If you have never been to Oregon, you are missing out. It is one of the most beautiful places in the United States, in my opinion. I have been there a few times, but would love to just pick up and move there permanently. Maybe someday, (sigh). For now I will just be content to visit occasionally. From where I live it is about 23 hour drive to get to Oregon. I prefer to drive, it is just more fun. But like the flying because it gets me there faster! Now this post could be 63 pages long, that is how awesome Oregon is. I will try to keep it somewhat short. For now I will just talk about Portland. Others coming in a different post, I promise.
Portland: What a town! I spent two weeks there several years ago during 4th of July. My brother was in Grad school there and I stayed with him, right in the heart of Portland. His apartment was within walking distance of the Columbia River. A little bit of a long walk for some, but it was perfect for me. Portland also has lots of alternative means of transportation, buses, trollies, bicycle rentals, etc. We mostly stated away from the super touristy places and restaurants.
Our first day there, we ate at a cute little seafood place, right on the river. Salty's on the Columbian River. We walked out on a boardwalk and ate outside on the deck. We were basically floating, the food was okay and overpriced, but the view and experience was amazing.
We rented a bike while on the riverfront and pedaled around the river front, up a bridge and around the other side. It was super fun, there are so many people out and about had to be very careful to not run people over, but it was a blast and reasonable priced. There seems to be several of these around the River area. Where we rented the bike from there was a fountain in the middle of the square and also a piano, children were playing in the fountain and several people tried their hand at the piano. It was like a zoo, again 4th of July week, beautiful weather, so people out everywhere. There is so much to do around the Columbia River, restaurants are everywhere there. We had ice cream at one of the shops along the River walk. We really spent a lot of time at the river front during our stay. There is just so much to see and do.
Now there are lots and lots of homeless people in Portland, not sure why, but they are there regardless. They can be found sleeping in the shade, huddled around a tree, they don't bug people for things like some do, which was nice. I was advised however to stay out from under the bridge walkaways, so find a different route if needed.
On Saturday, we went to the Saturday market on the Columbia river. That was crazy fun, think craft show/flea market. There were all types of vendors including food, clothing
homemade goods, and street performers. It was fun and I ended up buy a couple handmade soaps. There is no charge at the time, to get into the Saturday Market. It was free and fun, spent most of the whole day checking things out there.
We also watched a spray paint artist, painting a picture with spray paint, that was really interesting. Looks easy, but obviously skill is needed.
Everyone know that Portland is a foody paradise. So while there we tried many different places. My favorite food truck was the Grilled Cheese truck. You can customize your grilled cheese with all kinds of things. I had cheddar and bacon. My brother bacon, cheddar and jalapenos, and my daughter had cheddar, apple and bacon. We also had the dessert grilled cheese, Nutella, marshmallows, and banana all on a brioche bread. Talk about amazing!!
I am not going to go into all the fab places we ate, but one place really stood out, Lardo's. They add a pork topping of some sort to every burger, and the dirty fries were out of this world good! I am not really much of a meat eater, but this place... yum!
Now the big show stopper, the fireworks on 4th of July. The fireworks were shot off what
looked like a naval ship in the middle of the Columbia River. We found a good seat, had brought our own chairs and a few snacks. There was a homemade parade that happened in front of us before the firework show, complete with instruments and flags. I swear the girl leading the parade was naked, but my brother said she did have on clothes, just not many. The firework show was breath taking, I have never seen anything more amazing in person, it was just awesome explosion after explosion for nearly 40 mins. I had only ever witnesses a small town firework show prior, this was 100x better. Totally a must do if you have the chance.
We did so much more while in Oregon than this little post, but that is for another time.