It’s okay to admit that you occasionally get stressed, tired or overwhelmed — even (or especially) while traveling. Take a break at some of these wellness-focused gems to find your moment of zen before getting back out there and discovering the rest of the adventures Portland has to offer.
Hit the Spa
Portland has a fantastic array of spas and massage spots to suit every price point and personality. Let these local spas pamper you while you relax and rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit.
Whether it’s deep-tissue massage, Thai massage, elaborate detox wraps or a simple foot soak, Blooming Moon delivers otherworldly relaxation, with vegan and cruelty-free products. This transformed house has several treatment rooms, a beautiful lobby and a private steam shower.
With several spas around town, Dosha is a modern full service day spa. The all-inclusive amenities at their Hawthorne location can’t be beat. With any spa service, including hot stone massages, body wraps and rejuvenation facials, guests have access to their luxurious steam room, sauna and shower facilities, plush with natural stone and wood touches. You’ll feel your stress levels drop just walking in.
If your relaxation style is more surf than snow, Kanani Pearl Spa is the mini Hawaiian retreat of your dreams. Kanani provides a variety of massage and esthetic services, all with plenty of island flare. Try the traditional Hawaiian deep-tissue massage, the Island Espresso Mud Wrap or the Papaya Pineapple Body Polish.
Kiva helps guests find wellness both inside and out, with a myriad of rejuvenating spa services and a beautiful cafe offering tea, juice, smoothies and fresh treats. Give your feet some love and care with Kiva’s Foot Sanctuary, which offers reflexology, foot massage and leg wraps – pot of tea included!
Scandinavians know a thing or two about riding out dark, cold winters in style. But you don’t need to book a flight to Finland for a true sauna experience: The sleek, wood-adorned facilities at Löyly provide a dose of traditional European sauna culture right here in Portland. Löyly’s two locations also offer a variety of massage and facial services to help you dial up your sauna experience.
Looking to mix up your massage routine? Mudra Massage specializes in Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy, a barefoot massage technique. (Translation: Someone walks on your back.) But this is no gimmick — therapists leverage gravity to achieve a deep tissue massage with virtually no pain. Mudra also offers classic massage styles such as Swedish and hot stone, as well as newer crazes like floatation therapy in sensory deprivation tanks.
Along with Eastern-focused treatments like acupuncture, herbal medicine and Ayurvedic therapies, The Dragontree offers relaxing hand, foot and head massages in their community Sangha Room. They also have an apothecary with their own line of soothing, hand-crafted body products made right here in Portland, including massage oils, body scrubs, tonics and tinctures.
In addition to traditional massage therapy and facials, Zama Massage offers a handful of distinctive spa services aimed at physical and spiritual wellness. Try the Infrared Detox Wrap or Halo Massage, an ancient massage technique that takes place in Zama’s “halotherapy salt caves” lined with Himalayan salt bricks and ambient LED lights.
Take a Walk
In the mood for a meditative stroll? Portland boasts nearly 300 parks and natural areas, including Forest Park, one of the country’s largest urban forests with 70 miles (113 km) of trails. Find peace in the tranquil beauty of the Portland Japanese Garden or wander in blissful silence through the authentic Ming Dynasty-style Lan Su Chinese Garden.
Let your stress evaporate with a trip to a local soak spot. Get straight to relaxing in traditional soaking pools, float tanks, and natural hot springs.
Place to Soak in Portland
For over 30 years, Portland’s Common Ground Wellness Cooperative has been a home for alternative healing and care. The co-op’s services include acupuncture, naturopathy, massage and counseling, in addition to their communal soaking pool and sauna. The intimate space is mostly clothing-optional and all-gender inclusive, but designated hours are also reserved for only women, only men, and only trans and genderqueer-identified individuals. Book a “massage sandwich” to enjoy soaks before and after a relaxing rubdown.
Though the term “sensory deprivation” may sound odd, you shouldn’t knock it until you’ve melted away your stress in a soothing, futuristic cocoon. One of the largest float tank centers in the United States, Float On is open 24 hours every day except Monday and houses six different tanks filled with heavily-salted, buoyant water. For those frightened by the thought of lying in a small space, the center offers 6-foot tall tanks, and each unit has interior light settings and a private showering area for breaks, as needed.
