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Please help with 5 Day trip to Portland Oregon

Please help with 5 Day trip to Portland Oregon

Old Apr 30th, 2006, 09:05 AM
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Please help with 5 Day trip to Portland Oregon

My husband and I along with another couple will be going to Portland in July. We have never been to Portland before and would like to see lots of things in the short time.

I have done some research but would appreciate help from those that either live there or know the area well to help steer us in the right direction.

We are staying downtown at the Hilton Executive Towers and will rent a car. We are not into hiking or other physical activities but we do like to walk.

Some of the places that I wanted to visit are: Mt Hood, Mt St Helens, The Oregon Coast, Columbia River Gorge along with seeing some beaches and waterfalls.

Ideally, if we arrive early enough on Friday we could check into the hotel, explore downtown Portland and have dinner. For Saturday and Sunday I wanted to explore Oregon via car (perhaps leave around 9am and be back around 6 or 7 pm) then on Monday, explore the city of Portland.

Is this feasible? I know we are packing alot into the 5day trip but I don't want to leave without seeing the highlights. We will not be swimming in the ocean but would love to visit a few beaches to take pictures.

Thanks for your help
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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I was composing a reply based on the subject of your message while waiting for it to come up, and when it did it appears that you were reading my mind. I agree with all of your ideas. Driving up the south side of the gorge will give you lots of wonderful scenery and waterfalls, Mt. St. Helens is within easy reach, and you should see as much of the coast as you can reasonably reach while not sacrificing stops along the way to going further south. Can't comment on Mt. Hood because I have never gone up there. If you want to spend some time in sylvan solitude with a religious touch, visit The Grotto which, as I recall, is on NE Sandy Blvd. You're going to love Oregon.
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 09:44 AM
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Mt. St. Helens is a great day trip from here. It is about 2 hours each way, and well worth the drive. Make sure you stop at the interpretive centers, especially Johnston Ridge for the spectacular short film.

Another nice day trip would be to head out of Portland to the Columbia River Gorge. Get on the old scenic highway and stop at the Vista House, the Portland Women's Forum (an odd name, but really nice viewpoint), and Multnomah Falls. You can walk to the top of the falls which is an easy paved path. Then get back on the main highway, I-84, til Hood River where it meets up with HWY 35 and head down to Mt. Hood. Connect with HWY 26 heading west back towards Portland. Stop at Timberline Lodge along the way. This is a nice loop and you could see a few highlights in one trip.

As far as the coast goes, Cannon Beach is very nice and makes a great day trip as well. It takes just over 90 minutes from Portland, and is a straight shot out HWY 26. Visit Haystack Rock, and at low tide visit the tidepools at the base of it. The town has some nice shops and galleries if that interests you as well. Definitely take in Ecola State Park, which is on the north edge of Cannon Beach. Beautiful area!

In Portland, there are the Rose Gardens, Japanese Gardens, and Chinese Gardens which are all beautiful and worth visiting. Pittock Mansion is another place to visit and has some great views from the grounds. The NW part of town has some unique shops and restaurants, as does the Pearl District.
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 09:54 AM
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I won't repeat everything mms and bobmrg said, but I will say I agree with them
I have been out to the Historical Highway and the Falls a few times since we came here about a year ago, they are beautiful in every season, we were there the first time in July..it is just the right amount of walking and being out in the fresh air to make you appreciate the clean air here and the beauty of the surroundings, without being exhausted by hard climbs/hikes.

It is good that you like to walk, Portland is a walkers city. You can start at the hotel and walk all the way to NW 23rd Ave if you are so inclined.. if you get tired, there are streetcars that take you all around town.

It is a 90 minute drive from downtown Portland to Cannon Beach, you can easily spend hours there, lunching ,shopping, looking into the Galleries and taking countless pictures of Haystack Rock .. I second the Ecola State Park..( someone likened it to the Moors in England )

The waterfalls are about 30-45 minutes from town, you will want to spend at least a couple of hours there..
So your idea is feasible and will still give you plenty of time to see town.

