The cost to get in varies by age and status (student, senior, etc.), though it hovers between $8 and $15, sometimes more or less with special exhibits. I went for the Wonders of Ancient Egypt exhibit in 1998, and it was around $10 per person for adults, minus $2 each for a special coupon from the Oregonian (the local newspaper).
The traveling exhibits do add a lot to the experience, though the standing collections are also impressive and representative of many different styles and periods. One of the parts I particularly enjoyed was the small Rodin gallery at the front of the museum itself, a separate room filled with sculptures and paintings of one artist.
As expected, the gift shop and the cafe are wildly overpriced, though the money spent goes to help maintain the museum itself, and is worth the cost knowing your dollars are going to ensure the museum's continued quality.
If you're an art lover, or just someone looking to kill an afternoon with some quiet culture, do take the time to visit the PAM. It's worth every penny of your admission.
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October 5, 2002
The 'basic' exhibits are nice, but small. I especially liked the modern art rooms. You can see the whole museum in about 4 hours. Parking is a bit tight, but look for a Smart Park - these are city sponsored lots that are really cheap - about $1-2/hour for the first few hours. The museum looks over the "Park Blocks", which are literally patches of trees, shrubs and grass in the middle of downtown. Good place to people watch and get a strong cup of coffee at one of the many cafes that line the blocks. Portland State University about three blocks, too, so you will see demonstrations, art for sale, etc.
From journal Portland Oregon from a native's point of view
by Elli Metz
February 19, 2001
From journal A Former Local's Advice: Portland, Oregon