Your Destination Guide to Portland

Destination Guide Portland - Your Destination Guide to Portland, OR

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Portland Aerial Tram

Portland Aerial Tram
Portland Aerial Tram

© William Beutler

The Rose City should be seen from all angles – including extreme heights. The perfect and most affordable way to do so is to take a trip on the Portland Aerial Tram. The tram connects Oregon Health & Science University's Kohler Pavilion and a lower OHSU facility in the South Waterfront neighborhood. There is also an intermediate tower that can be seen by drivers traveling I-5 near South Portland.

Open to the public for just over a year, the tram has a somewhat controversial history. Due to public scrutiny of the costly project and the dismay of South Waterfront homeowners concerned about local impacts, its completion was at times in doubt. However, the city, most notably mayor Sam Adams, supported the tram to serve not only OHSU but also commuters seeking a quicker route up Portland's Marquam Hill. In a contest held to choose the architect, the firm Angel/Graham/Pfenninger/Scholl was the unanimous choice to design the tram.

The steel structure ascends high above the city, visually springing from Portland's waters and soaring into its dense forests in a perfect reflection of the West's inventive spirit and deep love of nature. The modern design has elicited overwhelmingly positive responses, with praising it as "the most significant new piece of architecture to be added to Portland since Michael Graves' Portland Building in 1980." It has received nationwide awards for its innovation and also serves commuters as well as those who simply want to take in the skyline. Either way, the six-minute round trip offers a higher view of the Cascade Mountains and most of metropolitan Portland.

Visitors always enjoy gazing up at towering skyscrapers in a foreign city, but getting the chance to look down at them from 3,300 feet above (for pocket change) is dynamite.

Attraction Information

  • Hours:
  • Monday through Friday: 5:30am to 9:30pm
  • Saturday: 9am to 5pm
  • Closed Sunday
  • Departs approximately every six minutes. During windy conditions, the tram may slow to a ten minute departure schedule. The last Tram leaves the lower terminal 10-minutes before closing.
  • Closed most national holidays
  • Contact:
  • Location: (Kohler Pavilion location) SW Campus Drive Marquam Hill Portland, OR; (South Waterfront neighborhood) SW Bond Ave Portland, OR
  • Website:
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