Portland City Guide


©2006 Portland Oregon Visitors Bureau/Brent Bradley Mount Hood is just 90 minutes away from downtown Portland. See more pictures of city skylines.

With its ample parks and rivers, Portland is like a favorite green jacket, laced up with the ten bridges that crisscross the Willamette River. The many bridges, with their oft-confusing cat's cradle of on-ramps and off-ramps, may be a challenge to visitors, but they link the east to the west, providing easy access to the diverse parks, recreation, shopping, and culture.

In Portland, there's not much attention to what's proper or "in" -- but civility and courtesy rank high in a town that lives life on a human scale. The pace may be slower than in larger towns, but along with the relaxed attitude goes a keen appreciation for all the good things in life: good food, good drink, good books, and good fun.

Advertisement

A regular winner of "best places" polls, this environmentally conscious town has become a mecca for city planners trying to emulate its open and friendly feel. But, as the locals say, it's a Portland thing, and therefore can't be easily replicated anywhere else.

The Best of Portland

There's always something happening in Portland. Festivals celebrating roses, restaurants, beer, and even the blues fill downtown's Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park with people all summer long.

At Pioneer Courthouse Square, known as the "living room" of the city, there are ethnic festivals, lunchtime concerts, sandcastle contests, and chilly winter beer celebrations held throughout the year. Visitors will also find parades, parties -- really any excuse for Portlanders to get together.

The restaurant scene is always buzzing, occasionally generating enough talk to land another great Portland chef on the Food Network or in Gourmet magazine. New restaurants pop up all the time, often in the most unexpected places.

You never know what neighborhood will be the next hot spot, attracting visitors with great new restaurants and wine bars, fun jazz clubs, and lively street fairs.

Portland has its sophisticated culture, with the Oregon Symphony, the Oregon Ballet, the Portland Opera, and several thriving theater companies. But there's also the fun and funky side of the city, with such oddball attractions as the open-all-night Voodoo Doughnut and Velveteria, the museum of velvet paintings.

And why do Portlanders get so pumped every time a new brewpub opens? It's because "We're No. 1!" Portland still houses more breweries within city limits than any city in the world. Eat your heart out, Munich!

Fast Facts & Info

Geography and landscape: Portland is a city of hills and rivers, within view of several snowcapped mountains that lie to the east as part of the Cascade Range. Just a 90-minute drive away, 11,235-foot Mount Hood is the closest.

The Willamette River, flowing to the north, cuts through the middle of town on its way to the Columbia River, which, on its way west to the Pacific Ocean, forms the border between Oregon and Washington. Cannon Beach and Seaside are the towns on the Pacific Ocean closest to Portland, both about a 90-minute drive away.

The east side of Portland is flat, with the exception of an inactive volcano, Mount Tabor, and various buttes that dot the landscape near the eastern city limits. West of downtown, a ridge known as the West Hills cradles the city center and, from the vantage point of attractions such as the International Rose Test Gardens and Pittock Mansion, provides the best city view.

General orientation: Portland is divided into five sections: Southwest, Northwest, Southeast, Northeast, and North. The Willamette River divides the city between west and east; Burnside Street, which crosses the river on the Burnside Bridge, divides the city into north and south. North Portland extends along the east bank of the Willamette River as far north as the Columbia River.

In the Northwest section, beginning with Burnside, street names run north in alphabetical order -- Burnside, Couch, Davis, Everett, and so on. Fun fact: Some of the street names (e.g., Flanders, Lovejoy, Quimby) were used by Portland native Matt Groening for characters in his TV show, The Simpsons. Blocks in Portland are relatively short. Usually, 20 blocks equal one mile.

©2006 Tim Jarrett Portland's sandcastle contest is quite a sight to behold. Don't miss it if you're in town during the event.

Safety: Portland is generally safe, and the city tries to keep it that way, with mounted police and bicycle patrols augmenting the usual police presence, and "i" (information) Sidewalk Ambassadors strolling downtown streets in their green uniforms, ready to answer any questions. As in any other city, be cautious when out after dark.

Be aware that you will see panhandlers downtown, at freeway exits, and in other parts of the city. Social services are available for people seeking help, so giving money to panhandlers is discouraged.

Population: Portland's population is 556,370, and the population of the metropolitan area is about 2 million.

Weather: Portland has a reputation of being waterlogged from rain, but summer visitors will be surprised by the perfect weather. Summers are usually sunny and mild, with very little humidity. Spring is lovely, with abundant and colorful new growth, and the leaves turning color for fall is beautiful as well.

Average temperatures are 62 degrees Fahrenheit in spring, 78 degrees Fahrenheit in summer, 64 degrees Fahrenheit in fall, and 48 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.

The famous rain can make winter a bit dreary, but if there's snow or ice, it rarely lasts more than a day. The average annual rainfall, 36.3 inches, is actually less than in Atlanta, Houston, and Seattle!

Portland is really best seen on foot, but the city has an excellent public transportation system for when your dogs are tired. On the next page, we'll give you the ins and outs of Portland transportation.

Getting In, Getting Around Portland

©2006 Portland Oregon Visitors Bureau The MAX light rail train can get you to and from the airport as well as around downtown.

Portland's many bridges can make navigating the city via car a bit challenging, but once you understand the off and on ramps, you should be OK. Here's a primer on Portland transportation:

From the Airport

Rental car: Rental cars are found on the ground floor of the parking garage at Portland International Airport, just a walk across the terminal's lower roadway outside the baggage claim area. A few companies have car lots away from the airport but offer shuttle service that leaves from the lower roadway, just outside the baggage claim. Average daily rental cost is about $80 for a mid-sized car.

Advertisement

Freeway access from Portland Airport is easy. To get downtown, approximately 20 to 40 minutes away, follow signs for Portland or Interstate 84 West.

Taxi: Taxis queue up on the roadway outside the baggage claim area. Expect to pay $27 to $32 for a cab to downtown. Taxi rates are a base fee of $2.50 with $2.10 per mile and $1 per person for up to three additional passengers.

Public transportation: The MAX light rail train can be boarded at the east end of the airport terminal on the baggage claim level. Tickets are $1.70 and are available from vending machines inside the terminal and on the platform. The ride to downtown takes 40 minutes.

Driving In

Rush hour: Afternoon rush hour traffic can be horrendous, starting at about 3:30 pm and lasting until about 6 pm, and can hold up travelers trying to get to the airport. The usual 20- to 40-minute drive may take twice that long or more, so be sure to leave in plenty of time. Coming into Portland, traffic is likely to be bad in the morning, about 7:30 to 8:30 am.

Rules of the road: Portland drivers are generally courteous, allowing other drivers to merge or cut in, but an appreciative wave is expected for such courtesies. Try to familiarize yourself with the downtown bridges so you can make quick decisions about the proper freeway exit.

Getting Around

Public transportation: Portland is blessed with an excellent public transportation system, Tri-Met, complete with online trip planner. Fares are good for buses, MAX light rail, and the Portland Streetcar. With plans to extend it to the eastside, as well as the South Waterfront District, the Streetcar loops from Riverplace Marina in Southwest Portland to the Pearl District in the Northwest.

Tickets can be purchased at the Tri-Met Ticket Office at Pioneer Courthouse Square, at Safeway and Fred Meyer stores, from vending machines at some MAX stops, and onboard the Portland Streetcar.

Adult tickets for one and two zones are $1.70 each; $2 for three zones. An all-day ticket is $4.25. Public transportation is free in Fareless Square, which includes downtown as far north as Northwest Irving Street and as far east as the Lloyd Center.

Taxis, on foot or by bike: Portland is easy and pleasant to get around on foot. Blocks are short, with lots of street-level interest including shops, cafes, and public art. One of the best places for pedestrians is Northwest 23rd Avenue, sometimes known as "Trendy-Third" because of all the hip and happening shops and restaurants located there.

Rent bikes from Fat Tire Farm (2714 NW Thurman St), which is just downhill from a popular biking trail in Forest Park. There are about 2,000 bike racks around the city and more than 150 miles of bike lanes in this bike-friendly city. Contact the Bicycle Transportation Alliance for information about Portland's bicycle boulevards, where cyclists can enjoy a safe and scenic ride.

Taxis are easy to find and cost $2.10 per mile, on top of a base rate of $2.50 for the first passenger and $1 for up to three additional passengers.

Portland has its share of festivals, sporting events, gardens, and museums. See the next section for information about these and other special events and attractions in Portland.

Portland Special Events & Attractions

©2006 Oregon Zoo/Michael Durham These polar bears are just a sampling of the wonderful wildlife found at the Oregon Zoo.

In a town known as the "City of Roses," it's no surprise that the biggest event of the year is the Portland Rose Festival. It's been celebrated each June since 1907, complete with the Queen of Rosaria and her court selected from local high schools, a Grand Floral Parade, and numerous events during the month.

Every weekend from March to Christmas Eve, the area near the west end of the Burnside Bridge takes on a festival air for the Portland Saturday Market (108 W Burnside), a local favorite since 1974 that, despite the name, is open Sundays, too. All 300 or so artisans make their own wares, ranging from funky candles to fine jewelry.

