Portland without a Car


Jul 2nd, 2013, 09:20 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2013
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Portland without a Car

Hi! Will be in Portland for about 3 days for the first time, without a car, and want to know the best things to do. We will be there the first few days in august (2 adult, active, women) Some specific questions include:
1. Want to rent bikes one day- any great companies to do this through ? Any great routes?
2. Would love to go to a brewery one day-- any favorites?
3. Outside of the main touristy things you would see on a "top 10 things to do in Portland" list are there any hidden gems for a first timer?
4. And of course, where are the best places to eat! We are not fancy eaters but are adventurous-- we love seafood and would like to try anything that is a "specialty" for the area.

prc14 is offline  
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Jul 2nd, 2013, 10:04 AM
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Portland biking trail

I have not done the whole trail- just the part along the river - I think there is a bike rental close to Saturday market area. I rode up to the little town of Sellwood where you can stop for lunch/snacks etc.

A fun thing I did in Portland was the Epicurian Walking Tour- which takes you to various restaurants/shops where you will sample local foods/ brews/ wine etc.
Portland is also known for food carts and there is a food cart tour which sounds like fun.
sunbum1944 is online now  
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Jul 3rd, 2013, 10:39 PM
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Hidden gems...well, one of the main touristy things is to see the International Rose Test Garden (aka "Rose Garden") up in Washington Park, as Portland is the "City of Roses." But there are other lesser-known rose gardens that are less touristy but perhaps harder to get to such as the Peninsula Park Rose Garden in North Portland. There's also a cool neighborhood in SE Portland called Ladd's Addition (SE 10th/Hawthorne is at one corner of it - #14 bus from downtown, quick ride). Inside this odd non-grid-like neighborhood are a series of little rose gardens.

Hawthorne Blvd east of 10th has some interesting shopping. You could ride out there I guess, see Ladd's Addition, and browse the shops. Portland is very bike-friendly in general. I think there are bike paths on Hawthorne.

If you head east on Hawthorne til it ends, you'll run into the base of Mount Tabor Park. This is an extinct volcano that is now a beautiful park. You could ride up there, too.

You can get to Peninsula Park by bus too but it's probably a long ride. I think the #4 bus from downtown is the most direct route (double check on Google Maps if you want to check it out). The touristy International Rose Test Garden is much larger and very beautiful, too (and closer to downtown).

If you want a nice view at happy hour, head to the 30th floor of the US Bancorp Tower aka "Big Pink," one of the two tall buildings in town, to the Portland City Grill. You could eat dinner there too - but a few drinks at happy hour just to take in the nearly panoramic view of Portland from up high might be enough without paying $$ for dinner for the view.

If you love books, do at least peek into Powell's Books at NW 10th/Burnside - a huge nationally-known book store taking up an entire city block - new and used books.

I'm really not a great source for restaurants - search the forums here, I think there have been lots of Portland restaurant recommendations. Food carts are hugely popular here if you want a quick, casual bite while walking around town.
Andrew is offline  
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Jul 4th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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To get around town use the TriMet.
The red line begins/ends right outside the baggage claim at PDX.
There is a very deep station next to the zoo and the International Forestry Center.
For breakfast I like Elmers. You should try Voodoo donuts for a sugar rush.
tomfuller is offline  
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Jul 4th, 2013, 12:35 PM
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Hi prc14,

I just visited Portland without a car for 3 days and managed to have an enjoyable stay even without my own personalized gas guzzler. Unfortunately, even though I wanted to bike, I was always put off by rain or a bad premontion when I would look at the clouds.

I second going out for the exceptional selection of flowers at the International Rose Test Garden. Above all, I want to pass along the best advice I was given on Fodor's and recommend that you get out to the Columbia River Gorge. The Gorge starts about 20 miles outside of Portland and is unfortunately inaccessible by usual public transit. To get there, I ended up doing a Gray Line tour for $49, which leaves once a day at 8:45 am from Pioneer Courthouse Square near the corner of SW Yamhill and SW Broadway. The tour to the Multnomah Falls/Columbia River Gorge took 4.25 hours and while you might think you don't want to lose half a day in the city, I feel compelled to add that I thought this was by far the most amazing thing I did while in the area; my driver/tour guide gave interesting detail about the geology and geography as we travelled along the old Gorge Highway. Just to prove that I'm not advertising here from Gray Line, I'll add that the important thing is that you go to the Columbia River Gorge: I think I saw another minivan that went, which very well could be equally as interesting.

Best wishes, Daniel
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Jul 4th, 2013, 12:49 PM
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Yes, the Columbia River Gorge is amazing - definitely one of the highlights of Oregon. (Also the Oregon Coast - a little further away from Portland.) However, for two people I'd probably just bite the bullet and rent a car for the day - for $49 per person, you could easily rent a car for the day and drive it out there. It's easy to drive out there. There are several car rental agencies in downtown Portland.

Multnomah Falls is the biggest of the falls in the Gorge - and also the state's biggest tourist attraction - but there are other beautiful falls nearby that are much less crowded (Multnomah Falls has a direct exit on/off I-84, whereas the other falls take more effort to reach from the freeway.) If you like to hike, there are plenty of trails. But, the outdoorsy stuff isn't for everyone who comes to Portland to explore the city and has only a few days!
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Jul 6th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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Andrew's suggestion of renting a car is an option which might be nice for the greater degree of independence, but I must say I'm glad I went with the tour instead since the bus driver/tour guide was well-informed about the geology, geography and history of the Gorge and region.
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