Once known as America’s best kept secret, Portland is now one of the country’s hottest travel destinations. Money magazine recently ranked Portland #2 among Big Cities in which to live in the U.S., and its unique and thriving festivals, outdoors and dining scenes keep it consistently among the travel hotspots. Portland has the personality of a small community and the activities and vitality of a large city.
With moderate temperatures and varied and beautiful terrain, Portland is the quintessential outdoor city. The magnificent waterways overlook the Mount Hood glacier, a backdrop that sets the scene for a spectacular visit at any time of year. Forest Park offers 40 miles of wilderness trails, streams and woods within the city limits. Hiking, biking and exploring opportunities are always close at hand. Smith and Bybee Lakes display stunning wildlife and have great flatwater paddling in America’s largest protected wetland within a city. Just a short drive away, is magnificent Multnomah Falls, the nation’s second-highest year-round waterfall. For a mellower outdoors experience, visit one of the city’s stunning gardens: the Leach Botanical, Classical Chinese, Japanese, or Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens.
Chances are good that the city will be bustling with a festival when you arrive. Favorites include the Rose Festival in June, and The Bite of Oregon food and music fete in August.
The always popular Oregon Brewers Festival in July can be combined with a tour and sampling at one of the many excellent, local microbreweries. Tours of local vineyards and distilleries provide further tastings of family- produced, distinctive wines and brandies prepared by using the finest fruit and centuries-old methods.
Whether you travel around Portland by train, bike or on foot, a clear and unobstructed view is guaranteed. Building height restrictions prevent the beauty and majesty of Mount Hood from ever being blocked. Speaking of Mount Hood, with four ski resorts and North America’s longest ski season (including 90 summer days), this 11,235-foot peak is a mecca for skiers, ice climbers, snowboarders and hikers. The surrounding wilderness boasts spectacular trails for snowshoeing as well as cross-country skiing. All of this is just an hour’s drive from Portland’s city center. Long recognized as a fisherman’s haven, the Pacific Northwest is rich with steelhead, trout and sturgeon.
Portland’s history unfolds and the past comes alive as the carefully preserved landmark attractions are visited. Pittock Mansion reveals the day to day activities of the original Portlanders.
The Portland Art Museum showcases impressive touring exhibitions and permanent collections of American, European, Asian, Native American and contemporary art. View area history from an environmental point of view at the Hoyt Arboretum, where trees and plants are protected and nourished for the enjoyment of future generations. For families, there is also the Portland Zoo, the Children’s Museum, and the Museum of Science and Industry.
For a change of pace, be sure to visit the numerous gourmet coffee shops, Powell’s City of Books with more than a million volumes, the Brew ‘N View Movie Theaters where comfortable couches, pizza, and beer accompany the movies, the local gardens and galleries: all of which made Portland famous.
Finally, don’t leave Portland without sampling some fine local fare. The region’s renowned seafood, berries, pears, cherries, hazelnuts, wild game and vegetables of all kinds inspired noted chef and Portland native, James Beard. This in turn laid the foundation for his lifelong dedication to fine cooking, simple menus and fresh ingredients. The tradition continues, and Portland is known for its superb cuisine and exceptional dining.
Culture and art; the Trailblazers and the Hawks; Mount Hood with its tempting menu of year round outdoor activities; fine wines, beers, and restaurants; farmers markets and excellent shopping: these are just a few of the many reasons to visit and enjoy Portland, Oregon.
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