Advertisement

You may be surprised by the quality of the items for sale at the market. Each product has to be evaluated and deemed acceptable by a panel of judges before the artisans are allowed to offer it for sale, so come prepared. You may end up doing a lot of your holiday shopping here.

Check out sports venues like the Rose Quarter arena and PGE Park for basketball played by the Portland Trail Blazers and Triple-A baseball by the Portland Beavers. On the Fourth of July, the best place in town to watch fireworks is PGE Park after the last out at the Beavers game.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Special Events & Attractions in Portland

Portlanders always take out-of-town guests to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park (850 SW Rose Garden Way), but that doesn't mean they won't go there on their own. It's a beautiful garden with thousands of many-hued roses in more than 550 varieties.

The terraced gardens are in bloom from late May through September, providing a gorgeous backdrop to one of the best city views, looking east to snowy Mount Hood. And right next to the garden is an outdoor amphitheater, where occasional concerts, Shakespeare productions, and other events are held.

Another terrific view is from the Pittock Mansion (3229 NW Pittock Dr) built in 1914. Tour the mansion, admire the view, and if you're still full of energy, get on Forest Park's 30-mile Wildwood Trail (NW Skyline and Helens Rd), which passes behind the mansion, for a woodsy hike south to the Oregon Zoo (4001 SW Canyon Rd).

The zoo made its mark for conservation efforts, particularly for Asian elephants, but now has sprawling exhibits organized by environments, such as African Rainforest, Alaska Tundra, Eagle Canyon, and Cats of the Amur Region. Summer concerts and the Zoo Railway add to the zoo's popularity.

The results of Portland's wonderful relationships with its sister cities (Sapporo, Japan, and Suzhou, China) is an authentic and beautiful Japanese Garden (611 W Kingston Ave) on the other side of the tennis courts from the rose garden in Washington Park. The Portland Classical Chinese Garden (127 NW 3rd Ave) forms a peaceful, block-long, urban oasis in the heart of Portland's Old Town.

The colorful Cinco de Mayo Fiesta every May in Waterfront Park features a delegation of performers and artists from Portland's sister city of Guadalajara.

Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park (SW Naito Parkway from south Hawthorne Bridge to Burnside Bridge) is the perfect venue for many festivals and events. At the annual Waterfront Blues Festival, held every Fourth of July weekend, boat owners get the best seat in the house, bobbing on the river while listening to the blues bands onstage. Plenty of people show up on foot for the great vibes, too.

One of the nation's biggest beer festivals is held in Waterfront Park the last weekend of July. The Oregon Brewers Festival features craft beers from 72 North American breweries. You get an official tasting mug with admission.

For book lovers, Powell's City of Books (1005 W Burnside) may be their main destination in Portland. Powell's is one of the largest bookstores in the country, with new and used books side by side on the shelves. There's also a rare book room, a coffee shop, and author readings scheduled nearly every evening. Big-name authors tend to request a stop at Powell's because they know they'll get a big and enthusiastic audience for their readings.

See artifacts and learn the history of the Portland Police Bureau at the Portland Police Museum (1111 SW 2nd Ave). One popular museum piece is a police motorbike with sidecar.

A trio of family attractions is at the south end of Washington Park, where the Oregon Zoo (4001 SW Canyon Rd), the Portland Children's Museum (4015 SW Canyon Rd), and the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum (4033 SW Canyon Rd) are a short walk from each other. The museum at the World Forestry Center recently underwent a $7 million renovation and has new family-friendly exhibits that teach about the sustainability of forests here and around the world.

Enjoy concerts and sports at the 13,000-seat Rose Quarter (One Center Court) and horse racing from October to May at Portland Meadows (1001 N. Schmeer Rd).

From street fairs to operas, Portland has the arts and culture scene covered. Go to the next page to learn about the best the city has to offer on this front.

Portland Arts & Culture

©2006 Portland Art Museum/Matthew Caslin TV sets, clocks, lightbulbs, a VCR, electrical hardware, and a rolling cart make up one of the numerous modern and contemporary art exhibits on display at the Portland Art Museum.

Portland has a symphony, an opera, a ballet, chamber music organizations, a baroque music organization, and multiple music clubs, theaters, and galleries. You'll find that there are the "proper" cultural venues, such as the Portland Art Museum and the Oregon Historical Society, those venerable institutions that make up Portland's Cultural District, which borders the South Park Blocks.

Then there's the more spontaneous art and culture -- the street fairs, the jazz jams, the performance art, the art that seems to pop up in Portland neighborhoods far from the city center. You'll find formal and informal showings of art at First Thursday, the monthly art walk held in downtown and Pearl District galleries, and at Last Thursday, which is a more low-key art walk on Northeast Alberta Street.

Advertisement

Insider's Guide: The Best of Arts & Culture in Portland

The Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park Ave) has recently undergone an expansion from its historic 1932 Belluschi Building to include the Mark Building, a complete renovation of the former Masonic Temple next door. The Mark Building features the Center for Modern and Contemporary Art and has an underground gallery/tunnel linking it to the main building, with its Center for Native American Art, Center for Northwest Art, and the outdoor sculpture garden.

Portland's First Thursday art walk is a big celebration that spreads out across the west side of town, including downtown art galleries, the Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park Ave), and the many galleries of the Pearl District. Shops and restaurants along the way stay open late on the first Thursday of the month, too, so they can get in on all the fun.

To see which artists and works are being featured at galleries for First Thursday and what galleries' evening hours will be, check The Oregonian's A&E section that comes out the Friday before. (The Oregonian is the city's large daily newspaper.)

Most galleries offer free wine and cheese, although a few charge for refreshments. A few galleries, such as Lawrence Gallery (903 NW Davis St) and Yoshida's Fine Art Gallery (206 NW 10th Ave), take drink orders from patrons at their full wine bars.

In the Pearl District there are First Thursday summer concerts in Jamison Square (NW 11th Ave and Johnson St), as well as the regular Thursday Portland Farmers Market at the Ecotrust Building (NW 10th Ave between Irving and Johnson sts). There's also a lively street fair on Northwest 13th Avenue between Hoyt and Kearney streets, with artists of all sorts and musicians playing solo or with groups.

The Bob and Diana Gerding Theater in the Historic Portland Armory (128 NW 11th Ave) is an 1889 castlelike building originally created to house units of the Oregon National Guard. It reopened in fall 2006 as a state-of-the-art performance hall, following sustainable "green-building" design.

The Last Thursday Art Walk on Northeast Alberta Street extends east for 26 blocks from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Art galleries of all sorts offer displays and restaurants and boutiques get involved, while street musicians, performers, and fire dancers entertain the crowds.

Parks, fountains, and squares are many of the highlights of Portland's architecture and landmarks. The next section will offer suggestions on which ones should top your must-see list.

Portland Architecture & Landmarks

©2006 Robert Britt Pioneer Courthouse Square is a great example of the beautiful public squares that were such a priority in the development of Portland.

Portland's city fathers were careful to lay out a town with lots of parks, public squares, and fountains. Parks, squares, and fountains are just as important today as they were then, but now they're enhanced by public art, as required by the city and county Percent for Art Program.

There are 12 municipal fountains in southwest Portland alone. One of the most popular and inviting is the Salmon Springs Fountain, at the intersection of Waterfront Park and Southwest Salmon streets. A computer changes the pattern of the water jets' display every 20 minutes.

Advertisement

Probably the most significant of the fountains in terms of Portland history is the Skidmore Fountain, at Southwest First Avenue and Ankeny Street. Built in 1888, it bears the inscription that has become a motto for Portland: "Good citizens are the riches of a city."

Insider's Guide: The Best of Architecture & Landmarks in Portland

Pioneer Courthouse Square (between SW Broadway and Sixth Ave and Yamhill and Morrison sts), known to Portlanders as the city's "living room," is the heart of the city in more ways than one. It was built in 1984 after citizens helped pay for it by buying bricks with their names etched on them. Now it's the site for more than 300 events a year, such as concerts, festivals, political rallies, and the annual lighting of the Christmas tree.

The Pioneer Courthouse Square has a number of fun features. There's a fountain and the actual ornate, iron front gate of the Portland Hotel, which stood at that site from 1890 to 1951. There are several bronze chessboards at the northwest corner of the square, where numerous games are nearly always being played or challenged.

And there's the fabulous Weather Machine. Every day at noon it emits a trumpet fanfare and a spray of water, then displays either a sun (for good weather), a dragon (for bad), or a blue heron (for overcast skies).

Make sure to visit the Pioneer Courthouse (555 SW Yamhill St, 503-326-5830). Built in 1875, it's the oldest public building in Oregon. It was recently restored and reopened in December 2005 and now includes a visitor's center, with a film and historic information center. Best of all, you can climb to the cupola above the third floor and enjoy a splendid view of the city and Pioneer Courthouse Square.

