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Trip Report Portland Trip Report (With Kids)!

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We had a quick family trip to Portland that we wanted to share with everyone! And a special thanks to those Portland experts who helped answer our questions pre-trip.

Monday, May 10th

The adventurers included in this trip were myself (Mom), Dad, our two girls, ages 3 and 9 months, and my mom who was visiting from out of town. Being that we had my mother visiting and have a car that seats only 4 people instead of 5, we thought this a great opportunity to take Amtrak from Seattle to Portland, making use of our free travel benefit (my husband works for Amtrak – yeah!) and also have our youngest experience her first train ride at “daddy’s work.”

Since we live on the other side of the water from Seattle, we hopped aboard the ferry with luggage in tow. A scenic ride across the water, and we were ready to go. Jumped aboard Bus 99 from the ferry dock (free in this zone) and hopped off just a block or so away from Amtrak’s King St. Station. We were so ahead of ourselves in time, that we ended up taking the Coast Starlight down to Portland, rather than the Cascades and got to get busy seeing the sights in Portland sooner!

Immediately made use of the Max upon our arrival into Portland, and made our way to our hotel, the Hotel Deluxe. Well, I have to say I have mixed feelings on this one. First, I did get a screamin’ deal on Priceline - $60 a night! Can’t beat that for a 4 star downtown Portland Hotel! The hotel is just outside of the free ride zone of the Max, which may be a bother to some, but we’re such walkers we didn’t mind this too much. It is an older hotel, so the hotel rooms were tiny - smaller than any infamously tiny New York hotels we’ve ever stayed in. Size wasn’t so much a problem though as the several mold patches on the ceiling of the bathroom - yuck! Needless to say a change of rooms was very necessary. The hotel did upgrade us rooms (since they did not have any like rooms available), so I can't complain about that, but I really would have just preferred for everything to be right from the start! Also, upon checkout I was informed I had made 2 outside calls, which of course I hadn't (doesn't EVERYONE use cell phones). When I asked when they were made, it was when we weren't even in the room (as you’ll read, we were gone literally ALL day to the Children's Museum and Zoo). The employee quickly removed the charges, but also made a point of noting she had never had that happen since she's worked there. I also made a point of saying that I would follow up with the maid, since we definitely did not make the calls.

Anyways, back to the good stuff. We were hungry and ready for some good eats so we made our way to The Laughing Planet Café. Oh my gosh! Sooo good! Very good, fresh ingredients, a Mexican style fare but without all the grease and lard, and boy was it good! Walked our full bellies around Jamison Square and then down to Waterfront Park to have a look around and stroll a bit by the waterside. Finished our downtown exploring by stopping in for some delicious frozen yogurt at Skinnidip on the way back to the hotel.

Tuesday, May 11th

Started the day off with some more great food at Kenny and Zukes, famous for their Pastrami, which we agree is well deserved. Then off to the Max to deliver us to the Washington Park stop directly in front of both the Zoo and the Children’s Museum. It happened to be $2 Tuesday (every 2nd Tues. of the month) at the Zoo, which I thought would be a good thing until I saw that EVERYBODY thinks $2 Tuesday, is a great idea! The lines were out of this world long and the school buses lined the parking lot. Okay, not a problem, skip the zoo off to the Children’s Museum. We all had fun here, my oldest daughter especially. (*Coupon Alert: If you happen to drink orange juice (Tropicana specifically) they have a rewards program running right now, and one of the offers available is for a 2 for 1 admission to the Children’s Museum – go to Tropicana. com for details. You also can save another $1 by riding the Max too). Spent about 3 and a half hours taking in all the museum activities, and discovered something lovely as we were leaving. All the school buses at the zoo were also leaving, and the lines were of normal length again. Well, for $2 how could we resist? Well, it gets better. Because we took the Max there, they discount your admission by $1.50, even on $2 Tuesdays! So, yes, we paid just 50 cents each to see the zoo! Definitely got our monies worth here, and saw every inch of the zoo in about 3 and a half hours, even with what was left of the crowds.

Ate at Hot Lips Pizza for dinner. Really friendly employees, and good pizza too. Decided since we still had some daylight to head down to the famous Powell’s Bookstore. It is large, fun, and impressive to go through. I thought it funny they didn’t have the 2 children’s books I wanted to pick up for my oldest daughter, but we did find a fun kid’s book about Lance Armstrong and Tour de France that was both on sale and autographed by the author, so we left happy. Stopped at Whole Foods Market to stock up on some healthy snacks, and also made a stop by Mio Gelato for some sweet treats. With such a full day, we gladly headed back to the hotel for bath time for the kids, and some rest for the grown-ups!

Wednesday, May 12th

Fueled our bodies with our final Portland meal at the Byways Café. A small café, it was once featured on the Food Network, it had great service and exceptional French toast! Yumm. We had originally planned on packing our last day in with a trip to the Japanese Garden and Rose Test Garden, however due to the time of the year, the bus that serves the distance between the Washington Park stop and the Japanese Gardens ran so infrequently (every 45 minutes to an hour and a half) that we thought it would have made for too hectic of a trip to really get to see and enjoy everything we wanted without being crunched for time to make it back to the hotel for our luggage and then back down to train station to make our train home. Also, our oldest daughter had started to come down with a bit of a cold, so we didn’t want to push her too much either. We had had such a full and great trip already, we had no problem postponing these activities for our next Portland trip. Had another nice train ride home, and were glad to make it back home for a nice family dinner at home!

Also, on a semi-off topic note… On a whim I entered my family in a KOA Kamping Contest, and what'd'ya know, but we're a finalist! But, we need your votes to WIN! And I thought who better to ask for help in winning a vacation, then my fellow Fodorites who LOVE to vacation and travel themselves? So, if you would please click on the link below, and under our picture click on the "Vote" button, and yeah, you've done your good deed for the day! You can vote everyday until June 2nd, so make sure to reuse this link to vote again and again! http://koakompass.com/promotion/flip/?contestant=46

Thank you in advance for your votes! We hope our trip report has been entertaining and/or helpful in your own trip planning!