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24 hours in Portland, Or


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My husband and I are riding the Empire Builder out to Portland, staying one night in Portland and riding back. We have a little over 24 hours there. Any tips on what to see and what to skip? We won't have a car or anything as we will be walking from the train station.

Thanks!

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Powell’s books 

I’m more knowledgeable about what kids would like to see (zoo, forestry museum, perhaps a small holocaust museum if they haven’t had access to a bigger one, tour of the underground Shang hai off to ships tunnels... light rail, medical center monorail???) 

Adults might like some of the above too! 

Powells Books to me would be a must see

msybe Rose or other gardens if right season.

between cabs (Uber? Lyft?) light rail, you should be able to get around... 

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Powell’s books , Lewis and Clark locations? , Columbia and or Willamette river? , Pacific Ocean  ? 

I’m more knowledgeable about what kids would like to see (zoo, forestry museum, perhaps a small holocaust museum if they haven’t had access to a bigger one, tour of the underground Shang hai young men off to ships tunnels... light rail, medical center monorail???) 

Adults might like some of the above too! 

Powells Books to me would be a must see

msybe Rose, Japanese, Chinese, or other gardens if right season.

between cabs (Uber? Lyft?) light rail, you should be able to get around... 

 

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From the train station, you're right off the streetcar line that would make it easy to get around downtown. A day pass lets you get on and off. If you want to go a little further, MAX should get you there.

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The Chinese gardens are lovely, but I'd take a Lyft out to the Japanese gardens and the Rose Test Gardens - they're next to each other. If it's a mountain day, you'll have an amazing view from there. And do Powell's. And eat some amazing food. I don't feel like you can go wrong on Alberta St. or on 23rd in Northwest. Skip the food trucks though. They're gross. And I say this as someone who generally loves food trucks. If you want to do doughnuts, do Blue Star or Coco (Coco sells out most days, so go early) - skip the VooDoo line. They're so overrated. Or just skip the doughnuts and hit Salt and Straw for ice cream as your sweet Portland treat instead.

Here's my word of caution though... the Empire Builder is notoriously late. It's possible you won't have anywhere near 24 hours.

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3 minutes ago, Farrar said:

The Chinese gardens are lovely, but I'd take a Lyft out to the Japanese gardens and the Rose Test Gardens - they're next to each other. If it's a mountain day, you'll have an amazing view from there. And do Powell's. And eat some amazing food. I don't feel like you can go wrong on Alberta St. or on 23rd in Northwest. Skip the food trucks though. They're gross. And I say this as someone who generally loves food trucks. If you want to do doughnuts, do Blue Star or Coco (Coco sells out most days, so go early) - skip the VooDoo line. They're so overrated. Or just skip the doughnuts and hit Salt and Straw for ice cream as your sweet Portland treat instead.

Here's my word of caution though... the Empire Builder is notoriously late. It's possible you won't have anywhere near 24 hours.

I agree with much of this. If possible, I’d also try to fit in a bike tour. They are a great way to see lots of the city in a short period of time. We always try to do one first thing in a new city, and then go back and spend more time at any places that particularly interested us. If you like Indian food, check out Bollywood Theatre.

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You can do a flying tour of Mt St Helens from Portland, which is pretty awesome. 2nd would be the Columbia Gorge and Hiking the waterfalls. 3rd would be eat cinnamon rolls. These people are serious about their cinnamon rolls, lol.

http://www.ccavn.com I think this is who we used. 

Edited by PeterPan
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1 hour ago, Farrar said:

The Chinese gardens are lovely, but I'd take a Lyft out to the Japanese gardens and the Rose Test Gardens - they're next to each other. If it's a mountain day, you'll have an amazing view from there. And do Powell's. And eat some amazing food. I don't feel like you can go wrong on Alberta St. or on 23rd in Northwest. Skip the food trucks though. They're gross. And I say this as someone who generally loves food trucks. If you want to do doughnuts, do Blue Star or Coco (Coco sells out most days, so go early) - skip the VooDoo line. They're so overrated. Or just skip the doughnuts and hit Salt and Straw for ice cream as your sweet Portland treat instead.

Here's my word of caution though... the Empire Builder is notoriously late. It's possible you won't have anywhere near 24 hours.

