I had a Glorious Vino con Vista Weekend in Portland Oregon. “The Rose City” has are so many charming and distinctive residential neighborhoods with beautiful parks, gardens and bridges.
I loved the historic architecture, magnificent bridges and beautiful fountains. The culinary scene has world-famous food carts and plenty of outstanding farm-to-table and sea-to-fork chefs.
The area is brimming with wineries and breweries. There are spectacular annual festivals and events like FEAST Portland (www.feastportland.com) with 100 chefs and 40 events in September.
Foodies will swoon over Happy Hour in Portland with Food and Drink Specials all over own! If you want the best Vino con Vista in town, go to the Portland City Grill on the 30th floor of the US Bank Tower at 111 S. Fifth Street where you can see the entire city of Portland. www.portlandcitygrill.com
“Willamette Week voters ranked Portland City Grill first place in the following categories: “Best New Hometown Restaurant” (2002), “Best Restaurant to Bring Friends from Out of Town” (2004), “Best Meat Market” (2005), and “Best Happy Hour” (2004–2007). I’d say it’s a WINNER!!!
The Portland area is blessed with cupcake artisans, micro-brewers and passionate wine-makers. Who can resist the daily flavors at Cupcake Jones? Don’t cupcakes and Pinot Noir make a great couple?
Portland is wedged between a Pinot Noir Wine Tourism mecca and an incredible pristine coastline with scenic beaches. Furthermore, there is no sales tax in this culinary and shopping Wonderland!
Portland is cloaked with charming monuments like the Shang Dynasty bronze elephants in North Park. I wish I more time in Portland; I would have loved to get a panoramic vista on that Aerial Tram.
I loved the “Hop-on Hop-Off Big Pink Trolley.” I was able to visit the magnificent places and landmarks that characterize the Rose City. I took the free MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) from my hotel in Lloyd center to Pioneer Square. I paid $32 for a narrated Two-Day Pass at the Trolley Booth on Broadway and Yamhill and embarked on my exploratory journey of Portland Oregon. www.bigpinksightseeing.com. By the way, the Big Pink Trolley donates $1 for every ticket sold to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (www.bcrfcure.org).
You may want to consider these options in Portland:
1. The Portland Attractions Pass where you can save up to 30% of admission to destinations in Portland is available online at www.travelportland.com
2. The Big Pass provides entry to many of the museums and gardens and includes the Pittock Mansion.
3. The Downtown Pass, Garden Pass and Washington Park Pass are also available.
4. The Distillery Row Passport waves tasting fees at 5 eastside distilleries at www.distilleryrowtours.com
5. Forktown Tours alows you to T0ur and Taste in delicious Districts on Thursdays and Saturdays at www.forktown.com
Here’s a list of my favorite Vino con Vista stops on the Big Pink Trolley.
Portland has many interesting neighborhoods like: Nob Hill, The Pearl District, Old Town Chinatown, North Mississippi, North Portland, Vista Hills and Council Crest. Art galleries are concentrated downtown and in the Pearl District, as well as in the Alberta Arts District.
In Old Town/Chinatown at 4th and Burnside, look for the “Chinatown Gateway” structure. This 1986 masterpiece was created by architect Yu Tang Wang and artist Sun Chau. It is made of bronze, marble, granite, wood, tile ans steel. If you are interested in a list of Public Art in Portland, visit www.racc.org
Ther are many historic structures in Portland. Check out the list of historic places here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Register_of_Historic_Places_listings_in_Southwest_Portland,_Oregon.
Here’s a List of My Favorite Vino con Vista Places in Portland:
1. I couldn’t wait to arrive in the Pearl District and visit the iconic flagship Powell Bookstore. College professors love bookstores! This is the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world and it is owned by Walter Powell from Chicago.
