Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sought!

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supersharpie
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Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sought!

Post by supersharpie » Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:48 pm

My wife and I had a terrific first trip to the west coast last year when we visited Napa, Yountville, Santa Cruz, Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur, Healdsburg, and San Francisco. Highlights were visiting Point Lobos State Park, dining outdoors at Nepenthe in Big Sur, visiting a number of wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma, and taking an all day walking tour of San Francisco ("the Real SF tour"). We are looking forward to returning to the coast this summer, this time for 16 nights in Oregon and Seattle.

We are just about ready to book our roundtrip tickets to Portland. Now we are focusing on our itinerary which presently as taken this form:

Fly into PDX and spend our first four nights (7/24-7/27) in Portland. We dig the "keep Portland weird" motto for which the town is famous and plan to stay in East Portland near Hawthorne at an airbnb property.

Spend the next three nights (7/28-7/30) at A'Tuscan Estate in McMinnville. This will serve as our home base while we visit approximately a half dozen wineries in the Willamette Valley. We are looking for wineries that offer tours of the grounds as well as tastings. We chose McMinnville because the town boasts the best restaurants in the area if Tripadvisor and Yelp are to be believed.

Spend the next three nights (7/31-8/2) in Cannon Beach. We are not sure where we will be staying but do plan to tour the coast rather than spending all of our time in CB.

Spend the next four nights (8/3-8/6) in Seattle. We will be going the airbnb route again, staying in either Ballard or Capitol Hill. We are leaning towards the latter because it is more centrally located. Whenever picking a neighborhood to stay proximity to cultural attractions, safety, and easy access to great dining options are the primary factors we consider. We are definitely attending a Mariners game but have no other set plans.

Spend the last two nights in Portland (8/7-8/8) in preparation for our early morning flight home on 8/9.

We are both 30, have plenty of energy, and generally walk at least 10 miles a day when we staying in urban areas. We both have similar focuses when traveling:

Good dining - We consider ourselves "foodies" and part of the reason we are spending a disproportiate amount of time in Portland is due to the fact it has the reputation of being a culinary mecca.

Good drink - One of our pastimes is going on informative winery and brewery tours followed by tastings. We are interested in the process as well as the finished product. Tasting rooms are all of fine and good but we prefer the "full experience" of touring the vineyard or brewery. We know Oregon and Washington offer both in abundance and are trying to identify the best places to schedule tours.

Cities filled with history and unique architecture - We like to take guided walking tours that focus on those facets early in the visit and then explore further explore by ourselves.

Local flavor - We don't like spending the majority of our time in tourist traps. Rather we seek out what makes a town stand out in comparison to other places we have visited in the past.

Natural beauty - We are drawn to the west coast because it offers scenery and landscapes which are, in our opinion, unmatched by most of what is found on the east coast where we live. We hope to experience some of the natural wonders of the PAC NW upclose but are not most adventerous when it comes to outdoors activities. We are fine with easily marked trails, particularly loop trails, where it is impossible to get lost but anything beyond that is not something we want to tackle on this trip.

So, with all that said, a few requests:

1. Given our stated priorities, what do you think of our itinerary? Do you recommend cutting any stays and adding other overnight stops?

2. What, in your opinion, are a few things that are absolute "musts" for first timers to the region. This includes state parks, beaches, restaurants, museums, etc.

2. Where do you recommend staying in Cannon Beach?

3. Which neighborhood in Seattle would be best for us?

4. Which wineries/breweries in Oregon and the Seattle area do you recommend visiting?

5. What are your favorite places to dine in the vicinity of the towns where we will be staying?

Any other advice or recommendations you can offer are also welcome!
Last edited by supersharpie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.

scone
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by scone » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:03 pm

I used to live in Portland, and I would strongly suggest a visit to the Japanese Garden, and the Chinese Garden. It's not just beautiful, it's a unique part of the Portland experience. The other thing I would not miss is the Pearl District, which epitomizes the whole "put a bird on it" Portland hipster scene. If you have time, a boat trip up the Columbia is pretty breathtaking. Too bad you aren't going to be there over the July 4th period, because the Blues Festival is insanely great, kind of like an urban Woodstock.
Have fun. :sharebeer
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JupiterJones
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by JupiterJones » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:10 pm

There are some great waterfalls outside of Portland that are well worth a visit. Multnomah Falls has a steep, but well-marked and not-too-long, trail up to the top, with beautiful views the whole way.