©2006 Mary Harrsch The Pittock Mansion is a great piece of architecture in Portland, featuring some of the finest local materials and craftsmanship.

Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park (SW Naito Pkwy from S Hawthorne Bridge to Burnside Bridge) features a riverside walkway that takes pedestrians and bicyclists through the Japanese-American Historical Plaza, a park built in remembrance of citizens who were interned during World War II. It's especially beautiful in spring when the 100 ornamental cherry trees are in bloom.

The walkway continues across the Steel Bridge to the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade (SE Water St and Hawthorne Blvd), a riverside (in some places actually floating on the river) walkway named after the former mayor who got it built. It's graced by four pieces of public art, including "Ghost Ship," a lantern in the shape of a ship that's lit at night.

High above the Uptown Shopping Center, where West Burnside Street takes off into the West Hills, you can

glimpse a stately mansion overlooking the city. If you follow the signs on Burnside to the Pittock Mansion (3229 NW Pittock Dr), you'll understand why Henry Pittock, who bought The Oregonian in 1860, chose this spot with its commanding view of the Willamette Valley for his French-style chateau.

Pittock hired the best of Oregon's craftspeople and used the finest local materials for his 1914 mansion, which included such modern marvels as central vacuuming and an intercom system. Guided or self-guided tours of the home and the 46-acre grounds are available, as well as various art exhibits and special events scheduled throughout the year.

If strolling in and out of charming boutiques is your idea of shopping, then you've come to the right place. Check out the next section for tips on Portland shopping.

Portland Shopping

©2006 Barry Mulling The Lloyd Center shopping mall offers an alternative to the funky items you'll find in the smaller boutiques that Portland is known for.

Portland shoppers are less into suburban malls and more into charming boutiques and shops. You'll find plenty of the latter in the Nob Hill District on Northwest 23rd Avenue (sometimes called Trendy Third) and 21st Avenue. Most shops are between Burnside and Lovejoy, though on 23rd Avenue there are fun shops and restaurants as far as Thurman Street.

The Pearl District (between about NW Ninth and 14th aves and Burnside and Lovejoy sts) is more for shoppers with big budgets, though there are lots of great shops with a range of prices.

Advertisement

In downtown Portland, Pioneer Place (between Third and Fifth aves and Morrison and Yamhill sts) is brimming with boutiques, restaurants, and a cinema.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Shopping in Portland

Although there are a few retail chains on Northwest 23rd Avenue, such as Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma Home, most of the shops are one-of-a-kind boutiques. Creative, individualistic entrepreneurs are encouraged to hang out their shingles along this street, so you'll see a number of hot new designers showing their wares in funky little shops. Be sure to check out Seaplane (827 NW 23rd Ave), Lena Medoyeff Studio (710 NW 23rd Ave) and The English Department (724 NW 23rd Ave).

Other neighborhoods have tried to replicate 23rd Avenue's winning formula, so you'll find lots of unique shops on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard, Northeast Alberta, North Mississippi Street, Northeast Broadway, and Northeast Fremont.

If you are more interested in high-end shopping, Bridgeport Village (7405 SW Bridgeport Rd) is the place for you. This southwest suburban mall is kind of like Rodeo Drive with a parking garage.

Had enough funky and want something fine? Head south of Portland on Interstate 5 for some upscale, one-stop shopping. Look for Cole Haan, BCBG Max Azria, Anthropologie, Tommy Bahama, and others.

Other shopping malls are getting into the act, trying to elevate their store offerings. Check out Washington Square (9585 SW Washington Square Rd), Clackamas Town Center (12000 SE 82nd Ave) and the Lloyd Center (2201 Lloyd Center).

Downtown Portland has its high-end retailers, including Nordstrom (701 SW Broadway), Saks Fifth Avenue (850 SW 5th Ave), Mario's (833 SW Broadway) and Mercantile (735 SW Park).

There's no shortage of nighttime entertainment for visitors to Portland -- whether you prefer live music, a comedy club, or a good ol' hole-the-wall bar. See the next page for suggestions on Portland's nightlife and entertainment.

Portland Nightlife & Entertainment

The nightlife scene in Portland is varied, from martini bars to brewpup-theaters.

Portland is a big jazz town, and you'll hear local musicians played on KMHD Radio at 89.1 FM and live at a smattering of jazz clubs around town. There are blues clubs and venues for rock as well.

Some people go out just for the bar scene, like the old Marathon Taverna (1735 W Burnside) and The Commodore Lounge (1601 SW Morrison St). There are martini bars, wine bars, and more craft breweries than in any other city on Earth. You can sip a craft beer and eat pizza while watching a movie at numerous brewpub-cinemas.

Advertisement

You'll find comedy clubs downtown, such as the popular Harvey's, clubs to whet your whistle and move your feet, and lots of old-fashioned movie houses, the kind that don't double as pubs.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Nightlife & Entertainment in Portland

Insider's Guide: The Best of Nightlife & Entertainment in Portland

At the Produce Row Cafe (204 SE Oak St, 503-232-8355) you can watch genius at work on Monday nights when the local jazz stars jam next to the bar. Order one of 200 bottled beers or 29 drafts while you tap your feet to great, improvised jazz.

Recognized to be the best jazz bar in town, Jimmy Mak's (221 NW 10th Ave) features live jazz every night but Sunday. Look for renowned drummer Mel Brown, a regular who always delivers.

Beer barons Mike and Brian McMenamin are known for their considerable talent for multitasking with beer. They opened one of the first brewpubs in town and now they operate brewpub-cinemas, brewpub-hotels, and brewpub-concert venues. They sell their own beer, wine, and distilled spirits.

Hear live bands at the McMenamin's Crystal Ballroom (1332 W Burnside St), a historic building that's famous for its "floating" dance floor. Drink beer and watch movies at any of several McMenamin's brewpub-cinemas, including the Bagdad Theater & Pub (3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd).

©2006 Marcus Hildum After a late night out in Portland, stop at Voodoo Doughnut for a wild pastry concoction.

If you don't want to miss the game, On Deck (910 NW 14th Ave, 503-227-7020) is a sports bar with plasma and flat-screen TVs everywhere, including around the open-air deck atop the building.

And for something different (really different), satisfy your hunger for a doughnut in the middle of the night by stopping

in at Voodoo Doughnut (22 SW 3rd Ave). It's open all night, drawing an eclectic crowd of doughnut lovers, who also stop by for the occasional musical performances on the ledge atop the restroom. The doughnuts, although bizarre with such ingredients as Tang and bacon or decorated with chocolate frosting and cereal, are surprisingly tasty.

You can also grab some laughs at Harvey's Comedy Club (436 NW 6th Ave), where there's standup Wednesday through Sunday, with open mike Thursday and Sunday nights.

At Aura (1022 W Burnside St), a hip and young restaurant and lounge, the action heats up on Saturday nights when a DJ's in the house and dancing starts at 11 pm.

While a walk in the woods is the epitome of relaxation for some, others prefer a massage or a good spot from which to people-watch. Portland offers those options and more. See the next section for suggestions.

Relaxing & Unwinding in Portland

©2006 Sarah Kim Portland's Japanese Garden is a soothing oasis in the city.

Nothing beats natural beauty for its relaxing powers. Portlanders don't have far to go to get that natural vibe. A walk in the woods, a jog along the river, or a stroll through one of Portland's many beautiful gardens will provide excellent natural scenery.

It all goes back to the "40-Mile Loop," a recreational concept conceived by the city fathers. In 1904, they hired the famous Olmstead Brothers, landscape artists who had followed their father, Frederick Law Olmstead, into the park planning and landscape architecture field. The brothers mapped out a route for hiking and boating that circled the city.

Advertisement

Today's city planners have stayed faithful to the concept, although the "loop" has grown considerably. At any rate, Portland can still be circled by walking along the Wildwood Trail of Forest Park, canoed along the Columbia Slough, and bicycled along the Springwater Corridor.

Insider's Guide: The Best of Relaxing & Unwinding in Portland

Insider's Guide: The Best of Relaxing & Unwinding in Portland

But if that's a bit too adventurous, there are other ways to unwind. Visit The Grotto (8840 NE Skidmore), whether you're Catholic or not, the cliffside Meditation Chapel, or the garden trails of the 62-acre Catholic shrine and botanical garden.

Hike in Forest Park (NW Skyline and St Helens rds), which encompasses more than 5,000 wooded acres, making it one of the largest wilderness parks within city limits in the United States. It's a great place for hiking, bicycling, and equestrian trails.

Another great way to relax and unwind is some of Portland's many gardens: The Classical Chinese Garden (127 NW 3rd Ave), the Japanese Garden (611 SW Kingston Ave), or the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden (SE 28th Ave and Woodstock Blvd). The latter is at the height of bloom around Mother's Day, but at any other time provides a peaceful walk by ponds busy with water fowl.

If you'd rather be attended to, book a massage at Aequis (419 SW 11th Ave). Your treatment will begin with a soothing foot bath to get you relaxed and really in the mood for your treatment. For a massage with a Hawaiian flavor, try the Kanani Pearl Spa (1111 NW Marshall St), where Hawaiian music and the soothing sound of waterfalls will relax you to the core.

