Where to go on our weekend roadtrip?
August 1, 2012 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Portland, Oregon. Bend, Oregon. Salt Lake City, Utah. These are possible destinations for my family as we embark on an end-of-summer roadtrip. Help us decide!

My husband and myself, along with our 10-month-old daughter, are trying to plan a somewhat last-minute roadtrip to end our summer 2012. We'd like input from anyone in-the-know regarding events or fun things to do in any of the aforementioned cities. Our possible dates for this short adventure are the weekends of August 11 or 25 or September 1 or 15. We only have one weekend of time off to take!

We're interested in most things- so concerts, art shows, markets: pretty much any event that would make a visit to one of these cities enjoyable. We also like beer and good food. Money is fairly budgeted, so the more free or nearly-free options, the better.

A little more: we're from Boise, Idaho, so anywhere near by that we might not have thought of is fair game.

Thanks everyone!
posted by gracious floor to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Based on your interests, my vote would be for Portland. I hear tell that the beer is pretty good there, and there seems to be plenty to do on a budget. This recent ask covered San Francisco and Portland. More here, too.
posted by jquinby at 11:14 AM on August 1, 2012

I'm gonna guess Metafilter will direct you to Portland from those options.

This is a great guidebook for Portland if that's where you go:

And this has links to some fun tourist attractions:
(gotta hit the church of elvis & voodoo donuts!)

They have a lot of local breweries. Also, some local wineries / vineyards...

It's a very cool town, surrounded by some beautiful hiking/ waterfalls/ nature stuff, and it's pretty reasonable price-wise.
posted by mdn at 12:02 PM on August 1, 2012

If you use I-84 to reach Portland, be sure to allocate about an hour to stop at Multnomah Falls. It's the second tallest waterfall in North America. It's easy to find; it's the only left-exit on I-84 between Portland and the Idaho Border. It is amazingly beautiful.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:24 PM on August 1, 2012

I say this in every Portland thread- if you like interesting markets, check out the Portland Saturday Market. (Not mentioned in one of jquinby's links and disliked in another.)
posted by Hactar at 12:26 PM on August 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you do Multnomah falls, do not do it on a weekend.

Bend is pretty reachable from Portland, so you can split up the visit. There is endless art, food, beer, and 10 month old appropriate entertainment in Portland. Assuming the summer weather is still with us, it's awesome.
posted by iamabot at 1:12 PM on August 1, 2012

I don't know about Portland vs. Bend, but your interests (especially beer) do not coincide particularly well with SLC. Also, it's a little bit warm there this time of year.

Are you at all interested in Seattle? It's not that much further (something like an hour more of driving each way, per Google.)
posted by SMPA at 1:28 PM on August 1, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks so much everyone. I probably should've mentioned that we have been to Portland a handful of times (Voodoo Donuts, Multonomah Falls, Saturday Market included). But from the looks of it we may be going again. If anyone else has input, I'd appreciate it!
posted by gracious floor at 1:44 PM on August 1, 2012

I visited SLC on my roadtrip this summer. It was cool--the lake is nothing like I imagined, amazing in a completely horrific, post-apocalyptic landscape kind of way. The city itself has lots of interesting stuff on the history of the LDS church; and I also enjoyed the LDS art museum although maybe not entirely in a non-ironic way. The lake, and all the church-sponsored attractions are free, which is a nice plus. I didn't make it there myself but the natural history museum outside SLC is supposed to be world-class.

Despite my expectations SLC seemed completely normal in terms of beer and wine availability--we even passed a brewing company downtown--but Bend or Portland are still going to blow SLC out of the water on the beer front. And SLC is probably not the same draw of a tourist destination that Portland is, unless you're really into Mormon history. OTOH if you only have 2 days, SLC is just about the right size for your timeline; you'll get to see the major things and won't feel overwhelmed.
posted by phoenixy at 1:50 PM on August 1, 2012

I've lived in Bend and Portland and spent some time in SLC. If you want to do lots of outdoorsy stuff I would recommend Bend. It doesn't sound like that is your interest, which leaves SLC and Portland. Thus, you should go to Portland because other than SLC's proximity to lots of other cool outdoorsy stuff (ie. climbing, skiing, arches, etc) it isn't that impressive of a city. PDX for the win.
posted by fieldtrip at 5:36 PM on August 1, 2012

Well, I just returned from a week in Central Oregon (my childhood home region) and can't recommend it highly enough. One of the most beautiful spots on earth, in my heavily-biased opinion. You'll have better luck on accommodations (availability, Fall rates) in post-Labor Day September, plus the summer crowds will have dispersed.

Short list:

In-town Lodging:
McMenamins Old St. Francis School (elementary school converted into an inn + brewery/restaurant; right downtown Bend)
..or you can find plenty of hotels/resorts/vacation homes/cabins and other options, some with pools and other infant-oriented amenities [Trip Advisor | VisitBend.com]

High Desert Museum
Lava Lands
Mt. Bachelor
Event Listings

A ton of microbreweries have cropped up in the past few years--brewpub directory
Restaurant blog

Great resource for news, events, restaurant reviews, etc: Hack Bend blog

Day Trip>
Sisters > Metolius River/Camp Sherman

Lots more to do and see, but this should get you started on evaluating the destination. Have fun wherever you end up wandering.
posted by prinado at 5:43 PM on August 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Have you ever been to Kahneeta? It's really wonderful, and the food is terrific. (If you go, be sure to have the salmon; it's fresh caught by Indian fishermen exercising treaty rights.)

The pools there are heated by natural hot springs, so they run them quite warm, which feels really good.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 6:11 PM on August 1, 2012

If you're an OST fan, Trek in the Park plays for most of August.
posted by eralclare at 4:07 AM on August 3, 2012

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