I love weekend getaways. I literally live off that rejuvenated feeling I get after being some place different for a few days. Luckily for me, I live a hop and a skip away from cities and towns ripe with endless exploration opportunities.
We spent a weekend in Portland last month, so I’m putting together this rough guide to having a fun weekend in Portland.
Portland is one of a few cities that I’ve always wanted to live in. Except I’ve learned this lesson that moving to a city you love is a sure-fire way to fall out of love with that city. Instead, spending a few days or weeks here and there, is what keeps the love affair going. It’s sort of like a fling that way.
I still think going by train is the best way to get to Portland from Vancouver if you have time. It’s an eight hour scenic and relaxing ride, but that’s me, I’ll take train travel over any other form of transportation.
We went by car this last time, which is a breezy five to seven-hour drive depending on traffic and wait at the border. Going by car has its advantages too, like breaking up the drive with a pit stop in Seattle for coffee. Singing off key for hours to your favourite songs is something you can’t do on the train or plane – so that’s a point for going by car.
Portland is amazing for leisurely getaways; it’s compact and walkable, has incredible food (and beer!), beautiful parks, trails and outdoor adventures, glorious tax-free shopping and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
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After a few visits, I still go armed with a new itinerary – mostly recommendations from Portlanders and other Portland lovers – I don’t think I could ever run out of things to do.
So this is by no means a definitive guide since I feel like there’s still much to discover. This is just a little list of places I’ve traipsed and loved, and a few other recommendations I’m yet to try.
For instance, I stay at the Heathman because I’m hooked on the charming friendly service and also because there are balloons and chocolate in my room when I check in. I’d love to find a cool place on Airbnb, a colourful Victorian in Nob Hill close to Forest Park perhaps?
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Of course, I want to hike Forest Park and catch the views of downtown from Pittock Mansion. Next time, I’ll take my time to explore the Columbia River Gorge and see Multnomah Falls again, with a fully charged camera this time. I also want to spend hours on the historic Columbia River Highway stopping on all the picturesque spots I’ve read about.
On my first visit, we walked the Waterfront Park, went over bridges, meandered through pretty tree-lined streets by the river and found a little bridge overlooking Union Station, then somehow wandered into the Pearl District – I think everyone should do this on their first visit to Portland.
I want to come back one weekend this summer with my friend N just for the food cart pods.
If I do get that Airbnb, I’d want to try the PSU Farmers’ Market for produce and baked goods – I’ve heard many wonderful things about that market. See, there’s still so much to be done…
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