A great vantage point during First Thursday's street art fair is Paragon Restaurant & Bar (1309 NW Hoyt St), at a table on the loading dock. You can dawdle over drinks and dinner and watch the sea of humanity float by.

For another great people-watching spot, grab a table at Riverplace Marina (0315 SW Montgomery St), between Mobil Three-Star Riverplace Hotel and Harborside Restaurant. When you get tired of watching passersby, look at the boats on the river from the South Park Blocks (SW Park from Salmon to Jackson St). Or, relax on a park bench and admire flower gardens and statues at Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park (Naito Pkwy between SW Harrison and NW Glisan sts).

See some places off the beaten path and learn as you go by taking advantage of one of Portland's organized tours. On the next page, we'll offer some suggestions for organized tours.

Portland Organized Tours Overview

©2006 Orclimber What a view! This is just a sampling of what you'll see on one of the Willamette Jetboat Excursions in Portland.

Are you ready to walk all over town, learning as you go? Portland Walking Tours is ready to take you. A guide waits every day at 10 am in Pioneer Courthouse Square (between SW Broadway and Sixth Ave and Yamhill and Morrison sts), for participants in the "Best of Portland" tour. It takes about 2-1/2 hours, covering less than two miles, and is offered April through November. Other walking tours they offer are "Underground Portland" and "Epicurean Excursion." 

Portland Spirit River Cruises offers dinner and tours along the Willamette River; Gray Line offers a three-hour Portland City Tour by bus.

Advertisement

Willamette Jetboat Excursions (1945 SE Water Ave) offers daily tours and sunset cruises leaving from the east bank of the Willamette River next to Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

Portland Underground Tours (503-622-4798) are afternoon tours of the network of tunnels beneath Portland's Old Town. Built in the late 19th century, the tunnels are said to have been a route for mariners to kidnap unwilling sailors. The tours begin at a new entrance, Hobo's Restaurant (120 NW Third Ave), which provides a different hidden entrance into the darkness of the tunnels.

You can patronize the restaurant before the tour; just let the server know that you are there for the tour and he or she will help the tour guide find you. Otherwise, you would need to wait outside the business. Reservations are required, but call the tour company and not the restaurant.

You'll need a place to rest after all of this activity. Go to the next page for our guide to Portland hotels.

Portland Hotels Guide

Located right downtown on Broadway, The Heathman Hotel is a luxurious spot from which to explore Portland.

Downtown is where it's at for the best hotels. Two Mobil Three-Star hotels are located right on Broadway and are always top recommendations: The Heathman Hotel (1001 SW Broadway) and Benson Hotel (309 SW Broadway) are venerable hotels that have been renovated to enhance their inherent luxuriousness.

The Mobil Three-Star Avalon Hotel and Spa (0455 SW Hamilton Ct) is a boutique hotel that blends styles from Asia and the Pacific Northwest with dark and light woods to create a soothing space. The two-story lobby is an inviting place to take in local artwork or rest by the fire. The carefully selected treatment menu at the hotel's spa uses natural ingredients, ancient wisdom, and innovative therapy.

Advertisement

Another Mobil Three-Star hotel, Fifth Avenue Suites (506 SW Washington), mixes a touch of whimsy with its luxury and even offers the fireside counseling of a resident pet psychic at this pet-friendly hotel.

No matter where you choose to stay, be aware that the Portland hotel tax is 12.5 percent.

Restaurants in Portland run the gamut, from freshly caught seafood to pizza and other Italian delicacies. Learn about Portland restaurants in the next section.

Portland Restaurants Guide

Dining al fresco is certainly a treat -- and even more so in Portland, where the sea air is refreshing.

Northwest Cuisine is the phrase you'll see on many Portland menus. What it translates into is fresh, locally available ingredients from dependable, small suppliers, including mushroom foragers, goat cheese makers, anglers, ranchers, and farmers. In fact, most top chefs know their suppliers personally.

In Portland, making food is an intimate affair. Restaurant customers share in it when they order dishes featuring fresh-caught seafood, farm-raised livestock, and just-picked produce. It's impossible to pinpoint one great location for restaurants because they are in every part of town.

Advertisement

Mobil Three-Star Higgins (1239 SW Broadway, 503-222-1244) and Mobil Three-Star Paley's Place (1204 NW 21st Ave) hold their own as esteemed purveyors of Northwest Cuisine. At Higgins, try the house-made charcuterie plate with Higgins pickles as a starter for seasonal seafood or meat. Matzo-crusted halibut is one of many delicious entrees at Paley's Place, which also features an excellent cocktail bar.

Returning to the pantheon of top chefs is the former chef/owner Cathy Whims of the highly esteemed Mobil Three-Star Genoa (2832 SE Belmont St). Now she's making pizza and Tuscan specialties while garnering accolades at her new place, Nostrana (1401 SE Morrison St), where she turns out authentic Neopolitan pizza and other rustic Italian specialties.

Another noted personage on the Portland restaurant scene is Bruce Carey, who is credited with starting the food renaissance here with his first restaurant, Zefiro (2203 NE Alberta St). Now Carey is operating three restaurants, all of them favorites among appreciative diners. You won't go wrong ordering the ravioli stuffed with braised veal at Bluehour (250 NW 13th Ave), Shanghai kung pao chicken covered with a hot chili-garlic sauce at Mobil Two-Star Saucebox (214 SW Broadway), or the veal scaloppini at Balvo (529 NW 23rd Ave).

At Bluehour (250 NW13th Ave), Mediterranean cuisine is the specialty of this sophisticated restaurant. After a dinner of New York steak with wild mushroom hash, try the outstanding selection of artisan cheeses.

Saucebox Cafe and Bar (214 SW Broadway) serves Pan-Asian and Pacific Island cuisine, such as Roasted Javanese Salmon. They're also noted for their cocktails and nighttime scene, when DJs perform until the wee hours. At Balvo (529 NW 23rd Ave), a modern trattoria inspired by the Chef Kenny Giambalvo's family recipes, try Rigatoni alla Nonna, with Nanna Giambalvo's Sunday meat sauce.

No matter where you dine, it's customary to tip servers 15 to 20 percent of the bill, unless a gratuity has been included.

Portland is a city filled with so much to do and see that you may need help combing through all the options. See the next page from some suggested itineraries.

No matter where you dine, it's customary to tip servers 15 to 20 percent of the bill, unless a gratuity has been included.

Portland is a city filled with so much to do and see that you may need help combing through all the options. See the next page from some suggested itineraries.

Suggested Itineraries for Visiting Portland

©2006 Barry Mulling Portlandia sits atop the first post-modern building in the United States -- the Portland Building.

There is no shortage of things to do in Portland. Visitors to this great city will find everything from sporting events and fine dining to opera and brewpubs. Figure out what suits you best by taking a look at the suggested itineraries below. They'll help you plan your days in Portland to ensure that you fit in the very best the city has to offer.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Special Events & Attractions in Portland

Advertisement

Use the following suggestions to fill your days. That way, you won't miss any of Portland's must-see attractions and special events.

1 day: Even if you don't have time to see Portland up close and personal, you can still see it from a distance and be satisfied that your view -- from the Rose Garden in Washington Park (850 SW Rose Garden Way). This is the one that graces most scenic Portland postcards. A great view, followed by a leisurely walk along the Willamette River through Waterfront Park, will give you an understanding of why Portlanders love their town.

Take a walk through Powell's City of Books (1005 W Burnside) and just for fun, pick a topic or author and see how many books the labyrinthine store has on its shelves. Have dinner at one of the Pearl District's fine restaurants, such as P.F. Chang's China Bistro (1139 NW Couch St), where chicken in lettuce wraps is the most requested dish. Cap off the day with a ride on the Portland Streetcar to BridgePort Brewpub & Bakery (1313 NW Marshall St), to sample the brews at Oregon's oldest brewpub.

2 days: If you're in town on a weekend between March and Christmas Eve, you've got to check out the Portland Saturday Market (108 W Burnside St). Have lunch at one of the ethnic cuisine food carts, but save room for an Elephant Ear, a market tradition of a big, flat pastry sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Say hello to the good-natured Spoonman, one of the original vendors at the market, who makes wacky masks, wind chimes, and other items from recycled silverware.

For a tranquil afternoon, wander slowly through the nine pavilions of the nearby Portland Classical Chinese Garden (127 NW 3rd Ave) and then enjoy a cup of tea in the Tea Room.

In the evening, take a dinner cruise on the Portland Spirit, a 150-foot yacht with room for 350 dinner guests. The ship glides up and down the Willamette River, with commentary on history and points of interest, while guests enjoy Northwest cuisine.

3 days: Let's assume you've got the kids in tow. After you've done your grown-up thing and have admired the beauty of the Rose Garden and the Japanese Garden in Washington Park, pack the kids in the van and proceed up the hill to the Oregon Zoo (4001 SW Canyon Rd), the Portland Children's Museum (4015 SW Canyon Rd) and the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum (4033 SW Canyon Rd). They're all in the same area, so you can park in the lot and walk from one attraction to the other. Don't miss taking a ride on the Zoo Railway.

