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Garris

Visiting Portland and Seattle!

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Hi everyone,

I'm going to be visiting Portland early next month for a wedding from Providence, RI (kind of Portland's sister city in feel on the East Coast). I'm going to be there on a Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before striking out to explore the Oregon coast, and eventually Seattle, where I'll depart from. I'd like the following recommendations:

1) A nice place to stay that won't break the bank. I'd like to not need to rent a car the first few days, so something with easily rail access or right downtown would be nice.

2) Recommendations of great places to photograph the city (I'm an amateur photographer). Especially skyline views, downtown views, "urban life" type views, etc...

3) Great, unique restaurants. I particularly like ethnic dining, but Portland-unique places would be nice

4) Any particular events (especially cultural, like classical music concerts, art events, etc) going on from Sept 3-6 in Portland (or Sept 7 or 8th in Seattle) would be nice... Sites recommended to check these things would be nice...

Also, recommendations for the same for Seattle would be great...

1) Hotels

2) Places to photograph

3) Restaurants

4) Events

Thanks!

- Garris

Providence, RI

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I asked almost this exact same question a while back and got no responses.

I'll be in Seattle around Labor Day staying Downtown at a cheap, but supposedly very reasonable hotel ($65/night) for three nights, then one night in Bellingham at a B&B.

For events, there is Bumbershoot Festival that weekend. I'm going on the Monday to see Ted Leo, but there are other very good bands during the four-day festival. Click on that link for the full line-up.

I haven't planned it much, but I'd like to see the old, underground city tour, the space needle, the university area, and take one day to go down to Tacoma, only because a friend went there about a year ago and said it was interesting. I'll also spend a lot of time walking around Downtown, which I know is very lively and interesting.

I won't have a car though, but have found in my planning that it doesn't seem to be too much of a problem as long as you only want to visit sites in the city. I'd like to see Mount Ranier again, or maybe go out to an island or the Olympic Peninsula, but it's unfeasible at this point.

Maybe that'll help you a little. If you find out anything more, let me know, because I may also be interested in it.

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OK, I lived in Portland from 1999-2002, here are my suggestions:

1) Hotels, I'm not sure what your price range is but most hotels downtown are about $150/night on the weekends. I admit I'm not overly familiar with the hotel scene, so finding a hidden gem is something I can't help with :(

2) Great place to photograph the city: Washington Park, large park on the side of the hill overlooking downtown Portland. Within the park is the International Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden. In the Japanese Garden I think is the best spot to photograph Portland. When you walk into the Garden, turn to the left and there will be a big pagoda with a zen garden. On the other side of that pagoda there is a view of downtown PDX with Mt. Hood in the background...it is stunning. Make sure you go on a clear day if possible, otherwise the mountain will be hidden in the clouds. The garden itself is one of my favorite places to visit, it is beautiful. Another spot to check out, for urban life is Pioneer Square. This is called "Portland's living room" and you'll see why. It's located right in downtown and is easily accesable by light rail (as is almost anything in the entire area). Check out the Pearl Districtfor shopping and lots of urban life, go to the corner of Burnside and 23rd and head down 23rd. Tons of people, restaurants, bars and shopping.

3) My favorite restaurant is Jakes Famous Crawfish. It is upscale, but not absurdly expensive. Here are some reviews that might be helpful. Another place I loved to hang out was The Gypsy. It's a fun bar/restaurant in the Pearl District. There is a restaurant under the Morrison Bridge called Le Bistro Montage. It is a creole place that is open VERY late. It's fun, cheap and good.

4) I don't know of any events going on at that time, your guess is as good as mine. Sorry!

Other things to do:

Go to Multnomah Falls. Just get on I-84 and head east about 40 miles. Not only is the Columbia River Gorge amazing but the views of Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams are great. The falls are quite a site and certainly worth the trip.

A trip up the side of Mt. Hood is always fun. I used to drive up to The Timberline Lodge (the hotel shown at the beginning of The Shinning) often. Great scenic drive into the Cascade Mountains and the lodge is impressive. It's about a 90 minute drive to the lodge from Portland.

