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Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

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Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

hi! I am visiting Portland for the first time with my boyfriend from Sept 30 night to Oct 5 evening. I need your help and suggestions with Hotel (Budget place) and must do things in Portland? I also wanted suggestions if we should split the trip and drive to Seatle for one or two days? We have rented a car and fly back to California from Portland.

Thanks and await lots of suggestions :)

dano

Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

dano:

This is a fairly common question so it really helps us if you can narrow down things such as:

-hotel (what IS your budget? what location do you prefer? downtown, airport, suburbs, etc.)

- your interests (activities, types of food/music etc you like...)

- other travel...do you want to see the Oregon Coast, the Columbia River Gorge, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Willamette Vallet wine country, etc. There's lots to do in the Portland area before you start thinking of mixing in a trip to Seattle, too...

We can all throw out a bunch of generic suggestions, but it's more fun trying to tailor ideas more specific for you two. Please write back with more info so we can better answer your questions in the OP.

Brian

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2. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

You may want to start with bidding for a hotel on Priceline. Go for the 4 star places. You may be able to get a room at a nice 4 star place for around $70/night if you're lucky.

Also, check out the www.pova.com website for hotels that include breakfast and valet parking. Some of my favorite things to do in Portland are:

Visit the Japanese and Rose Gardens

Oregon Zoo

Pittock Mansion

Classical Chinese Gardens

Walk the riverfront

Saturday Market(also runs on Sun.)

Stroll through Nob Hill and have desserts at Papa Haydn

Pearl District shopping with a meal at Pho Van or Bluehour

Shop in Pioneer Place

Seattle is gorgeous. Go for it! Some things we enjoyed there:

The Space Needle

Pike Place Market

Ferry ride to Bainbridge Island

Salty's on Alki Beach for the coconut prawns

Shopping in Pioneer Square

Have a wonderful trip and let us know how it goes! :)

Maine
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3. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

Dano -- Brian is right, there is much to do in Portland and the surrounding areas. Mt. St. Helen's is a short hop away and the Columbia River Gorge is breathtaking. The leaves are starting to change color here, so I imagine the Gorge wil be beautiful.

I just got back from a trip north and stopped in Seattle and remembered why I had not returned for a few years. Pike's Market was overcrowded, filthy dirty, and totally non-enjoyable. It was so crowded you couldn't even see the vendors tables or try to buy anything. You might say why was it so crowded if it's not enjoyable? Tourists who have never been, people like me who want to go back hoping it will be nice, something to do on Sunday. I have been there when there's not such a big crowd but it was still dirty. I will not go back again.

The Space Needle is in a run down area and nothing of great interest there except for Experience Music Museum, which falls short in my humble opinion.

Pioneer Square is full of the homeless, it is dirty and dark. The only good thing about it is the Underground Tour, which takes you under the streets to the Seattle that used to be, and is still there, under the street. A humorously told story of how Seattle came to be is included in the tour.

The traffic in Seattle is HORRENDOUS.

I think you will have a wonderful time in Portland. Get a tourist map at your hotel and visit all the neighborhoods, take day drives to the Gorge, Mt. St. Helen's, Mt. Hood (you can ski), the Wine Country and an hour and a half to Cannon Beach. There are river cruises available, to view the city and gorge from a different perspective. You will truly fall in love with this city if you spend the time here.

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4. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

Like Brian said, give us a few more ideas and then we can help more. There is so much to do here that you could easily spend all your time in Oregon. Don't get me wrong, I love WA (used to live there as well) and all it has to offer, but for only a week you would need to narrow down what you want to do/see.

PT--When we lived in the Seattle area we used to go to Pike Place Market early on Sunday mornings when the vendors were setting up. It was so peaceful then and not the mobs like at other times. The EMP is good for teens, but I definitely see what you are saying. Our kids are begging us to return, but they are teens, so it goes with the territory.

I was just in the gorge today, and yes, it is a beautiful area and very much is a "must do". Take the scenic highway and stop often at the many spots along the way. Today I only had time for the Vista House and Multnomah Falls. The Vista House just recently reopened after a long renovation. Absolutely stunning views! Multnomah Falls is just down the road from there and it is an easy walk up to the very top. Only 1 mile and very scenic. Right now none of the leaves were turning, but it is very early here for that.

If you are interested in the gorge area, then take the drive out from Portland, but then continue to Hood River and then down past Mt. Hood back over to Portland. That is a beautiful route, especially in the fall.

Portland, Oregon
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5. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

Like (most of) the others here have said, it would be nice to know a few things before offering suggestions. When I read the word "boyfriend", I'm thinking I'm probably old enough to be your dad, in which case much of the stuff I like to do here wouldn't work at all for you. And I know that to be true of at least one other responder here too (sorry syrahgirl ;-) ). But I know what my son likes to do too, so help us out a little.

