My next door neighbor just returned from a few days in Portland, OR. His stories reminded me of how much I love Portland. I am so overdue for a visit.
Portland is my favorite long weekend getaway. Seattle is closer to Vancouver but, for me, it is too much the same as what we have right here. Portland's architecture is older and homier (a real plus for me) and there are more things to see and do than you can fit into a weekend. Here are a few of my favorites –
Powell's Book Store – I love books and I have been known to spend a whole afternoon in this store. It is like no other store you've visited, except maybe Harrods in London. The store takes up a whole city block and each genre has its own room. They sell both new and used books, placing them side by side on the shelf so you can see a wide variety of prices for each title, depending on the condition of the book.
Lan Su Chinese Garden – This is exactly like the gardens I fell in love with in China. It is totally authentic and oh, so relaxing. In 1999, 65 workman came from Portland's sister city in China to build this garden bringing with them huge pieces of wood and rocks from their homeland. It is definitely a “must see”.
Did you know that Portland's Oregon Zoo started out in the back of a drug store in the mid 1800's? Committed to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, it has become a center for wildlife conservation and field research. The exhibits represent many geographical regions of the world. You will not find a better place for a family outing!
If you're a gardener, you will not want to miss Portland's fantastic rose garden . They are continuously experimenting with different varieties. You can find roses in every color under the sun.
The city has become renowned for its craft beers . You can do a tour to all the craft breweries and compare their techniques. Or maybe you want to try a tasting walk of the wide selection of food carts found in the downtown core.
On the weekends the Saturday Market is a must. They call it the Saturday Market but it is open both Saturday and Sunday. Of course a trip to Portland would not be complete without shopping spree – they have no sales tax!
There is no shortage of fine restaurants, coffee shops, and evening entertainment to suit every taste. And if you can stay a little longer than just a weekend, you are only 90 minutes away from the sand dunes of the Oregon Coast or the ski hills of Mount Hood. A trip to the Columbia River Gorge only takes 45 minutes from downtown Portland.
You may want to start planning your own trip to this city of bridges! I know I'm already thinking about my own!