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Portland-Seattle trip suggestions

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Louis, Oct 6, 2011.

  1. Louis

    Louis Well-Known Member

    I've had pretty much non-stop work travel for the past two months and have another packed travel month coming up.

    I'm supposed to go out to Portland, OR for a daytrip on a Thursday, and I just can't stomach the idea of flying to the west coat and back within 24 hours for the third time in a month.

    I'm thinking of spending the weekend in Portland and/or Seattle. I've only had the chance to walk around Portland during work travels, and I've never been to Seattle (or actually anywhere in Washington state - it's an odd "hole" in my travels).

    Any suggestions on things to do, assuming I'd have Friday, Saturday, and maybe part of Sunday free? I don't want to rent a car, and I want to do lower-key things, as I think I'm chronically exhausted from all of this travel (+ various other stresses). Other than that, no restrictions.
  2. Garden Kitty

    Garden Kitty Tranquillo

    I'd stop at Cannon Beach on the Coast in Oregon. It's not really beach weather, but beautiful scenery and you're near a nice state park.

    The River Gorge area is also nice and close by Portland, but if I had to choose, I'd pick the Coast.

    ETA: Ooops, just reread and saw the part about not wanting to rent a car. In that case, I might take a day tour out to the River Gorge area, and spend the rest of the weekend in Portland exploring. Here's an old thread from before SA last year talking about things to do in Portland
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  3. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    Voodoo Donuts. That is all. :lol: But seriously, tons of good food out in Portland. My bf and I stayed a week for SA last year and didn't have a single bad meal. The lightrail downtown is free! :cheer:

    Ooh, if you love books, Powell's! An entire city block and 5 stories of just books. It. Is. Glorious. :cheer:

    I was last in Seattle for my cousin's wedding yeeeaaars ago, so I don't remember what was good about it. I doubt we had a chance to wander anyway. :eek:
  4. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    If you only have the weekend and you don't want to drive, I would stay in Portland. It's a three and a half hour train trip from Portland to Seattle (albeit a very nice one), so that's nearly eight hours of travel between the two cities, which might cut into your weekend time depending on when you can take the train. If you want to say you have set foot in Washington state, you could always walk across the bridge to the other Vancouver :p

    Lots of cool and fun stuff to do in Portland. Others have mentioned the highlights. You certainly won't be bored if you stay there.
  5. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    I agree that - while the train to Seattle is very nice and a car isn't needed in Seattle - if you've just got the weekend and want to be low-key, staying in PDX might be for the best.

    I recommend the Japanese Garden :cool: and I think you might like the Pearl District part of the city - lots of nice shops and good restaurants.
  6. luenatic

    luenatic Well-Known Member

    Which part of Portland are you staying at? Downtown/Lloyd Center/Convention Center areas? Or further out?
  7. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    I agree that it will be more relaxing to stay in Portland. If you do, go to Powell's Books.
  8. PAskate

    PAskate New Member

    I would also recommend the Chinese Garden. The teahouse within the garden is also a fun stop if you're a tea drinker.
  9. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

    I am planning to go to Portland to visit family during US Thanksgiving. I have no use for nature. I want to do Black Friday shopping! I enjoyed the MAX light rail system during Skate America, so I intend to use it for my shopping spree (besides not wanting to drive all over the place, I like using public transit).

    Downtown Portland, you have Pioneer Place and Lloyd Centre. Cascades Station is where you have IKEA and SuperTarget. Gateway Station has a Fred Meyer and Kohls. Clackamas Transit Center Station has Clackamas Town Center Mall. Greshem Central Transit Centre Station has their Greshem Station Shopping Center.

    Anything else? I know the outlets are nowhere near a MAX station. What about Washington Square Mall in Beaverton?
  10. luenatic

    luenatic Well-Known Member

    @manhn: Don't bother with Washington Square Mall. It's about the same as the other malls. Do go to NW 23rd and the Pearl district though. There are lots of serious shopping there.
  11. manhn

    manhn Well-Known Member

    Oh, I'll be going to the Pearl District too. There's Powell's Books. I enjoy the Pearl District, but it's not the type of shopping I do (as I can't afford it). I enjoy buying cheap deordorant with the masses. Also, I don't expect that those type of shops will offer many Black Friday deals. Is my assumption wrong?
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  12. UMBS Go Blue


    As others have mentioned, Portland is a very easy city to get around. The tram takes you directly from the airport baggage carousel all the way downtown.

    Within downtown, the tram is totally free; this includes the Rose Arena and Lloyd Center area. Besides the fact that it's a major mall, you might want to peruse Lloyd Center because it houses the skating rink where Tonya Harding used to train. It is fairly small rink, so imagine Tonya trying to do triple axels amidst a mob scene of hundreds of TV reporters and cameras camped out along the rink boards. Inside the Lloyd Center food court, by the way, is a very good eatery that serves authentic Chinese bao.

    If money is not too much of an issue (seeing as at least part of the trip is for business purposes and thereby reimbursable), then 3 great hotels in Portland are:

    * The Nines (525 SW Morrison) is the swankiest, a very boutiquish Starwood property in the heart of downtown, directly across from Pioneer Square, and is also right on the tram line. It has a loud lobby several floors up with a somewhat expensive steakhouse, and it also has a happening rooftop bar with so-so appetizers, so I've heard.
    * The Heathman (1001 SW Broadway) is a much more sedate, cozier affair with excellent yet non-intrusive service. I've stayed here a number of times on business and it's one of my favorite hotels just because it's such a functional yet cozy hotel for its moderate size. The gym is fairly well-equipped as far as hotel gyms go. The Heathman restaurant is excellent - fabulous service and a perfect place for a business breakfast or lunch. I've been there several times already and every meal has been absolutely memorable and worth every penny.
    * The Hotel deLuxe (729 SW 15th) is in a less gentrified area of downtown, a bit south near Portland State University and a few blocks' walk from the nearest tramline. Portland has a huge independent streak - right down to its hotels - and the deLuxe is a tastefully renovated property where every floor is done up in a movie genre theme.

