M.J. asks from Sacramento, CA on May 21, 2012
Date Weekend in Portland, Or
We're going to have a kid-free weekend in Portland in late July and I would love some ideas of great places to visit and eat downtown. We plan on walking everywhere and will be at the Hilton, if that helps. Any recommendations? We were in Portland very briefly a few years ago and want to return to Powell's Books, but need other ideas.
Thanks in advance!
So What Happened?™
Thanks so much for the great ideas! I appreciate all of them.
H.W. answers from Portland on May 21, 2012
@Lucy F. : sadly, fareless square is no longer fareless. just fyi.
The bakery at Pazzo's Pazzoria is heavenly. Their pastries are very European, delicious but not overly-sweet. Get there early if you want to grab one of their to-die-for chocolate croissants, as they go fast. (I don't care for sweets, but I love this place.) The address for Pazzo's is 627 SW Washington; Pazzoria is just few doors down on the same block on Washington.
Breakfast at the Byways in the Pearl is great. 1212 NE Glisan Street. Great reviews and you won't be waiting as long as you might at Mother's Bistro (212 SW Stark Street)...which is also delicious, but be sure to make reservations at least a couple weeks in advance, or plan for an hour-plus wait.
There are food carts galore if you want to grab food on the go or take it to your room. Google "Portland Food Cart Pods Downtown"...there's an enormous variety.
The Portland Art Museum is pretty lovely. Worth a Google look to see if it's up your alley.
There may also be a few beer/brewers festivals going on. July is when we celebrate beer big time up here. If you or your husband are interested, you can check out events online at the Oregon Brewer's Guild site, oregonbeer.org. I'm a SNOB member and this is a fun month.
The Lan Su Chinese Garden is a beautiful oasis in Old Town. It occupies one city block and is one of my favorite places to visit. It's amazingly well laid out and there's always something beautiful around every corner. A lovely balance of bringing the interior into the exteriors and vice-versa. Love it.
In contrast, up in Washington Park (you can take a bus, or take the walk, about 40 minutes from downtown at most and very uphill) there are the Japanese Gardens, which has a lovely view of downtown Portland and offers several different types of traditional Japanese garden styles. The Rose Test Gardens are also up there, with the Oregon Zoo further away (also available by bus or MAX).
You are welcome to PM me if you have any other specific interests that you want to focus on. If you are looking for nightlife, check schedules online at either the Mercury or Willamette Week. These are two local papers that always feature music and other events.
ADDED: Oh, and there's Jake's for dinner if you want to spend a bit for a delicious seafood meal out. That's another one to make reservations for, but certainly worth it.
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M.P. answers from Portland on May 21, 2012
There is a great park near the Hilton named Director Park. They have an open pool, sloping from outside to center, complete with fountains, that both kids and adults love to wade in. There is an inexpensive restaurant as a part of the park. I enjoy sitting on the edge, dangling my feet in the water while people watching. You can get a sandwich to go and eat it while sitting next to the water.
There is a frozen yogurt place, Chef Fresh Self Service Frozen Yogurt, in the Pioneer Place Mall at 700 SW 5th. You can choose from at least a dozen or more flavors and add your choice of toppings from a selection of 20 or more. It's fun to get the dish of yogurt and wander the mall. I'm a people watcher and a window shopper.
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L.F. answers from Chicago on May 21, 2012
Hazel hit most of the places I love! I agree: food carts, Washington Park (love that rose garden!!!), and Mother's Bistro. I also enjoy the Saturday Market. You might want to do some research into the public transportation (Tri-Met). I know that Max (lightrail) is/was free in the "fareless square", so if you want to check things out by rail, you don't have to walk quite so much. Good luck! I'm jealous of your kid-free weekend!
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I.X. answers from Los Angeles on May 21, 2012
NW 23rd street is a good pedestrian street, but I'd ride the bus, its not that walkable of a city. Take a slight jont off to Elephants Deli and sample from many fabulous dishes, end with a cup of their signature tomato orange soup.
Old theaters that play out of theater flicks and serve beer (Mcminimins), I only remember one in SW portland
Thyphoons is my favorite thai, there were two locations last I knew of, one downtown in an old hotel, and one in NW
and Plainsfield mayur my fav Indian food. But its been over 10 years since i lived there so don't know if those restaurants are still there. Its technically in NE portland, but very close to NW 23rd street if you find yourself up there shopping.
The part of downtown that you are staying in has a vey small residential population, and is therefore a bit dead at night, so you may want to venture out some.
The pearl district was still trashy when I lived there, but is where all the remodel and new construction was taking place when I left, I'm sure there is a ton to see there. I hear the chinese gardens are nice.
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I.W. answers from Portland on May 21, 2012
You must go to Voodoo Donuts!
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