2 Days in Portland - Best of?

Old Apr 20th, 2014, 09:24 AM
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2 Days in Portland - Best of?

I'm returning to Oregon for my 4th visit this May and finally decided to see a bit of Portland. What do Fodorites recommend for the highlights? I will only have 1.5 to 2 days and will have a car. On my radar now:

Intl Japanese Garden and Rose Garden
Powell's Books
Saturday morning market downtown
galleries and stroll in the Pearl Dist.
Pittock mansion (if time)

Will I have time for more? Favorites you would recommend? Best to drive and park, then use the free trolleys? Does MAX go from Irvington to downtown?

I would enjoy a nice lunch/dinner before driving back to my vrbo apartment. Favorites restaurant recs? Love Italian, seafood, French, Asian. Not into coffee or beer.

Thanks in advance!
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Old Apr 20th, 2014, 10:06 AM
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You'll have to walk several blocks south on 7th ave to Weidner to catch the #17 bus into downtown. Check the TriMet website for schedules.
If you have the time and it's not raining, head east on I-84 to Multnomah Falls. There is a parking area in the median (left exit). Multnomah is Oregon's tallest waterfall.
About 3 blocks south of Powell's Books you will find Ken & Zukes Deli. It has everything you expect of a great old Jewish Deli.
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Old Apr 20th, 2014, 10:09 AM
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I thought this was a fun experience- get to taste some local food, get some history and check out some of the city on foot

http://www.portlandwalkingtours.com/...ary-food-tour/
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Old Apr 20th, 2014, 10:31 AM
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I have not done this yet but plan to one of these days when I am in Portland- think it sounds fun

http://www.foodcartsportland.com/tours/
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Old Apr 20th, 2014, 12:22 PM
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Thanks Tom and sunbum! I did visit the Columbia Gorge extensively on my first trip to OR so enjoyed many of the waterfalls including Multnomah. It was fun to watch the windsurfers at Hood River! That trip was a home exchange in Parkdale (which I just loved).

I've looked at the Epicurean walking tour and it really looks like fun! I have about 3 weeks before the trip so might wait just a little before I book that one.

The deli sounds great - I just might make Powell's and the deli my Friday afternoon arrival day plan!

Keep it coming and Grazie!
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Old Apr 20th, 2014, 05:27 PM
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Hi Dayle,

I think you've got a good plan. Walking around the Pearl District/Alphabet District and checking out the food carts downtown was fun; the International Rose Test Garden (free!)and Japanese Garden were a great way to spend a day. At the Portland Museum of Art, I enjoyed their section on Pacific Northwest First Nations (with a specialty in those from the Columbia River Valley).

Have a great time. Portland is a fun city!

Best wishes, Daniel
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Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 11:41 AM
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Thanks Daniel. So many options! I may end up with another trip for more of Portland.
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Old Apr 22nd, 2014, 06:42 PM
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FYI, the "trolleys" are no longer free in Portland. You must have visited back when we had "Fareless Square" and then later the "Free Rail Zone." But those are now long gone. All transit now requires a paid fair in Portland.

Portland has two classes of public transit: the Portland Street Car ($1 per ride) and everything else - buses and MAX trains, which are $2.50 per ride (only one zone now). The Streetcar does loop around from NW Portland through the Pearl and into downtown to the South Waterfront; there's also a new line that goes across the river to NE/SE Portland and OMSI (I live in Irvington close to MLK Blvd and can walk to a Streetcar Stop at NE Broadway and MLK in about 10 minutes). $1 is a pretty good deal for that, if it takes you where you need to go. But you can buy a day pass for unlimited travel for $5, and that pass works on not just buses and MAX but also on the Portland Streetcar as well.

You mentioned Irvington; if you are staying there, you may want to wander around this beautiful old neighborhood. There are a mix of regular houses and outright mansions. If you like neighborhoods - one of Portland's strengths - wander around not just here but in SE in the Ladd's Addition area (a unique non-grid planned community with little rose gardens spread throughout).

By way: as a tourist, you are now required to go to VooDoo donuts, wait in line, and carry a pink box of VooDoo donuts around town with you. This is how we locals know who the tourists are. ;-)
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 11:16 AM
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Hi Andrew! Thanks so much for the excellent transit info. I was kind of hoping to leave my car at the house. The property was very appealing to me so that's why I ended up in Irvington. I'll definitely be strolling around! Love the old homes and mansions.

I may disappoint you on the Voodoo Donuts. Not a big donut fan. What makes them so special?

