Portland, Oregon, is a city of diversity. The city has excellent outdoor recreation within its boundaries. It also has many cultural activities to entertain and teach those who avail themselves of them. Its cuisine is award-winning, and lodging for visitors is always hospitable and ranges from the basic budget to an unparalleled luxurious hotel room. Here are some activities and places to visit in Portland to make the most out of this friendly, diverse, and engaging city.
Explore the amazing number of parks – over 700 that allows for a huge variety of outdoor activities year-round. Maintaining such large numbers of green areas is right in stride with the state’s well-known love of the outdoors.
Washington Park is Portland’s oldest park. There are hiking trails, playgrounds, the Children’s Museum, a zoo and picnic areas and playing fields. First opened in 1871 and known as City Park, it was only about 40 acres of rugged terrain complete with a population of cougars. Many thought the city was wasting its money by spending nearly $1,000 per acre. Today the park has quadrupled in size, the only cougar may be in the zoo, and there are urban trails for hiking right in the centre of the city!
I love this park! But you should know about all the others too. Some offer hiking, trail riding, horseback riding, indoor pools and much more.
The Saturday Market
Don’t miss the Portland Saturday Market. Actually, if you are in town on Sunday, you can still visit the Portland Saturday Market as it opens then too! Hours are Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM and Sundays 11 AM to 4:30 PM. The Market is also open on Sundays. When it was founded back in 1974, a group of artists and artisans from Eugene, Oregon, founded it. I think it might have been named the Eugene Artists and Artisans Weekend Market in Portland. Nevertheless, it is the oldest market of its kind in the United States and frequented by locals and tourists who enjoy viewing and buying art and craft works but also indulge in some fine homemade food Oregon style – delicious, generous and affordable treats.
Portland has a very Chinese influence. Its sister city is Suzhou in China. It is located within the city’s large China Town, also referred to as Old Town, is the Portland Chinese Garden. The garden fills an entire city block, and being right downtown is a refuge at times for downtown workers looking to shed some stress in the garden’s peaceful, fragrant and gorgeous environment. The Portland Chinese Garden is open year-round and is a beautiful place to visit.
Want some real fun! Whatever age you are, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is the place to go. This is one of my favourites – with or without the kids!
At this amazing museum, even the building itself is an exhibit. Before it became OMSI, it was a power plant for General Electric. They left the steam generator, and it is now one of the exhibits. OMSI is one of Oregon’s most famous museums. It was begun in 1944 and is currently ranked in the top ten science museums in the United States. The museum is a laser light planetarium, an IMAX theatre and tours each day of the USS Blueback, a former US Navy submarine.
Places to eat in Portland
ENZO Winery is a winery located in urban Portland. It is a boutique winery with a production goal of 500 cases per year. Grapes are from select vineyards in Oregon and California. They also have a tasting room for their wines to be tried out. But, they also serve salami from Olympic Provisions and cheese from Steve’s Cheese bar. Being true to Portland’s heritage, they have two local, rotating microbrews on tap as well. So, for a light lunch in an unusual place, give them a try.
If you want something a bit more substantial, give Bunk Sandwiches a try. They serve a variety of sandwiches that represent Pacific NW food. There are no hamburgers here though, hamburger lovers will have to find a faster food joint to indulge that vice.
For diner, I recommend the Noble Rot. The name may be a put-off, but the food is not. It tastes as fresh as if it were just picked from the garden. It was! Noble Rat is on the fourth floor, and adjacent to it is their own 3,000 square foot garden, which provides many of the menu’s ingredients. In fact, the menu changes often based on what the garden is providing. The Noble Rat also has a pervasive wine list. Wine can be had by the glass, bottle or flight. In 2009, Noble Rat won the Best Wine Bar award. They work hard to keep their reputation as a great place to discover wines alive and fresh.
Where To Stay in Portland
Since you are on a getaway, I suggest something historic with great ambience and service. I suggest you make a reservation at the Heathman Hotel. A downtown Portland landmark since 1927. It recently completed a $4 million “green” renovation. The renovation did not disturb the historic architecture of the building, and the hotel belongs to the group Historic Hotels of America. It recently received the Four Diamond award for the 26th consecutive year! Fewer than 30 hotels in the world have been awarded Four Diamonds for twenty-six (26) consecutive years.