An alphabet soup of reasons to visit Oregon’s largest city plus three travel tips. Enjoy the Journey…..
Mount Hood and the Cascades Frame the Portland Skyline
A – Airport. Run by the Port of Portland, PDX is easy to get around and passenger friendly. The shops, restaurants and vendors in the terminal practice “fair retail pricing.” That means that they are not allowed to charge more than they do in town. Also, as throughout Oregon, there is no sales tax. Free wi-fi is available to travelers throughout the airport. www.flypdx.com.
B – Books galore at Powell’s Bookstore; one city block and three stories high filled with books and all sorts of reading paraphernalia. Open 365 days a year, this is one of the world’s great spots for bibliophiles. www.powells.com.
C – Classical Chinese Garden is an authentic Suzhou style formal garden. This oasis, which encompasses an entire city block downtown, is home to nearly 100 specimens of trees, plants and flowers. www.portlandchinesegarden.org.
D – Dinner or lunch at Pazzo. Regional Italian cuisine served in comfortable surroundings featuring woodfired pizzas, an imaginative menu and a great wine list. www.pazzorisrorante.com.
E – Eastside and Westside Riverwalk. Take time to stroll, jog, skate or bike on this delightful pedestrian highway along the Willamette River. An integral part of the urban renewal plan for the city.
F – Freedom to travel on the public transportation system with the All-Day Ticket @ $3.50. Portland shows what transportation planning is all about, whether by light rail, bus or streetcar. www.trimet.org
Light Rail System
G – Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Another green belt in the City of Roses, on 29 acres located on the west bank of the Willamette River.
H – Heathman Bar and Restaurant. This favorite with locals is a very civilized restaurant featuring a blend of fresh Northwest cuisine with a French flair. www.heathmanhotel.com.
I – Institute for Contemporary Art is worth a visit. Artists exhibit in every imaginable discipline. www.pica.org.
J – Japanese Garden. Internationally recognized, it features five formal garden styles within the five acre site. www.japanesegarden.com.
K – Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Portland (in another life the 5th. Avenue Suites) is the place to stay. Rated #1 in the city by Travel & Liesure Magazine, they are centrally located and offer lots of free goodies including free wi-fi in the guest rooms, an overnight shoe shine and an evening wine tasting that features the vineyards of Oregon. The friendly, knowledgeable staff excels at this terrific place. www.hotelmonaco-portland.com.
Lobby Area in Hotel Monaco Portland
L – Light rail system takes you from the airport on the Red Line. It’s quick, efficient, fun and cheap. www.trimet.org
M – Moonstruck Café for their handcrafted, award winning chocolates; do not miss this place. They also serve chocolate based drinks and snacks. Their products are sold in town and around the country at select gourmet retailers. You can also order online at www.moonstruckchocolate.com.
N – Northwest/Nob Hill neighborhood; trendy and hip. A lively mix of shops, restaurants and professional services. www.nobhillbiz.com
O – Oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Art Museum was founded in 1892. Home to art of the Northwest, Pacific Rim, Europe and Asia, in 2005, they completed a major project to preserve and renovate the adjacent 141,000 square-foot Mark Building, finishing a ten-year, $125-million master plan of expansion and growth. www.portlandartmuseum.org
P – Pioneer Courthouse Square is the heart of the downtown district. It hosts over 300 free events yearly. www.pioneercourthousesquare.org.
Q – Quiet outside noise with RaceQuiet. It provides 42 decibels of noise reduction along with high fidelity audio reproduction for any portable electronic device. A great travel product. www.racequiet.com.
R – Red Star Tavern featuring regional American classics. Don’t miss their raspberry pancakes for breakfast and the skillet cornbread at dinner. Outstanding choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner. www.redstartavern.com.
S – Salmon Trout and Steelheader Magazine is based in Portland and is considered to be the go to periodical for informative and interesting articles relating to fishing. Check out their website at www.amatobooks.com or call 1-800-541-9498 for subscription services. It makes a great gift for the fisherman/woman in your life.
T – Tao of Tea offers fine teas and cuisine in a relaxing sanctuary within the Classical Chinese Garden. They also have two other locations in Portland, all featuring pure leaf tea and handcrafted tea ware. They ship all over the world. www.taooftea.com.
U – Underground Portland, aka Shanghai Tunnels, leads you through the labyrinth where sailors once where “shanghaied” or kidnapped and sold to ship captains as slaves. Watch out for trap doors! www.shanghaitunnel.com.
V – Visitors Association should be your “go to” place for information about Portland. www.travelportland.com.
W – Washington Park featuring its world famous Rose Garden (the oldest in the country) and the Portland Zoo. www.portlandonline.com and click on “find a park.”
X – “Xtra” comfort when you fly with the Cabin Cuddler, a micro-fleece travel blanket with a unique wraparound design to keep airline passengers comfortable in the coldest of cabins. It comes with a matching tote that makes it easy to carry and can also be used as a lumbar support when packed. Look for it at www.protravelgear.com.
Y – Yearly rainfall in Portland is 36 inches. That’s why it’s so green, but pack accordingly.
Z – Zip-R-Lok, this anti-theft devise, foils pickpockets when and where you travel. Look under new products at www.compid.com.
Thanks to Moonstruck Chocolates and POVA for the photos.