Portland is made up of a number of Districts, each with its own special flavor. One can enjoy the city by simply getting oneself to one district or another and walking around to see the sights. We live in the Nob Hill District, which is an older, established neighborhood. Our two favorite streets in this district are NW 23rd Ave and NW 21st Ave (affectionately known by locals as 'trendy-third' and 'trendy- first'). NW 23rd is filled with boutiques and coffee shops. NW 21st Ave is filled with the best restaurants in Portland. Both streets tend to be busy with walkers, especially on summer evenings.
The Pearl District is a new district in Portland and is getting rave reviews around the nation. This district, which had been filled with railroads and warehouses, has gotten a makeover which promotes the new without relinquishing the old. It is a fun place to walk around. Visit the two parks on NW 11th Ave: Jamison Park and Tanner Springs Park -- both award winning parks.
Hawthorne District is a funky area -- (I mean funky in a good way here!) Go to SW 39th Ave and start walking around. You'll love the hippy flavor (and you'll understand why our city motto is "Keep Portland Weird" :)
The culture district is where the museums and theaters are located. Go to Pioneer Square and visit the Visitor Center there for more info on Porltand. The summer is filled with Festivals at McCall's Park, down by the Willamette River. Take a speed boat ride up the Willamette. It is fun fun fun!
Also, give yourself a chance to travel thru the Columbia Gorge and see the magnificent waterfalls. You can see Mt. Hood from Portland and you can travel there by car in about an hour. You can also see Mt. St. Helen's from Portland, which is an hour's ride north up I-5 and then another hour east. Well worth the time!
Go to The Pittock Mansion on a clear day and see all the gorgeous mountians surrounding Portland. You can also go to Counsel Crest Park for a picnic and more incredible views.
Don't forget the Japanese Garden -- it's the prettiest I've ever seen. And, last but not least, you have to see the Rose Garden (spring and thru-out the summer) in Washington Park.
Best Bargain In Town ~ Any Town, Anywhere.
Health Check For Dummies
Update: January 2008
THE BAD NEWS: I was crestfallen to learn the preceding Providence health care program no longer existed. It seemed perfect in a town where joggers, bikers, health stores & "health nuts" abound, providing accurate blood indicator markers which can also serve as health & fitness goals to improve upon. Granted that these markers may no longer provide definitive, leading edge answers they once did, they still offer good guidelines for the lay person.
I once suggested at a local doner station that if the Red Cross provided similar data gratis to interested parties, they might never again need to run a blood drive or rely mostly on tired old polluted bloodlines like my own; that the health conscious younger set might be more motivated to donate, thus killing two birds with one stone. I was informed, in essence at the time, that Red Cross policy is not to "bribe" or coerce volunteers; have not donated since, tired blood or not.
THE GOOD NEWS: The program has not been discontinued after all, only the Providence health care Resource Center/Bookstores. Before, all one needed was to walk-in & plunck down $25 for all of the above blood indicators. Now it is necessary to call ahead (503-216-2088) for an appointment. Reason: lack of interest. An ECG (electrocardiogram) has been added for those who can afford a total of $60.
I may be pre-diabetic, although blissfully unaware until recently. According to Dr. Barry Sears, page 42 of "The Anti-Inflammation Zone," a TG/HDL ratio of 4 or more indicates a diabetic or pre-diabetic condition. Mine (above) two years ago was 4.3. The data is a warning, not a guarantee, but a warning I take seriously. I am at present attempting corrective action to the extent that I can.
Umbrellas not allowed
Ha, I find it funny that the Oregonians distaste for umbrellas is a category here. Well anyway umbrellas are for wooses and tourists! Of course we all own 300 dollar rain jackets here so we really don't need 'em.
Portland Fog, Raining All the Time, and All That
This is a weather related tip and thus doesn't fit into any of the currently available VirtualTourst categories:
Portland has a well-earned reputation as a place where it rains a lot. The local tourist and convention bureau, colleges and universities, real estate agents, and various others have attempted to pass off the Portland reputation for rain off as overblown and nothing to worry about.
Is everything you have heard true? That depends on what you have heard!
The weather comes from the Pacific Ocean, comes into the Willamette Valley, and hits the Cascade Mountains. The clouds get stuck and unload water until they are light enough to pass over the mountains. We don't get as much rain as, say, the Olympic Peninsula in Washington or the Oregon coast (Newport, Astoria, Tillamook, etc.). However, because the rain frequently comes as very heavy fog rather than hard thunderstorm rain, it means that a "little rain" in terms of quantity can take a long time to fall in terms of days or weeks.
Yes, there are months when we don't see the sun. It is also true that locals tend to not use umbrellas because they aren't very effective with this type of rain - unless you will be out it it for a long period of time. I was born in Portland, and I do in fact own several umbrellas, and do use them - but only on those days when the rain is heavy enough for it to be worthwhile using them.
Some people who visit here, or those who have moved here from California, complain about the weather and the rain. (Didn't they know that it rains here before they came? Apparently not!) So, if you are expecting Portland to be like Los Angeles and have rain only three times a year, you will be sadly disappointed. We are just like the 99% of the world that isn't like California: we get rain here! Be prepared for it!
Isn't it cold in Portland?
Depends on what you consider cold.
Our winter weather is cold, but not as cold as many other cities in the USA. For example, compare winter weather in Portland, Oregon to the weather in Chicago or New York or Bismark, North Dakota, or Havre, Montana, or even nearby Boise, Idaho. Perhaps people think that Portland, Oregon is cold because they confuse it with Portland, Maine?
My Brazilian friends definitely think it is cold here! Look at Belem, or Manaus or Curitiba or Foz do Iguaçu or Londrina or Rio de Janeiro. Keep in mind summer in South America is winter here in Portland - you need to compare opposite months for a comparison of seasons!
The link below is to Weather Underground Portland. Only you can decide if you can handle our weather or not!
Assorted Portland Neighborhoods and Attractions
A number of Portland neighborhoods were at one time independent cities that were later merged into what is now the City of Portland. These independent cities retain their own small downtown area.
There are also a number of smaller suburban cities around Portland that have items of interest in them.
At one point, my list of Portland Tips was at an astonishing 150+, and it was really too much. Furthermore, many of the tips were really better off under the real community where they are located.
The following are neighborhoods of Portland that have separate city entries in the VirtualTourist database, and are where I have moved many of my tips about lesser known items in and around Portland:
The following locations are not in the city of Portland, but are really part of the Portland metropolitan area, and have items that may be of interest to those visiting Portland: