Blog, Portland Travel

5 Free (or almost Free) Attractions to Visit in Portland

Apr 02, 2012

Credit: Travel Portland

Want to take a grand tour of Portland without breaking the bank? Lucky for you, there are many ways to enjoy our city on the cheap! Here are 5 of our favorite ideas from the article, Portland on a Dime on Travel Portland.

You can even get to many of these attractions for free when you ride on The Free Rail Zone which includes most of downtown Portland (within the boundaries of the Willamette River, NW Irving and I-405), as well as MAX stations from the Rose Quarter to Lloyd Center.

1) Visit Powell’s City of Books: You will find a book lover’s heaven in the heart of downtown Portland. Powell’s City of Books is the largest used and new bookstore in the world. You can spend an entire day browsing their estimated 1 million titles. You are even allowed to bring up to 3 books into the coffee shop for perusing). Location: 1005 W. Burnside St. 503.228.4651 www.powells.com

2) The Grotto: This serene and beautiful sanctuary and gardens located on Northeast Sandy Boulevard at 85th Avenue is filled with surprises and attracts over 175,000 visitors each year. There is no charge to see the lower-level gardens and structures. To access the upper gardens, each visitor must purchase an elevator token. Tokens are $4.00 for ages 12-64, ages 6-11 $2.50, and seniors over 65 $3.00. Children under 6 are free. 503.254.7371

3) Pioneer Courthouse Square: Located in the heart of Downtown Portland, this is a public space hosting more than 300 programmed events each year. With more than 26,000 people visiting the Square each day, it is the single most visited site in Oregon’s most visited city. Location: Bordered by Southwest Sixth Avenue, Broadway, and Yamhill and Morrison streets.

4) Visit the 24 Hour Church of Elvis: 3 words: Elvis, Quirky and Free. Need we say more? Location: 408 N.W. Couch St.

5) Portland Farmers Market & Saturday Market- Features locally grown and prepared foods, live music, handmade crafts, jewelry, clothing, artwork and more!

The Portland Farmers Market is held on Saturdays in the South Park Blocks at Portland State University, March-December. On Mondays, the market comes to Pioneer Courthouse Square (June-October), and Wednesday’s market is held in the South Park Blocks of the Cultural District (May-October).

Portland Saturday Market: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., March through December 24. Location: Southwest Ankeny Street & Naito Parkway (in Waterfront Park, Skidmore Fountain MAX station) 503.222.6072

Fun Winter Festivals in Portland

Jan 24, 2012

Sure it is the middle of winter, but that does not mean you can’t plan a fantastic trip to Portland! There is always something to do in Portland; here are just a few fun festivals to check out during your stay:

Happening Now
Fertile Ground Festival through January 29, 2012
This is a 10-day, citywide arts festival presented by Portland Area Theatre Alliance.  This event showcases play premieres, art installations and events, all created by local artists.

Chinese New Year January 23-February 6, 2012
Celebrate the Year of the Dragon!  This is a two-week celebration at the Lan Su Chinese Garden and includes lion dances, children’s activities, martial arts and cultural and historical demonstrations. The festival culminates with a traditional lantern-viewing ceremony. Events are free with garden admission.

Coming Up:
Portland Seafood and Wine Festival February 3-4, 2012
This festival celebrates both the bounty harvested from the Pacific Ocean and the state’s vineyards (and scheduled smack dab in the middle of the Dungeness crab season!).  Festival-goers enjoy great food, wine and live music at Oregon Convention Center.

Portland Jazz Festival February 17-26, 2012
Timed to coincide with Black History Month, the Portland Jazz Festival features performances around the city, including ticketed headline concerts, free shows and a range of educational opportunities.

Want more?   Visit travelportland.com for a great list of art galleries, museums and other attractions (like Powell’s City of Books) to explore this winter.

Downtown Portland’s Winter Blah-Buster Supports the Arts!

Dec 28, 2011

Oregon Ballet Photo Credit: Don Van Wart

Lets face it.  The middle of winter can be a bit….well……blah.  So what better way to spice things up than to take advantage of special offers that grant affordable access to Portland’s vibrant creative arts scene!  We think it is pretty cool that Downtown Portland promotes the performing arts in our city with the successful Blah-Buster promotion  kicking off in February 2012.

For more than a month, arts groups including Portland Center Stage, Oregon Children’s Theater, Oregon Ballet Theatre and the Oregon Symphony will offer two-for-one tickets for events throughout the city.

Full details will be available later this year at www.downtownportland.org.

