Revel in Portland: A Look At the City Through Its People

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The Washington Park and Zoo Railway operates three trains that travel around the lower end of the zoo and through the scenic forests of Washington Park. The Zooliner and the Oregon Express are diesel-powered streamliner trains; the Oregon steam locomotive, built in to celebrate the state's centennial, resembles 19th-century passenger trains with its polished brass trimmings. The streamliners run during the summer; all three trains operate on Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends and during the Zoolights Festival in December.

Zoo admission is required to board. For train schedule information phone The Portland Art Museum is a good one. It is a nice choice when you are looking for things for couples to do. American art includes early portraits by Gilbert Stuart, 19th-century landscape paintings by George Inness and a panoramic Mt.

Hood by renowned landscape artist Albert Bierstadt. Four galleries feature Chinese, Japanese and Korean art in the form of prints, screens, scroll paintings and ceramic tomb objects. The museum also has collections of Northwestern and Native American art and outstanding silver pieces, among them a 15th-century drinking bowl and a Victorian tea service.

Scholars take advantage of the extensive research library and huge collection of historical photographs at the Oregon Historical Society , but there also are top-notch permanent exhibits in the building's museum. Oregon My Oregon fills an entire floor with interactive and hands-on displays, re-creations of a Hudson's Bay Co.

The eight-story mural of Lewis and Clark and other historical figures on the exterior west wall is an outstanding example of the trompe l'oeil style. The Life Science and Earth Science halls are chock-full of fascinating exhibits, while Turbine Hall is where many of the hands-on activities and the chemistry, physics and technology labs are located. Live science demonstrations include squid dissections and displays of static electricity. If you haven't already guessed, this is a really great place to take kids and a top choice for those putting together family vacation packages.

As is the Portland Children's Museum , where youngsters will be having too much fun to realize they're learning about life skills. Building Bridgetown is a two-story house where young construction workers can panel a wall, build with blocks or practice plumbing. Water Works is a contraption where H2O flows, squirts and pours with the aid of such things as kitchen objects and an old shoe.


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Storytellers, musicians and puppeteers hold court in the museum's theater. The Pittock Mansion is the legacy of a hard-working couple who achieved their American dream in a city they grew to love. Pittock went on to build a business empire, while his wife devoted her energies to improving the lives of the city's women and children. The large and beautiful home they built on 46 acres of land, high in the hills and overlooking the city, is notable not only for its lovely design and dazzling collection of furnishings and art but for the memorabilia—from an Steinway grand piano to family portraits to Pittock's ceremonial sword—that offers a glimpse into their lives.

Oaks Amusement Park , along the Willamette River southeast of downtown, is the real deal as far as amusement parks go: a looping roller coaster, a Ferris wheel, thrill rides, kids' rides, a roller skating rink, bumper cars, carnival games. It's pure old-fashioned fun.

– Gothamist

The park, surrounded by the trees for which it was named, first opened its gates in , and many people in those early days arrived by trolley car. Spend an afternoon exploring Portland's vibrant downtown waterfront. This steam-powered, stern-wheel, ship-assist tug played an important role in the development of the city's harbor, and you can walk around the main deck, peek into the captain's and pilot's quarters, inspect the engine room and take in the view from the pilot house, 32 feet above the water.

If you'd rather be on the water instead of viewing it from land, hop on the Portland Spirit River Cruises , a triple-decker yacht. It cruises the Willamette south or upstream; the river is one of a relative few in the country that flows south to north down to Lake Oswego and then back. Pacific Northwest-inspired food, live entertainment, the Portland skyline as a backdrop—all are part of brunch, lunch and dinner cruises aboard the Spirit.

Nothing is perfect

Be sure to look for great packages on travel sites and with AAA when booking your trip. You also can travel in the footsteps of explorers Lewis and Clark—minus the hardships their Corps of Discovery expedition party put up with—on an excursion along the Willamette and Columbia rivers, with historical narration provided.

We'd bet there's quite a few, because aside from being a terrific bookstore, Powell's is a local institution and gathering place.

Portland, Oregon

It stocks more than a million yes, you read that right new, used and out-of-print volumes, organized by subject and spread over nine color-coded rooms; most customers take advantage of the store layout map that Powell's provides. After you've browsed the stacks to your heart's content, head for the coffee room and settle in by one of the big windows that look out on the bustling pedestrian traffic along Burnside Street and N. Powell's also has its own parking garage. Speaking of Powell's, it's located at the southern edge of the Pearl District, one of downtown's most delightful neighborhoods.

