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“Portland Underground, we were Shanghai'd :( Save your money! Seriously!”

Portland Walking Tours
Ranked #12 of 112 Tours in Portland
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Portland Walking Tours’ fun and award-winning events explore the excitement, history, food, architecture, neighborhoods, bridges, parks, fountains, artwork, and just plain weird places in Portland Oregon. Tours include the award-winning “Best of Portland,” showcasing what makes Portland such a fabulous place to live and visit (daily, 10 AM and 2 PM); our scandalous “Underground Portland,” aka "the worst of Portland," revealing both the physical and metaphorical subterranean story of Portland's sordid past; the eerie “Beyond Bizarre”, a hands-on exploration of Portland's paranormal, using real ghost-hunting equipment as seen on shows like "Ghost Adventurer" (TM) and "Paranormal State" (TM); our delicious “Epicurean Excursion” walking tour, a tasty immersion into Portland's amazing culinary "slow food" scene; our indulgent “Chocolate Decadence Tour," exploring and sampling chocolate in its many solid and liquid forms, from bean to bar and everything in between; "Roses Gone Wild!", which dishes the dirt on Portland's famous International Rose Test Gardens; and "Flavor Street," where you taste the best of Portland's incredible food cart scene - and skip the rest.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities
Reviewed September 21, 2013

I would not recommend this tour to anyone who doesn't have $20.00 a person ( or $40 a person in our case) and 2 hours of your life to waste!! Born and raised in Portland, I was truly hoping to enjoy this, too see some of the infamous "Shanghai Tunnels"and maybe learn something new about this beautifully diverse city. But frankly this tour was beyond disappointing and you could learn and see more by simply googling Portland Oregon, I disapprove of this particular tour for the following reasons;

1. They charged our credit card for 4 tickets rather then 2. Which normally wouldn't be a big deal as mistakes happen. But after she stated she would make a note to have the charge credited back to us, and receiving a email to call them, we called and they said they knew nothing about it, and asked us to call again when the 'book keeper' is at her desk.

2. The tour seemed over booked and was split into 2 tours so toward the end we had another tour right on our heels rushing us to the finish of the tour.

3. The 'guide' wasn't even from Portland, we had a large group with us of 15 people and we could barely hear a word she said, and what we did hear was her rambling insistently and she seemed very scripted, bored and misinformed about her facts. When asked simple questions her response was " that's a good question." And without giving any explanation she would just move on.

4. At the "Keep Portland Weird" signs, she down played Portland every chance she had even stating "We stole the Keep Portland weird remark from Austin Texas!" We quickly passed through the hole in the ground at Oyster Bar only to arrive at Voodoo doughnuts(which unfortunately was the highlight of this tour) where she identified some menu item, including her favorites, and the amount of time in line it takes to get a doughnut.
(At this point all I could think about was standing in the doughnut line as I am certain I would have learned more about Portland in that 2 hour wait then I did on this tour!)

5.We seen 2 different holes in the floor covered by plexiglass and our guide almost mockingly exclaimed how these were "another example of what a Shanghai tunnel is not!" (Are you serious!)

6. At the end of the dreadfully boring tour they cram the large group into their basement that smells of urine and showed us literally a Brick wall saying "This is all that is left of the shanghai tunnels, we don't actually see any of the tunnels" and mocking us even further by asking "Are you angry?". Yes. I am angry I will never get that hour of my life back or the $80.00 I was over charged for this tour!

2  Thank JadedGemini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gary C, Manager at Portland Walking Tours, responded to this reviewResponded September 23, 2013

Dear Jaded,

Thank you for your comments. We're sorry you had a less than optimal experience with your tour. We would like to address a few of your points.

First, we have refunded your purchase entirely. We're sorry that the person on the phone was not able to handle it immediately, but we hope you appreciate that we wanted to have trained, qualified staff handle your refund to ensure no further errors were made.

Second, our tour was not "over booked." We regularly run two simultaneous tours, as it is a very popular tour that often sells out, and we have several highly trained, qualified guides ready to conduct tours - as was the case this day.

Third, we are sorry that you didn't like the tour itself. We're not sure why the guide's place of origin was an issue for you, but we are careful to recruit people who live in Portland because they love Oregon and are excited to share the great many things they've learned about this great city with locals and visitors alike.

We're also sorry that the truth about the Shanghai Tunnels was a disappointment to you. Many tour groups in the area are happy to perpetuate the fantastic myths about the tunnels, even to the point of "staging" fake displays of shoes and other artifacts to support their unsubstantiated claims. We prefer to tell you the truth about Shanghaiing and the tunnels as they actually existed in our city.

As for the guide and tour not being entertaining for you - that IS a problem and you have pointed out a number of things that this guide in particular did that is not up to our standards. tThat is not acceptable, and we will address those issues with our guides.

Again, thank you for the feedback. We value responses both positive and negative - both types help us continuously improve our tours and service.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (1,146)
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519 - 523 of 1,146 reviews

Reviewed September 16, 2013

We did the Best of Portland Tour and had tremendous fun. Perfectly organised, easy to book and find starting point; we learnt many many things and loved our guide's upbeat attitude and friendly demeanour. And we really enjoyed his ability to walk backwards and still give commentary...
Highly recommended.

2  Thank DrAffable
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2013

My friend and I took this tour at 2pm in September and it was 96F - unseasonably warm! This was the only negative we can say about this tour. It was our first day in Portland and a wonderful way to start our trip! Our guide, Dave, helped us get oriented to the city and gave us suggestions for places he thought we might enjoy. Highly recommend!

2  Thank clm-OKC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2013

The Best of Portland tour was the perfect start to our trip. Our guide, Pat, was wonderful! We learned about the history of Portland as well as tips of things to see. She was very entertaining and sincerely interested in making sure you enjoyed your tour. I would definitely recommend this tour as well as the epicurean walking tour.

1  Thank DebbieS333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2013

We did the Best Of Portland Walking Tour about 20 minutes after we got to town. It was the perfect way to familiarize ourselves with the town. We learned a lot and took a lot of our guides suggestions and visited other places later in our trip that he thought we might like. It really was a perfect start to out trip.

Thank WYOFinngirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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