in Portland’s historic Old Town Chinatown. Along with 119 guest rooms, it has a large, open lobby for socializing and working, a speakeasy-style basement bar, a ground-floor Mexican-inspired restaurant and The Apartment, a meetings enclave comprising four 10- to 12-person conference rooms that open onto a central Pantry Kitchen that’s fully stocked with complimentary drinks and snacks. In summer, though, the property’s highlight is Tope, a light-filled rooftop taqueria and bar that’s available for group buyouts.
• Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront: Downtown Portland’s defining feature and amenity is the Willamette River, which visitors can experience up close and personal at the Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront. Located on the banks of the river, in the vicinity of more than 60 breweries, the hotel completed a massive, multi-year renovation in 2016 and now offers 502 modern guest rooms and suites, two restaurants, a fitness center, complimentary car-charging stations for guests with electric vehicles and 44,104 square feet of meeting space for groups of up to 2,000 people. Light-filled spaces like the Laurelhurst and Mount Hood meeting rooms have windows that overlook the river and, in the distance, Mount Hood, so attendees can stay connected to summer even when they’re stuck indoors doing business.
• Hotel Eastlund: Across the street from the Oregon Convention Center, in Portland’s up-and-coming Lloyd District, is the Hotel Eastlund, a boutique property that boasts a chic, retro vibe. Along with 168 guest rooms and suites, there’s a café/bakery/wine bar, a fitness center, Tesla and electric-vehicle chargers, and 5,300 square feet of meeting space, including a grand ballroom, two conference rooms and two private dining rooms with panoramic city views. Summer visitors will be especially appreciative of the Altabira City Tavern, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant and bar, which includes a dining room for 60, a bar for 34, five private dining rooms with views through floor-to-ceiling windows. There's also a rooftop patio for up to 103 people, with windbreaks, heaters and fire pits.
• Portland Japanese Garden: Hotels are far from the only summertime staple for meetings in Portland. The city also is home to many nontraditional venues like the Portland Japanese Garden in Washington Park. Designed in 1963 and renovated in April 2017, the garden encompasses 12 acres with eight separate garden styles, and includes an authentic Japanese Tea House, streams, walkways and amazing views of Mt. Hood. Although it’s not available for public rentals, corporate groups can reserve the garden for private events.