You mentioned the Oregon Coast. Do not miss Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock. Haystack Rock is stunning as it rises 235 feet out of the Ocean and it's only a few hundred feet from the beach. First time I took a group of friends from MN out there it took their breath away.

I hope you enjoy your trip, if I think of more I'll add it. I know I'll think of a lot more restaurants. If you have some more questions post 'em up and I'll try to help.

-CT

BTW: I read through the Boston/Minneapolis thread and we appreciate the kind words about the Twin Cities!

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I agree with Ih8thecold's responses, but I will add a few additional suggestions.

Go to Council Crest Park in the West Hills. If you are there on a clear day you can see Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helen's, the Sister Mountains, and some others.

For a hotel, you might try something in the suburbs on the MAX line. You might save some money and can hop on it to get downtown. Look into hotels in Lloyd Center, Gresham, Beaverton, and Hillsboro. Lloyd Center is an area of the city that is mostly business, but has a huge mall and a few hotels. You might try there.

Forest Park in Northwest Portland has some amazing trails and at the main entrance they have the distances marked. I used to run there with my Dad every Sunday. It is one of the largest urban parks in the nation. There are a lot of bikers and runners.

As far as a place to eat, there is a great dessert place in Southeast Portland called Rimsky's. It is a little hard to find. They actually don't have a sign and people only know about it by word of mouth. The bathroom there is very interesting. I believe it is located at SE 12th and Belmont.

Also, walk around Waterfront Park, see NW 23rd

Ave, Hawthorne Ave, and the Pearl District. They are all close to downtown.

As far as Seattle goes, I would go to Pike Place Market, see a Mariners baseball game at Safeco Field, and go to the Space Needle. I'm no that familiar with Seattle, so I'm sure someone else can help you there. Have a good time in Portland. Remember....no sales tax in Oregon, and you can't pump your own gas.

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Thank you all for the fantastic suggestions... Keep 'em coming! The thread is still open!

...finding a hidden gem is something I can't help with  :(

Here's a question... The only reason to possibly pay more for a downtown hotel might be great views high up in the city which I would be able to photograph. Many hotels now have requirements to have room cards to go up in elevators, making it hard for amateur photographers like me to get good shots if I'm not staying in a place (most hotels won't grant requests to go up otherwise).

Any hotels that would strike you in either Portland or Seattle as having great views?

BTW:  I read through the Boston/Minneapolis thread and we appreciate the kind words about the Twin Cities!

No problem! I fell hard in love with the Twin Cities during my time there (save for Duluth, I don't have much good to say about the rest of MN, though...). If my extended family back in the Northeast wouldn't kill me for living there, I'd put down roots in the Twin Cities in a heartbeat. During my flight back, I have a long, long layover at MSP and can't wait to take the LRT downtown and get a meal at Solera. I'm looking forward to the layover as much as the Pacific NW!

Remember....no sales tax in Oregon, and you can't pump your own gas.

Does that make it the New Jersey of the West Coast? :blink:

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Any hotels that would strike you in either Portland or Seattle as having great views?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm not sure something like that would be beneficial in Portland. The buildings are pretty short, and with the hills you can probably get the shots you're looking for outside. I would pass on the downtown hotels and look out into the suburbs. As far as Seattle, the only hotel I ever stayed in downtown Seattle was the Crowne Plaza. My company paid for it, so I'm not sure on the price, but I'm sure it wasn't cheap. It did have good views though. My room had south and west exposure windows, so I could see Mt. Rainier, downtown, and I-5. But if you want a good place to shoot skyline shots of Seattle go up to Queen Anne Hill (just up the hill from the Space Needle and surrounding Key Arena). I think this spot has some of the best views of the skyline.

Does that make it the New Jersey of the West Coast?

Yes, it's exactly like that. When I moved out to Portland I stopped for gas after crossing from Washington to Oregon. As I made a move for the gas pump some kid came tearing out of the station yelling at me. I thought he was freakin' crazy...I guess they thought I was crazy for trying to pump my own gas.

