Roadtrip advice needed: Portland and other areas!
August 28, 2012 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Roadtrip advice needed: Portland and other areas!

So I'm taking a roadtrip that basically goes a bit like this:

L.A. -> SLC -> Glacier Nat'l Park -> Portland -> SF -> L.A.


I'll be camping/hiking for three days in Glacier (thanks to a comment by notsnot in a previous Ask), but other than that I'll be driving most of the time.

I do have a day off in Portland, and I've never been there before. I'm wondering where I should stay (neighborhood or specific hotel) and what I should see? To make it easy let's say I like "hipster" stuff (bands, art, books, anything offbeat), musuem-y stuff, and nature stuff.

I'm also wondering about how easy it will be to find hotels on much of my route. In the past I've driven up and down the West coast on the 5, and you can pretty much drive til you're tired, exit the freeway and find a motel.

Will finding a motel outside a city be a problem in say, Idaho? I'm planning to visit the Craters of the Moon monument and then head towards Idaho Falls, but I'd like to know if I could find a roadside motel if I couldn't make it that far... and just get a general feel for motel availability in these more isolated areas.

Also, anything else cool or unique along this route, feel free to throw it at me- thanks!!
posted by drjimmy11 to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Powell's Books and the Portland Saturday Market (if you time that right).
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:08 PM on August 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Yes, I will be arriving in Portland Friday 9/7 and leaving Sunday morning 9/9, if that helps.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:19 PM on August 28, 2012

Best answer: There are a few motels in Arco, ID, which is very near Craters of the Moon, and which also is home to the world's first nuclear power plant (one of the best museums I've ever been to, but it will be closed after Labor Day).
posted by unknowncommand at 5:55 AM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

if you have an extra day, take the coast highway down to san francisco and LA from somewher in oregon. There will be hotels available in every town as the only dependable industry in a most areas is tourism (and pot). See the redwoods, the amazing bridges on the coast (most built during the great depression), drive across the golden gate and so on, its a great trip, and it takes about an extra day from going down (very boring) I-5.
posted by bartonlong at 10:00 AM on August 29, 2012

Best answer: Never been to Portland? Then stay downtown. Depending on your budget, but all with Portland flair: higher end hotels (Heathman, Governor, or Benson), mid-range and funky Portland (Crystal Hotel), European-style guesthouse (Portland Int'l Guesthouse), and youth hostel (NW Portland Hostel).

While staying downtown, you can easily walk to Powell's Books and explore the Pearl District (lots of shops, incl. vintage, arty, etc.), and the SW Park Blocks (home to Portland State University, the Portland Art Museum, and Portland Saturday Market).

You'll also be within walking distance of Washington Park. It's not so much a 'park' as a 410-acre nature preserve with attractions, including the Oregon Zoo, International Rose Test Gardens, and Japanese Garden (the best one outside of Japan, and honestly inside of Japan, I'd say). My favorite not-well-known spot in the park is the Oregon Holocaust Memorial.

And make sure to check out a microbrewery or two, or seven. Rogue, Deschutes, McMenamins, and Laurelwood are all good (I love Rogue's ales and Deshutes' food, though lately Deschutes' beers have been pretty impressive). Mactarnahan's has a Scottish Festival with live music on Saturday, Sept. 8.

A day of wandering the Saturday Market/Portland Art Museum, picking up provisions, then heading up to explore Washington Park and having a picnic looking down the hillside and over to Mt. Hood, then walking around downtown/Pearl District poking in shops and Powell's, and capping it all off with a pint and dinner at a brewpub would be an ideal Portland day to me.
posted by sazanka at 12:36 PM on August 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

In Portland, OR, I liked Powell's (and there's a really good chocolate boutique somewhere near their main store!), and the area around Chinatown and Voodoo Donuts. Personally, I enjoyed Eugene more than Portland, but that's maybe just me.

Are you camping at all, or just looking for indoor places to stay? There was a really nice Washington State Park with a campground along the Columbia River Gorge -- something Rock? (It had a rock climbing area as well as a campground:P)

One out-of-the way spot that I found on my road trip, that I hadn't heard of before and most people I've talked to hadn't heard of, but that was amazing, was the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. There's one grove of these ancient trees near Bishop, CA (including the Methuselah tree: around 4,800 years old). There's another grove with some super old ones in Utah/Nevada area, I'm told.
posted by eviemath at 4:19 PM on August 29, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone!

I'll be hiking and camping in Glacier, but otherwise staying in motels.

bartonlong, I have explored the NorCal coast quite a bit- Sea Ranch in Sonoma County is one of my favorite places ever. And I definitely want to check out the Oregon coast too. I plan to head slightly north out of Portland to Astoria before turning south.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:48 PM on August 29, 2012

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