I live in the Pearl District and can say that you can get stuck here for hours shopping and looking in galleries, so you are sure to have some very Full days while here
Any more questions, we are happy to help..beachbum lives near the beaches and will probably chime in tomorrow- he is pretty much a resident Expert on that area..
as well as mms and bobmrg
I am a resident in training ~lol
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 12:05 PM
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Here's a suggestion: don't rent the car until Saturday. Fly into PDX, take the MAX train into downtown, walk the few blocks to your hotel, and enjoy downtown. Pick up your car Saturday morning downtown; you can probably return it to the airport if need be for no extra charge. You won't need a car to explore downtown Portland, and taking the MAX will give you a better flavor for the city as you arrive than driving the car to the hotel and parking it until the next morning. You can walk to nearly everything and public transit is great to get you around. Sometimes a car is more of a burden when exploring a city like Portland.

If you like books at all, a stop at Powell's books is mandatory: it's a whole city block of used and new books. Powell's also has a nifty walking map of downtown including a self-guided tour you can take. I would recommend walking down to the waterfront park from your hotel, maybe strolling down to Riverplace or across the Hawthorne Bridge and taking in the view of Portland from there and walking around it as far as you feel like before taking another bridge back.

On the Coast, Cannon Beach is indeed a great spot (ranked, somewhere, I think, as one of the greatest beaches in the world). No, you won't be swimming in the ocean; it's far too cold for most people without a wet suit, even in the summer. The weather may be surprisingly mild on the coast in July, maybe even foggy in the morning. It's also a short drive north from there to Astoria, also worth a look.

Andrew
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 05:47 PM
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Wow thanks so much for the wealth of information. I especially like the idea of renting the car on Saturday instead of Friday (actually I had thought of that myself and was going to call the hotel to see if there was a rental car location in town).

After reading all the comments, I know that I made the right choice for our extended week-end and I can't wait to go.
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 05:55 PM
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I've been in Portland three times in July, and it's always been great. We were there twice for Fireworks at the 4th. If you're there then, it's fantastic. they shoot the fireworks off from a barge on the Columbia River.
 
Old Apr 30th, 2006, 06:16 PM
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Slightly off-topic...

Several responders have mentioned old highway 30. Whenever we drive the gorge we remember coming west in 1960, when old highway 30 was IT. Two lanes, lots of traffic, and snow (in February, of course). When we ran into a pileup of cars at the base of a hill between Pendleton and LaGrande, our little car with Virginia plates was the only one with chains.
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 06:29 PM
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Agree with all the suggestions here. A few restaurant suggestions: Jake's Crawfish (don't miss it), Ringside's for steak, Wildwood's on NW 21st, Huber's. And if you like chocolate, go to Moonstruck on NW 23rd.
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 06:47 PM
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When we stay at the 5th Avenue Suites, they call the car rental company for us and it gets delivered, no extra charge. Hotels charge about $25 a night for parking though.

Wildwood was just written up in The Portland Tribune,
http://portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=35034


Here is their list of Portland restaurants, broken into sections of the city..maybe it will help with the planning

http://portlandtribune.com/entree06/index.html

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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 06:48 PM
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Andrew, have you tried Verdun chocolates in the Pearl
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Old Apr 30th, 2006, 07:04 PM
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...and the pearl section from same...

http://www.portlandtribune.com/pearl06/index.html
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Old May 1st, 2006, 11:06 AM
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Hi MMS and others ,

I am also planning a trip to Portland with family on July 4 weekend . We have a toddler and a grandmother in our group.

How long do you think it will take for the Columbia River Gorge loop that you mentioned ?
I am thinking of starting from Portland around 9 AM and be back around 3 PM . We will be staying at the Residence Inn near Riverplace.

Also , are the falls easily accessible ? My toddler doesnt like strollers and Grandma cannot walk longer hikes at a stretch .. How far is the falls from the parking area.