Powell’s City of Books covers 68,000 square feet on an entire city block in Portland. This store has “more than 1.5 million books in 3,500 different sections.” Here’s a map that will help you navigate the nine color-coded rooms at 1005 W. Burnside Street. Powell’s Bookstore has 7 different locations around the metro area. www.powells.com
Strolling through the Pearl District is one of life’s simple pleasures. I wish I could stay in Portland for Labor Day Weekend. I would stay at the Historic Benson Hotel at 309 S.W. Broadway Ave. (www.bensonhotel.com) so I could attend the Art in the Pearl Festival. At this Labor Day weeknd art festival, there will be more than 100 artists showcasing their unique talent with paintings and photography, as well as jewelry and hand-crafted furniture. If you follow my posts, you know how much I love art festivals and live music. On the First Thursday of each month, The Pearl District Galleries have parties and events.
When I was in Portland, I went to a number of festivals. I loved the Street Festival in front of the Deschutes Brewery and Public House at 210 N.W. 11th Avenue.(www.deschutesbrewery.com) I was impressed by the small tables that were made out of the end of a beer key. I loved how they drilled the holes for the umbrella. If you know where I can get one of these tables, please let me know.Do not leave this area until you have had a garlic burger at Deschutes Brewery!!
I also want a giant beer keg serving station like the one they lovinglly call Woody. Woody would be great for the Taste of Chicago and Chicago Gourmet! It would even look cute in my yard. Do you think they sell them on eBay? One last thing, do not leave Portland without having a Garlic Burger at Deschutes Brewery. They are absolutely delicious!
In the Pearl District, visit the historic Portland Center Theater and see a performance at the Gerding Theater at the Armory. Have a snack at the Cafe or arrange for a “Backstage Tour” of this magnificent state-of-the-art renovated barrel-roof Armory at 128 N.W. Eleventh Avenue.
On the first and third Saturdays of each month, The Gerding Theater at the Armory hosts FREE public tours where you can learn about the evolution of the Armory Annex from an 1891 military drilling site, to a public meeting space, to beer storage facility, and ultimately to one of the “world’s most sustainable performing arts centers.” Tours are from noon to 1 p.m. and meet at the concierge desk inside the lobby of the building. For more information or to buy tickets for Portland’s Center Stage performances visit: www.pcs.org
I had lunch at Oven and Baker in the Pearl Distirct where Chef Cathy Whim works her magic on those “Puccia Pork Meatball Sandwiches.” That was the best meatball sandwich that I have ever had in my life!! www.ovenandshaker.com. For dinner you can visit Nostrana for more of Cathy’s Italian cuisine.
We met some new friends from Yamhill at the Cupcake shop and when I told them I wrote books about wine tourism in Italy, they dragged us over to Coppia at 417 N.W. 19th Street. This restaurant prepares cuisine from the Piedmont reion of Italy. They said that they come here from Yanhill because they love the Sformato Souffle and the Risotto Butternut Squash. We all shared a bottle of Codazzo Terracruda. It was wonderful!
It was fun browsing through the charming eclectic shops and boutiques in the Pearl District. Remember there isn’t any sales tax!
2. Visit the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland.
This extraordinary garden is the most authentically built walled Ming Dynasty-style garden outside of China. Visit the covered walkways, bridges, pavilions, tea house and lush landscape that frame picturesque Lake Zither (a small artificial lake). This Classical Chinese Garden is a verdant urban oasis built by Chinese artisans from Portland’s sister city of Suzhou.
This is the perfect Vino con Vista destination for a sophisticated sojourner who wants to experience a 2000-year-old Chinese tradition. “There are more than 100 trees, orchids, water plants, perennials, bamboos and unusual shrubs located throughout the beautiful garden.” Hopefully, someday I can attend the two-week Chinese New Year celebration at Lan Su Chinese Garden located around N.W. 3rd and Everette Streets.
3. Stroll through the Portland Saturday Market where you can enjoy 350 artisans selling their wares. There’s live music and plenty of exotic food at the international food pavillion at Waterfont Park in Portland’s historic Old Town. www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com
You can take the free train to the Skidmore Fountain MAX station. Get off at Southwest Ankeny Street and Naito Parkway. This is the nation’s largest weekly open-air arts and crafts market with unique arts and crafts sold exclusively by the folks that make them. Everything in the “Local Section” must be from Oregon or Washington and made by hand.
