Seattle - Portland Vacation Advice

Old Sep 8th, 2004, 10:58 PM
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Seattle - Portland Vacation Advice

My wife and I are spending our 1st 5 days in Seattle and next 5 days in Portland. Questions I have:
1) Does it make sense to rent a car while in Seattle? We are staying at the Fairmont. How extensive is public transportation? What is city parking like? At the end of the 5 days I will rent a car regardless so that we can drive to Portland.
2) Can you recommend really good restaurants in either city? We are big time "foodies".
3) Best espresso places?
4) Is Columbia River Gorge manageable as a day trip from Portland?
5) Anything we should definitely do and see?
Thank you in advance for any replies.
Regards,
Poogie
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 11:13 PM
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Poogie, here's my best shot:

1. Seattle public transportation is pretty good if most of your activities are centrally located. Parking is so-so, depending on where you are. If you want to do anything outside of Seattle a car would be handy. I believe the Fairmont has parking, but it costs extra.

2. A search on this forum will turn up tons of restaurants in both cities. There are several recent threads on Portland restaurants in particular.

3. Espresso? Everywhere in both cities, no kidding. I don't think you are ever more than a block away from a great espresso in either city.

4. Yes, definitely. Again, there is a recent thread on this subject.

5. To answer this one, it helps to know a few things about you and your wife. Have you ever been to either city before? What time of year are you going? What sorts of things do you like to do, e.g., shopping, art, hiking, architecture, performances, public events, flower gardens, zoos, etc.
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Old Sep 8th, 2004, 11:59 PM
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It is an easy drive from Seattle to Portland on I-5, but if you don't want to rent a car, why not take Amtrak? It's about a 4 hour trip and pretty scenic on the nothern part (along the Puget Sound). The drive is not bad but not particularly scenic. Rent a car in Portland if you want for a day or two (yes, it is an easy day trip out to the Gorge from Portland).

There are lots of old Portland and Seattle threads - do a search to learn what to see/do on your trip.

Andrew
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 06:07 AM
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I like Andrew's advice to consider avoiding a car altogether (other than a 1-day rental in Portland to see the gorge). Consider that you'll likely pay over $100 in each city for parking downtown. Public transport is cheap and easy in each (even free in downtown Portland).

As you have so much time in Portland, you may want to consider keeping the car for 2 days and tour some of the wineries to the south.

It's been 3-4 years, but we remember having a great dinner at Dalia Lounge in Seattle and more recently Bluehour in Portland. Had an incredible dessert at the bar at Red Star in Portland (a huge piece of coconut creme pie).

Can't recall the other good meals we had, but be sure to enjoy some of the best and freshest beer you'll ever have at any of Portland's brew pubs. Rock Bottom is the only one that didn't impress us. The pub in the Pearl District (sorry don't remember the name) was our favorite.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 06:08 AM
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Oh, and in Seattle, ride the monorail, but save your money and skip the space needle. Not worth the high ticket price.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 06:55 AM
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No monorail. Fire.

Bus transport in the Seattle downtown zone is free. Rent a car by the day only, if you want to avoid mega-bucks overnight parking charges at the Olympic, valet headaches, all that. Numerous agencies downtown; ask the concierge.

Try chowhound.com's Pacific NW messgage board for lots of restaurant reviews. What sort of food do you like?

Best espresso places meaning what? Prettiest? Least crowded? If you want to see where the lunacy began, try the original Starbucks at the Pike Market. Pay special attention to the Mermaid's endowment vs. current logo.

When is all this to take place? Makes a difference.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:05 AM
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Seattle does have a "ride free zone" for their buses but it ends at 7PM. Portland's "fareless square" doesn't have a time limit.

Andrew
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:24 AM
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HI Poogie! You will love both Portland and Seattle, they are both beautiful places. We enjoyed the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, the ferry ride to Bainbridge Island and all the great shopping. For really good meals, try the Dahlia Lounge, Flying Fish and Salty's @ Alki Beach. Check out the views from Six Seven, the restaurant at the Edgewater Hotel.

In Portland, my favorite place is the Bluehour for a nice meal. Paley's Place is also very good. Down on the waterfront, The Harborside serves really fresh seafood with gorgeous views of the water from their three-tiered restaurant.

Have a nice trip! Oh, yes the Gorge would be a very nice day trip, leave early so you can really enjoy the area. You could also go over to the coast as an easy day trip from Portland.

The Cannon Beach/Seaside/Astoria areas are all very nice and each place very different from one another. If you're into history at all, Astoria would be a must-see for you. www.oldoregon.com ***kim***
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