    I can't emphasize how special these hotels are - you're getting rooms, amenities, and service at <=$200/night that would cost you up to $500-800/night in midtown Manhattan on a busy weeknight.

    During Skate America, I had a fabulous weekend brunch with barbk at Mother's Bistro (212 SW Stark). You must get there 15 minutes before opening or else the line fills up in a flash. The eggs benedict are wonderful. Voodoo Doughnuts (22 SW 3rd), as mentioned previously, is 4 blocks north, and is itself 2 blocks SE of the infamous Hung Far Low sign (NW 4th and Couch). :grope:

    You might also want to check out Yelp or Citysearch for some good restaurant recommendations. West Coast cuisine, particularly from San Francisco up north to Oregon and Washington, really emphasizes fresh, locally sourced produce and seafood. :swoon:

    If you have a free day on the weekend, can rent a car from downtown, and if the weather is OK, treat yourself to a scenic drive east on the interstate along the Columbia River Gorge to The Dalles and back, checking out Multnomah Falls and Mount Hood along the way. The bluest waters and greenest greenery you'll probably see in the US without heading all the way to New Zealand.

    Here are also two New York Times "36 Hours" pieces:
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  13. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    I second, third, fourth Mother's Bistro.

    Make a reservation, though -- now. (For Skate America, we made ours around Labor Day, and were lucky to get in for 10:30am.) For Thanksgiving weekend, they will be packed to the gills. They also have fantastic lunch and dinner food.
  14. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    I never made it there.
    What a pity!
  15. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

    I loved the Heathman and the restaurant was great.

    My friend used to direct this ballet company: http://www.obt.org/
    It was quite good last time I saw them, but he isn't directing anymore. They have a season this week if you happen to be there now. Otherwise, they don't perform again until December.
  16. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Christopher Stowell has done wonders for Oregon Ballet Theatre. It's too bad they won't be performing over Thanksgiving weekend, but they'll be preparing for the "Nutcracker" and their grown-up alternative, "A Holiday Revue".
  17. luenatic

    luenatic Well-Known Member

    If you like coffee, make sure to get a cup of coffee at Stumptown Coffee. It's just a block (or 2?) from Voodoo Donuts.
  18. znachki

    znachki Active Member

    My brother live in Portland, so my sister and I go down there often. We keep saying we need to take a stealth trip down, because we can never seem to get to all the places we want to go!

    Lots of great suggestions here. Powells, Voodoo, Stumptown, the food pods. The Saturday Market can be fun as well. As far as hotels go, the ones that UMBS go blue mentioned are very good - The Nines also has a very good restaurant - The Urban Farmer.

    The Ace Hotel is also good. Do you like great cocktails? Because the Ace also has one of the best cocktail bars in town in Clyde Common. Check out what Jamie is barrel aging and have that - the barrel aged Negroni is amazing. Another awesome cocktail bar is The Teardrop Lounge. Another place to go is Hubers http://www.hubers.com/ . It's the oldest restaurant in town, and if you want a meat and potatoes kind of place this is it. You need to go back to the bar area, which is old-timey gorgeous, and get a Spanish Coffee. Yum - and enjoy the show.
  19. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

  20. Louis

    Louis Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all of the recommendations! I had a great time in Portland. Ended up having two half days of free time, and then had to come back east for various work and personal stuff.

    Highlights for me:

    1) Japanese Garden - incredible! Especially at this time of year. The trees look like they're on fire - so many shades of red and orange.

    2) Chinese Garden - wow, they're not kidding when they say it's the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. I didn't have time to stop and have tea, but the smell was incredible!

    3) Powells - yowee kazowee, lots of books. I stocked up and have enough reading for six months.

    4) Pearl District / First Thursday - had a lot of fun walking around and browsing the galleries. Lucky to be there when I was!

    5) The Food Trucks - yum! And so much food! You could buy enough food to last you for the day for $5. I tried to ignore that I saw most of the vendors handling food, dirty dishwater, and money all with their bare hands. :yikes: When in Rome....

    I also checked out the International Rose Test Garden, which still had a few roses in bloom, and I did some shopping at Pioneer Place since it was :cold: and I needed a couple of sweaters.

    To do something more off the beaten path, I also went to a small architecture museum across the bridge and really enjoyed it. I did not know about Portland's (forced) urban redevelopment in the 1950s, nor the ethnic groups, including Italian-Americans, that inhabited Portland in the early 20th century.

    Portland is definitely in my top 10 U.S. cities, and pushing for a spot in my top 5. It's the first west coast city I've been to where I think I could actually live happily.

    A few too many people for my liking looked like they should be at an occupy-something protest (i.e., in need of a haircut and a bath), but when the public transit is free, even I will cut the hipsters some slack. ;)

    I should have another work trip to Portland next year and will plan to stay an extra day again to check out some of the things I didn't have time for this time around.
  21. genevieve

    genevieve drinky typo pbp, closet hugger Staff Member

    glad you had a good time! :cheer2:
  22. star_gazer11

    star_gazer11 practising choreo

    Bump - it looks likely I'll be visiting at the end of the month.

    Can someone double check if the 2010 Skate America thread is accessible? I don't seem to have access from the link upthread (second post), and can't see it listed in the archives, but I haven't renewed my season pass yet.

    Any recommendations for rose/convention/Lloyd-side hotels? I'm eyeing the Crowne Plaza and Courtyard Marriott for the amenities. I'm :biggrinbo at The Nines website but that is outside of my budget, as are most of the downtown hotels for late may.