What to do on vacation?
July 24, 2007 6:30 PM   Subscribe

What can I do on my vacation in Portland, OR that I can enjoy doing by myself and that I CANNOT do in Seattle?

I haven't been to Portland in years, but I seem to recall it being incredibly similar to Seattle, where I live. I'm going to probably be down there between August 20-24 sometime by myself and I want to do something different that I'm going to remember and enjoy. I guess I just want some brainstormy ideas. Different affordable but unique restaurants, festivals, bookstores, anything!

A side question: There's a minor chance I'll be going to NYC (possibly for the U.S. Open, to be precise) or Las Vegas instead of Portland. What are my options for those cities (Is Las Vegas even the kind of place you'd want to go to by yourself?)?
posted by Holygrail2 to Travel & Transportation around Portland, OR (24 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Powell's should not be missed -- various branches, though the main one is the most impressive.
posted by kanuck at 6:41 PM on July 24, 2007

The Japanese Garden in Portland was fantastic when I was there a few years ago.
posted by cmiller at 6:47 PM on July 24, 2007

Damn, cmiller beat me to it.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:50 PM on July 24, 2007

I second Powell's! The flea market is bigger than the ones we regularly have in Seattle, if you'll be there on days when it's open.
posted by lemuria at 6:53 PM on July 24, 2007

Las Vegas, gambling, cirque du soleil, free attractions. Don't go for a long trip to Vegas though. A weekend is enough.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:53 PM on July 24, 2007

Eat waffles from the waffle stand at Lombard and Boston and go to the Rogue Public House and try their beers that are harder to get here and their liquors. And of course, go to Powell's.
posted by j.edwards at 7:05 PM on July 24, 2007

Go to Voodoo Doughnut. Or Ride the tram.
posted by peep at 7:18 PM on July 24, 2007

I had a fantastic (and not expensive) Cajun meal here last night at Montage - really fun place, very quirky.
posted by simonw at 7:30 PM on July 24, 2007

You can make fun of those snobby Seattleites while enjoying a beer and a slice at the Bridgeport Pub!

Or you can try to get a slice of the nations finest pizza at Apizza Schoals, from 5-8-ish, or until the hand-fucking-kneaded dough runs out.
posted by Aquaman at 7:40 PM on July 24, 2007

peep's not kidding about Voodoo Doughnut. A crunch berry doughtnut + a pint of whole milk is an incredible experience. VD might actually be the finest doughnut place in the whole world, I wish they'd franchise.

Aww, now I'm sad that Voodoo Doughnut is 2910 miles away.
posted by knowles at 8:13 PM on July 24, 2007

The Portland Classical Chinese Garden is also worth a visit.
posted by Pantalaimon at 8:13 PM on July 24, 2007

Oh, and go see (or skate) Burnside Skate Park. Pretend you're in a video game.
posted by knowles at 8:23 PM on July 24, 2007

If you are at all interested in technology, you should visit Free Geek. They're a computer re-use/recycle center and they are rad.
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:27 PM on July 24, 2007

Head east up the Columbia gorge, and stop at all the amazing waterfalls.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:11 PM on July 24, 2007

Yeah, rent a car and drive along the gorge or the coast. Go roller-skating with a real pipe organ in Oak Park. Check out Ground Kontrol and play some pinball. Have some pie at the Pied Cow (best pie ever)! See what's going on at the Kennedy School. Enjoy the fantastic public transit (it kicks Seattle's bus-riding ass).
posted by lunalaguna at 9:21 PM on July 24, 2007

Devils Rancher is right: you should go drive the Old Columbia River Highway, and especially you should hike to the top of Multnomah Falls. Also stop at Crown Point, and use up a lot of (virtual) film.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:15 PM on July 24, 2007

Take the tram, and revel in the wonders of a working light rail system!
posted by spinifex23 at 10:48 PM on July 24, 2007

As a Portland ex-pat living in Seattle, the things I jones for (other than Powell's) are:

(1) Ararat
(2) Nicholas
(3) Countermedia
(4) Reading Frenzy
(5) The Pied Cow.

You might also find some good ideas in this thread.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 12:55 AM on July 25, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I seem to be getting a lot of recommendations for Powells and Voodoo doughnuts. I'll definitely pencil those ones in.

I should have mentioned that I wont be driving. Everything will be done on foot and with public trans.
posted by Holygrail2 at 2:02 AM on July 25, 2007

Response by poster: Is there a website like Seattle's Metro Trip Planner for Portland's transportation system?
posted by Holygrail2 at 2:04 AM on July 25, 2007

Tri-met gets you around town -- streetcar, light rail (MAX), and bus.

What's up with the vegas thing above?
posted by amanda at 2:22 AM on July 25, 2007

I like using google transit more than tri-met's webpage, for getting around Portland.
posted by j at 8:11 AM on July 25, 2007

If you you dig a quirky atmosphere and great live classical music, the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House is a must see.
posted by hsoj at 10:37 AM on July 25, 2007

And be sure to have breakfast. Portland is a serious breakfast town. Huber's never disappoints, nor does Tin Shed.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:07 PM on July 25, 2007

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