This. Unfortunately, we've experienced some epic with the trains when we used them.

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4 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

Oh, and stay away from wherever the riots are happening.  Those anarchists are not what one wants to encounter.

Haha, that's the first thing everyone says when we tell them what we are doing for our anniversary. (Not that riots are funny, just that you mentioned it too)

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Thank you so much everyone! I love our crowd sourcing community! I have been scouring the internet, but there is nothing like the perspective of people who have been or live there.

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5 hours ago, TravelingChris said:

Oh, and stay away from wherever the riots are happening.  Those anarchists are not what one wants to encounter.

 

Ummm. Where *are* the riots happening?  

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1 minute ago, Pen said:

 

Ummm. Where *are* the riots happening?  

That’s also my perspective as an Oregonian. I hear way more about the riots from out of state family and friends than I do as someone living here. Are they covered lots on national news? I don’t watch TV, so maybe that’s what I’m missing. Or maybe certain news stations like to cover them quite a bit? 

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The bookstore and the Japanese gardens are on the list now. I saw the donut restaurant recs, any other great places to eat? I looked on Triple D and saw a place called Byways cafe

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2 minutes ago, Frances said:

That’s also my perspective as an Oregonian. I hear way more about the riots from out of state family and friends than I do as someone living here. Are they covered lots on national news? I don’t watch TV, so maybe that’s what I’m missing. Or maybe certain news stations like to cover them quite a bit? 

 

Yeah- I’m trying to get a teen started on driving.  I hate to think we might be obliviously wandering into a riot.

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4 minutes ago, Pen said:

A McMenamins? Sort of an Oregon “thing” ? 

https://d2660z551umiy9.cloudfront.net/files/menus/MarketStreet/MSPmenu.pdf

Personally, I’d only do it if you are in to beer. While they are often in interesting locations, I find the food to be average. I’d google 100 best cheap eats in the Oregonian (Portland newspaper). I don’t know if the 2019 version has been released yet, but 2018 would be available.

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The best meal I had last time I was in Portland was at Grassa on 23rd. Not a fancy place on a lot of lists, but gosh that was great pasta. I've eaten at a bunch of places on Alberta... The Tin Shed is really good. 

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So dh is interested in both the Chinese and the Japanese Gardens.  If we did the Japanese Gardens on Wednesday after we finally arrive in Portland, could we do the Chinese Garden before we leave Thursday since it is so close to the train station? Or should we just avoid the Chinese Gardens?

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13 minutes ago, Æthelthryth the Texan said:

I don't watch TV either, but they sure show up a lot of Twitter- Antifa makes an awful lot of appearances in tweets for what look like weekly rallies. Also since Andy Ngo got the crap beat out of him it's been pretty prominent in many corners, trying to bring the people who tried to kill him to justice. 

I don’t do twitter either. This is the only social media I do.

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I wouldn't avoid the Chinese Gardens - if you decide to do more things downtown, they're smaller and closer and lovely. And if you're not into gardens, then they're much more contained. But the Japanese Gardens are really something special and so are the Rose Test Gardens right next to them.

Guys, I don't think you need to worry about the Nazis or Antifa. There hasn't even been anything significant happening since early June, I think. Yeah, Antifa gets out there, but... and I know this is coming from a place of having been around Antifa at a lot of protests... just mind your own business and it'll be fine. 

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This conversation about riots is bizarre to me. My daughter goes to school in the heart of downtown Portland and she has never encountered a riot. There are occasional protests. Interesting the perceptions we develop about cities we don’t live in...

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4 hours ago, 1lioness said:

Interesting the perceptions we develop about cities we don’t live in...

This is so true! I'm from Memphis...❤️

We are arriving in Portland on the 8th and will fly out on the 17th. Thank you OP for starting this thread. We will actually only spend about 2 days in Portland because we are road-tripping as much of Oregon as we can...we have jam-packed our schedule. SO EXCITED!!!!

(The way I talked my dh into this trip is by whispering "Powell's" to him at random times over the course of time...lol!)

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14 hours ago, MorningGlory said:

This is so true! I'm from Memphis...❤️

We are arriving in Portland on the 8th and will fly out on the 17th. Thank you OP for starting this thread. We will actually only spend about 2 days in Portland because we are road-tripping as much of Oregon as we can...we have jam-packed our schedule. SO EXCITED!!!!

