Portland & the Northwest

Located at the intersection of several creative Portland neighborhoods, Reed College provides a point of entry to a vibrant metropolis and a gateway to the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest. It’s hard to beat this location for your next four years.


The Best of Both Worlds

Portland is made up of neighborhoods with distinct personalities. The communities closest to Reed—Hawthorne, Division, Woodstock, and Sellwood—are known for being eclectic and friendly. Reed students frequent stores like Red Fox Vintage; catch indie films at the Clinton Street Theater; shop for local produce at the Woodstock Farmers Market; and explore the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge. Students can also be found making their way across the Willamette River—by train, tram, bus, or bicycle—to downtown Portland.

Reed’s proximity to downtown Portland allows students access to countless opportunities. The city is home to large companies, like Adidas, Nike, Patagonia, Columbia, and Intel, as well as established nonprofits, like Literary Arts, Mercy Corps, and Portland Art Museum. With the help of the Center for Life Beyond Reed, many students undertake internships during their time at Reed. Others participate in Reed’s off-campus Federal Work-Study program and find part-time jobs at local organizations. Students have also been known to spend their free time exploring the stacks at Powell’s City of Books, the world’s largest independent bookstore, or hiking in Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the United States.

Watch more videos of Reedies exploring Portland

The Great Outdoors

Providing a natural balance to the metropolitan area are the windswept beaches of the Oregon Coast and the snowcapped mountains of the Cascade Range. Reed is just an hour and a half away from each, and the Columbia River Gorge—home to Multnomah Falls—is even closer.

Many Reed students choose to take advantage of the college’s proximity to the great outdoors. Some spend weekends at the Reed-owned ski cabin on Mt. Hood, some go on day trips through Reed’s outdoor education center, and others use Reed’s backpacking co-op to stock up on gear for their own adventures.

Incoming students have the opportunity to take short backpacking, hiking, rafting, kayaking, or biking trips prior to the start of Orientation. These trips are an excellent way for students to make friends, experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, and get a taste of Reed culture and lore.

Cost-Free Adventure

Off-campus trips through Reed’s Gray Fund introduce students to parts of Portland and the Pacific Northwest they might not otherwise explore. Through the fund, Reed students have attended the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, visited natural hot springs, and hit the slopes for snowboarding. All Gray Fund expeditions are free of cost to students.

A Moveable Feast

Portland is home to more than 600 food carts—more than any other city in the United States. Most carts are grouped together in outdoor enclaves called pods, which makes it easy to try several at a time. A short bicycle ride from Reed’s campus will yield vegan barbecue at Supernova in Sellwood, gourmet Korean food at Jin Dak in Westmoreland, and Norwegian lefse at Viking Soul Food on Belmont. With so many options, there’s something for everyone, and Reed students have easy access to it all.

Go by Bike

Biking is big at Reed. Students run a bike co-op, form clubs centered on biking, and compete each spring in a tall-bike-jousting competition at Renn Fayre.

In Portland, more than 22,000 commuters choose to go by bicycle—the highest percentage of bike commuters for a large American city. To make it easy, Portland has many miles of bikeways, including

  • 94 miles of Neighborhood Greenways;
  • 162 miles of bike lanes;
  • 85 miles of bike paths.

Named a “platinum” bicycle-friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists (its highest rating), Portland has also been named the #1 bike-friendly city by Bicycling magazine for many years running.

Music to My Ears

The thriving music scene at Reed has included the Reed bands Hausu, Los Gatos, the Blob, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, and Cupid. All have made use of Reed’s band practice room, a soundproofed hideaway below the Student Union. Many Reed students host shows for KRRC, the on-campus radio station, and others are part of student organizations like music appreciation society, herodotones, and sound kollectiv.

The range of venues in Portland, from intimate to large, draw bands and musicians from all over the world; some, like the Decemberists, the Dandy Warhols, Esperanza Spalding, Sleater-Kinney, Modest Mouse, and the Shins, have made Portland their home—many of whom have played at Reed. Area music festivals like Pickathon, Portland Black Music Fest, MusicfestNW, and the Biamp PDX Jazz Festival bring us all together.

Rain and Rainbows

It does rain here, but a light rain jacket and a bike fender are always in style.

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