By Sam Boykin
If you’re like most of us, you’ve likely compiled your list of places to visit when travel restrictions are lifted. You’ll want to add Portland, Oregon.
There’s lots to love about this vibrant city. With its compact design and half-size (200 feet) city blocks, the downtown area is best explored on foot. Portland is known as one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the country. Its elm-lined streets and expansive sidewalks boast an eclectic lineup of retailers, restaurants and vibrant gathering places.
Here are 5 reasons to add Portland, Oregon to your “must go” list when the world opens up again:
Start your exploration of this rapidly changing city at the Portland Art Museum. One of the cornerstones of the cultural district, the museum, founded in 1892, spans 2-1/2 blocks and boasts some 42,000 objects of ancient and contemporary art.
About a 10-minute walk from the museum is the legendary Powell’s City of Books, which bills itself as the world’s largest used and new bookstore. Here you’ll find approximately one million books, including a selection of out-of-print and hard-to-find titles. The bookstore also hosts readings and discussions with noted authors.
Portland’s innovative culinary scene is impressive. The iconic RingSide Steakhouse has been a local favorite since 1944, serving dry-aged, hand-carved steaks, along with chops, chicken and seafood in an upscale, classic atmosphere. For a more casual setting, Bistro Agnes specializes in French-inspired dishes, such as coq au vin, cassoulet and mussels mariniere. The expansive and inviting bar offers a mix of traditional favorites like cognac and Armagnac, along with absinthe and a range of global spirits and wines.
4. Outdoor Diversions
In addition to its vibrant, walkable downtown, Portland is also noted for its natural beauty and outdoor lifestyle. Take advantage of both qualities with a paddle down the Willamete River, during which you can take in the city skyline and get an up-close look at scenic Ross Island, where you’re likely to spot blue heron, osprey and perhaps even a bald eagle.
5. AAA Four Diamond Stays
Portland boasts a bevy of top-notch hotels to choose from, including great selection of AAA Four Diamond accommodations.
Located downtown, Dossier is an ideal home base for exploring the city. All the rooms and suites include locally-sourced art and amenities to ensure an authentic Portland experience. Enjoy their nightly social hour featuring kombucha and beer from local brewer, Ferment.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland
Another downtown gem, this boutique hotel is housed in the former Lipman Wolfe Department Store, which opened in 1912. Impressive design elements like the lobby’s high ceilings and expansive picture windows, as well as the eclectic style of each room add to its charm.
Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel
This upscale, lodge-inspired property is a luxurious retreat that provides guests easy access to nature and urban diversions. Choose from deluxe suites and cottages, some with stunning marina views.
Portland’s White House
Built in 1911, this luxury bed and breakfast is situated in the city’s historic Irvington District. It was constructed for Robert Lytle, a wealthy lumber baron, and his family. The home was thoughtfully renovated by Frank Groff and David Krause, whose work has been featured on HGTV, as well as varied magazines and newspapers.
This luxury hotel in downtown Portland is named after the statues that adorn the hotel’s roofline. Pillow menus, their signature Well+Fit program and pet-friendly perks are just a few of many amenities guests can expect.
The Benson Hotel, a Coast Hotel
Established in 1913, the Benson has played host to countless notable guests that include presidents Bill Clinton, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. The Benson’s two elegant ballrooms are popular venues for weddings and other special events.
The Heathman Hotel
Another historic gem, the Heathman opened in 1927 and continues to be one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks. The hotel is also a member of Historic Hotels Worldwide. The hotel’s artsy vibe blends seamlessly with its rich history.
The Nines, A Luxury Collection Hotel
The original 15-story building was constructed in 1909 as the flagship store and headquarters for retail giant Meier & Frank. Fantastic rooftop views, an exceptional display of local art and sumptuous on-site dining options are just a few reasons to book a stay at this unique hotel.
The Porter Portland, Curio Collection by Hilton
Overlooking Portland’s Fountain District, this 16-story hotel boasts one of the city’s best rooftop bars. You’ll also discover an extensively furnished fitness center, well-appointed rooms designed with a mix of modern and rustic elegance and varied on-site dining options.
Call your local AAA Travel Agent at 800-374-2865 or visit AAA.com/GoTravel to plan your Portland, Oregon, vacation!
(photo credits: The Porter, Kimpton, Provenance Hotels)