And in Portland even the neighborhoods are attractions, given that you could spend all morning or afternoon wandering, window shopping and nibbling through a couple of them. Less than two decades ago this was an undesirable area, gritty and industrial. Today, however, it's the picture of chic urbanity, a leafy enclave of high-rise condos, luxury lofts, casually upscale restaurants, dozens of art galleries and shopping galore. If it's a sunny afternoon, while away an hour at Jamison Square, a park between N.

Check out the totem poles not authentic, but colorful. Two blocks due north is Tanner Springs Park, a little bit of wetlands habitat in downtown Portland a century ago this part of the city was boggy marshland. The galleries open their doors to the public, and there are wine tastings and live music. This also is a good excuse to have dinner at one of the many good restaurants, like Bluehour. And remember that most of the Pearl District as far north as N.

The neighborhood's narrow streets are lined with refurbished turn-of-theth-century Victorians, many housing boutiques and bookstores, and lovely historic homes. Plus, you won't have to wonder where to eat because there are plenty of area options. For an afternoon pick-me-up, try one of the decadent confections at the Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe on 23rd Avenue; their specialties include hand-crafted chocolate truffles and unusual beverages like chocolate chai tea.

A couple blocks away is Papa Haydn West , where you can pop in for a full meal or choose a sweet treat from their extensive menu. From the lower end of downtown, head east across the Hawthorne Bridge to the Hawthorne District, east Portland's most diverse neighborhood. This is a neighborhood to stroll around, not drive through, with an atmosphere that's a mix of hippie '60s, retro '70s bohemian and '90s alternative. The Bagdad's interior is pure golden age movie palace, and you can order a slice of pizza and a fresh pint of beer to enjoy while watching the show.

Outdoor tables at the casual pub fronting the theater are jam-packed for dinner in the summertime.

Order the tofu veggie scramble, whole-wheat pancakes or the house-made scones, knock back a couple of cups of good strong coffee and you're ready to explore. Venture onto some of the tree-lined residential side streets, which contain an interesting mix of older craftsman and bungalow-style houses set in small, garden-filled yards. Nearby at S. It's not as labyrinthine as Powell's City of Books—three rooms instead of nine, each named after a local landmark the Madison and Hawthorne neighborhoods and Mt.

Tabor, one of the few extinct volcanoes located within a city. But it's the same eclectic mix of new and used books, with a friendly, laid-back staff that can show you around or find a particular book.


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  • See all the AAA recommended attractions for this destination. In-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. All hotels must meet the same basic requirements for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality to be AAA Approved. A rating of one to five AAA Diamonds tells members what type of experience to expect, from no-frills to highly personalized.

    Advance registration required. Other terms and conditions may apply. Oregon levies no sales tax. The Portland area has a lodging tax of Taylor St. Portland, OR Phone: or Several rental car agencies serve the Portland area. Hertz, airport , downtown or , offers discounts to AAA members. The Amtrak passenger train terminal is at N. Sixth Ave. Cabs must be hired by phone or at taxi stations, although a few will answer a hail from the street in the downtown business district.

    Companies include Broadway Cab Co. Fares are metered.

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    Transportation by bus, streetcar or light-rail is available in Portland. As a AAA member, you'll save even more. Explore AAA Travel. More About Portland , OR. Hotels Attractions Restaurants Campgrounds Events. Pacific Northwest Road Trips. AAA Vacations. Read More. Pacific Northwest Destination. Behind the Natural Beauty. Legendary Nike shoe designer, Tinker Hatfield, talks about his transition from young athlete to one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. Artist, Alicia McDaid, recommends a few tricks for beating the Portland rainy day blues.

    She reflects back on Portland back in "the wild west of the DIY '90s". Professional photographer, Ray Gordon, credits his photography for keeping him out of jail. He asks our readers to invite him over if they're ever brave enough to take the El Jefe challenge at Fire On the Mountain. And he's the kind of guy that will actually show up then buy you a beer afterwards.

    Reviews Be the first to review this e-book. Write your review Wanna review this e-book? Pat Silver-Lasky. Terry M. Janice Grube.