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Portland City Guide

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

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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

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