Walk over to the Skidmore Fountain on 1sr Avenue between Burnside and Ankeny and admire Portland’s oldest commissioned public work of art. “Druggist Stephen Skidmore left $5000 in his will so that Horses, Men and Dogs could have a cold drink.”
There are many beautiful fountains in
4. Get some coffee at Stumptown Coffee Roasters; a haven for latte junkies like me. I loved the latte art!
cafe and roastery at 4525 S.E. Division Street opened in 1999. They have expaned since then with 3 more cafes, a roastery and a tasting annex have opened in Portland. They also have 2 locations in Seattle and one in New York.is a roaster and retailer. The chain’s flagship
5. If you have time, go to the the east bank of the Willamette River and explore the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). You can experience an earthquake or tour the U.S Navy’s last non-nuclear submarine. This is the home of the USS Blueback submarine that was used in the film The Hunt for Red October. Have a VIno con Vista at the River-View Cafe.
OMSI has 5 enormous halls with hundreds of interactive exhibits and displays. OMSI also has an OMNIMAX Theater. It is located at 1945 S.E. Water Avenue.
If you want to take a Willamette Jetboat Excursion, the ticket office in near the museum on the River.
6. Theowns the city’s largest art collection. It was founded in 1892 and with the recent addition of the “Modern and Contemporary Art wing it became one of the United States’ 25 largest museums.” It is the oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest. It has a lovely outdoor sculpture court.
There is a magnificent permanent collection that reflects the history of art. There is special exhibition of California’s Impressionism until September 16th, 2012.
It is located in the heart of the downtown Cultural District at 1219 S.W. Park Avenue. Admission is free on the fourth Friday of every month from 5-8 p.m.
7. Stay at the historic Governor Hotel.It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Governor is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Portland, so if you stay here, you can walk to Portland’s sights and enjoy the exciting night life.
The Governor Hotel is a member of the Historic Hotels of America. Enjoy a Vino con Vista Happy Hour at Jakes’s Grill in the Governor Hotel!
The hotel was placed in the US National Register of Historic Places in 1985. The building was extensively remodeled in 1992 when it was joined the neighboring Princeton Building.
The Arts and Crafts–inspired glazed terracotta exterior blends art nouveau and Native American designs. I love the majestic antlers on the animals that are mounted on the wall of the bar in the hotel.
The hotel’s architect, William C. Knighton, went on to become the first Oregon State Architect in 1912, and later designed the Oregon State Supreme Court Building. The rustic interior furnishings are quite impressive.
There are amazing floor-to-ceiling murals that were painted by San Francisco-based artist Melinda Morey. I love the vintage Lewis and Clark map “Trade along the Columbia” on the wall in the lobby.
The Heathman Hotel http://portland.heathmanhotel.com/ is another outstanding hotel in Portland. The Heathman Hotel doormen will greet you in their red Beefeater costumes.
This could my perfect Vino con Vista residence with perfect views of rivers, forests, bridges and mountaintops. There are 23 rooms filled with treasures from a by-gone era. Maybe the city will sell this property to me? Of course, I would have to wine the lottery to pay for it. The century-old Pittock Mansion symbolizes “Portland’s dramatic transformation from a small lumber town to a bustling city” at 3229 N.W. Pittock Drive.
The French Renaissance Chateau was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. The Pittock Mansion was once the private home of Henry Louis Pittock founder of the Oregonian Newpaper. At 1000 feet above sea level, the mansion has commanding view of five mountains in the Cascade range: Mounts St. Helens, Adams, Rainier, Hood and Jefferson. For more information visit www.pitockmansion.com.
The mansion was originally built as a private home for The Oregonian newspaper publisher Henry Pittock (1836–1919) and his wife, Georgiana. Georgiana was one of the founders of the Portland Rose Festival. She died in 1918 at the age of 72 and Henry died in 1919 at the age of 84.
9. Enjoy the culinary treats offered by the Portland Food Carts. The 431 registered food carts in Multnomah County serve a delightful spectrum of ethnic flavors: Mexican, Greek gyros, Vietnamese Pho, Indian curries, Polish sausage and Moroccan specialties.
