Tuesday, December 3, 2013

portland, oregon



normally people make the decision to go on vacation when the weather is nice and the place they'll be visiting is at its peak. not us. we decided to visit the pacific northwest when we knew the weather would be rainy and foggy -- we see so much sun normally that we wanted a change of pace. plus, anyone can tell you that their city is amazing in the summer, it's the rest of the year that we were curious about. so our trip was twofold: we wanted to know how people survived in a place that had between 60-70 days of sun a year (seattle, washington) and we wanted to check out the ever popular portland, oregon. 

 



after spending a couple of days exploring seattle (check out those posts hereherehere, and here) we took the train (!!) to portland. and it was fabulous. while the rest of the country limps along with buses and shoddy train schedules, some how the pacific northwest has figured out and perfected train travel.  here's why i say that: it takes 4 hours to get from seattle to portland (or aboot equivalent to vancouver, canada) and tickets are $25!! for that cheap why would you ever even think of driving? especially since both cities are so walkable/bikeable. 

(pictures above are from our train ride -- isn't that view stunning?)  



everyone who has ever visited portland, loves it. and at the risk of sounding like followers, we do too. i mean, it has everything we like in a city: bike lanes, awesome food, hip music venues, a spectacular bookstore, breweries and wineries galore, and more strip clubs per capita than any other city in the country (proof?). 

there are a bunch of awesome places you should frequent if you're ever in the rose city: 


powell's books claims to be the largest independent bookstore in the world, and you can definitely see why once you visit their main store in downtown portland; it's huge. and apparently you can find basically anything there. my mom told me she found a book at powell's that she couldn't even find on amazon. crazy, huh?

 

if you're looking for a little indoor activity while in portland you should definitely check out the circuit bouldering gym. day passes are $12 and it's one of the coolest bouldering gyms we've come across in a while (it's even better than the hip one in seattle, seattle bouldering project).

portland is supposed to have an amazing music scene, so we decided to take in a show while we were there. luckily, our hotel, the jupiter hotel, is right next to an awesome music venue, the doug fir lounge; it's a restaurant on top and a music hall underneath, and we saw an awesome show by au revoir simone.  (you should definitely check them out; rcg is kind of obsessed.)




i don't know if portland really is the bike capital of america, but bikes are definitely the best way to get around. we rented bikes from waterfront bicycles and they were amazing. not only is their service top notch (the lady who rented us the bikes gave us tons of awesome recommendations) but they also have great prices (between $40-$60 a day, which includes helmet, bike locks, lights, handlebar bags, and maps). 

 

portland has great food. great. our best meal? le pigeon. it wasn't cheap, but the food was spectacular. just make sure you make reservations in advance; the place seats 20 (maybe) and fills up fast because it's so delicious.  

(the above oysters are from dan and louis oyster bar, also an amazing food option, although we only had the oysters.)

 

portland is known for its breweries. in fact, there are over 70 breweries in the portland area. but we decided to try something a little different: wine! check out pdx urban wineries, a group of nine wineries in and around portland, for more information about where to drink some amazing oregon wines. we went to enso winery, which was a short walk from our hotel. 


what are some other amazing places you recommend in portland?