Portland may be the city of weird. But it’s also an epicenter for craft beer, coffeehouses, theater, arts, and music. Plus, it’s home to one of the best culinary scenes in America – restaurants and food carts running the gamut from Guamanian to Indian cuisine.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
The Columbia River marks the Oregon-Washington state border, and its entire length is a remarkable sightseeing region ideal for leisurely drives and enjoying the outdoors. A day trip destination from Portland, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area covers an immense 292,500 acres along the Pacific Northwest’s largest river. The trip takes in locks, viewpoints, and hiking trails. Many visitors like to stop and photograph the waterfalls that edge the route.
This former home to the Pittock family is now a museum that celebrates the family, architecture, design, culture and Portland’s history. Here’s the problem with Pittock: It is very annoying to get to without a car. You either need to take a bus and then walk half-mile uphill or you can hope in a rideshare or taxi. Otherwise, it’s fine. A fine way to spend a rainy afternoon. But it’s also $11 to walk around a house for probably an hour at most, which is a little steep.
The Oregon Zoo, then known as the Portland Zoo, made global headlines in 1962 with the birth of Packy, the first elephant born in captivity in 44 years. Today the zoo is the pre-eminent breeding center for captive elephants in the world. The zoo was founded in 1888, making it the oldest zoo west of the Mississippi. The zoo may have started with only two bears, but today it has more than 1,800 animals belonging to 232 species, including several, like the condor, that are endangered.
Powell’s city of books
This downtown Portland landmark covers an entire city block. Powell’s City of Books is the largest new-and-used bookstore in the US. Powell’s provides customers with maps so that they can avoid getting lost amongst the nooks and crannies. Bibliophiles will relish spending a few hours browsing through the 122 major categories of books. The Coffee & Tea Room provides refreshment so that you may renew your energy and continue perusing Powell’s color-coded rooms.
Why the name??
The nickname Rip City is usually used in the context of the city’s NBA team, the Portland Trail Blazers. The term was coined by the team’s play-by-play announcer Bill Schonely during a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 18, 1971, the Blazers’ first season. In the days prior to the three-point field goal, Blazers guard Jim Barnett took an ill-advised long distance shot that none the less went in, giving the new team hope for a victory against the powerful Lakers. Excited, Schonely exclaimed “Rip City! All right!” Schonely admits that he has no idea how he came up with the expression, but it became synonymous with the team and the city of Portland.