The Rose Test Garden and nearby Japanese Gardens would make for another good, easy dose of nature too.

My two must-visit stops whenever I'm in Portland are Powell's and the Alibi, but my tastes aren't always shared by everyone. :D

Seattle-wise, I enjoyed the Underground Tour.

Sounds like a great trip! :sharebeer
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herbie
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by herbie » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:12 pm

PDX:
Powell's Books, catch a movie @ Mission Theater (http://www.mcmenamins.com/Mission), if you are a geek like me - OMSI

Seattle:
Paddle Lake Union, visit Freemont (tour Theo chocolate [but make sure you reserve in advance], eat at Brouwer's Cafe, and explore some funky shops nearby)

livesoft
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by livesoft » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:26 pm

Get on your bikes at the airport and ride up the Columbia River to Wind River and spend the night.
The next day, ride up and around Mt Hood and back to Wind River.
Then ride your bikes on the back roads up to Mt Adams, then Mt St Helens. Find places to sleep as needed.
Then ride as far as you can go up Mt Rainier.
Then coast down into Seattle and take a rest. See the Space Needle and the next door Chihuly museum and take the Boeing factory tour.
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climber2020
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by climber2020 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:27 pm

Surfsand Resort is a nice place to stay in Cannon Beach. Great location that is walkable from the main part of town, and they have excellent Tempurpedic mattresses.

Take one day while you're there and go to Ecola Park. You can hike through some trees and make your way down to a secluded beach that is devoid of all the tourists on the other side of the huge rock that separates the park from Cannon Beach proper.

Enjoy! It's one of my favorite places in the world.

ABQ4804
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by ABQ4804 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:30 pm

Your timing (mostly sunny) and itinerary sounds great - using airbnb is a good way to go, especially as you will be able to stay closer to the neighborhoods you want to visit.
Last edited by ABQ4804 on Sat May 05, 2018 12:41 am, edited 3 times in total.

Van
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by Van » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:35 pm

The Oregon coast is visually spectacular.

scubablue
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by scubablue » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:36 pm

Cannon Beach- We love the Ocean Lodge, right on the beach with beautiful views of Haystack Rock. It's especially beautiful on a stormy day.

Willamette Valley- Some of our favorite wineries are Willakenzie, Bergstrom, and Adelsheim. Some of the best wineries have tasting rooms but not at the vineyard (i.e., Eyrie, Evening Land). Our favorite restaurant there is the Dundee Bistro; Nick's was ok as was Tina's but not worth the hype (in our opinion).

Seattle- We love staying near Pike's Place Market, the Inn at the Market is about as close as you can get. Expensive, but great restaurants all within a short walk and super vibe! Don't miss taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island for the day.

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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by marnold1974 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:37 pm

Go to a Portland Timbers game!

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Watty
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by Watty » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:12 pm

We are just about ready to book our roundtrip tickets to Portland.
Check to see of you can drop the rental car off in Seattle and fly out of there. Also price your trip flying into Seattle and leaving from Portland if your dates are not firm. Or in and out of Seattle.

Portland has significant extra fees and taxes when you rent a car at the airport. You can save these by getting a one day rental at the airport then dropping it off the next day at a non-airport location and picking up a different rental at the same time at the non-airport location. You can usually drop it off at the airport for no additional charges but you would want to check on that. I have done that several times in Portland and saved enough to make it worthile when you are there for more than a week.

As someone else said, do get by Powells.

If you get into the Columbia Gorge consider hiking up Beacon Rock.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_R ... ngton.html

It is about 45 minute to an hour hike uphill but the trails are good and and have fantastic winding stairs with hand rails so it is not as hard as it might sound.

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wilpat
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by wilpat » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:22 pm

I must agree with those who mentioned the Columbia River gorge! Take the old highway and you will want to live there for the rest of your life!
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barnaclebob
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:34 pm

Don't waste your time on the mariners, the biggest excitement of the game is watching people flee around the 7th inning from the giant flock of seagulls (and their poop) that move in to clean up the seats.