One other thing you might enjoy in Portland is the South Park blocks. It's like a tiny version of the Mall in DC with museums, art centers, orchestra hall, etc. up and down both sides of the mall. Also Portland State University is very close so it is always busy and there are a lot of events along the blocks on the weekends...it's worth checking out. Oh, and I thought this restaurant at the end of the park was particularly good

I'm going to see if I can figure out how to post some pictures I took there about 3 weeks ago and I'll post them up.

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I would pass on the downtown hotels and look out into the suburbs. 

That's what I might do... Thanks for the tip...

But if you want a good place to shoot skyline shots of Seattle go up to Queen Anne Hill (just up the hill from the Space Needle and surrounding Key Arena).  I think this spot has some of the best views of the skyline.

It's on my list already... That vantage point gives you the "stereotypical" shot of Seattle, and I'll certainly do it, but I'm also looking for something a little less "recognized..."

Yes, it's exactly like that.  When I moved out to Portland I stopped for gas after crossing from Washington to Oregon.  As I made a move for the gas pump some kid came tearing out of the station yelling at me.  I thought he was freakin' crazy...I guess they thought I was crazy for trying to pump my own gas.

That's really funny... Gave me a good chuckle...

I'm going to see if I can figure out how to post some pictures I took there about 3 weeks ago and I'll post them up.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

What I would do is register at http://www.imageshack.us. That's where I put all my photos. It's free, and then you just click the IMG button when posting here at UP, and paste the link! I'd love to see the images to get an idea of how things look. Thanks!

- Garris

Providence, RI

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Okay, I decided to just throw some pictures up on webshots, that way I can add albums as I travel around.

First, I'm a poor photographer. Second, none of these pictures are really focused on urban life. They are rather random.

So here are some picutures of Portland and Seattle.

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Hi everyone,

    I'm going to be visiting Portland early next month for a wedding from Providence, RI (kind of Portland's sister city in feel on the East Coast).  I'm going to be there on a Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before striking out to explore the Oregon coast, and eventually Seattle, where I'll depart from.  I'd like the following recommendations:

1) A nice place to stay that won't break the bank.  I'd like to not need to rent a car the first few days, so something with easily rail access or right downtown would be nice. 

2) Recommendations of great places to photograph the city (I'm an amateur photographer).  Especially skyline views, downtown views, "urban life" type views, etc...

3) Great, unique restaurants.  I particularly like ethnic dining, but Portland-unique places would be nice

4) Any particular events (especially cultural, like classical music concerts, art events, etc) going on from Sept 3-6 in Portland (or Sept 7 or 8th in Seattle) would be nice...  Sites recommended to check these things would be nice...

Also, recommendations for the same for Seattle would be great...

1) Hotels

2) Places to photograph

3) Restaurants

4) Events

Thanks!

- Garris

Providence, RI

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

1) As for Portland, another option (which I would find far superior) instead of staying in the suburbs and taking the train in to the city, is to stay in one of the hostels (there's one in NW and one in SE). The one in NW right in theo ldest/densest residential neighborhood in the city. Besides being a couple blocks from main streets (21st and 23rd), tou can walk to the Pearl district and downtown within 15-20 minutes. you are also very close to the streetcar line which circulates through downtown and the light rail line.

Zoom in on the Trimet System map in the downtown area until you can read the streets. The NW hostel is located at NW Flanders and NW 18th.

It's a very central location. And the hostel is likely far cheaper than a suburban hotel/motel. hostel =$19/night

read more here:

http://www.2oregonhostels.com/nw_home.htm

or

http://www.hostelz.com/display.php/2437+HI...st+Neighborhood

or

http://www.2oregonhostels.com/nw_roomsrates.htm

The other hostel is on the eastside on Hawthorne Blvd -another area with lots of shops (a bit more "hippieish" though, whereas NW is more yuppieish)

The hostel itself reflects the neighborhood and is likewise a bit hippieish.

http://www.portlandhostel.org/

The area has excellent bus service to downtown (#14 or !5) come very frequently and run late, but does not have rail access.

