Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Portland, Oregon Challenge!

Here's a challenge for those of you living in or around Portland, Oregon, who used to live in or around Portland, Oregon, or love visiting Portland, Oregon:

If you were to visit Austin, Texas and said you wanted to see what made Austin such a great city, or you just wanted to have a good time, I would tell you to:
  • Have breakfast at the Magnolia Cafe on South Congress Avenue, then stroll up and down the street and enjoy the various shops and galleries (particularly Yard Dog). Take lots of time and then have lunch at Guerro's.
  • Take in a show at the Continental Club and/or Ginny's Little Longhorn
  • Take in a movie at the Alamo Draft House
  • Have some beer and play table shuffle board on a beautiful antique table at the Shoal Creek Saloon
  • Drive out to Black's barbecue in Lockhart, for great food, Texas prairie scenery, and a cute little town visit
  • Hike Barton Creek
  • Walk around downtown and the grounds of the state capital
  • Enjoy the sunset over Lake Austin at the Oasis Restaurant
  • Stroll around Waterloo Records and Book People, then have some ice cream at Amy's.
If you were to visit Louisville, Kentucky, I would tell you to:
  • go to any of the Irish bars on Bardstown Road in the late afternoon or early evening with your dog, and just eat and drink and people watch outside (and play cornhole is such is offered)
  • have breakfast at Lynn's Paradise Cafe and then visit the shops two doors up and two doors down on either side of it.
  • walk around the Highlands and take in some really amazingly-beautiful houses (if any are for sale and having an open house, go in!), then visit the Pie Kitchen.
  • go to Cherokee Park and have a picnic with your dog
  • go see a baseball game at Louisville Slugger field
  • take the Louisville Slugger factory tour
  • visit the historic house and grounds of Locust Grove (during an event like a concert or festival is even more fun)
  • go to any bar during a U of KY game (I'm sure there's a few Cardinal fans in Louisville as well)
  • drive down and take the Maker's Mark tour, then stroll around Bardstown, and see some lovely Kentucky scenery in between your drives.
  • visit the Speed Art Museum
Now, people of Portland and lovers of Portland, do the same for me regarding your city and the surrounding area: offer concrete ways to spend a morning, an afternoon, an evening, even an entire weekend, that would make someone say, "Wow, this is really nice/great/different. This is what makes Portland cool." We've seen Powell's Books (which is WAY impressive and more addictive than heroin), we've visited Silverton (adorable) and we've had some nice lunches at a few places (all nice, but nothing really special). Here's your chance to show us what we're missing!


  1. Jayne, I'm a co-worker of Betsy Thaggard's who lives in Portland. She turned me on to this entry, so here's my $.02-worth (in no particular order):
    -- Lunch at the Helvetia Tavern (split the cheeseburger).
    -- Biking from close-in NE/SE along the Springwater Corridor with a stop for coffee and/or lunch at Grand Central in Sellwood.
    -- Biking to Kelly Point Park (or just drive for that matter and walk around the point and watch the Columbia and Willamette converge)
    -- A foutain tour of downtown (
    -- The Portland Spirit brunch cruise (it's a great way to see some of the river).
    -- Kayaking the Multnomah Channel with Scappose Bay Kayaking.
    -- Lunch on a sunny day at Bread and Ink.

  2. Wait, it appears from reading that you're living in Canby? After living abroad? Is there a reason you went rural instead of urban? Or did I misread? At any rate, I forgot to give you contact info in the last post if you ever need a local guide or just want to meet a semi-normal almost-native. kcdegutes at hotmail.

  3. We went rural because Stefan is a volunteer firefighter. The Canby fire department waited until AFTER we moved to tell us he can't be one here (*maybe* in June, but no guarantees). So we're looking for a better small town in Oregon -- or anywhere, actually.

    Thanks for the ideas!

  4. I did it I did I'll recreate what I wrote earlier...

    So you've been to Powell's. That's a biggie. Now here's the rest:

    - Go to Washington Park (largest park within city limits in the US (or so I've heard); go to the zoo, the Rose Garden, and the Japanese Garden (check for bloom times, esp the Rose Garden)
    - Go to the Chinese Garden, have tea in the tea house
    - Eat at Jake's (not great but you've got to do it...just because)
    - Shop on 23rd (NW) or Hawthorne (NE and much funkier)
    - Ski at Mt. Hood
    - Wind surf in Hood River (you can ski then wind surf in the same day)
    - Go to Mt. Hood...or view it from afar (make sure it's a day you can actually see it)
    - Hike at Mt. St. Helen's, north side - walk through lava tubes, see lava fields, there's a great hike somewhere that has a rope bridge over a canyon
    - Raft on the Deschutes
    - Go to Hood River; in fall, visit an apple farm
    - Go to the coast; we like Astoria and the Astoria Column
    - Then drive down the coast and tour the Tillamook Cheese Factory; return to Portland on a different route
    - Go to Saturday Market under the Burnside Bridge (like Jake's, you've got to do it once)
    - Eat pizza at PizzaBella in Lake Oswego (take-out only but soooooooooooo much better than pizza in Texas)
    - In the summer, go on a Willamette Jet Boat ride (leaves from OMSI)
    - Starting in March, enjoy the most spectacular show as various trees, rhododendrum, and azallias come into bloom ...but don't hold your breath for nice weather
    - Visit wine country; Oregon has some of the best Pinot Noirs (if you're into wine, I can get you some recommendations)
    - And for really local fun, go to the Clackamas County Fair in Canby

    Perspective is everthing. When we moved here, it seemed like there was nothing to do...but we were used to doing different types of things. We've discovered most of what you put in your Austin short list but there are a few I still need to check out. Thanks for the pointers.

  5. Thanks to everyone for the excellent suggestions. Hope to start enjoying some of them soon!