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A (go-go-go) Day in Portland

By Amy Lively Jensen

By Amy Lively Jensen

Portland, Oregon is a must-see city.  Portlanders describe their city as: green, clean and healthy; wacky, beautiful and vibrant; relaxed, friendly and wet. In addition to these attributes, you can revel in a shopping heaven where there is no sales tax! It’s almost a crime to try to experience Portland in just one day, but if you must, here are some fabulous things to see and do.

Within the Portland Airport, you can ease into your journey at Capers Café et Le Bar. It was founded in 2001 by the Joly family with an emphasis on artisan wines from the Pacific Northwest. There is a comprehensive offering of 52 wines by the glass and all at modest prices. You may find the likes of a Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir or a Big Table Farm “Bee Box” Chardonnay. The knowledgeable staff is versed in answering any questions or making recommendations from the sizeable wine list. Indulge in their seasonal menu of ginger baked garlic salmon to pair with your Pinot Noir before going to collect your checked baggage. 

The Klimpton Vintage Hotel is a convenient home base; it has a quirky, comfortable flair. Entering the lobby, you can experience a free nightly wine hour and relax with music by local artists on the weekends.  Their wineology chalkboard includes the appropriate quote “I felt sorry for myself because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no wine.”  The unique two-story rooms showcase a spiral staircase and antiques. This is a hip place that offers cucumber and honeydew water, pinot noir salt plus yoga mats in every room. 

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Getting around Portland is easy with the Max Light Rail system and streetcar. It is the Bike Capital of America, and bike lanes almost appear to equal car lanes. Start out in the Pioneer Courthouse Square in the heart of downtown Portland. It is known by the locals as Portland’s Living Room since they host 250 events there yearly. Experience the cascading waterfall fountain, outdoor chess set and a semi-circle amphitheater for movies, concerts and theater. 

Walking down the red brick sidewalks, you’ll see bronze four-bowl drinking fountains that run continuously. Called Bensen Bubblers, locals say that Simon Benson donated 20 of them in 1912 as an effort to keep loggers out of the saloons at lunchtime. There are currently 52 bubblers throughout downtown with pure water from the mountains. 

Choosing one coffee house of the 2572 in the city is difficult, but you can savor the brew at Stumptown. After a caffeine break, a memorable stop at Powell’s City of Books is a must. It is the largest independent chain of bookstores in the world with four levels that cover an entire city block. Their most expensive book is $10,000 and they boast, “if it’s in print, it’s at Powell’s.”

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