Today’s installment of Creating Really Awesome Free Trips is at the top of my travel list…Portland, OR! Andy’s mama lives in Portland and we still have not been up to visit! I’m excited to have this list in hand for when we do make it to Portland . SCRAP will be a must do for me!
Hi there! I’m Sarah, I write a blog called New Wave Domesticity & I have been living in Portland, Oregon for the past 11 years & I wake up every day feeling really inspired and in love with this city. I am so excited to share a bit of of that love with you!
3. First Thursday & Last Thursday Art Walks
As I mentioned, Portland is home to lots of amazing artist and creative types. One of the best ways to take in that creativity is to enjoy one of Portland’s Art Walks. There are two major walks in town – First Thursday & Last Thursday as well as a few special events throughout the year. These events are an opportunity for local galleries to present new exhibits & for local crafters, artists, and performers to line the streets and show and sell their work. It’s basically an artsy street fair. Obviously the walks take place on the first & last Thursday of each month. First Thursday takes place in the Pearl District in NW from June-December & it is a bit more upscale. Last Thursday takes place on NE Alberta Street (from about 10th Ave to 33rd Ave), it is a bit more quirky and it’s definitely my favorite of the two.
Looking to take in some natural wonders & go on a little drive? My favorite is the Historic Columbia River Highway. It starts just outside the city of Portland and will take you on a majestic adventure through the Columbia River Gorge with some of the most amazing views you will ever see. Along the HCRH are about 8 waterfalls that you can hike to or view right from your car. The largest waterfall on the trip is Multhnomah Falls and it is a sight you shouldn’t miss when you are in town!
One of Portland’s many nicknames is “Rose City” and for good reason. Our climate is ideal for growing roses, so you will find them all over the city, but no place will highlight these beauties like the the International Test Garden. Covering 4.5 acres & housing 550 different varieties of roses paired with beautiful views of downtown, it’s definitely a great excuse to stop and smell the roses.
Looking for a super fun rainy day activity? Check out the nickle arcade! one of the 5 locations in the Portland area & enjoy some super fun arcade games for only a nickel! There is a small admission fee of a couple dollars (check the website for buy 1 get one free coupons!), but each of the games are only a nickel or two, so for just a few dollars you can have an awesome arcade adventure and get your skeeball on. You can also catch a movie in the theater for only $3.
7. SCRAP (The School Community Reuse Action Project)
Remember a time before Kindles and IPads? When we used to do our reading on those things called “books”? Powells will definitely bring you back to the good old days if you are a book lover like me. It is the largest book store in America. It takes up a whole city block and is multiple stories (that’s 1.6 acres of space). They carry over 4 million used and new books in ever genre you can imagine as well as some great local gift items. It is a perfect place to spend a little time exploring. You can also find some great locally made gifts or have some coffee in the cafe.
Saturday Market of course happens each Saturday and also Sunday from March-December. You can find it in the Waterfront Park just beyond the Morrison Bridge (conveniently right on the MAX line). Saturday Market is home to 275 different crafters and artists as well as many amazing food vendors. Admission is free.
10. Brewery Tours
Portland is currently home to over 52 different breweries, that is more breweries than any other city in the world! Beer is not only plentiful here, it is an artform. If you are a a beer drinker, you should definitely check out some local brews while you are in town! You can choose to use one of many local companies like BrewCycle or BrewBus for a tour of the city’s breweries, but you can also just take a tour on your own for free! There are plenty of great breweries and distilleries that offer free tours and have great tasting rooms to sample the wares. Here are few of them: Bridgeport Brewing Company, Clear Creek Distillery, House Spirits Distillery, New Deal Distillery,
A few more helpful links:Trimet – Portland’s public transit system is clean & efficient. It’s a great way to get around town.Portland Mercury or The Willamette Week– Our 2 local free papers. You can find one or the other on most street corners or online. They are both pretty much the same basic content – they are great guides for local events, restaurant reviews, and concert listings (Portland has an amazing music scene, check it out while you are in town!).Portland Free For All – A guide to all the free concerts and movies in local parks.