Luxurious, with incredible views of downtown and the Willamette River, Knot Springs is a high-end social club with fitness classes and a world-class spa with its hot, tepid and cold pools, plus sauna and steam room.
Do you dream of sipping a craft cocktail while soaking in a ceramic saltwater pool? For about the cost of a latte (or free with an overnight stay), you can do just that at McMenamins Kennedy School, a picturesque former schoolhouse in Northeast Portland. Built in 1915 and restored in the mid-1970s, the historic building now functions as a hotel complete with a restaurant, bars and movie theater. Bring your swimsuit and share the warm waters with patrons of all ages in this scenic setting.
Hot Springs Around Portland
Some things in Portland are better in the cold winter months. Sitting in a steaming spring while cool, fresh drops of rain splash your face is a downright ethereal experience. Numerous natural hot springs are scattered around the Portland metro area, and they’re worth the short car trip to get there. Check in advance for inclement weather and road conditions before heading out on your mini road trip. And if you’re looking to maximize your time, consider renting a cabin for a leisurely and cozy getaway.
Bigelow (Deer Creek) Hot Springs
The smallest and most rustic of the bunch, Bigelow sits right against the winding and rushing McKenzie River. Also called Deer Creek Hot Springs, this tiny natural spring is off the beaten path, about 20 minutes from Cougar (3 hours from Portland) and a quick walk from a nearby trailhead.
The pool only fits two to four people comfortably and runs a bit cooler than other springs, but slinking into the cave can increase your exposure to warm spurts. (The water temperature is warmest in summer and fall.) Clothing choice is up to each bather, and since the pool is mostly private, you won’t have to succumb to peer pressure either way.
Breitenbush Hot Springs
The quickest route to Breitenbush Hot Springs will take 2.5 hours from Portland, but if you’re looking for a full day (or more) of relaxation with the works, this is the place. This majestic center located on the Breitenbush riverbank feels like camp for new-age adults. The expansive facility offers several options for hot springs including three natural, stone-lined pools with one designated tub for silence; four spiral tubs of varying temperatures; and a cold plunge nearby. Indulge in daily wellness offerings, such as mindful meditation, ayurvedic yoga and deep-tissue massage. Reservations are required for all visits and book well in advance to enjoy this retreat for more than a day, but daily passes are also offered on a $20 to $36 sliding scale. Because of the lack of cell phone service, it’s especially important to check and note directions before driving there.
Bagby Hot Springs
Know Before You Go
Bagby Hot Springs is currently closed due to damaged access roads resulting from the Riverside Fire in 2020. For more information, visit the U.S. Forest Service website.
The cluster of hot springs closest to Portland is located just under two hours away in the lush Mt. Hood National Forest. Popular year-round Bagby Hot Springs features several bathhouses and bathing options. After a 1979 fire burned down the original bathhouse, a new structure was built in its place that houses five private stalls, each with its own tub. Below the main bathhouse, a large, round, wooden tub can comfortably fit a handful of friends, while tubs made of logs fit single bathers.
The rustic tubs are filled from nearby hot springs. Because the temperatures are typically scalding, bathers must fill and carry buckets of cold water to get the baths to a comfortable warmth. Clothing is rare, and late in the evening it’s been known to get fairly busy. Since the springs are only accessible by a 1.5-mile hike, it’s best to arrive with plenty of time (or flashlights) to make it back before dark. Bring $5 cash for parking.
Portland may be known for its ice cream, doughnuts, cured meats and fish sauce chicken wings, but it’s also a heavenly spot for healthy eats.
Portland offers distinguished artisan chocolate and handmade sweet treats all year long.
Tea drinkers can enjoy a favorite cuppa or sample exotic varietals in Portland's teahouses. Chai tea, bubble tea and classic green tea are just a few of the many teas brewed in and around Portland.
You don’t need to be an herbal master to take advantage of Portland’s great herb shops and apothecaries. Stock up on anti-anxiety aromatherapy oils at Altar or try traditional natural remedies at the Herb Shoppe Pharmacy. Naturopath-owned Fettle Botanic stocks an extensive selection of tinctures and tonics along with expert advice.
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