When I visited Portland for the first time I stayed half a week in each Hostel, and found them to be great locations to explore both downtown and the eastside neighborhoods in an inexpensive way.

I will give you some recommendations for places to photo, restaurants, and events when i have more time later...

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Hi everyone,

    I'm going to be visiting Portland early next month for a wedding from Providence, RI (kind of Portland's sister city in feel on the East Coast).  I'm going to be there on a Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before striking out to explore the Oregon coast, and eventually Seattle, where I'll depart from.  I'd like the following recommendations:

1) A nice place to stay that won't break the bank.  I'd like to not need to rent a car the first few days, so something with easily rail access or right downtown would be nice. 

2) Recommendations of great places to photograph the city (I'm an amateur photographer).  Especially skyline views, downtown views, "urban life" type views, etc...

3) Great, unique restaurants.  I particularly like ethnic dining, but Portland-unique places would be nice

4) Any particular events (especially cultural, like classical music concerts, art events, etc) going on from Sept 3-6 in Portland (or Sept 7 or 8th in Seattle) would be nice...  Sites recommended to check these things would be nice...

Also, recommendations for the same for Seattle would be great...

1) Hotels

2) Places to photograph

3) Restaurants

4) Events

Thanks!

- Garris

Providence, RI

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Another neat hotel option is the jupiter hotel.

It's part of a complex called the"Doug Fir" - a very portland type place. It used to be a cheap motel and crappy restaurant and was refurbished into a concert venue, restaurant (open 21 hours per day) and retro swanky hotel.

http://www.jupiterhotel.com/

It's just a 15 minute walk to downtown, too. (just across the Burnside Bridge)

Even if you don't choose to stay there, it's still worth it to check out the restaurant. IT's decor is a cross between Twin Peaks and the Jetsons. Definitely worth a visit.

2)Restaurants -

The Doug Fir (already mentioned above)

The Farm (two blocks away from the Doug Fir. It has notoriously unfriendly/slow service, but it has incredible food - with mostly local ingredients.

http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/372.../farm_cafe.html

Best sushi in the city is at Yoko's in SE Portland. Has a great bar attached to it/ next door while you wait for a table. Take #17 (Holgate) get off at SE 28th, and walk 2 blocks north

http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/845...restaurant.html

Great Thai restaurant (in a former service station) is Thai Noon. It's on a pretty hip street - Alberta St. in NE Portland. Take the #8 bus to get there from downtown (get off at 15th/Alberta and walk east to 26th.)

http://portland.citysearch.com/profile/369...hai_lounge.html

3) Places to photograph-

I agree with most of the abov - good city views from Council Crest Park (highest point in the city) or Japanese Gardens /Rose Gardens in Washington Park

Also good views from Mt Tabor - a park in SE Portland (SE 60th/Hawthorne)

Good way to get a sense of Portland is to rent/borrow a bicycle and bike north to south on Portland's eastside. You can get a sense for the mainstreets and take photos of streetlife. (Hawthrone,Division/Clinton, Belmont, Burnside, Broadway, Alberta,etc.)and how the city is laid out.

Walking around downtown, the pearl district and northwest is good to see the densest parts of the city. The north Park blocks and South park blocks are great.

4)events-Check out the 2 indepenedent weekly newsapers a week before you leave town for good info on what's going on:

The Portland Mercury: http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Home

Willamette Week: http://www.wweek.com/

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If you're looking for a nice place to photograph downtown Seattle from, try Alki Beach to the west of Downtown, across the Elliot Bay.

Or you could also take nice photos of downtown from Queen Anne Hill, to the northwest of downtown. Somewhere in the middle of Queen Anne Hill, there's a great terrace where you can take nice shots of downtown.

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A huge thanks to everyone for their feedback... I'm near the end of my week long trip and have taken a lot of photos here in Portland, Cannon Beach, and Seattle. I'll post my impressions (and my photos) later!

Again, I can't thank everyone here enough!

- Garris

Providence, RI

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