information on this page was compiled by someone who's
never even been to Portland. Thanks to all the contributors!
See who they are and why you
should take their advice.
Marriott is convenient, but in case you want to go farther
afield, the public transportation in Portland is excellent.
Sarah writes: Tri-Met
has busses and Max, the light rail system. Visit the
Web site to look up schedules or plan a trip. You can
enter in your departure and destination addresses and
they tell you the best route and times.
Pioneer Courthouse Square
Courthouse Square is described by Frommer's as doubling
as "Portland's outdoor living room and the heart of
the city". Before that it was a parking lot, and before
that the Portland Hotel, an "architectural gem". Nowadays
it seems to be the place where everything happens.
suggests a walk outside around the square: Portland
has wonderful sculptures on almost every street in the
downtown core. From the bronze animals around the courthouse
to the infamous bronze lady from the "Expose
Yourself to Art" poster. Also marbles, weird conceptuals,
and much more. On several blocks around Pioneer Square
inscribed in the brick sidewalks are sayings from the
wise to the silly. There are also numerous fountains,
a mural on the west side of the Oregon History Center
building of Lewis & Clark that looks 3 dimensional.
And if you get thirsty there are the public water fountains
on many street corners called Benson Bubblers. In Pioneer
courthouse square there's a fountain, sculpture, a weather
machine that predicts tomorrow's weather at noon but
is worth looking at even if it's not noon. Plus some
faux broken pillars with chess boards on the top which
usually have a crowd watching others play chess.
likes to visit to Pioneer Courthouse itself: It takes
up one city block between 5th and 6th and Morrison and
Yamhill. Enter from the Yamhill entrance (South), and
ask to be allowed up to the dome (keep in mind that
this is a federal building so your bag will be searched
and you'll need to go through a metal detector). On
the way up, stop on the second floor and see the old
courtroom, still in use! This historical building is
beautifully restored and the view from the top is great!
I loved the historical photos, especially the one of
the cow grazing on the corner of 5th and Morrison!
Park is a huge urban park that includes the International
Rose Test Garden (4.5 acres of roses), a Japanese garden
described as possibly the finest outside of Japan, the
Hoyt Arboretum with 900 species of trees, as well as
the Oregon Zoo. Take the MAX to the Zoo, Forestry Center
or Washington Park.
likes hiking in Washington Park: The park has lots of
clearly-marked hiking trails and should be especially
pretty at that time of year. Hike Oaks Bottom Wildlife
Refuge (on east side of the river- take bus 40 and get
off after passing over the Sellwood Bridge) Bring your
binoculars and see herons, several species of ducks,
osprey and maybe a bald eagle or two!
of Johanna's favorite places is the Zoo: From
the north side of Pioneer Courthouse Square you can
catch Max west to the zoo. Buy a ticket at one of the
kiosks in the square, get it validated at the little
machine next to it and wait for the train. A few stops
and you'll go into a tunnel. Your stop is in the tunnel.
The zoo train station is far below ground and has a
core sample from the construction of the station which
is very interesting. The zoo is famous for its Asian
elephant breeding program and has two youngsters (5-6
years old). There are also amur leopards, Amur (Siberian)
tigers, southern sea otters (including a youngster born
at the zoo this winter), and much more. My favorites
are probably the golden lion tamarins and the fruit
says: For a spectacular morning or afternoon, go to
the Columbia River Gorge. The waterfalls are breathtaking,
and the hiking is great! Eagle Creek Wilderness area
is especially beautiful. You'll obviously need a car
to get out there (take highway 84 east), and some sites
have a $5 day use fee. Or, on a clear day, head out
to Mt. Tabor for a hike with great views of the city.
(take bus 14)
raves about the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument:
This one will take a whole day from Portland and requires
either a tour company or a car. Over the twenty years
since the eruption, new visitors centers have been built,
ever closer to the mountain itself. It is really worth
the 50 miles in from I-5 to the Johnson Ridge Observatory
with stops along the way. Even the Web
site is pretty awe inspiring.
and Andy suggest a visit to the Oregon
History Center in downtown Portland at 1200 SW Park
Avenue. Collections include artifacts, photographs,
maps, and more. They are also fond of the nearby Art
Museum , which among other things has a large collection
of native American art.