Capitol hill is awesome, lots of good restaurants but it can get crowded around the bar area at night. The popular bar area has a lot of bums but I haven't ever felt unsafe there.

If the weather is good, its hard to beat the location and price of the 5 point happy hour right by the space needle. The food isn't great there but its pretty good.

Mac and Jacks offers brewery tours with free samples and you get to keep your pint glass, I hear the red hook tour is good also but haven't been on it. The fairly nearby Woodinville area has the winery tasting rooms but even better are the few distilleries that have recently opened there. Woodinville whiskey is awesome.

If you are decent hikers go hike to Cascade pass and if you are good hikers continue on up onto the Sahale arm and up to the camp there, way better than going to Paradise (which is still awesome) on mt Rainier and 1/100 of the people. This is a full day dawn to night trip.

Fremont and Ballard are also great places to visit and eat, for sure got to Paseo in Fremont, cash only.

If you can work a day of salmon fishing in you can catch some of the best fish you'll ever eat.

Randomize
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by Randomize » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:26 pm

Hey and welcome to the Northwest! I did my undergrad at Portland State and am a couple years younger than you so my perspective is more local youthy than touristy but if that's okay, be sure to stop by Montage for dinner. It's literally under a bridge and looks pretty sketchy from the outside but you'll be pleasantly surprised by how nice it is inside and the food is fantastic. A+ fantastic. My wife and I actually went there for our first date and she stuck with me so it must be good enough :) The food carts (there's a city of them on Powell in South East I believe) are the trendy thing these days and many are very, very good. If you're looking for something more on the beaten path, any of the McMenamins pubs around the area are good bets for food and beer (really awesome locations and experience) although the Deschutes Brewery has better beer, imo. Voodoo Donuts a local icon if you think you'd enjoy a bacon maple bar but if you spot a Rogue Brewery Bacon Maple Bar beer for sale, just walk away and put the curiosity out of your mind. OMSI is also worth stopping by if you have any interest in science. If you like video games, Ground Control is pretty darned awesome. There's also a Wunderland in the old Avalon Theatre.

Oh and +1 on the Columbia River Gorge. If the weather is decent, take the old highway up to Vista House and your mind will be blown.

I'm a little less familiar with Cannon Beach but they do have a Mo's and their clam chowder well known through the state. Have fun and good luck!

altadoc
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by altadoc » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:45 pm

been in portland for about 2 years. insane food and wine and drinks.

a great link for alternatives to the standard voodoo donuts, multnommah falls... (blue star donuts is outta this world if thats your thing)
http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/arts- ... s-jun-2013

as far as food: st jacks is one of my favorites in the city, french bistro, burger is not on the menu but is worth asking for. i go to this place for the bone marrow though! its insanely good.

clyde common: solid solid food but stunning drinks.

teote: crazy cheap, venezuelan food. huge portions.

lardo or bunk for sandwiches. salt and straw for ice cream. best bet quite honestly is to drive up and down SE division street. its the food mecca right now

best coffee: while stumptown is solid, i'd point you to heart coffee or ristretto roasters.

as far as wineries worth checking out: white rose, hands down! on dundee hills with a spectacular view. amazing pinots. soter vienyard is great. domaine serene is gorgeous but obscenely overpriced

http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/bars- ... tober-2013
http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/bars- ... tober-2012

se wine collective is cool place to visit in portland

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jeffyscott
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by jeffyscott » Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:48 pm

My wife and I have less interest in the urban attractions, but when we flew to Seattle (spending only first and last nights there) we liked Mt. Rainier NP, Mt. St Helens NM, Olympic NP.

On our itinerary for a future trip to Portland area are: Columbia river gorge, Oregon coast and possibly Mt. Hood, Mt Adams, Newberry Volacanic NM.
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TnGuy
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by TnGuy » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:20 pm

Absolutely, positively do not miss the chance to visit:

- Mt. St. Helens

- Mt. Rainier

Both parks are truly fantastic. And the contrast between one another is absolutely amazing!

