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Ten Things You Have to Do in Portland, Oregon

Mount Hood, Pub Food

With its short city blocks, tree lined streets and historic architecture, Portland is a beautiful city to visit any time of the year. It’s easy to see why Portland gets picked as one of the top places to visit in North America. When you come to visit, you’ll find plenty to see and do while you’re there. To get you started, I’ve selected ten absolute must sees that will keep you away from the more blatantly touristy things to see and do.

1) Grab Dinner And A Movie at the Bagdad.
In operation since 1927, the Bagdad theater might be one of Portland’s most famous landmarks. Owned by McMennamin’s brewing the Bagdad displays its beautifully restored Mediterranean inspired architecture. With its on site restaurant and pub, the Bagdad was one of the country’s first “Brew and view” theaters. Today you can enjoy a full menu of food and beer in the theater itself while enjoying your movie.

2) Get Shanghaied
According to local lore, up to 1500 people per year were kidnapped or Shanghaied in Portland during the 19th century, making this city the most dangerous port on the west coast. Victims were drugged and dragged out to ships by way of an elaborate series of underground tunnels. Today, the cascade geographic society offers tours for $13 dollars per person. Tours are about an hour and a half and full of colorful stories of Portland’s darker days. Go to www.shanghaitunnels.info for more information.

3) Take a Trolley Ride Down the Willamette.
The historic Willamette shore trolley makes a 6 mile run from near downtown Portland to the neighboring town of Lake Oswego. The train takes you throw the 1396 ft. Elk Rock tunnel, travels over a few trestles and offers beautiful views of the Willamette river and its stunning homes. The trolley is a $10 round trip and runs Thursdays through Sundays during the late spring and summer. Go to www.trainweb.org/oerhs/wst.htm to find out more.

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4) Go To Market.
The brainchild of Sheri Teasdale and Andrea Scharf, the market started in 1974 in a parking lot. The market has been operating under the Burnside bridge since 1976. Today the market has grown to more then 400 booths including a food court and arts, crafts and products produced by local artisans. Even local brewpub Rogue brewing offers a booth so you can enjoy a cold one while dealing with the awe of this market. The market runs every Saturday from March to December along the Willamette river under the Burnside bridge.

5) Books, Books, Books.
As an avid book lover Powell’s books is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It’s huge! Powell’s city of books is the largest used and new book store on Earth. The store covers 68,000 square feet with 9 color coded rooms housing 3500 different sections. The store carries more than a million titles, both new and used so you can always find a bargain. Thankfully there’s a coffee shop in house where you can rest your feet over coffee, soup, sandwiches and desserts. www.powells.com has more information.

6) Park Yourself.
Portland has so much park space it’s almost impossible to pick just one or two to recommend. However, Mt. Tabor park offers beautiful views of downtown Portland, has plenty of hiking trails, tennis and basketball courts to keep you busy and just happens to be built on top of an extinct volcano. Washington Park and Forest park offer more views of downtown and on a clear day you can see Mount Hood in the distance. Washington park is also adjacent to some of Portland’s popular attractions like the zoo, forestry museum and Japanese garden. Check out www.Portlandonline.com/parks for more information.

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7) Mmmm….Beer.
You can’t go to Portland without sampling some of the city’s craft brewed ales and lagers. There are dozens of brewpubs and microbreweries within Portland’s city limits. Since there are so many to choose from, I’ll give you a few of my favorites. Henry’s Tavern (www.henrystavern.com) is a large space full of exposed brick and flat screen TVs. The menu is upscale pub food and they have 100 beers on tap. The Bridgeport ale house (www.bridgeportbrew.com) offers some of my favorite beers to drink while in Portland. The New Old Lompoc (www.newoldlompoc.com) is a must visit while in Portland with great pub food and truly delicious beers. While at the Lompoc, make sure you order some LSD.

8) Enjoy a Seafood Diet.
Between being so close to the ocean and Oregon’s rivers, Portland enjoys a large supply of oysters, northwest salmon and other fresh and saltwater favorites For your seafood fix visit the Dan & Louis Oyster Bar (www.danandlouis.com) or Jake’s Famous Crawfish (www.jakesfamouscrawfish.com). Either will leave you more than satisfied. If you decide to dine at Jake’s famous though, make a reservation as this restaurant is quite popular.

9) Get Wet.
In my opinion you can’t visit a city like Portland without seeing it from the river. Since 1997 Willamette Jetboat Excursions has offered fun and interesting tours of Portland via the Willamette river. They’re located right next to the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) at 1945 Water avenue. They offer a $33 two hour tour and a $23 bridge tour. Both tours show views of Portland you won’t get anywhere else and are narrated by the boat’s pilot. Fair warning, though. If you take either of these tours, expect to get wet. Really wet.

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10) Go Exploring.
The city planners designed Portland to be easily walked or biked through. And there are a few neighborhoods worth exploring for the sake of their atmosphere, shopping and dining. The Pearl District (www.explorethepearl.com) is worth seeing either by foot or streetcar. In the heart of historic northwest Portland is the Nob Hill District (www.nobhillbiz.com) where you’ll find many of Portland’s best restaurants, shops and Victorian buildings. The Hawthorne District (www.portlandguide.com) is Portland’s bohemian scene with cafes, vegetarian restaurant and eclectic food and clothing stores. Don’t forget to check the Portland guide for information about North Mississippi and Northeast Alberta.