-Rebbu
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Old May 1st, 2006, 11:50 AM
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Rebbu--There are two parking lots at Multnomah Falls. One out by the interstate, and one right on the scenic highway (which is the closer one). If you do not want to walk to the top of the falls, at least go up to the bridge. If you do go up to the top, make your toddler hold your hand or stay in the stroller. There are some areas that would not be good for a toddler on the loose! As far as grandma goes, there are a couple benches along the way that some people stop and rest at. Yes, you can definitely do the Mt. Hood/Gorge loop in that timeframe. As far as staying down by the river, be aware that there is a LOT of construction going on down there right now. If you are not locked into your hotel, you might want to consider other lodging. There are some great fireworks that are shot off a barge near there, but you can see those from anywhere along the river. The Riverplace area tends to get mobbed with shoulder to shoulder people on the 4th. There is also the huge fireworks show at Ft. Vancouver.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Yes, the falls (not just Multnomah) are pretty easy to get to from the old highway, but keep in mind that Multnomah Falls itself is the most visited tourist attraction in Oregon, so it could get crowded and it might be hard to find parking near the falls! The other falls will be slightly less crowded but are now less spectacular in their own ways - but given that that is July 4th weekend, you will probably find a lot of people on the roads. Leave early, be patient, and you should be fine.

The July 4th fireworks are set off very close to your hotel, between the Hawthorne and Marquam (I-5) bridges on a barge on the river. If you happen to get a room facing the river, you would have a perfect view of them! If you manage to get back to your hotel before the mob of traffic surrounding the fireworks and the huge Waterfront Blues Festival going on near Riverplace that same weekend, you might be better off, because you wouldn't have to deal with traffic at all; you'd already be at home.

There is a lot of construction down near Riverplace as has already been said, but I'm not sure it truly makes all that much difference to be honest.

Andrew
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Old May 1st, 2006, 01:38 PM
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I'm only counting four days, need2travel: Friday - Monday. That right?

I think your Saturday and Sunday daytrips should be the gorge/Mt. Hood loop (already recommended) and a beach loop. A good beach loop from Portland would be out hwy 26 to Cannon Beach, north to Astoria, and back on hwy 30. It's a long day, with 4-5 hours of driving, so you'd have to be selective in where you spent your time. Personally, I prefer a 3 hour roundtrip to Cannon Beach, and spend the day in that area.

I'm thinking you'll have to pass on St. Helen's this trip, unless you really do have five days. Just tell yourselves it's not really in Oregon, anyway. ;-)

Also, I'm wondering when you're going to do the winery visits. ;-)
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Old May 1st, 2006, 02:44 PM
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It's only about a half hour from Cannon Beach to Astoria each way, so add an extra hour to do that. But you will get more coast scenery going south toward Tillamook; I don't think there's much more drive-by scenery north of Cannon Beach but there is some south of there. Astoria is a different kind of scenery, kind of cool little town (not a beach town) at the mouth of the Columbia. I have a bunch of pictures of it on my website, but I don't want to keep posting my links here. If you Google for Astoria Bridge I think I'm like #5.

Andrew
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Old May 1st, 2006, 09:04 PM
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I agree with Andrew - public transit is great in Portland. I took it all around town. And yes, Powell's Bookstore is a "must see"! Even if you don't like books you'll be impressed! (Plus the folks there - customers and workers - were very helpful about other "must see's" in the area.)
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Old May 1st, 2006, 09:54 PM
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I'm not sure that Rebbu could see the fireworks from her hotel since there's a building blocking her from the park. They could walk across the small park to the outskirts of the festival where many people view the fireworks.

I like to go to the Saturday Market during the summer. I prefer to go when it first opens on Saturday (10am) or Sunday (11am) when it isn't as crowded. There are booths where people sell their handmade pottery, jewerly and other handmade items as well as food vendors with an international fare. Of course the Market isn't for everyone. It's sort of like going back to the 70's.

If you decide to go down the coast as far as Tillamook, you really should stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. They have great ice cream as well as their cheese.
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Old May 1st, 2006, 10:08 PM
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www.saturdaymarket.com

We were there yesterday, in the late afternoon. It was a beautiful day and there were no huge crowds..but plenty of musicians and puppies lol.
I especially liked the lady selling stainglass panels to put in windows and a young man who makes pottery that looks like Japanese porcelains and they are priced soooo well!
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