While in Portland to visit my cousin, I immediately feel the bite of crisp air when I land. Good thing I’m bundled up in scarves and layers. It’s mid-November and I’m happy to catch the last burst of Autumn before the leaves fell.
The drive through Portland is hauntingly beautiful, at times eerie with heavy fog. No wonder Twilight was filmed in Oregon.
We grab a drink at the Portland City Grill on the 30th floor, which grants a lovely and serene view of the city. Enjoy a mojito during happy hour until the sun sets to catch the lights settling in over the river.
A must-visit spot in Portland includes the expansive Powell’s Books in downtown. Since it is a chain, make sure you go to the flagship store located on: 1005 W Burnside. With dedicated rooms for each literary genre, it’s a book-lover’s sanctuary.
If you’re still in the mood for books or art or art that celebrates the written word – the Contemporary Museum of Crafts is in walking distance. They are currently exhibiting “The Book.” You can also just meander through the downtown streets and shops. H&M just held a grand opening in downtown during the weekend I visited, so hurray for all the Recessionistas in Portland!
I wished to see more Oregon scenery, so we drive to the gushing Multnomah Falls. I learn that Multnomah Falls, at 620 feet, is one of the highest waterfalls in the U.S.
There’s a bridge to walk up and grab a closer view of the falls. Not only is Multnomah Falls in such close proximity to Portland, it’s also free to enter and experience. I loved the drive up to visit, since it takes you past the river heading towards the mountains. It was so serene and beautiful to bask in the natural landscape. I can see why people love it in the Pacific Northwest, despite the unpleasant weather.
Back in Portland, we spontaneously pull over to explore the odd McMenimins Kennedy School and wander through the hallways of the 1915 building. The McMenimins Oregon and Washington quirky chain includes other scattered historic buildings that have been transformed into a hotel, restaurant, theater, and entertainment zone. Care to stay in the classroom hotel suite or grab a drink at the Detention Bar?
I loved these unique chalk movie poster drawings! Catch a semi-new show at the school’s auditorium for the cheap admission of $3.
I loved wandering through the Kennedy School. As you walk by the paintings and photos of former students, you can almost imagine faint echoes of laughter and footsteps through the hallways.
One of many eclectic art pieces throughout the Kennedy School. Odd in the daytime, no doubt creepy by night. This was one of my favorite spots and random discoveries on my trip – I would definitely want to check out some of the other locations for my next Pacific Northwest visit.
With Portland’s up and coming indie music scene (trailing closely behind its PNW neighbor Seattle), I wanted to catch a show on my visit. Upon a suggestion from a local boutique owner, we headed to the popular music venue Doug Fir Lounge.
Playing that Friday evening were the independent rock bands “Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin” from Missouri and the nearby Washington opening group “The Lonely Forest.” Great sound, energy, and instrumentals – the groups are currently on tour until December!
The place looked like a cozy log cabin with amazing acoustics and amplified sound. There are seats, but the place does slowly get packed. People are so polite in Portland; I didn’t experience any shoving to move to the front.
The boutique owner mentioned some other good venues to catch a local show – the Alberta Rose Theater or Backspace gallery. Hands down, I found that Doug Fir had tons of great reviews online. It doesn’t hurt to also scope out the music online prior to selecting which artist to “spontaneously” see. That’s how we narrowed it down our choice for Friday night – a great show for only $12!
Portland and its endless number of bridges. Its speed limit of 55 mph does make it easier to enjoy the sights and the river as we drive by.