And if you happen to make your way out to the Washington peninsula/coast, be sure to visit the Hoh Rain Forest.


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stratton
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by stratton » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:36 pm

Woodinville NE of Seattle on the NE corner of Lake Washington is wine tasting room central. The actual vines and other tasting rooms are in Eastern Washington. Go E on I-90 to Ellensburg (110 mi.) and then South to Yakima (+38 mi.) and head towards the Walla Walla area. Suggest you start in Woodinville where there is probably 20+ tasting rooms.

Ballard has 8 or 9 brewpubs in its old downtown area. The entire bunch is probably with five or six blocks of each other.

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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by Fletch » Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:51 pm

If you can make it to the Washington peninsula, drive up into Olympic NP, and, Sol Duc Falls is beautiful. http://www.olympicpeninsulawaterfalltra ... -duc-falls

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wilpat
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by wilpat » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:01 pm

Speaking of the weather in Seattle ( lived there many years ago) we always said that the summer 1965 was particularly nice because it came on a weekend!
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by travellight » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:09 pm

I enjoyed visiting Timberline lodge, Mt. Hood (about an hour from Portland) as well as the town of Hood River. The exterior shots of the hotel in the Shining are of Timberline loddge.

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Nestegg_User
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by Nestegg_User » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:22 pm

While not a "local" (yet), we've been there numerous times:

Suggestions: rather than Cannon Beach, there are a number of good B&B's just up the coast at Seaside... and much cheaper and you will be on the Boardwalk. You can also go a few miles south to Manzanita (great overlook). Also, when leaving that area ... go up the coast to Astoria....then on to Washington/Seattle.

For Wineries: go downtown on the square to get a map of Oregn wineries (they discontinued availability at other locales) it is a great info --
we used Newberg as our waystation... easy to get to all of the locations. And yes, we loved Bergstrom (great single vinyard Pinot...but pricy; although nothing like Domaine Droughn (sp)) there are plenty of Mom-and-pop wineries listed that you might want to check out. Also love the estate of Ponzi.

When crossing over the river from PDX to Vancouver... we love McMennamins on the River (take washington 14 east a couple of miles, locals can insure you get there) and try the "Ruby-inator" (we like ours extra -Ruby) ... then go futher east in washington on 14 until you get to the "215" interstate .. go south to Interstate 84 to the wateralls (Multnomah, etc) its easier than traversing the portland traffic (I-5 can be a mess sometimes). If you have the time, stay on interstate to Hood River, then go down to Mt Hood and return via 26. You won't regret it!

In Downtown, just east of Powells is the (i believe it is called) the 12 street pub.... 100's of beers --mostly local -- they don't call it "Beervanna" for nothing.


enjoy...

MindBogler
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by MindBogler » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:28 pm

You can't go to Portland without staying 1 night at McMenamins Edgefield IMO. They brew beer, ferment wine and distill spirits right there on site. And you can taste all of the above. Very interesting place with great food, drinks and a hotel on site for when you have to much of the previous two. It is on the I-84 near Troutdale and well worth the stay.

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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by Phatphoeater » Tue Mar 04, 2014 8:52 pm

I visited Seattle about 5 years ago and did my first ever walking food tour. This experience hooked us into doing similar tours whenever we visit any city. While not cheap, it lets you sample so many places and the guide was great with providing historical background on the city. We were there in August and the weather was perfect. It would be quite a bummer to be walking in the rain.

I couldn't remember the company we used and a google search turned up several companies. Here is the one we used http://www.savorseattletours.com/tours/gourmetseattle/

As for Portland, there is a Thai food stand in one of the pods http://www.yelp.com/biz/nongs-khao-man-gai-portland
Crazy good chicken. There is also a weekend farmer's market on the Portland State campus that has a food truck section. I remember having biscuits, gravy and fried chicken. We didn't do a food tour in Portland but would guess it would be great given the quality of food throughout the city.

supersharpie
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by supersharpie » Tue Mar 04, 2014 9:23 pm

.....
Last edited by supersharpie on Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

toblerone
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by toblerone » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:01 pm

