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
The Portland area is blessed with cupcake and donut 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 had 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. 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).
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. Fork-town 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.
There are plenty of historic buildings in downtown Portland that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Northwest Portland includes the Pearl District and most of Old Town Chinatown. The entrance to Chinatown in downtown Portland, Oregon. The second oldest Chinatown in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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
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.
This is always my first stop in Portland. I head directly to the Wine Book Section because I have a “Passion for Pinot”.
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 lovingly 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. Deschutes Brewery Street
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!
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.”
4. Get some coffee at Stumptown Coffee Roasters; a haven for latte junkies like me. I loved the latte art!
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.
6. The owns 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.
It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is composed of two buildings, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The east building was completed in 1909 and was originally the Seward Hotel, while the west building was completed in 1923 as the Elks Temple. The Seward Hotel was renamed the Governor Hotel in 1931. The two buildings were joined in 1992, and together they became an expanded Governor Hotel. In 2004, the hotel’s entrance was moved to the west building, the former Elks Temple.
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.
g 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. The Heathman Hotel is a member of Historic Hotels of America, the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, as the New Heathman Hotel.
The Benson Hotel is a 287-room historic historic hotel. It is owned and operated by Coast Hotels & Resorts. It was originally known as the New Oregon Hotel,and is commonly known as “The Benson”. It has a reputation as one of Portland’s finest hotels. The hotel is named after notable businessman and philanthropist Simon Benson. The Benson is the seventh largest hotel in Portland based on the number of rooms.
The Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland, historically known as the Imperial Hotel and also as The Plaza Hotel, is a historic hotel building. . It was completed in 1894 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 as “Imperial Hotel”.] Since 2015, the building has been in use as the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland, and prior to then it had been known as the Hotel Vintage Plaza since 1991. I love the Bacchus Mural in the lobby. In Portland, he has a tattoo and a nipple ring. I’m sure Carravaggio would be proud.
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.
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)
- The flag of the city of Portland, Oregon flying in Pioneer Courthouse Square (upside-down) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Plaque at Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown Portland, Oregon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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.
The Fremont Bridge is a steel tied-arch bridge over the Willamette River. It has the longest main span of any bridge in Oregon and is the second longest tied-arch bridge in the world (after Caiyuanba Bridge across the Yangtze River, China)
The bridge has two decks carrying vehicular traffic, each with four lanes. The upper deck is signed westbound on US 30 and southbound on I-405. The lower deck is signed eastbound on US 30 and northbound on I-405.