Sunday, February 1, 2015

Smell the Roses

Our sister city to the south is pretty nice, sometimes


The friendly rivalry between Seattle and Portland will never, ever end.

Which makes it fun to step behind enemy lines and reap a few of the unique pleasures the Rose City has to offer. Here's a quick guide to spending a weekend south of the border.

Sure, you could brave I-5 for three hours (if you're lucky), but why not skip the traffic and fly? Alaska Airlines has 45-minute flights for around $200, and there are ways to get seats even cheaper - Expedia had them as low as $166 last we checked. Factor in gas, parking, and other expenses and you might end up saving money on the deal.

This town has no shortage of boutique hotels, but the blend of high-end service and eco-friendly design (it's LEED-certified) at The Nines makes it the best place to crash. The downtown location — walking distance from four light rail lines — is the icing on the cake.
Rooms starting at  $260. 525 SW Morrison St., Portland (877-229-9995)

Portland is the Mecca of food truck culture, with more than 500 roving eateries arranged in "pods" around the city. The biggest is the 10th and Alder pod, which occupies a whole block downtown (and even spills over to adjacent streets). The hot pick is Nong's Khao Man Gai, which serves one incredible dish: Thai-style Hainanese chicken and rice. That doesn't move your needle? You've got 50 other choices. Literally.
SW 10th Ave and Alder St., Portland

The city is home to one of the best bookstores in the United States, bar none. Powell's Books is a must-visit for any even remotely literate person, with over a million new and used books occupying an entire city block. Step inside and say goodbye to a whole day. Oh, and did we mention Oregon has no sales tax...
1005 W Burnside St., Portland (503-228-4651)

Set the book down and pick up an oar, because some of the best whitewater rafting on the West Coast is within an hour's drive, from the scenic Sandy River to the more challenging Clackamas. Or just rent a kayak from the Portland Kayak Company and paddle right through the middle of the city on the Willamette River.
6600 SW Macadam Ave, Portland (503-459-4050)

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