I grew up in Portland and moved to Seattle 10 years ago. There is so much to see and do in both areas. Based on your OP:

1. I second the above advice and stay one night at the Edgefield in Troutdale, OR. The next day, take I-84 east to Multnomah falls, and drive around Mount Hood, visiting Timberline lodge if that suits you. Come back into Portland on Hwy 26 and it's a straight shot to the Hawthorne area.
1b. For your beach trip I also second the above advice and not stay in Cannon Beach. I would rather stay in Astoria because the nightlife is better, and it's a cool little city with plenty to see and do. Make day trips to Cannon Beach, Tillamook, and Cape Lookout State Park.
2. Multnomah Falls/Columbia Gorge drive, Cannon Beach, Astoria, walking and dining in Portland and Seattle, Pike Place market, Mt St Helens, Friday Harbor.
3. Either would be fine. It sounds like you would enjoy Capitol Hill more, it's quirkier than Ballard.
4. For wine tasting, Woodinville is the place to go. For beer and wine the Edgefield is great. For seeing the vines I have no idea.
5. My favorite place to eat in Portland is Le Bistro Montage, under the Morrison bridge. I go there every time I visit. Cajun food in a fun atmosphere.
Have fun!

Jfet
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by Jfet » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:11 pm

You might like Art of the Table in Seattle (sort of near Gasworks Park). Hands down the best food I have ever had in my life. Expensive though...I think we dropped $400 for three people with the chef's tasting menu and wine.

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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by StretchArmstrong » Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:36 pm

If you are staying in McMinnville you should check out the Evergreen Air and Space Museum, it is worth it just to see the Spruce Goose.

If you are in Astoria area go see Ft. Clatsop, the old Lewis and Clark exposition fort where they spent the winter after reaching the Pacific.

If you are interested in history go visit Ft. Stevens near Astoria. It is a WWII base built at the mouth of the Columbia to protect Portland (strategic ship building port) from a Japanese attack. The base was shelled by a Japanese submarine in 1942.

I love the Widmer Gasthouse in Portland. You can take the lightrail there and drink all you want.

Be sure to take the underground tour when you are in Seattle.

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GerryL
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by GerryL » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:51 am

livesoft wrote:Get on your bikes at the airport and ride up the Columbia River to Wind River and spend the night.
The next day, ride up and around Mt Hood and back to Wind River.

Hmmm. Don't you mean Hood River? Yeah, it's windy in the Gorge, but Wind River is a software company now owned by Intel.

That said, the Gorge is ... gorgeous.

At Powell's City of Books -- or at any place where there are tourist brochures -- be sure to pick up the Powell's walking map to Portland. It's free and a great way to find your way to interesting spots around downtown. Portland is a great walking town.

Great transportation in town. Light rail (aka Max) and bus. You won't need a car in town. If you don't have issues with zoos (some people do) Oregon Zoo is one of the best mid-sized zoos in the country (although there is a lot of construction underway right now). You can get there easily on light rail. And FYI, as of this year, you must now pay to park at the Zoo and at the Japanese Gardens.

As for the Coast, I prefer the Central Coast. Yachats and Cape Perpetua. It's like a mini version of Big Sur. I rarely go to the Coast in the summer months, however, because it is crowded. You'd probably be wise to book your hotel room before you drive out there.

dewey
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by dewey » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:06 am

Your plan looks great to me. Just on the food and wine side, a few personal favorites in Portland. Toro Bravo (tapas), Ava Jeans (Italian), Ox, Tasty & Sons (same owners as Toro Bravo but serving breakfast and lunch--and their own menu) are restaurants I'd suggest. Only Ava Jeans takes reservations unfortunately. For the Oregon Pinot Noir scene, if you're not all that dialed in to the better Pinots, a place downtown called Oregon Wines on Broadway specializes in Oregon Pinot. It's best when Kate the owner is there since she's the guru in-house. But it can make your wine country venture more rewarding.