Try some Korean-Oregon fusion at Big-Ass Sandwiches or check out Khao Man Gai or Nipa Hut. Entreprenuership is alive and kickin’ inside Portland’s Food Cart Culture!
10. I loved Pioneer Courthouse Square because it reminded me of a Historic Piazza in Italy. The Courthouse was built in 1869 and is the oldest federal building in the Pacific Northwest. There’s plenty of action in Courthouse Square; it’s the home of the annual Italian Festival in August. As a former groupie for my son’s California Band, I loved the “Noon Tunes” offered on Mondays.
- English: Pioneer Courthouse in Portland, Oregon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In December, Pioneer Courthouse Square has an annual Holiday Ale Fest under the holiday tree. This five–day celebration features more than 40 of the Pacific Northwest’s premier seasonal brews.
11. Pay hommage to “Portlandia”. She is made of hammered copper and is 36 feet tall. She is based upon a figure in Portland’s City Seal and depicts a woman dressed in classical attire. She welcomes traders into the port of the city. The sculpture is on the third floor of the Portland Building.
Portlandia is the second largest hammered copper statue in America (the largest is the Statue of Liberty). It was sculpted in 1985 by Raymond Kaskey for the Portland Building. You can visit Portlandia at 1120 S.W. 5th Avenue.
Hawthorne Bridge is the city’s oldest vertical highway lift-bridge and it was designed by Waddell. It is Oregon’s most heavily used bridge for bicycles. It opened on December 19, 1990 and cost $500,000. It leads leading directly into the central business district (CBD) from the east side. Hawthorne Bridge is named after Dr J.C. Hawthorne (founder of the Oregon Hospital for the Insane). The street was originally called Asylum Street but changed when the hospital moved to Salem, Oregon.
Morrison Bridge is a drawbridge that leads directly into the CBD from the east side. It opened in 1958 and cost $12.9 million. It is named after John L. Morrison, a Scottish Immigrant who served as a lieutenant in the Oregon Rangers.
Burnside Bridge connects the east side to downtown and the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood. It was built in 1926 for $3 million. The Rose Parade crosses the Burnside drawbridge. It was named after Dan Wyman Burnside from from Vermont. He helped raise funds to have the Willamette dredged in 1866.
Steel Bridge is one of the only dual-lift bridges in the world with independent lifts. The lower deck accommodates Amtrak and freight trains and carries MAX light Rail into Old Town/Chinatown. Lift operators are on duty 24 hours a day. In the summer, Portland bridges open nearly 300 times a month. The Steele Bridge opened to trains in July of 1912 and August of 1912 to cars. It cost $1.7 million to build. The Union Pacific Railway owns the lower section and the State of Oregon owns the upper section.
The Broadway Bridge connects the Lloyd District to Old Town Chinatown. It opened in April 1913 and cost $1.6 million. It is the longest drawbridge in Portland. It is named after the street that it connects.
The Fremont Bridge carryies I-405 past the Pearl and Northwest districts and into downtown. It was built in November of 1973 and cost $82 million. It is the newest bridge to span the river. It is America’s longest tied arch bridge. It was named after John Charles Freemont, an explorer and army officer.
13. I loved VooDooDonuts.
Their donuts are amazing! They are covered with interesting tidbits like M & M’s and bits of cereal. Some are covered with bacon, Captain Crunch and Oreos. They don’t just have a pretty face, they taste incredible!
They have iconic pink boxes that feature the company’s logo and drawings of Voodoo priests with the tagline, “The magic is in the Hole.”. Of course I ate too many-how could I resist them?
Located in Old Town’s popular nightlife district, Voodoo Doughnut is one of the city’s favorite culinary destinations. Locals and visitors line up 24 hours a day for what may be the most innovative doughnuts in the world.
In addition to the original Old Town shop, there’s a second location at 1501 N.E. Davis St. 22 S.W. Third Ave.
