As the author of the StuckatTheAirport blog, a monthly USA TODAY column and various features about how to make the most of your time stuck at just about any airport, I’m often asked which airport is my favorite. The short answer is always, “The airport where I board the plane that takes me to a new adventure and the one where I board the plane that takes me home.” But when pressed, I admit there are a few airports I’ll actually build a trip around. Oregon’s Portland International Airport is one of them.
Its perks are plentiful and, like the city, PDX airport is super environmentally-conscious and kind of quirky.
For example, an assembly/repair station and a tool check-out where cyclists can borrow a pedal wrench or air pump encourage biking to the airport. And the recently-replaced but hipster-embraced terminal carpet lives on in everything from coasters and caps to dog leashes and luggage tags made from remnants of the old rug.
Shopping for these and other unique-to-the-region items at PDX is a pleasure, in part because Oregon has no sales tax and the more than 60 stores and restaurants must offer their goods and services at prices no higher than what would be charged at off-airport locations.
And there are plenty of Oregon-based venues where you’ll want to spend your money, including the pre-security branches of Oregon-based Pendleton, Nike, Columbia Sportswear and Powell’s Books, the selection of Portland’s favorite food trucks, and at the post-security outlet of House Spirits Distillery, where the makers of Aviation American gin and a variety of other regionally-themed, small-batch spirits offer samples.