(The way I talked my dh into this trip is by whispering "Powell's" to him at random times over the course of time...lol!)

Ha ha ha. This made me laugh. Powells is my DH's love language too. We no longer live in Oregon and miss it!

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11 hours ago, importswim said:

Ha ha ha. This made me laugh. Powells is my DH's love language too. We no longer live in Oregon and miss it!

 

We live in Seattle and my daughter goes to school in Dallas.  She will be home for 10 days and asked if we could go to Powell's.  I am flying her into Portland and driving down to meet here there.  I leave tomorrow morning.  ;-)

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2 minutes ago, saraha said:

Thank you everyone so much! We had a FANTASTIC overnight in Portland and really hope to bring the kids here some day!

 

What did you end up seeing/doing?

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Well, our train was over 4 hours late, so on Wednesday evening we figured out the transit system, went to Powell's, Grassa and Ruby Jewel, then took the transit back to the train station to pick up our luggage and head up to our hotel (which was way out at the end of the yellow line). Thursday we took a waterfalls tour that drove us around the city at first because it picked up passengers from downtown hotels, so we got a cool tour of the city with a super knowledgeable guide, then took us out to see 4 waterfalls and the fancy rest stop. After that we sampled burgers from a few places as it was burger week, shopped a little downtown, picked up blue star donuts and got back on our train. It was so much fun! We wanted to do the gardens, but were so late Wed and still figuring things out, then the tour was 4 hours long Thursday that we felt like we didn't have the time to devote to it that we would want, so saving it for hopefully a future trip. It was so much fun!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/5/2019 at 6:15 AM, importswim said:

Ha ha ha. This made me laugh. Powells is my DH's love language too. We no longer live in Oregon and miss it!

Powells lived up to its reputation (three of us bought special books there), and Oregon itself was beyond my wildest imagination! I am so sad that our trip is over! I keep looking at our plans and photos in Google Drive...I can't come back down to TN earth! lol

(Just in case anyone searches for info on Oregon road trips...We spent 2 days in the Portland/Columbia Gorge area, 1 day at Mt. Hood, 3 days in the Bend area, 1 day at Crater Lake, and 3 days going up and down the coast with Yachats as our home base. Exhausting, yes...but well worth it.

Crater Lake was my husband's and sons' favorite stop (I was surprised at how few people were there compared to everything else!), the Painted Hills area was my favorite (again...not crowded at all), and the Newport Dock sea lions were my daughter's fave (very crowded!). The only thing I would delete from our trip was driving north to Cannon Beach and Astoria on our last day. The traffic was horrendous, and we could not even get a parking place at any of our planned stops. Instead, we should have stayed in the Yachats area longer. The coast was so beautiful there! 🙂)

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3 hours ago, MorningGlory said:

Powells lived up to its reputation (three of us bought special books there), and Oregon itself was beyond my wildest imagination! I am so sad that our trip is over! I keep looking at our plans and photos in Google Drive...I can't come back down to TN earth! lol

(Just in case anyone searches for info on Oregon road trips...We spent 2 days in the Portland/Columbia Gorge area, 1 day at Mt. Hood, 3 days in the Bend area, 1 day at Crater Lake, and 3 days going up and down the coast with Yachats as our home base. Exhausting, yes...but well worth it.

Crater Lake was my husband's and sons' favorite stop (I was surprised at how few people were there compared to everything else!), the Painted Hills area was my favorite (again...not crowded at all), and the Newport Dock sea lions were my daughter's fave (very crowded!). The only thing I would delete from our trip was driving north to Cannon Beach and Astoria on our last day. The traffic was horrendous, and we could not even get a parking place at any of our planned stops. Instead, we should have stayed in the Yachats area longer. The coast was so beautiful there! 🙂)

You picked a wonderful summer to visit Oregon. We have had the best weather I can remember in my over 20 years here. Just day after beautiful day with almost perfect temps and lots of sunshine.

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1 hour ago, Frances said:

You picked a wonderful summer to visit Oregon. We have had the best weather I can remember in my over 20 years here. Just day after beautiful day with almost perfect temps and lots of sunshine.

And no smoke! (August has been pretty smoky from forest fires in recent years)

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