All that said, my first thought was the Jupiter Hotel, a place that recently had a face-lift to create a "new contemporary experience in urban hospitality". Check out its web site. I understand the Doug Fir next door is pretty popular with the younger crowd too.

Oh, and regardless of your age, there's plenty around here to do to keep you occupied for five nights. Do Seattle another time.

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6. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

With only 5 days, you're better off experiencing Portland, and then visiting Seattle another time. You're talking about only a couple of days to experience the largest metropolitan area in the Northwest... That being said, if you think you'll never be back up here, Seattle is worth a trip for a couple of days. There is more than enough to keep you occupied in Portland for sure.

I do disagree with the other about the crumminess of Seattle - just like all other big cities - you need to know where to go, what to see, and most importantly, when to see it. Pike's Place in the early morning is great, before the tourists have risen. The Space Needle, though overpriced, is worth a visit for the view. At Pioneer Square you can pay one cover charge and hit like a dozen different clubs. you can ride the ferries to the San Juans or Victoria, do all the recreational activities you can in Portland, and Capitol Hill is alive with activity. There is so much to see and do to experience Seattle that most tourists don't know about...it's really a great city. However, it's true that Seattle Center isn't the place to go, except to see the Space Needle and the EMP, especially at night.

Syrahgirl has so many good ideas but I'll throw a few more at you:

Wine Tasting at Willamette Vineyards in Salem or several of the million wineries west of town.

Ride the Sternwheeler through the columbia gorge.

Jet Boat Excursions on the Willamette, or dance the night away on the Portland Spirit

Experience the views at Portland City Grill or Alexander's while you listen to piano and sip a martini.

Walk the Pearl District and try all the brewpubs and martini bars

Watch the Kiteboarders in Hood River or Cascade Locks

Drive to Timberline Lodge for dinner on Mt. Hood

The Mt. Hood Dinner Train

Experience Happy Hour at Henry's Tavern or any of the great places in the Pearl

Eat Dessert at Papa Haydn after an afternoon of strolling in NW.

Take a day trip to Mt. St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, or the Oregon Coast.

Visit Powell's City of Books

Portland Saturday Market

The Greek Festival on Sept. 30th

Hit the 'Couv to dance to great upscale R&B at Bacchus or experience Cinetopia, where you can sample wines by the glass of over 100 wines and enjoy gourmet hors d'oeuvres as you recline in leather seats and listen to live jazz and enjoy a movie in the nicest movie theater seats in town.

First Friday Art Walk

See the Broadway Musical The Lion King at the Keller Auditorium and have a glass of wine at the French Place across the street before hand.

See live comedy at Harvey's Comedy Club.

Join Portland Walking Tours for a walking tour of Portland

Catch some live jazz at the Blue Monk or Jimmy Mak's, or eat French food and listen to jazz at Brasserie Montmarte until the wee hours.

Just a few ideas - there are so many more...

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7. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

You may want to check out the Inn at Northrup Station in Nob Hill. We were considering a stay there this summer,it's a funky little place and rooms go for around$109/nihgt, maybe even less in the Fall. It's walking distance to two of our favorite restaurants, Paley's Place and Wildwood. They have a website, just do a word search for Inn at Northrup Station. Cheers! :)

Maine
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8. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

Johann & Sandra -- Wow, you guys are great! You've given me some ideas of things to do. Thanks:)

I didn't mean to insult Seattle. Maybe I've just been there too many times and it's lost its charm -- or maybe I haven't been there enough. But, you're right, it is definitely a trip all by itself.

We went to the Greek Festival last year on Saturday night, so needless to say it's been on my calendar all year so that we will remember to go earlier this time, so we can at least get to the top of the crowd to buy something yummy :)

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9. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

Thanks, Portlandtraveler.

It's that you haven't been there enough. Trust me. We used to think exactly like you for years until my brother moved there and introduced us to all the great things we were missing. You can't really know a city until you've lived there.

It's like Portland - unless you live there, it seems kind of boring. Beautiful, but it's just another city, right? Then when you really get to know the cool hangouts, the places to be, and the intricate parts of the city that give it its life - it's spirit, it's absolutely wonderful.

That being said, Portland is still better! :-)

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10. Re: Visiting Portland from Sept 30-Oct 4

PT--I didn't take your post as an insult to Seattle at all, just your thoughts:) My DH was raised there, and we lived there for 5 years, so I know it pretty well. The one thing I really miss about it is the close proximity to so many mountains. Mt. Hood is fine, but it just is not the same as having so many right out our back door. BTW, want to meet up again?