Hanging Out in Portland’s Living Room

Downtown: Where Portlanders get together

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Southwest Portland includes most of downtown Portland, the Rose Test Garden, Portland State University and Waterfront Park. It’s where former Mayor Bud Clark flashed a statue and is where people gather in Portland’s living room: Pioneer Courthouse Square. Downtown is where the Rose Festival Parade is held, and is where visitors find most of the fancy stores, museums, theatres and restaurants.

Get ready for the roses in downtown Portland

A nice place to brunch before venturing about is Imperial, located in the Hotel Lucia. It’s just down the street from Pioneer Courthouse Square. Or take a walk to the Leaky Roof Gastropub. Both also are terrific lunch places too.

Because you’re in the Rose City, you’ll want to experience the famous Rose Test Garden, located in Washington Park. It has 4.5 acres of fragrant flowers with a gorgeous view of downtown. Your visit probably will inspire you to tour the rest of Washington Park, which would require most of the day. It’s also home to the Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, Japanese Garden, World Forestry Center and Hoyt Arboretum. Parking can be a pain, so take the Max Light Rail from downtown.

Portland is a sporting city

If soccer is in season and you can get a ticket, few sporting events get as raucous as the matches at Providence Park. The Portland Thorns are coming off an incredible season, winning the NWSL Championship, and the Portland Timbers sell out most every game. There’s nothing like revving up a chainsaw to fire-up the Timbers Army.

As I mentioned in the Portland’s Best in 24 Hours itinerary, enjoy a brisk, flat, two-mile walk along Waterfront Park and over to the east side of the Willamette River, looping back on the Eastbank Esplanade. You can run or bike it too. Plus, walking along the Eastbank’s floating walkway provides the best view of the city skyline. If you don’t feel like walking, take a fun cruise on the Portland Spirit or Sternwheeler, which docks along Waterfront Park. To learn about all of Portland’s bridges, take a whirlwind Willamette Jetboat excursion.

When it comes to bicycling, few cities relish it as much as Portland. From the annual Bridge Pedal to the Naked Bike Ride, there are family friendly and decidedly off-kilter events to attract casual and hardcore cyclists alike. Go to www.Shift2Bikes.org for a comprehensive lineup of events in case you want to schedule your Portland vacation around one.

Nice respites from the rain

Portland has two terrific museums across the street from one another. The Oregon Historical Society has a fascinating collection of displays and special exhibits, including objects from the earliest settlements. Walk across the Park Blocks to the Portland Art Museum, which has 42,000 objects and is distinguished for its Native American art.

For shoppers, the museums are a few blocks from some of Portland’s finer stores along SW Broadway and in Pioneer Place shopping center (located next to Pioneer Courthouse Square).

Feasting and fun in downtown Portland

For dinner, it’s hard to go wrong in Portland. One can’t-miss suggestion is Little Bird, a perfect French bistro. For Asian dining, try Bamboo Sushi. Higgins is an upscale choice for fresh Northwest cuisine.

Check out a show at one of Portland’s performing arts theatres. From plays, concerts, dance and comedy shows, there’s plenty to enjoy. Check out the schedules for the Oregon Symphony, Portland Opera, Portland Center Stage and the Portland Youth Philharmonic.

And whatever you do, go to Huber’s to end your evening with an incredible Spanish coffee.

More Portland Itineraries

Discover Iconic and Stylish Northeast Portland … Street festivals, pub crawls, stylish shopping – and golf
Exploring Southeast Portland … Where the Portland in your mind comes alive
Family-Friendly Portland Fun … Hiking, paddling, pedaling and rainy day options too
Northwest Portland: Stroll, shop, dine, hike … Nature, shopping and sophistication
Portland Travel Hacks … Create a stress-free, fun-filled Rose City vacation
Portland’s Best in 24 Hours … Highlights of what to see and do, where to stay and eat in Rose City
Portland’s Fun, Funky and Fancy Lodging … Don’t stay in a cookie-cutter hotel room
Slacker’s Charm in Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown … Take a walk on the wild side

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