If you've still got time after that junior tourist marathon, take the kids to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (1945 SE Water St), at the east end of the Marquam Bridge, and fill their heads with fun science facts to know and share.

If you have time for a day trip, consider driving up to the historic Mobil Two-Star Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood for dinner in the Cascade Dining Room or head west to Cannon Beach or Seaside for a day at the coast.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Arts & Culture in Portland

Finding your favorite arts and culture venue in Portland might be difficult, given all the choices. Use these itineraries to help you narrow down the field.

1 day: Two of Portland's most venerable cultural institutions, the Portland Art Museum (1219 SW Park) and the Oregon Historical Society (1200 SW Park), sit directly across the street from each other, separated by one of the South Park Blocks. There are wonderful galleries and exhibits in both. The Portland Art Museum recently expanded into the neighboring building, originally the Masonic Temple, to increase its gallery space. The two buildings are linked by an underground tunnel/galley. 

Have dinner at the highly regarded Mobil Three-Star Heathman Restaurant (1001 SW Broadway), where award-winning Chef Philippe Boulot prepares local, seasonal food with a French touch. Try the salmon or lamb when it's on the menu.

In the evening, catch a performance of the Oregon Symphony at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (1037 SW Broadway), a gorgeous Italian Rococo Revival theater built in 1928. Maestro Carlos Kalmar has found his own enthusiastic following after succeeding the popular James DePreist in 2004.

2 days: Browse art galleries in the Pearl District, including the Attic Gallery (539 NW 10th Ave). For dinner, Eleni's Philoxenia (112 NW 9th Ave) offers the island tastes of Crete. Try the Fusilli Me Kolokithakia -- fusilli pasta tossed with zucchini, garlic, and roasted onion in a feta cream sauce lightly spiced with nutmeg. That night, see a play at Portland Center Stage's new location, the Bob and Diana Gerding Theater in the Historic Portland Armory (128 NW 11th Ave).

3 days: Attend a concert of Chamber Music Northwest, held at either Reed College (3203 SE Woodstock Blvd) or Catlin Gabel School (8825 SW Barnes Rd). Or check out the performance schedule of the Friends of Chamber Music, an organization that brings the finest ensembles to Portland.

Visitors can also enjoy any of Portland's wonderful dance companies. There's the Oregon Ballet Theater (818 SE 6th Ave); the innovative and entertaining dance company, BodyVox (1300 NW Northrup St), and White Bird Dance Company (three venues: Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Keller Auditorium, and Portland State University).

To stay with the dance theme, dine at Mobil Three-Star Paley's Place (1204 NW 21st Ave), where hostess Kimberly Paley is a former dancer and chef Vitaly Paley is a former concert pianist. This is a splendid restaurant, always on the top-five lists. Try the Grilled American Kobe Beef Culotte and Brisket Goulash.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries Architecture & Landmarks in Portland

Portland's architecture and landmarks are easy to spot, since so many of them are incorporated into everyday life. Here's how to plan your architectural excursions:

1 day: Explore Pioneer Courthouse Square (between SW Broadway and Sixth Ave and Yamhill and Morrison sts), then cross the street to its namesake, the Pioneer Courthouse (555 SW Yamhill St, 503-326-5830). Best of all, you can climb to the cupola above the third floor and enjoy a splendid view of the city and Pioneer Courthouse Square. 

Check out the public art along the transit mall. At Southwest Fifth Avenue and Washington Street, there's a statue of a nude woman entitled "Kvinneakt" by sculptor Norm Taylor. It became internationally famous after former Mayor Bud Clark posed as a flasher in a trench coat in front of it for an "Expose Yourself to Art" poster.

For dinner try Portland's oldest restaurant, Mobil Two-Star Huber's (411 SW 3rd Ave), established in 1879. The restaurant is known for its signature drink, the Spanish Coffee, and the delectable roast turkey.

2 days: Walk along Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park (SW Naito Pkwy from S Hawthorne Bridge to Burnside Bridge), passing the Salmon Springs Fountain and the Japanese-American Historical Plaza. Cross the Steel Bridge on the pedestrian walkway that connects to the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade. Then cross the Willamette River on the Hawthorne Bridge to complete about a three-mile loop.

The Portland Building (1120 SW Fifth Ave), designed by famed architect Michael Graves, was completed in 1982. Resembling a large wrapped gift, it was the first post-modern building in the United States. Atop the entrance sits Portlandia, a 35-foot-tall statue of a kneeling woman. Designed by sculptor Raymond Kaskey, it's the second largest copper statue in the country. The Statue of Liberty is the largest.

For dinner, try one of downtown's best restaurants, Mobil Three-Star Higgins (1239 SW Broadway). Chef Greg Higgins is nationally renowned for his devotion to sustainable foods and local ingredients. Try the Roast Loin of Pork with horseradish, gremolata, roasted beets, and a warm potato salad.

3 days: Enjoy the statuary and fountains of the Park Blocks. In the North Park Blocks, between Northwest Davis and Everett streets, is "Portland Dog Bowl," designed in 2001 by famed dog photographer William Wegman. It's an actual dog-level water fountain in the shape of a dog bowl on a simulated tile floor.

The water feature of the Pearl District's Jamison Square (NW 11th Ave and Johnson St) is popular with both dogs and kids. Water cascades over the stones to fill a pool. Then it recedes and, a few minutes later, begins the cycle again.

For dinner you needn't go far at all. The excellent French restaurant Fenouil (900 NW 11th Ave) borders Jamison Square. Sit on the patio on a sunny day, or next to the fireplace when it's chilly, and try something like steak frites or the wood-fired duck breast.

Shopping in Portland

Shopping in Portland runs the gamut -- from funky vintage finds to high-end designer clothing. You'll find the best shopping bets in these suggested itineraries.

1 day: Get a mix of highbrow and funky by shopping in the Pearl District (bounded by NW Ninth Ave to 15th Ave and W Burnside St to NW Northrup St), followed by a stroll along Northwest 23rd Avenue. In the Pearl you'll find fabulous design stores, such as Versailles in the Pearl, Studio G11, and Hive; clothing and shoe stores like Desperado, Aubergine, and Bella Moda; and athletic apparel such as Adidas, Lucy, and Lululemon.

In the Nob Hill District (centered around 23rd and 21st aves), look for fun gift shops like Dazzle, Twist, and Hello Portland. This area also showcases home decor shops Urbino and Compleat Bed & Breakfast, books at Renaissance Books, and music at Music Millennium.

If you have a sweet tooth, you may be tempted to eat at Mobil Two-Star Papa Haydn (701 NW 23rd Ave), which is renowned for its desserts. Then, tear yourself away from the pastry case and order something equally good from the dinner menu, such as pasta topped with wine-braised lamb shank.

2 days: Drive south of Portland on Interstate 5 to Exit 290 to get to Bridgeport Village, a suburban shopping center unlike any other in Portland. Its shops and restaurants are top drawer. The village offers valet and concierge services to enhance your shopping experience, while you enjoy Italian-style piazzas among high-end shops, such as Anthropologie, BCBG Max Azria, French Quarter Linens, and Sur La Table. Restaurants here include McCormick & Schmick's Grill, where wild salmon and halibut are specialties, and Sinju Japanese Restaurant for top-rate sushi.

3 days: Throw in a little vintage, just for fun. Portland's many vintage clothing stores have become destination shops for travelers and celebrities, such as Meg Ryan and Paris Hilton. Downtown there's Avalon (410 SW Oak St), Ray's Ragtime (1001 SW Morrison St), and Keep 'Em Flying (510 NW 21st Ave). Red Light Clothing Exchange has shops on the east side (3590 SE Hawthorne Blvd) and west side (1111 SW Stark St).

Stay in the vintage mood by grabbing a bite at Byways Cafe (1212 NW Glisan St), open only for breakfast and lunch. It has a fun, 1950s diner feel and the food is great. Pancake specials at breakfast and homemade soups at lunch.

In the evening, check out some discount stores at the Lloyd Center (2201 Lloyd Center), then catch a movie on one of the 18 screens in the mall's movie theater or go skating at its indoor ice rink located right in the middle of the mall.

Nightlife & Entertainment in Portland

Nightlife & Entertainment in Portland

You'll find wine bars, brewpub-theaters, and so much more in Portland. These suggestions should help you sift through your nightlife options.

1 day: Take a tour of some of Portland's 30-plus craft breweries. Include the oldest one, BridgePort Brewpub & Bakery (1313 NW Marshall St), established in 1984; the first all-organic brewery in Oregon, Roots Organic Brewing (1520 SE 7th Ave); the most dog-friendly brewery, the Lucky Labrador Brew Pub (915 SE Hawthorne Blvd); and the largest craft brewery in Oregon, Widmer Brothers Brewing (929 N Russell St). The Widmers serve great German sausage, along with great beer, at their Gasthaus.