Other Winter Events Coming Up:

Portland International Film Festival – February 9-25, 2012
The granddaddy of Oregon film events, the Portland International Film Festival packs 100 films from 30 countries into a busy two weeks every February.

Oregon Seafood and Wine Festival – February 3-4, 2012
Scheduled smack dab in the middle of the Dungeness crab season, this upscale festival celebrates both the bounty harvested from the Pacific Ocean and the state’s vineyards. More than 130,000 square feet (3,962 square meters) at the Oregon Convention Center allows plenty of room for festival-goers to wander while enjoying great food, wine and live music.

Annual Holiday Attractions in Downtown Portland

Dec 14, 2011

Portland, Oregon comes alive during the holiday with these annual events. Spend a few days here and you will see why Portland, Oregon is one of the best travel destinations in the country!  There are too many local holiday events to mention in one blog post so visit downtownportland.org and plan your own outing.

Festival of Lights at The Grotto – Through Friday, December 30, 2011.. Closed Christmas Day
The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights is the largest Christmas choral festival in the world. The 2011 festival features nearly 170 indoor holiday concerts and an amazing display of more than 500,000 lights. illuminates the largest choral festival A petting zoo, puppet shows and seasonal food and beverages also highlight the event.

Parade of Christmas Ships – December 8 – 20, 2011
This year marks the 57th year for the Christmas Ship Parade on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers in Portland, Oregon. This fleet of 55-60 brightly lit boats has staged performances on the Willamette and Columbia rivers during the holiday season. Visit the Christmas Ships website for dates, times and best viewing locations.

ZooLights Festival – Through Jan. 1 (closed Dec. 24 & 25)
The Oregon Zoo becomes a holiday fairyland as one of Portland’s largest light displays blazes to life. More than a million sparkling lights transform the zoo into a winter wonderland. Decorated train rides, kids’ activities, and music by community groups.

From great coffee to beautiful lights to the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Portland will be merry this season!

Local Celebrations Feature Holiday Markets, Food, Wine & Beer Tasting!

Nov 15, 2011

There is a bounty of local festivals and celebrations this month in and around Portland, Oregon! Here are a few highlights of what you will find just minutes from The Grand Hotel at Bridgeport.   A special thanks to the Washington County Visitors Association for sharing this great info!

Beaverton Harvest Market Saturday, Nov. 19 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Fill your cornucopia at this one-time harvest market, timed perfectly for the Saturday before Thanksgiving. In addition to seasonal foods, the market features vendors offering flowers and crafts

German Holiday Market at German American School, Beaverton
Saturday, Nov. 19 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) &
Sunday, Nov. 20 (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)
Enjoy traditional German food, novelties, nutcrackers and live entertainment at this free, two-day event, which is in its 12th year. Admission is free. For more information, please contact the school at 503-626-9089

Thanksgiving Wine Weekend- Various Washington County wineries Friday, Nov. 25 – Sunday, Nov. 27
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Celebrate Thanksgiving weekend in Washington County’s wine country, when wineries are all open and often have special perks such as vintage tastings, live music and/or light appetizers.

16th Annual Holiday Ale Festival November 30th – Sunday, December 4th, 2011.  Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland.  Each year, the Holiday Ale Festival annually gathers up dozens of these winter warmers for a joyous five-day celebration. More than 40+ breweries will be featured at this year’s event, all of which are created specifically to bring warmth and cheer to the holiday season.

Hillsboro “Holly Days” Market Saturday, Dec. 3 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Second & Main Streets, downtown Hillsboro
This seasonal market is held in conjunction with the tree lighting and Santa visit. This year, there will be about 35 vendors, as well as live entertainment and activities for children. More info.

 

Five Great Places to Visit in Portland, Oregon

Feb 24, 2011

Image Credit: Travel Portland

Portland, Oregon is one of the most popular cities in the Pacific Northwest due to its wondrous natural surroundings, relaxed atmosphere, and the sheer variety of things to do. Here are five great places to visit if you happen to find yourself in Portland…

Washington Park. Portland is famous for its beautiful rose gardens which can be found in Washington Park. The Park is nestled in the city’s West Hills and you can see the roses in bloom in late spring/early summer. (June is when the city’s annual Rose Festival is held.)

The garden offers some of the best views of the city’s skyline and on a sunny day, you can see Mt. Hood as well. Washington Park is also home to some other attractions including the Hoyt Arboretum (a great place to hike), the Japanese Garden, and the Oregon Zoo which has an impressive exhibit called Steller Cove which features sea otters and sea lions.

