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Though not at the top of the list of many Americans' must-see destinations, Portland provides the perfect antidote from oh-so-serious corporate life. Perched in a prime position betwixt oceans and mountains, Portland's eye-popping gardens, homegrown cuisine, and relaxed approach to life offers a refreshing perspective.
Category: Recent trip
Traveler type: Sightseeing, Shopping, Active/Outdoors, Never been before
Appeals to: Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Families with small children, Budget travelers, Active/adventure, Tourists
The five exquisite gardens recapture the essence of ancient Japan and guide visitors to a true state of Zen. Stroll across zig-zagging bridges, past cheerfully clinkling waterfalls and lose yourself in the gracefully sculpted foliage. Of particular interest is the sand and stone garden. While it may sound drab, the garden is hardly such. Meticulously raked sand snakes around carefully placed stone to form a pattern of uninterrupted flow.
With over 100 beers on tap, Henry's 12th Street Tavern is a beer lover's paradise. The enormous bar comes equipped with a ring of ice so your beer never gets cold. I recommend the Mt. Hood Cascadian Pale Ale. This aromatic, fresh beer isn't bottled making Henry's one of the few places you can get it.
3. Saturday Markets
Portland's two Saturday markets are in one word - awesome. First, stroll leisurely through the Farmer's Market located in the University District. The market's beauty is reason enough to visit - there is not a color, shape or size that isn't represented at this glorious feast of local produce. If you don't arrive hungry, it won't be long before you find yourself famished. No problem - the market features lots of goodies to sample, or you could pick up a breakfast burrito (organic and sumputous), or perhaps a pita bread sandwich overflowing with juicy meat and tangy hummus. After you've stuffed yourself silly at the farmers market, head north to the largest open-air arts and crafts market in the nation, the Portland Saturday Market. You will find infinite ways to adorn your home, office or body, or the perfect gift for your kind neighbors watching diligently over your house while you travel!
A must-stop for book lovers is Powell's City of Books located on the corner of West Burnside and 10th Ave in the Pearl District. This store puts Barnes & Noble to shame. Offering both new and used books spread across multiple levels (all color coded according to book type), this is the Louvre of book stores. It would take days to peruse its stock. In one hour, this traveler only covered, well, the travel section.
For those looking for the hip and happening, the Pearl District is a must. Located in the northwest corner of downtown Portland, the Pearl offers countless unique shops, restaurants, and galleries. Of particular interest to art lovers and collectors are the Pearl's over 60 galleries and home furnishing stores. If you happen to be in town on the first Thursday of the month, head to the Pearl for "First Thursday," a monthly art walk, held year-round.
6. International Rose Test Garden
Portland's International Rose Test Garden stars 10,000 roses artfully displayed and waiting to be admired. The garden is a 360 degree circle of beauty. If you turn to the east, you will find one of the best views of downtown Portland skyline and the majestic Mt. Hood.
Head east down I-5 to the historic Columbia River Highway scenic byway. This 70-mile stretch of highway guides you through same path traveled by Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery. The highlight of this tour is Multnomah Falls, a 620-foot cascading shower of beauty. You can view the Falls from three levels: from the ground, from the bridge positioned about a quarter of the way up, or make the hike to peer over the top of the falls. Save eating breakfast at the Multnomah Falls Inn and huckleberry pancakes.