2 days: Drop in on a martini bar during Happy Hour. At Vault Martini Bar (226 NW 12th Ave), inventive cocktails are just $4 from 4 to 7 pm. Their best-selling martini is the Habanero, made with pineapple- and habanero-infused vodka.

What the dickens would Olive or Twist (925 NW 11th Ave, 503-546-2900) serve but classic martinis? They offer about 15 classics but feature the Pearl Martini: white chocolate liqueur and Stoli vanilla vodka with a white chocolate rim. Later, dig some live jazz at a local club. You can't go wrong with Jimmy Mak's (221 NW 10th Ave).

3 days: Check out the wine bar scene. It's hot in the Pearl District, at Vino Paradiso Wine Bar & Bistro (417 NW 10th Ave) and Yoshida's Fine Art Gallery, Wine Bar & Bistro (206 NW 10th Ave). Ask to try one of Oregon's famed Pinot Noirs.

Another great wine bar scene is along 28th Avenue on either side of East Burnside Street. Try Noble Rot (2724 SE Ankeny St), where popular chef Leather Storrs serves up some tasty cuisine, such as an onion tart and black cod with fennel confiti. Navarre (10 NE 28th Ave, 503-232-3555) and Wine Down on 28th Avenue (126 NE 28th Ave, 503-236-9463) are both known for having an extensive wine list and eclectic menu options. And while you're in the neighborhood, you can drink beer and watch movies at the Laurelhurst Theater & Pub (2735 E Burnside St).

You'll find that 28th Avenue is a fun place for wine bars, terrific ethnic restaurants, interesting shops, and even a museum devoted to the art of painting on velvet. Velveteria (518 NE 28th Ave) is one of those tongue-in-cheek treasures Portlanders adore. The owners have nearly 200 velvet paintings they've discovered during a seven-year search of flea markets and garage sales. They say velvet painting is "the Rodney Dangerfield of art." It gets no respect, I tell ya'.

©2006 Casey Bisson If you like the unique, be sure to check out the Velveteria, a museum devoted to velvet paintings.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Relaxing and Unwinding in Portland

Unwinding in Portland is easy to do, thanks to beautiful gardens, relaxing spas, and comfy bookstores. Check out these itineraries for some ideas:

1 day: Visit some of Portland's soothing gardens. Go from the Rose Garden in Washington Park to the Japanese Garden. If those don't do the trick, add the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, then the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.

You might find more privacy at Elk Rock Gardens at the Bishop's Close (11800 SW Military Lane), which is the historic estate that houses the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon. The English gardens, on six acres of a high bluff overlooking the Willamette River, were designed by the Olmstead Brothers at the turn of the 20th century. The public is welcome to stroll through the gardens during the day.

Stay next to the Willamette River at dinnertime by dining at Rivers Restaurant (0470 SW Hamilton Ct). Seafood is the specialty, so try the salmon or halibut.

2 days: Attend a yoga class for physical and spiritual relaxation. Join the free morning yoga class at Lululemon (1231 NW Couch St), an exercise apparel store from Canada. Or sign up for a yoga class at Yoga Pearl (925 NW Davis St).

©2006 Laura Trippi The Elk Rock Gardens offer a tranquil spot within Bishop's Close.

Then grab a good book and go to a local coffee shop, such

as Stumptown (128 SW 3rd Ave). There's art on the wall, magazines for browsing, and a large menu of coffee drinks. But mostly there's lots of room and relative quiet for patrons to disappear into a good book.

In the coffee shop at Powell's City of Books (1005 W Burnside St), you're welcome to sit and read any of the store's nearly 1 million books. Just remember to put the book on the reshelving cart when you're through.

Cross the street to Mio Gelato (25 NW 11th Ave, 503-226-8002). Choose from their menu of panini sandwiches and save the gelato for dessert.

3 days: Book a pedicure party at Nirvana Apothecary & Day Spa (736 NW 11th Ave). You and a group of friends get the place to yourselves for an evening to enjoy martinis and soothing pedicures at the lush Turkish-style treatment room, complete with Turkish hammered copper foot basins.

Then pile into a Classic Chauffeur limo (540 NW 5th Ave, 503-238-8880) and partake of the co-ed hot tub spa at Common Ground Wellness Center (2927 NE Everett St).

If you're feeling a little adventurous, you can grab a table for good Italian cuisine at the Mobil Three-Star Genoa (2832 SE Belmont St). Appearances at first will be deceiving because it's housed in a windowless storefront. You'll be able to choose one of three entrees, but the waiter will tell you what entrees are available because menus aren't printed. After that, all other decisions for the seven-course meal are up to the chef.

The variety of things to do makes Portland an ideal travel destination. Come see for yourself.

©Publications International, Ltd.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan Hauser is a freelance writer based in Portland. She has written about her hometown for such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Sunday Travel, Travel + Leisure, Diversion, AAA Via, Travel Oregon, and several airline magazines. Although Susan enjoys writing about traveling to various points on the globe, she finds the ever-changing vibrant scene in Portland to be a constant inspiration.

Check out the public art along the transit mall. At Southwest Fifth Avenue and Washington Street, there's a statue of a nude woman entitled "Kvinneakt" by sculptor Norm Taylor. It became internationally famous after former Mayor Bud Clark posed as a flasher in a trench coat in front of it for an "Expose Yourself to Art" poster.

For dinner try Portland's oldest restaurant, Mobil Two-Star Huber's (411 SW 3rd Ave), established in 1879. The restaurant is known for its signature drink, the Spanish Coffee, and the delectable roast turkey.

2 days: Walk along Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park (SW Naito Pkwy from S Hawthorne Bridge to Burnside Bridge), passing the Salmon Springs Fountain and the Japanese-American Historical Plaza. Cross the Steel Bridge on the pedestrian walkway that connects to the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade. Then cross the Willamette River on the Hawthorne Bridge to complete about a three-mile loop.

The Portland Building (1120 SW Fifth Ave), designed by famed architect Michael Graves, was completed in 1982. Resembling a large wrapped gift, it was the first post-modern building in the United States. Atop the entrance sits Portlandia, a 35-foot-tall statue of a kneeling woman. Designed by sculptor Raymond Kaskey, it's the second largest copper statue in the country. The Statue of Liberty is the largest.

For dinner, try one of downtown's best restaurants, Mobil Three-Star Higgins (1239 SW Broadway). Chef Greg Higgins is nationally renowned for his devotion to sustainable foods and local ingredients. Try the Roast Loin of Pork with horseradish, gremolata, roasted beets, and a warm potato salad.

©2006 Barry Mulling Portlandia sits atop the first post-modern building in the United States -- the Portland Building.

3 days: Enjoy the statuary and fountains of the Park Blocks. In the North Park Blocks, between Northwest Davis and Everett streets, is "Portland Dog Bowl," designed in 2001 by famed dog photographer William Wegman. It's an actual dog-level water fountain in the shape of a dog bowl on a simulated tile floor.

The water feature of the Pearl District's Jamison Square (NW 11th Ave and Johnson St) is popular with both dogs and kids. Water cascades over the stones to fill a pool. Then it recedes and, a few minutes later, begins the cycle again.

For dinner you needn't go far at all. The excellent French restaurant Fenouil (900 NW 11th Ave) borders Jamison Square. Sit on the patio on a sunny day, or next to the fireplace when it's chilly, and try something like steak frites or the wood-fired duck breast.

Shopping in Portland

Shopping in Portland runs the gamut -- from funky vintage finds to high-end designer clothing. You'll find the best shopping bets in these suggested itineraries.

1 day: Get a mix of highbrow and funky by shopping in the Pearl District (bounded by NW Ninth Ave to 15th Ave and W Burnside St to NW Northrup St), followed by a stroll along Northwest 23rd Avenue. In the Pearl you'll find fabulous design stores, such as Versailles in the Pearl, Studio G11, and Hive; clothing and shoe stores like Desperado, Aubergine, and Bella Moda; and athletic apparel such as Adidas, Lucy, and Lululemon.

In the Nob Hill District (centered around 23rd and 21st aves), look for fun gift shops like Dazzle, Twist, and Hello Portland. This area also showcases home decor shops Urbino and Compleat Bed & Breakfast, books at Renaissance Books, and music at Music Millennium.

If you have a sweet tooth, you may be tempted to eat at Mobil Two-Star Papa Haydn (701 NW 23rd Ave), which is renowned for its desserts. Then, tear yourself away from the pastry case and order something equally good from the dinner menu, such as pasta topped with wine-braised lamb shank.

2 days: Drive south of Portland on Interstate 5 to Exit 290 to get to Bridgeport Village, a suburban shopping center unlike any other in Portland. Its shops and restaurants are top drawer. The village offers valet and concierge services to enhance your shopping experience, while you enjoy Italian-style piazzas among high-end shops, such as Anthropologie, BCBG Max Azria, French Quarter Linens, and Sur La Table. Restaurants here include McCormick & Schmick's Grill, where wild salmon and halibut are specialties, and Sinju Japanese Restaurant for top-rate sushi.