Powell’s. No visit to Portland is complete without a trip to Powell’s City of Books. This is one of the biggest bookstores in the world (if not THE biggest) and it has an incredible selection to say the least. The store reportedly stocks over 1 million titles and offers used books right alongside the new ones. The store features a great reading series and carries a wonderful section of gift items including t-shirts, messenger bags, bookmarks, and journals. Even if you’re not a bookworm, Powell’s is worth checking out if only to say you’ve been there.

The Northwest District. One of the most popular areas in Portland is its Northwest District which can be found along NW 21st and 23rd Avenues. This is a neighborhood filled with vintage homes and apartments, great restaurants, boutiques, and even Cinema 21, the city’s premier art house theater. You can find virtually any type of cuisine in this neighborhood (Thai, Italian, kosher, vegan) and if you’re not in the mood for food, there are plenty of coffee shops you can visit instead. The neighborhood is very walkable (a good thing since parking is hard to find) and it’s served by TriMet buses and the Portland Streetcar which can take you downtown and to Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Sauvie Island. Sauvie Island is to the northwest of downtown Portland, right in the middle of the Columbia River. This island is home to a wildlife preserve, numerous farms, and several beaches that are packed during warm summer days. Sauvie Island is perfect for biking and it can also be a pleasant place to take a Sunday drive. Chances are good you’ll see a variety of birds among other critters and in the summer, the fields are dotted with colorful flowers. Sauvie Island is a beautiful place and definitely one of the city’s best attractions.

The Portland Art Museum. Finally, the Portland Art Museum is a great place to visit, especially for art aficionados. In addition to their stunning collection of Native America and Asian art, the Museum has a wonderful modern art exhibit that includes 19th century and Pop Art masterpieces. The Museum often holds special events and exhibitions so depending on when you go, you might be able to view work from the Impressionists or the riches from a famous European family. There’s always something interesting to see at the Museum, so check it out.

Those are just a few of the great places you can visit in Portland, Oregon. They’re all enjoyable and there’s something for everybody. Have fun in the City of Roses!

Event Spotlight: Portland Jazz Festival February 18-27

Feb 17, 2011

Bridges and Boundaries: Jewish & African Americans Playing Jazz

 

The 2011 Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by US Bank will be held Friday, February 18 through Sunday, February 27 at venues throughout Portland. The week-long festival will include jazz education and outreach along with a series of concerts all supporting the 2011 theme: Bridges and Boundaries: Jewish & African Americans Playing Jazz.

Among this year’s headliners:

  • SFJAZZ Collective, in the world premiere of new repertoire paying homage to African American pop icon Stevie Wonder;
  • NEA Jazz Master Randy Weston, performing solo piano in support of his new release, The Storyteller, and autobiography, African Rhythms: The Autobiography of Randy Weston;
  • celebrated clarinetist Don Byron and his new project dedicated to the great Jewish entertainer, Mickey Katz – a reunion of the groundbreaking and virtuosic klezmer ensemble that recorded Byron’s eponymous Nonesuch album and spearheaded the klezmer revival in the 1990s;
  • a special performance by The 3 Cohens, featuring siblings, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen, and pianist Yuval Cohen;
  • famed African American violinist Regina Carter will return to Portland, presenting her newest project, Reverse Thread, which traces the musical history of African cultures, including tribes of Ugandan Jews;
  • saxophonist Joshua Redman – son of African American saxophonist Dewey Redman and Jewish American dancer Renee Shedroff – leading his new project, James Farm, that includes both African American and Jewish American musicians;
  • and the Portland Jazz Festival’s new Artistic & Community Ambassador, bassist Esperanza Spalding (who will lead her new Chamber Music Society in an exclusive Portland area engagement).

How to Purchase Tickets:

Portland Jazz Festival Box Office
Hours of Operation: 11am – 5pm, Monday-Thursday
Order by Phone: 503 228-5299
In Person:133 SW 2nd Avenue, Ste 420 Portland, OR 97204
Email: info@pdxjazz.com

PCPA Main Box Office
1111 SW Broadway
Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday
Walk up sales only
Handling charges will apply.

You may purchase tickets online, over the phone, or in person with Ticketmaster. Additional handling and convenience charges will apply.

Visit  pdxjazz.org for the complete concert schedule:

What is PDX Jazz?
PDX Jazz is Portland’s jazz organization, producing the annual Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by U.S. Bank. PDX Jazz offers an array of distinguished programs throughout the year in a variety of indoor and outdoor settings boasting internationally recognized artists while supporting regional fan favorites from the Northwest, often times presented in newly configured formats.