Oregon Museum of Science
and Industry has interactive exhibits, an Omnimax
theater and the submarine Blueback (seen in The Hunt
for Red October). It is just across the river from the
is certain that the Portland
Center for the Performing Arts will have something
worth enjoying so you'll have to check their web page
in August or September. Look for an event in the Arlene
Schnitzer Concert Hall which is a beautifully restored
venue worth enjoying music in.
raves about the Saturday Market, open both Saturday
and Sunday under the Burnside bridge. Melanie
describes it as an art fair with great food! And the
art and crafts are all local, too. Johanna notes that
there are also lots of interesting shops in the area;
you can get to it from the hotel by walking up Waterfront
park about 14 blocks.
also goes along with everyone in declaring Powell's
City of Books a "must see", but she adds the following
practical advice: "I recommend taking a small amount
of cash with you and no credit cards. It will strain
your suitcase otherwise. It's an energetic walk., about
a mile." Phil warns: "…they hand you a map at
the door. Don't think (like I did at first) that you
can find your way around without it, just accept it
humbly and be grateful..." Powell's occupies a city
block and houses over one million new and used books.
that there's a new
streetcar system that will be open by then that
will run from about 6 blocks from the hotel to Powell's
and up to NW 23rd a cute shopping district and home
to many of Portlands best restaurants.
is a great city for dining! In addition to quality and
variety, there's a good selection of vegetarian, organic,
and healthy food.
For mornings, consider one of Jacqui's favorites.
They include: Café Lena for breakfast (2239 Southeast
Hawthorne Blvd); Marsee Baking for pastries (several
locations), and Pearl Bakery for the breads (102 NW
Ninth Ave). Torrefazione Italia (1430 NE Weidler or
1140 NW Everett) is the place to go for cappuccino.
For a natural breakfast that doesn't skimp on taste,
she suggests the Bijou Café (132 SW Third Ave).
has lots of favorites: Higgins
(1239 SW Broadway) is conveniently only a few blocks
from the hotel (and it's all downhill on the way back!).
They focus on using the finest local ingredients from
nuts to cheeses to produce to fish and beef. Also a
good selection of wine and beer. The smallish menu changes
regularly.. Reservations are recommended, and there
are always several vegetarian options. (Jacqui
says they have great brunch, too).
tip for the adventurous is to try Bistro Montage. They're
across the Morrison Bridge (that's the 2nd bridge to
the north from the hotel) and under it on the north
side. They're pretty good Cajun. It's got great wall
décor, good wine, very limited beer (Rainier red and
green), and amusing service. My personal favorite order
is one oyster shooter, green salad with raspberry vinaigrette,
crayfish and andouille jambalaya and a tumbler of some
very good reasonably priced French red wine. My husband
often opts for the "Green Eggs and Spam" an omelet with
spam inside and basil pesto on top served with potatoes.
Dessert is good too, especially the pot du crème. No
reservations and no credit cards but they do have an
ATM so you can get cash if you forget. There is often
a line, but usually not bad.
also recommends a Portland landmark that is famous for
it's bathroom: It's where I take most of my friends
who come in from out of town to visit. Again an adventurous
spirit is best. The name is Rimsky-Korsakoffee House
(707 SE 12th Ave.) and it only serves dessert and coffee
(and tea). It's open from 7pm to midnight. They almost
always have live classical music. My favorite is an
ice cream sundae called Rasputin's Vice which includes
Irish cream ice cream, coffee candies and raspberries.
It's in an old house and fairly small so groups of 6-8
are good, larger might be difficult. It's cheap, cash
only and take a cab (not very far).
recommends the following places, without elaboration,
for those who are serious about beer: The Rock Bottom
Brewery, and the Black Lab. The Baghdad Theatre gets
a special mention. It's on Hawthorne - bus 14 - about
a 10 minute bus ride from downtown, and the bus stops
right outside the café. It has great beer, and you can
bring food and beer from the cafe into the old cinema!
Movies are cheap here too!
the very serious about beer, you might want to visit
the site of the Oregon
Brewers' Guild. Send them three bucks and they'll
send you a 30-page guide! McMenamin's is a local chain
of brew-pubs and inns that varies a lot from one to
the other. Melanie says to visit the Edgefield
Brewery if you can; it's out of town in Troutdale, but
a good place to stay if you want to extend your visit
a bit. It used to be a poor farm, and now it's an elegant
lodge with high ceilings, big porches to sit out on,
vineyards, and great food. It's also near the Momokawa
sake brewery (that one is Ethan's pick, though
he's not been there…yet!)
is remarkably wired, there is a lot of info on the net.
Here are two starting points: the :Portland
Oregon Visitor's Association looks pretty official
but seems to have good information. Fun
is decidedly loony (check out the Webmaster) and offers
a no-holds-barred take on the town.
contributors …in alphabetical order…
and Sarah have lived in Portland for a year and
a half, and love it so much that they just bought a
house. They are both naturalists and spend lots of time
Benatan put the page together, but other that that
knows nothing about Portland, so you don't need to take
his word on anything.
lived in Portland for years. She's Italian, so listen
up when she talks about food.
is your conference chair and has lived in Portland for
13 years in the most recent stretch. Portland is one
of her favorite cities and she loves good food.
has only visited Portland, but she really, really liked
it. She enjoys creative cooking from all over the world.
is your conference treasurer.
on June 16, 2001