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Spending a long weekend in Portland, Oregon seemed like a great thing to do.  Our primary purpose: to take advantage of the lack of sales tax in this state.  And boy did we shop!

Walking the downtown core is fairly straight forward since the avenues are numbered but it will take some memorization or a map to master the streets.  Restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars: if you’re in need of nourishment, Portland will answer the call.  There wasn’t a bad meal to be had, even the cafeteria style meal we enjoyed at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry was delicious.

But back to the activities.  First up: shopping.  Since we didn’t want to spend the entire weekend inside we dedicated one full day to the pursuit of new clothes, shoes and bags.  First stop: Nordstrom Rack.  Being Canadian, we don’t have this fine establishment in our neck of the woods so with a squeal of delight we stepped into the bargain shopping that is the Rack.  Next up we hit Pioneer Place Mall for great deals at Coach and one last purchase from Betsy Johnson.   All this shopping made our feet ache and our bellies grumble; we decided it was time for happy hour.

Portland is famous for its happy hours which never seem to end.  With deals on food and drinks, I’m surprised we even made it out of the restaurants!  But alas, I can only eat so much pizza or drink so much beer so we stumbled back outside to end the day at Nordstrom.

The next morning we awoke bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and made our way to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry where we were fortunate enough to gain access for only $2.00 per person!  Get there early to avoid the long lines and crowded exhibits.  We took a guided tour of the submarine, built and tested paper airplanes, set up a community with sustainable power and so much more.

At the controls of the USS Blueback (SS-581)

After nearly a full day here we left the world of science behind and drove west into the hills above Portland to the Pittock Mansion.

The grounds of Pittock Mansion are beautiful, as is the view of the city and surrounding country side.  Tour the mansion at your own pace reading the well-placed signs for a glimpse into the lives of a well to do family which inhabited the house for many generations starting in 1914.

Intricate ceiling detail in the Turkish Smoking Room

In the evening we took a guided walking tour with Portland Walking Tours called Beyond Bizarre which offered us a glimpse into Portland’s seedier, bizarre and lesser known history.  Taking about two hours to navigate through Chinatown and beyond, we used our equipment to attempt to locate and communicate with the supernatural.  It was fun to watch the meter on our machines spike but I think the skeptics in our group might have scared off any potential visits.  The tour ended with a huge pink box of doughnuts from the famous Voodoo Doughnut shop which more than made up for the lack of ghosts.

Could there be spirits in the nearby tunnels?

Note the long line for Voodoo Doughnuts. Once you have your pink box, take it to the picnic spot in the adjacent alley to enjoy.

Our last day was spent strolling the downtown streets and the wide path along the Willamette River which divides Portland into East and West segments.

Portlanders have a lot of pride in the many bridges that cross the river

It was time to say good-bye to Portland but not for long, we’ll be back for the great food, coffee, shopping, and sights before she even knows we’re gone.

Helpful sites:

In planning for our trip, I found the following two sites had a wealth of information including maps, transit information, parking, deals on hotels, activities, and suggested itineraries.



Canadian? If you plan on crossing the border, know your limits before you go.