As the university's just a 20-minute drive from Portland International Airport, you'll soon be downtown and exploring the neighborhoods of Portland. The I-84 takes you into the city. Renting a car is an excellent way to see the city and its surroundings, and makes it easy to get to Mt. Hood National Forest's gorgeous hiking trails.
There are plenty of stunning outdoor spaces to see right in the city. The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden features a range of exotic plant life, and the Portland Japanese Garden is also worth a visit. The Oregon Zoo is also located in Portland.
Portland is globally renowned for its range of microbreweries. Sample their product on SE Woodstock Blvd and SE Broadway Ave, where you'll find many excellent pubs. For a caffeine fix, Stumptown Coffee Roasters is a must-try, as is World Cup Coffee & Tea.
Be sure not to miss Powell's City of Books, a destination in its own right – the store is so big that the front desk provides maps. You'll want to leave space in your luggage for some new reads!