3 days: Throw in a little vintage, just for fun. Portland's many vintage clothing stores have become destination shops for travelers and celebrities, such as Meg Ryan and Paris Hilton. Downtown there's Avalon (410 SW Oak St), Ray's Ragtime (1001 SW Morrison St), and Keep 'Em Flying (510 NW 21st Ave). Red Light Clothing Exchange has shops on the east side (3590 SE Hawthorne Blvd) and west side (1111 SW Stark St).

Stay in the vintage mood by grabbing a bite at Byways Cafe (1212 NW Glisan St), open only for breakfast and lunch. It has a fun, 1950s diner feel and the food is great. Pancake specials at breakfast and homemade soups at lunch.

In the evening, check out some discount stores at the Lloyd Center (2201 Lloyd Center), then catch a movie on one of the 18 screens in the mall's movie theater or go skating at its indoor ice rink located right in the middle of the mall.

Nightlife & Entertainment in Portland

Nightlife & Entertainment in Portland

You'll find wine bars, brewpub-theaters, and so much more in Portland. These suggestions should help you sift through your nightlife options.

1 day: Take a tour of some of Portland's 30-plus craft breweries. Include the oldest one, BridgePort Brewpub & Bakery (1313 NW Marshall St), established in 1984; the first all-organic brewery in Oregon, Roots Organic Brewing (1520 SE 7th Ave); the most dog-friendly brewery, the Lucky Labrador Brew Pub (915 SE Hawthorne Blvd); and the largest craft brewery in Oregon, Widmer Brothers Brewing (929 N Russell St). The Widmers serve great German sausage, along with great beer, at their Gasthaus.

2 days: Drop in on a martini bar during Happy Hour. At Vault Martini Bar (226 NW 12th Ave), inventive cocktails are just $4 from 4 to 7 pm. Their best-selling martini is the Habanero, made with pineapple- and habanero-infused vodka.

What the dickens would Olive or Twist (925 NW 11th Ave, 503-546-2900) serve but classic martinis? They offer about 15 classics but feature the Pearl Martini: white chocolate liqueur and Stoli vanilla vodka with a white chocolate rim. Later, dig some live jazz at a local club. You can't go wrong with Jimmy Mak's (221 NW 10th Ave).

3 days: Check out the wine bar scene. It's hot in the Pearl District, at Vino Paradiso Wine Bar & Bistro (417 NW 10th Ave) and Yoshida's Fine Art Gallery, Wine Bar & Bistro (206 NW 10th Ave). Ask to try one of Oregon's famed Pinot Noirs.

Another great wine bar scene is along 28th Avenue on either side of East Burnside Street. Try Noble Rot (2724 SE Ankeny St), where popular chef Leather Storrs serves up some tasty cuisine, such as an onion tart and black cod with fennel confiti. Navarre (10 NE 28th Ave, 503-232-3555) and Wine Down on 28th Avenue (126 NE 28th Ave, 503-236-9463) are both known for having an extensive wine list and eclectic menu options. And while you're in the neighborhood, you can drink beer and watch movies at the Laurelhurst Theater & Pub (2735 E Burnside St).

You'll find that 28th Avenue is a fun place for wine bars, terrific ethnic restaurants, interesting shops, and even a museum devoted to the art of painting on velvet. Velveteria (518 NE 28th Ave) is one of those tongue-in-cheek treasures Portlanders adore. The owners have nearly 200 velvet paintings they've discovered during a seven-year search of flea markets and garage sales. They say velvet painting is "the Rodney Dangerfield of art." It gets no respect, I tell ya'.

©2006 Casey Bisson If you like the unique, be sure to check out the Velveteria, a museum devoted to velvet paintings.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Relaxing and Unwinding in Portland

Unwinding in Portland is easy to do, thanks to beautiful gardens, relaxing spas, and comfy bookstores. Check out these itineraries for some ideas:

1 day: Visit some of Portland's soothing gardens. Go from the Rose Garden in Washington Park to the Japanese Garden. If those don't do the trick, add the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, then the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.

You might find more privacy at Elk Rock Gardens at the Bishop's Close (11800 SW Military Lane), which is the historic estate that houses the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon. The English gardens, on six acres of a high bluff overlooking the Willamette River, were designed by the Olmstead Brothers at the turn of the 20th century. The public is welcome to stroll through the gardens during the day.

Stay next to the Willamette River at dinnertime by dining at Rivers Restaurant (0470 SW Hamilton Ct). Seafood is the specialty, so try the salmon or halibut.

2 days: Attend a yoga class for physical and spiritual relaxation. Join the free morning yoga class at Lululemon (1231 NW Couch St), an exercise apparel store from Canada. Or sign up for a yoga class at Yoga Pearl (925 NW Davis St).

©2006 Laura Trippi The Elk Rock Gardens offer a tranquil spot within Bishop's Close.

Then grab a good book and go to a local coffee shop, such

as Stumptown (128 SW 3rd Ave). There's art on the wall, magazines for browsing, and a large menu of coffee drinks. But mostly there's lots of room and relative quiet for patrons to disappear into a good book.

In the coffee shop at Powell's City of Books (1005 W Burnside St), you're welcome to sit and read any of the store's nearly 1 million books. Just remember to put the book on the reshelving cart when you're through.

Cross the street to Mio Gelato (25 NW 11th Ave, 503-226-8002). Choose from their menu of panini sandwiches and save the gelato for dessert.

3 days: Book a pedicure party at Nirvana Apothecary & Day Spa (736 NW 11th Ave). You and a group of friends get the place to yourselves for an evening to enjoy martinis and soothing pedicures at the lush Turkish-style treatment room, complete with Turkish hammered copper foot basins.

Then pile into a Classic Chauffeur limo (540 NW 5th Ave, 503-238-8880) and partake of the co-ed hot tub spa at Common Ground Wellness Center (2927 NE Everett St).

If you're feeling a little adventurous, you can grab a table for good Italian cuisine at the Mobil Three-Star Genoa (2832 SE Belmont St). Appearances at first will be deceiving because it's housed in a windowless storefront. You'll be able to choose one of three entrees, but the waiter will tell you what entrees are available because menus aren't printed. After that, all other decisions for the seven-course meal are up to the chef.

The variety of things to do makes Portland an ideal travel destination. Come see for yourself.

©Publications International, Ltd.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan Hauser is a freelance writer based in Portland. She has written about her hometown for such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Sunday Travel, Travel + Leisure, Diversion, AAA Via, Travel Oregon, and several airline magazines. Although Susan enjoys writing about traveling to various points on the globe, she finds the ever-changing vibrant scene in Portland to be a constant inspiration.

Check out the public art along the transit mall. At Southwest Fifth Avenue and Washington Street, there's a statue of a nude woman entitled "Kvinneakt" by sculptor Norm Taylor. It became internationally famous after former Mayor Bud Clark posed as a flasher in a trench coat in front of it for an "Expose Yourself to Art" poster.

For dinner try Portland's oldest restaurant, Mobil Two-Star Huber's (411 SW 3rd Ave), established in 1879. The restaurant is known for its signature drink, the Spanish Coffee, and the delectable roast turkey.

2 days: Walk along Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park (SW Naito Pkwy from S Hawthorne Bridge to Burnside Bridge), passing the Salmon Springs Fountain and the Japanese-American Historical Plaza. Cross the Steel Bridge on the pedestrian walkway that connects to the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade. Then cross the Willamette River on the Hawthorne Bridge to complete about a three-mile loop.

The Portland Building (1120 SW Fifth Ave), designed by famed architect Michael Graves, was completed in 1982. Resembling a large wrapped gift, it was the first post-modern building in the United States. Atop the entrance sits Portlandia, a 35-foot-tall statue of a kneeling woman. Designed by sculptor Raymond Kaskey, it's the second largest copper statue in the country. The Statue of Liberty is the largest.

For dinner, try one of downtown's best restaurants, Mobil Three-Star Higgins (1239 SW Broadway). Chef Greg Higgins is nationally renowned for his devotion to sustainable foods and local ingredients. Try the Roast Loin of Pork with horseradish, gremolata, roasted beets, and a warm potato salad.

©2006 Barry Mulling Portlandia sits atop the first post-modern building in the United States -- the Portland Building.

3 days: Enjoy the statuary and fountains of the Park Blocks. In the North Park Blocks, between Northwest Davis and Everett streets, is "Portland Dog Bowl," designed in 2001 by famed dog photographer William Wegman. It's an actual dog-level water fountain in the shape of a dog bowl on a simulated tile floor.

The water feature of the Pearl District's Jamison Square (NW 11th Ave and Johnson St) is popular with both dogs and kids. Water cascades over the stones to fill a pool. Then it recedes and, a few minutes later, begins the cycle again.

For dinner you needn't go far at all. The excellent French restaurant Fenouil (900 NW 11th Ave) borders Jamison Square. Sit on the patio on a sunny day, or next to the fireplace when it's chilly, and try something like steak frites or the wood-fired duck breast.