For an evening of Portland fun, the summer zoo concerts are worth considering. I don't believe the concerts are posted yet for 2014.
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GerryL
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by GerryL » Wed Mar 05, 2014 1:33 am

dewey wrote: For an evening of Portland fun, the summer zoo concerts are worth considering. I don't believe the concerts are posted yet for 2014.
Word just out today: Tori Amos on July 18. Rest of schedule will be posted in mid-April (@ zooconcerts.com).

privateer79
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by privateer79 » Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:10 am

a few more ideas... (PDX local)

- along the coast take a hike out to cape lookout state park.... 2.5 miles out and back along a ridge that juts straight out into the pacific with amazing views, then afterwards reward yourself with ice cream at the tilamook creamery a few miles away.

- the Oregon coast is packed in the summer time so be sure to have reservations.... consider spending some time Cruising down highway 101 for a few hours to check out the various scenery (beaches, cliffs, dunes, lighthouses). Consider possibly staying a night further south (Lincoln city or Newport)

- consider checking out crater lake ( a bit out of the way to the south, but worth seeing)

-I second taking a day trip up the Columbia gorge stopping at Multnomah falls for a hike and then check in at full sail brewery in hood river.

-check out "Portland monthly" for restaurant suggestions... a lot of good ones already in this thread.

bschultheis
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by bschultheis » Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:54 am

I am reiterating what several have said, but my two cents. . .

Take ferry to Winslow, Bainbridge Island, for lunch or dinner. I have done this hundreds of times, and still love it. Definitely do this over a Mariners game, unless of course, they are in first place, and then Safe will be sold out and lots of fun.

On your way to the Ferry terminal, stroll through Pike Place Market and rub the pig's nose.

I would prefer to stay downtown over Capital Hill. Interesting neighborhood, but can get pretty rough at night (ditto, Portland). So much action in downtown and lots of fun.

As many have said, head out to Woodinville and the wineries. On top of the liquid stuff, it is an absolutely idyllic valley. And now very popular with distilleries.

After the wine tour, head to downtown Bellevue, and enjoy hydrotherapy and massage at Yuan Spa, the region's highest rated day spa, where you will "rediscover your source." (blatant promotion. :D) I know the owner, and can get you awesome discounts.

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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by LifeIsGood » Wed Mar 05, 2014 8:15 am

Our best wine tasting was at a tiny winery called Belle Pente Vineyards. It's a short drive from McMinnville. Tasting are by appointment only and email is the best way to contact them (wine@bellepente.com). We also enjoyed Trisaetum Vineyards which is also not too far from McMinnville. We got take out sandwiches at Harvest Fresh in McMinnville and ate them on the deck at Trisaetum. Enjoy.

denovo
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by denovo » Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:19 pm

JupiterJones wrote:
Seattle-wise, I enjoyed the Underground Tour.
I second the underground tour.
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strbrd
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by strbrd » Wed Mar 05, 2014 2:40 pm

bschultheis wrote: I would prefer to stay downtown over Capital Hill. Interesting neighborhood, but can get pretty rough at night (ditto, Portland). So much action in downtown and lots of fun.
I'll advise the opposite. If you're under 40, Capitol Hill over downtown any day. If you must stay downtown, stay in Belltown, which is just as "rough" as Capitol Hill, whatever that means. I feel safer walking around at night on Capitol Hill as compared to downtown proper, which can get scary deserted and/or unbearably fratty.
bschultheis wrote: As many have said, head out to Woodinville and the wineries. On top of the liquid stuff, it is an absolutely idyllic valley. And now very popular with distilleries.
If you like exercise, it is a ton of fun to rent bikes and ride them around the lake to Woodinville and the brewery and wineries there. The whole way is on flattish bike trails and beautiful when the weather is nice.

And Capitol Hill over Ballard for restaurants, walkability, proximity to Mariners game, and proximity to ferries (though not proximity to Woodinville/bike trails). Try: Cafe Presse (French), Sitka and Spruce (Northwest New American), Via Tribunali (Neo. pizza), Poppy (Northwest New American/vaguely Indian), Kingfish Cafe (Southern), Mamnoon (Lebanese), Kedai Makan (takeout Malaysian street food).

There are too many great things in Seattle for there to be "musts" but I like to take visitors to Pike Place Market (free), the Olympic Sculpture Park (free), small, characteristic Capitol Hill bars (Liberty, the Summit Ave Sun Liquor, Cafe Presse), kayaking or biking, and the previously mentioned ferry to Bainbridge. Enjoy!

