First Dates in Portland Oregon
November 17, 2009 12:34 PM   Subscribe

In the need of first date ideas, particularly in Portland, Oregon.

This would be a good spot to reminisce on first dates that worked; or heck, even disasters, but I am especially interested in active dates--ones that are lacking in the "sitting across from each other while picking at a meal, wondering what to say next" quotient. Extra points for active first date ideas in Portland, OR.

Thanks so much!
posted by captainsohler to Human Relations (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Top date ideas
posted by special-k at 12:36 PM on November 17, 2009

Hike to Pittock Mansion.

A night at Ground Kontrol.

Rent kayaks on the river.

Catch a show at the Doug Fir.

Japanese/Chinese garden combo, with a takeout lunch in between.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:39 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hike in the green areas circling town. Go to Powell's- the travel shelf or design shelves can give you lots to talk about. Walk around downtown reading inscriptions in the sidewalk. Trailblazers game. Ride the MAX into a part of town that neither of you know, then find a restaurant. Go to Mt. Tabor park, hike or play basketball next to the volcano. Go to Saturday market.
Does Portland have an under the city tour like Seattle? It's been a while, I can't remember.
posted by Sara Anne at 12:41 PM on November 17, 2009

OMSI! That place is awesome!

The 4T Trail if you have some time and dont mind the wet weather right now.

Walk to every Starbucks downtown (Lots of stops)

Multi course meal: One place for apetizers, one place for main course, one place for desert, and another for drinks if you so choose.
posted by NotSoSimple at 12:56 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

I haven't lived in Portland for almost 10 years now, but as a college student I did.

On one first date, I was taken to the Saucebox downtown.

On another (more active) first date, I was taken to a bar full of vintage video games that you can play (sorry, I don't recall the name), and then on a picnic up Mount Tabor, which was terrific, though this is of course not the season for it.

Seconding a Trailblazers game. Nosebleed tickets could be had for $10-15 in my day.

What about apple or berry picking?

There also used to be a place with outdoor bathing facilities (think Japanese-style spa) that you could rent by the hour or something. Probably a little too intimate for a first date, but maybe a third or fourth?
posted by toomuchkatherine at 1:33 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

My girlfriend and I had our first date in Washington Park. We both rode Max and met up there by the zoo entrance. We hiked up into Forest Park and just talked (and talked). She had packed a back-pack with water, wine, chocolate, several cheeses, crackers, some grapes and dixie cups.

We sat at the top on a picnic bench and looked out and kept talking (we even shared our cheese with the people running by). It was a great way to get to know each other, not just sitting there staring at each other in awkward silence. That was 8 months ago and we have seen each other almost every day since and just got a new place together...I say that I worked out pretty well!

She set out to woo me and she did a pretty great job!

We still have not been to a movie...
posted by Jenny is Crafty at 1:40 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Walk SE Hawthorne. Meet at 16th, or so. Do just a bit of walking around Ladd's Addition and then continue east. With all of the great restaurants, bars, coffee places, used clothing stores, (there is also a CD Game Xchange along there) there will be lots of stuff to see and talk about and share. Have a beer in front of the Bagdad Theater. You may or may not make it up to Mt. Tabor Park, which is a volcano with a basketball court in its crater. Anyway, nice park. If it's going really well, some secluded makeout spots up there.

Then you can walk, or take the bus back down towards where you started out.

I think this would be a very nice date to share with someone.
posted by Danf at 1:55 PM on November 17, 2009

Winding up with a late-night walk around the Esplanade and the riverfront can be very nice.
posted by Casuistry at 2:24 PM on November 17, 2009

For one of our first dates, my now-boyfriend and I snuck a Nalgene full of strong beer and some snacks into the Japanese Garden and made an afternoon of it. Of course, if you don't know the other person that well, you might look like a raging alcoholic for suggesting it...
If you have an entire day, not just an evening, a trip to wine country, Sauvie Island or the Hood River area (for the Fruit Loop) would be really fun.
posted by janerica at 2:41 PM on November 17, 2009

Lots of good suggestions. I will nth:

- Ground Kontrol! (this is the place with the retro video games)

- Hike to Pittock Mansion! its a beautiful hike and the view at the end is pretty damn good.

- Japanese Garden is absolutely beautiful. And its in Washington Park, right by the Forestry Center and the Zoo, and the park goes great with a bottle of wine.

- The East Bank Esplanade is a really nice, romantic place to end an evening (aww, I just got that fluttery feeling thinking about it).

-Mt Tabor, esp on a clear day, is fantastic. Goes great with a bottle of wine (or a joint, which might be a bit much on the first date).

The thing about the Blazers games is that 1) they've gotten pretty spendy and 2) they've gotten pretty nuts. It's super crowded, people are going crazy every where, beer is $8.50 a pint. Not my idea of a good first date, bta I'm not really the game going sort.

Other ideas:

-It isn't 'active,' but dinner and a movie at the Kennedy School is pretty romantic. Its an old elementary school converted into a bar/hotel/movie theatre. You can have good beer/wine and dinner while you watch the ($3!) movie - and the best part is that they have a lot of two-person couches to sit upon :)

-The art museum unfortunately isn't great, however, there are occasionally really sweet exhibits at the Craft Museum, and its free. It's also in the pearl, so its easy to jump from there over to Powell's for some coffee, or whatever.

-I've never been, but I've heard mixed reviews of the Shanghai Tunnel tour.

I've found that sometimes taking a lady on a strange first date works pretty well. That way I know right off the bat if things might work out; I mean there's all sorts of weird things going on in Portland all the time. Take her to a burlesque show or some circus, take her to one of the classical revolution pdx shows, etc.
posted by Lutoslawski at 3:39 PM on November 17, 2009

How about the zoo? You can take the max out there, and it'd be fun and low-key.
posted by bluedaisy at 8:12 PM on November 17, 2009

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