Thanks!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 11:55 AM
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If you like biking- you could rent one I believe close to the Sat Market area and bike the paved trail along the river, cross over the bridge and ride down the other side- I have only ridden as far as Sellwood-

http://www.everytrail.com/guide/wate...-corridor-path
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 12:26 PM
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Please check the menu before you say you don't like donuts.
http://voodoodoughnut.com/mobile/doughnuts.php
Mmmm..Bacon
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 01:27 PM
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Dayle, if you don't mind a bit of a walk (15-20 minutes tops?) you could just walk to the Streetcar stop near Broadway/MLK to get into the Pearl or Downtown. Or as suggested above, take the #17 bus. Not sure were you will be staying in Irvington, but as I said it's only a 10 minute walk for me to that stop. I wind up walking to the Pearl and downtown all the time, anyway, without the streetcar, but I don't mind a 30-40 minute walk each way. The $5 day pass may be your best bet so you can hop on any bus or train you want and just walk when you need to.

I've had VooDoo donuts a few times. I love donuts but didn't find these anything special. Yeah, bacon on donuts...no thanks. I think VooDoo was on the Food Channel a few years ago or something and that has put the place on every tourist's must-do list, which is why you see their pink donut boxes all over town.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 02:46 PM
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Thanks again Andrew, the walk sounds fine and the $5 pass is probably the way to go! I might not walk the whole way to downtown as I will be walking alot once there, plus my time is very limited.

No Voodoo donuts for me. Just the thought of bacon on a donut is replusive . I even scrape the icing off cake.
Now if we are talking dark chocolate - just turn it over and no one gets hurt!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 05:18 PM
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Highly recommend the Portland Art Museum and the great area around it. Greenery galore. symphony also great but not sure it is will be playing while you are there. Could be a great play in town....
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 05:28 PM
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Travel Portland is a good website to check for events going on in Portland

http://www.travelportland.com
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 05:38 PM
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We live in Irvington and walk to the Max to get downtown usually. Yes Japanese and rose garden are a must. Frm there you can easily walk to NW 23rd nob hill area for a trendy neighborhood and rec Serratto Italian for lunch or dinner. Downtown Saturday am the portland farmers market by PSU is a must. Lots of free samples to eat! Then later on sat or even Sunday the "Saturday market" by the burnside bridge is fun w crafts and flea mkt type booths. This is on the riverfront so great people watching and stroll along the river walk south. We love Tasty and Alder downtown on 12th for brunch or dinner too.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2014, 09:39 PM
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There's a great food truck area around SW Alder and 10th, not too far from Powell's, lots of different cuisines to choose from. We enjoyed Mother's Bistro and Basta's Trattoria for dinners.
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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 06:48 PM
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Thanks so much for these suggestions! They sound great. The Saturday farmer's market is by the University, and the flea market by the river, right?

I'm going to have to choose, not enough time for all.

Definitely the gardens, maybe on arrival afternoon if the weather is good.

Saturday morning will either be one of the markets or the Epicurian walking tour. Afternoon Powells and maybe the mansion.

Has anyone visited the Pittock mansion? Worthwhile?

Thanks sunbum for the travelportland web site. I'll check it out!

Thanks again for all the input, especially the restaurants and food truck ideas.
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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 07:12 PM
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If you come in early May (vs. late May) the International Rose Test Garden may not yet be in full bloom. But it's adjacent to the Japanese Garden, which should be nice in May either way. So your time in the Rose Garden may or may not be very long depending on how much in bloom it is.

You know, you're really going to want to drive to these places after all if you have a car. It's not that hard, and really, going between the gardens and say Pittock Mansion would be a pain by public transportation but a 5 minute drive by car.

I went inside Pittock Mansion years ago. If you like old mansions, it's nice (I barely remember), but if not, I wouldn't go out of your way. But I have been up to the grounds of the mansion (free to walk around) many times - the view is great from up there, especially since they just trimmed some trees in the last year that make the view down into Portland better. If you get a clear day you can see all the mountains from up there.

The Saturday Market FYI isn't really a "flea market" - it's more artsy stuff. If you visit, combine it with a walk around the river if you can; the west side of the Willamette River is the Tom McCall Waterfront park, and the east side of the river is the concrete Eastbank Esplanade. You can make a loop across the Steel Bridge at the north and the Hawthorne Bridge at the south. From the Eastbank Esplanade you get a view of the Portland Cityscape, for what it is.
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Old Apr 24th, 2014, 08:43 PM
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Just back from Happy Hour at Newport Bay- across the street from Lloyd Center and close to where you will be. They have a great happy hour- I had a salmon slider for 2.99 and I ordered a prime rib one too but could only eat one. Makes for an inexpensive dinner
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