Shopping in Portland

Shopping in Portland runs the gamut -- from funky vintage finds to high-end designer clothing. You'll find the best shopping bets in these suggested itineraries.

1 day: Get a mix of highbrow and funky by shopping in the Pearl District (bounded by NW Ninth Ave to 15th Ave and W Burnside St to NW Northrup St), followed by a stroll along Northwest 23rd Avenue. In the Pearl you'll find fabulous design stores, such as Versailles in the Pearl, Studio G11, and Hive; clothing and shoe stores like Desperado, Aubergine, and Bella Moda; and athletic apparel such as Adidas, Lucy, and Lululemon.

In the Nob Hill District (centered around 23rd and 21st aves), look for fun gift shops like Dazzle, Twist, and Hello Portland. This area also showcases home decor shops Urbino and Compleat Bed & Breakfast, books at Renaissance Books, and music at Music Millennium.

If you have a sweet tooth, you may be tempted to eat at Mobil Two-Star Papa Haydn (701 NW 23rd Ave), which is renowned for its desserts. Then, tear yourself away from the pastry case and order something equally good from the dinner menu, such as pasta topped with wine-braised lamb shank.

2 days: Drive south of Portland on Interstate 5 to Exit 290 to get to Bridgeport Village, a suburban shopping center unlike any other in Portland. Its shops and restaurants are top drawer. The village offers valet and concierge services to enhance your shopping experience, while you enjoy Italian-style piazzas among high-end shops, such as Anthropologie, BCBG Max Azria, French Quarter Linens, and Sur La Table. Restaurants here include McCormick & Schmick's Grill, where wild salmon and halibut are specialties, and Sinju Japanese Restaurant for top-rate sushi.

3 days: Throw in a little vintage, just for fun. Portland's many vintage clothing stores have become destination shops for travelers and celebrities, such as Meg Ryan and Paris Hilton. Downtown there's Avalon (410 SW Oak St), Ray's Ragtime (1001 SW Morrison St), and Keep 'Em Flying (510 NW 21st Ave). Red Light Clothing Exchange has shops on the east side (3590 SE Hawthorne Blvd) and west side (1111 SW Stark St).

Stay in the vintage mood by grabbing a bite at Byways Cafe (1212 NW Glisan St), open only for breakfast and lunch. It has a fun, 1950s diner feel and the food is great. Pancake specials at breakfast and homemade soups at lunch.

In the evening, check out some discount stores at the Lloyd Center (2201 Lloyd Center), then catch a movie on one of the 18 screens in the mall's movie theater or go skating at its indoor ice rink located right in the middle of the mall.

Nightlife & Entertainment in Portland

Nightlife & Entertainment in Portland

You'll find wine bars, brewpub-theaters, and so much more in Portland. These suggestions should help you sift through your nightlife options.

1 day: Take a tour of some of Portland's 30-plus craft breweries. Include the oldest one, BridgePort Brewpub & Bakery (1313 NW Marshall St), established in 1984; the first all-organic brewery in Oregon, Roots Organic Brewing (1520 SE 7th Ave); the most dog-friendly brewery, the Lucky Labrador Brew Pub (915 SE Hawthorne Blvd); and the largest craft brewery in Oregon, Widmer Brothers Brewing (929 N Russell St). The Widmers serve great German sausage, along with great beer, at their Gasthaus.

2 days: Drop in on a martini bar during Happy Hour. At Vault Martini Bar (226 NW 12th Ave), inventive cocktails are just $4 from 4 to 7 pm. Their best-selling martini is the Habanero, made with pineapple- and habanero-infused vodka.

What the dickens would Olive or Twist (925 NW 11th Ave, 503-546-2900) serve but classic martinis? They offer about 15 classics but feature the Pearl Martini: white chocolate liqueur and Stoli vanilla vodka with a white chocolate rim. Later, dig some live jazz at a local club. You can't go wrong with Jimmy Mak's (221 NW 10th Ave).

3 days: Check out the wine bar scene. It's hot in the Pearl District, at Vino Paradiso Wine Bar & Bistro (417 NW 10th Ave) and Yoshida's Fine Art Gallery, Wine Bar & Bistro (206 NW 10th Ave). Ask to try one of Oregon's famed Pinot Noirs.

Another great wine bar scene is along 28th Avenue on either side of East Burnside Street. Try Noble Rot (2724 SE Ankeny St), where popular chef Leather Storrs serves up some tasty cuisine, such as an onion tart and black cod with fennel confiti. Navarre (10 NE 28th Ave, 503-232-3555) and Wine Down on 28th Avenue (126 NE 28th Ave, 503-236-9463) are both known for having an extensive wine list and eclectic menu options. And while you're in the neighborhood, you can drink beer and watch movies at the Laurelhurst Theater & Pub (2735 E Burnside St).

You'll find that 28th Avenue is a fun place for wine bars, terrific ethnic restaurants, interesting shops, and even a museum devoted to the art of painting on velvet. Velveteria (518 NE 28th Ave) is one of those tongue-in-cheek treasures Portlanders adore. The owners have nearly 200 velvet paintings they've discovered during a seven-year search of flea markets and garage sales. They say velvet painting is "the Rodney Dangerfield of art." It gets no respect, I tell ya'.

©2006 Casey Bisson If you like the unique, be sure to check out the Velveteria, a museum devoted to velvet paintings.

1-, 2-, and 3-Day Suggested Itineraries for Relaxing and Unwinding in Portland

Unwinding in Portland is easy to do, thanks to beautiful gardens, relaxing spas, and comfy bookstores. Check out these itineraries for some ideas:

1 day: Visit some of Portland's soothing gardens. Go from the Rose Garden in Washington Park to the Japanese Garden. If those don't do the trick, add the Portland Classical Chinese Garden, then the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.

You might find more privacy at Elk Rock Gardens at the Bishop's Close (11800 SW Military Lane), which is the historic estate that houses the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon. The English gardens, on six acres of a high bluff overlooking the Willamette River, were designed by the Olmstead Brothers at the turn of the 20th century. The public is welcome to stroll through the gardens during the day.

Stay next to the Willamette River at dinnertime by dining at Rivers Restaurant (0470 SW Hamilton Ct). Seafood is the specialty, so try the salmon or halibut.

2 days: Attend a yoga class for physical and spiritual relaxation. Join the free morning yoga class at Lululemon (1231 NW Couch St), an exercise apparel store from Canada. Or sign up for a yoga class at Yoga Pearl (925 NW Davis St).

©2006 Laura Trippi The Elk Rock Gardens offer a tranquil spot within Bishop's Close.

Then grab a good book and go to a local coffee shop, such

as Stumptown (128 SW 3rd Ave). There's art on the wall, magazines for browsing, and a large menu of coffee drinks. But mostly there's lots of room and relative quiet for patrons to disappear into a good book.

In the coffee shop at Powell's City of Books (1005 W Burnside St), you're welcome to sit and read any of the store's nearly 1 million books. Just remember to put the book on the reshelving cart when you're through.

Cross the street to Mio Gelato (25 NW 11th Ave, 503-226-8002). Choose from their menu of panini sandwiches and save the gelato for dessert.

3 days: Book a pedicure party at Nirvana Apothecary & Day Spa (736 NW 11th Ave). You and a group of friends get the place to yourselves for an evening to enjoy martinis and soothing pedicures at the lush Turkish-style treatment room, complete with Turkish hammered copper foot basins.

Then pile into a Classic Chauffeur limo (540 NW 5th Ave, 503-238-8880) and partake of the co-ed hot tub spa at Common Ground Wellness Center (2927 NE Everett St).

If you're feeling a little adventurous, you can grab a table for good Italian cuisine at Genoa (2832 SE Belmont St). Appearances at first will be deceiving because it's housed in a windowless storefront. You'll be able to choose one of three entrees, but the waiter will tell you what entrees are available because menus aren't printed. After that, all other decisions for the seven-course meal are up to the chef.

The variety of things to do makes Portland an ideal travel destination. Come see for yourself.

©Publications International, Ltd.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan Hauser is a freelance writer based in Portland. She has written about her hometown for such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Sunday Travel, Travel + Leisure, Diversion, AAA Via, Travel Oregon, and several airline magazines. Although Susan enjoys writing about traveling to various points on the globe, she finds the ever-changing vibrant scene in Portland to be a constant inspiration.

Related Links

Bicycle Transportation Alliance

Bishop's Close

Bob and Diana Gerding Theater

Catlin Gabel School

Chamber Music Northwest

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

Common Ground Wellness Center

Friends of Chamber Music

The Grotto

KMHD Radio

Last Thursday Art Walk

Oregon Ballet Theater

Oregon Historical Society

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Oregon Zoo

Pioneer Courthouse Square

Portland Art Museum

Portland Children's Museum

Portland Classical Chinese Garden

Portland Farmers Market

Portland Parks and Recreation

Portland Rose Festival

Reed College

Tri-Met

White Bird Dance Company

World Forestry Center Discovery Museum