Mingus
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by Mingus » Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:20 pm

I used to live in Ballard. If you stay there be sure to go to Ray's Boathouse. Great Restaurant right on the water in Shillshole right up the street from Ballard.

But I'd be inclined to stay in Capitol Hill instead of Ballard. Ballard is a great place to live, but capitol hill would be better to visit, (but not live..)

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Random Musings
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by Random Musings » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:26 pm

Three outdoorsie things to do.....

Olympic National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Dune buggy rides in Oregon.

RM
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JupiterJones
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by JupiterJones » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:37 pm

Holy crap... can't believe I forgot to recommend one of my all-time favorite bars:

http://www.yelp.com/biz/nitelite-lounge-seattle
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General Disarray
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by General Disarray » Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:57 pm

scubablue wrote:the Inn at the Market is about as close as you can get. Expensive, but great restaurants all within a short walk and super vibe! Don't miss taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island for the day.
Yup. Another vote for staying in the Pike Place Market area. There are many hotels there. Inn at the Market and Inn at Harbor Steps (sister hotels) are all in the area. For something more upscale, there is the Four Seasons. You'll have everything you'll need at Pike's Place: some of the best food and wine in the world (certainly the best seafood), one of the best open markets, lots of good coffee, good people watching, and more. You wouldn't even need to rent a car. Just take the light rail from SEATAC to downtown Seattle and you'll be able to walk to your hotel and to all your other destinations.

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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by upperleftcoast » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:04 pm

Lots of good advice. My quick thoughts:
Some of the mentioned attractions require long drives (all day, there and back); I doubt you'll want to spend your vacation in your car, and not much sense visiting St Helens or Rainier if the weather isn't good. If you do make it out to WA's Olympic Pennisula - and the weather is perfect - the drive up Hurricane Ridge is well worth it.
lived in Seattle for 20+ years, never been on Underground Tour. I've heard mixed reviews.
3 mile loop around Greenlake is flat, easy. Can't get lost!
Cannon Beach is lovely; upscale, pricey, shops w/in walking distance. The entire OR coast is great but, again, tons of driving. You'd be fine just staying at CB.
Safeco Field is great if you are a baseball fan. I'd say worth it.
Ballard and Capitol Hill are cool. The latter is pretty...funky. I prefer the former. Fremont would be good too.
There are way too many pubs / breweries to recommend. Elysian (3 locations)is v. good, Sixgill in Fremont, Noble Fir in Ballard have super tap lists. West Seattle has Beer Juction and Beveridge Place Pub; both excellent.
Never been on a brewery tour, but Hale's in Ballard probably has one.
Good luck choosing where to go! And safe travels to you.

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JupiterJones
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by JupiterJones » Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:01 pm

scubablue wrote:Cannon Beach- We love the Ocean Lodge, right on the beach with beautiful views of Haystack Rock. It's especially beautiful on a stormy day.
Just wanted to say that we recently went on a NW Oregon trip. I remembered this thread (although I wasn't the OP) and ScubaBlue's recommendation of the Ocean Lodge. Good tip! We stayed there one night and loved it! Could've stayed longer... maybe we'll go back?

Had dinner that night up the road at the Irish Table, which was mighty good.
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denovo
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by denovo » Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:07 pm

It wasn't clear in your post, but I would keep a car in Portland. Their public transportation isn't as good as the locals think it is (ducking for cover now) and you'll still have plenty of time to walk. Parking isn't that expensive either, free in a lot of places if you look around, and you'll need a car to get to places like Multnomah Falls anyways.
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Re: Planning first trip to Oregon and Seattle - advice sough

Post by gkaplan » Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:08 pm

denovo wrote:It wasn't clear in your post, but I would keep a car in Portland. Their public transportation isn't as good as the locals think it is (ducking for cover now) and you'll still have plenty of time to walk. Parking isn't that expensive either, free in a lot of places if you look around, and you'll need a car to get to places like Multnomah Falls anyways.
I don't have a car, and I get along just fine.
Gordon

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