14. Spend some time in Washington Park.
Visit the International Rose Test Garden
Portland’s International Rose Gardens are the largest and oldest test gardens in the country with more than 8000 rose bushes. There are 550 different varieties of roses. The lush Washington Park features some of the most amazing Cascade Mountain views. The Test garden is inside Washington Park at 4oo S.W. Kingston Avenue. The best rose-viewing months are May-September.
Washington Park, in the West Hills of Portland. It is the home of ome of Portland’s most popular recreational sites including the: Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden, the World Forestry Center and the Hoyt Arboretum. There is also a Veteran’s Memorial and Children’s Museum.
“Lions and tiger and bears, Oh My!” At the Oregon Zoo, you can observe more than 2,000 animals from around the world. Go to the African Rain Forest Exhibit to see an intersting rainforest rodent. This conservation zoo is renowned for its Asian elephant breeding program.
15. Visit the beautiful fountains in Portland: Salmon Street Springs Fountain at Governor in Tom McCall Waterfront Park; Elk Fountain on Main between 3rd and 4th Avenures; Animals in Pools Fountains with bears, sea lions, river otters , ducks and deer at Morisson and Yamill Streets between 5th and 6th avenues and Shemanski Fountain with Rebecca at the Well at Southwest Salmon and Main Streets. For more information about Portlands Fountains visit www.portlandoregon.gov/water/fountains
16. Portland is a City of Festvals. Here’s a list of Festivals you can attend:
Feast Portland – September
This international culinary festival taps into the wealth of renowned Portland chefs and welcomes noted culinary stars from around the world.
Portland Jazz Festival – February
Timed to coincide with Black History Month, the Portland Jazz Festival features performances around the city, including ticketed headline concerts, free shows and a range of educational opportunities.
Oregon Seafood and Wine Festival – February
Scheduled in the middle of the Dungeness crab season, this upscale festival celebrates both the bounty harvested from the Pacific Ocean and the state’s vineyards at the Oregon Convention Center.
Treat your taste buds to the very best at the “Taste of the Nation” in Portland. This annual gourmet extravaganza features more than 70 Oregon chefs and restaurants, with 40 wineries and microbreweries.
Spring Beer & Wine Fest – March/April
This beverage exposition celebrates handcrafted microbrews, regional wines and distilled spirits.
Portland Rose Festival –June
The Portland Rose Festival celebrated its centennial in 2007. with three weeks of family events. Highlights include the Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade, the Starlight Parade, a waterfront carnival for families, dragon boat races, concerts and ﬁreworks.
The largest blues festival west of the Mississippi River takes place each year during Independence Day week. Portland’s Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park sets the stage with top national acts performing over ﬁve days. there’s a fireworks display on July 4th.
Oregon Brewers Festival – July
Craft breweries from around the United States bring their beers to Portland for this four-day festival, the largest gathering of independent brewers in North America. More than 60,000 beer fans enjoy the atmosphere with over 70 beers during the last full weekend of July.
The Portland International Beer Festival draws more than 150 brews from at least 15 countries to a beer garden setting in the Pearl District’s North Park blocks.
Cathedral Park Jazz Festival – July
Founded in 1981, this three-day event is the now the West’s largest and oldest free celebration of jazz and blues. It is held beneath the historic St. Johns Bridge.
The Bite of Oregon – August
Beneﬁtting Special Olympics Oregon, The Bite is one of the “Rose City’s” most popular festivals. Sample food created by local chefs and taste regional wines at the Oregon Wine Garden.
Musicfest NW – September
This annual festival was established in 2001 to showcase local musicians, bring in national acts and benefit children’s music education in Portland. Downtown becomes a massive block party as wrist-banded attendees check out more than 100 bands at nearly 20 venues over the course of four days.
Now you are ready to visit other Glorious Vino con Vista Destinations in Oregon. Explore Canon Beach http://www.cannon-beach.net/ and Hood River!
Read this post if you want some historical information about the Portland Waterfront http://portlandwaterfront.blogspot.com/
Now it’s time for touring beyond the city. EcoTours of Oregon can take you Whale Watching on the coast, or th scenic waterfalls in the Columbia Gorge @ www.ecotours-of-oregon.com
Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides and Apps @ www.vino-con-vista.com________________________________________________