PDX Jazz in partnership with Oregon Music News recently initiated a monthly jazz series at PDX Jazz @ Tony Starlight’s, an intimate music venue, located in northeast Portland.

The 2011 Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air Portland Jazz Festival presented by US Bank will feature a series of headline concerts, jazz education and outreach, Gospel and Klezmer Brunches, and panel discussions based around this year’s theme, Bridges and Boundaries: Jewish & African Americans Playing Jazz.

You Are Invited to a “Very Engaging Bridal Event” at Bridgeport Village

Feb 16, 2011

Planning a Wedding? Mark Your Calendars for Very Engaging Bridal Event on Sunday February 27!

Did you know that an estimated 2.2 million couples get married each year (according to a 2006 Census Report)? It is no surprise that Valentines Day is the most popular date to propose (followed by Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years). This means there are a number of newly engaged couples out there planning the wedding of their dreams.

Brides-to-be can find all of their wedding needs in one place at Very Engaging Bridal Event presented by Bridgeport Village & Portland Bride and Groom on February 27, 2011 from 11am-4pm. What better place to find the perfect flowers, cake, wedding dresses, bridal party attire, planners, accessories, gifts, photographers, caterers, and more?

This event is free for everyone; but you can purchase tickets for a special VIP Brunch at Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, $20 for advance tickets.

Portland Monthly’s Bride & Groom is a consumer-focused, bridal fashion magazine. Each issue contains columns, advice, tips, fashion photography, photographs of real weddings, style—all designed to help the future bride-to-be design the wedding of her dreams.

Bridgeport Village is the Pacific Northwest’s preeminent fashion and lifestyle shopping center. Consisting of 500,000 sq.ft., the center offers an outstanding and enviable array of the regions first and exclusive one of a kind and internationally renowned stores and boutiques including Cole Haan, The Container Store, Crate & Barrel, Z-Gallerie, Eileen Fisher, Patrick James, MAC Cosmetics, Tommy Bahama, Under U 4 Men along with the first Coldwater Creek Spa and the largest Regal Cinema in the state — now with an IMAX Theater.

Portland Couple to Receive Wedding of Their Dreams from Wish Upon a Wedding

Oct 27, 2010

One of the benefits of being in the hospitality industry is getting to know so many couples and hearing their story.  Our Group Sales and Catering Manager, Amber Templeton, brought this very special story to our attention and wanted to share with you.

Patti Furrow and Phil Sedgwick are a Portland, Oregon couple whose 12 year relationship has been tested beyond belief. The couple has faced numerous challenges that includes a cancer diagnosis for Patty, a cancer diagnosis for Phil’s mother, job losses for both, chemotherapy, and overwhelming hospital bills.

Despite these circumstances, Phil proposed to Patty on Valentines Day this year- and the couple became engaged after a 12 years together.

Patty contacted our hotel looking for space for her reception and spoke with Amber.  Her original wedding date was set for 10/10/10. Once they began chatting about the space here, Patti informed Amber of the reason for her quick wedding and shared her story.

Little did Patty know she was speaking with the Vice President on the board for the Portland chapter Wish Upon a Wedding, a nonprofit wish granting organization providing weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances.

“It was at that moment that I knew the ‘planets had aligned’ and that she was meant to call me that day.” says Amber. “I told her about Wish Upon a Wedding, we went through the process and here we are, about to provide a very deserving family with the wedding of her dreams.”

It is with great pleasure to tell you that Patti and Phil will be married on November 12, 2010 and they are Portland’s first Wedding Wish Recipients.  To learn more about this wonderful couple, read their story: Cancer Takes a Backseat to Love For Two Racecar Junkies in Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon Named Best Tax City for Travelers!

Sep 13, 2010

Image Credit: Travel Portland

USA Today recently announced the results of a study commissioned by the National Business Travel Association that identified the best and worst “tax” cities for travelers in the U.S….and topping the list for Best Tax City? PORTLAND, OREGON!

The study looked at 50 U.S. cities with the most air passengers and calculated that travelers pay not only local sales taxes on goods and services when they go to a U.S. city, but up to 144% more each day they rent a car, stay at a hotel and dine.

Everyone knows this is the place to come for tax free shopping and enjoyment and we are proud to provide a great value to travelers- especially during tough economic times.

The study found that travelers in the worst tax cities pay up to $101 in sales, hotel, rental car and other extra taxes aimed at them on an average three-day domestic trip- but in Portland, Oregon a traveler pays the least amount of taxes — an average of $52.49.

Be sure to read USA Today’s Article Chicago is worst tax city for travelers; best: Portland, Ore. for more information.

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