I will have two days in Portland on my own before tour and trying to plan an itinerary. What are the tops 3 must sees in Portland? I’m interested in history, nature, and food. I know about: Powell books, the Chinese, Japanese, and rose gardens. I’m thinking of renting a car for the day and visiting Mount St. Helens . How’s the drive? Also any suggestions for best neighborhood to stay in? Thanks for any input.

  • I cut and pasted this from my "nice to do list" when I went to Portland, so more than top 3. I would say the Historical Society Museum, Pioneer Square (if something going on) and Saturday Market are best bets. Also check frommers.com for some ideas. I have found great places on that site. I also looked to venture out of town for my early arrival but there is so much downtown no need.

    high tea www.heathmanrestaurantandbar.com/.../HEAT-afternoontea.pdf (Hotel from Shades of Grey)
    Mother's Bistro has awesome breakfast, get there early it get VERY busy. Great coffee.
    on/off trolley 10am – 5:20pm - I never used as downtown Portland easily walkable. Be prepared for a lot of homeless
    people. They tend not to bother you, but be aware.
    Voodoo Donuts
    Pépé le Moko - amazing and fun bar. Meet friends who live in Portland and had never been. On way to Powell Books.
    Google the name an interesting literary character and the bar reflects that. It does not look proper from the street but
    that is part of the ambiance.
    Pioneer Square - see if special event going on. I saw Native American festival, very impressive
    Food Cart Pod SW 10th Ave & Alder - lots of fun cheap eats
    Historical Society – A DO NOT MISS what a wonderful museum
    Portland Stag Sign, 70 NW Couch St Old Town/Chinatown
    Portland Theatre Sign, 1037 SW Broadway Ave. (at Main St.)
    Portland Saturday Market 10-5, 2 SW Naito Parkway - OMG what a fun walkabout. Along the waterway.
    Benson Bubbler Southwest Fifth Avenue and Washington Street
  • In reply to CT_PBW:

    Buy a ticket for the Light Rail and ride it to see fantastic things.
    Take the Street Car from downtown to the Nob Hill area
    Get off on NW 23rd.
    Walk south to find Alotto Gelato (fantastic) or Salt and Straw (home made Ice Cream to die for). Continue further south to McMenamins Rams Head
    2282 NW Hoyt St, Portland, OR 97210
    (503) 221-0098
    Open now: 11AM–12AM
    Menu mcmenamins.com
  • In reply to wisjohn56021853:

    Thanks for the ideas!
  • In reply to CT_PBW:

    Thank you so much for the suggestions!
  • The thing about Mount St Helens is that you will only want to go if you know the sky is going to be clear. (I, personally, would not bother if we have not been experiencing clear weather for several consecutive days.) It would be pretty much a full-day trip. Parts are pretty, but much would probably be along I-5, not an attraction.

    Regarding our transit system: If you are 65+ (known as Honored Citizen) an all-day ticket is just $2.50.
    If you like visiting zoos, the Oregon Zoo is worth the short MAX (light-rail) ride from downtown.
  • In reply to CT_PBW:

    I went to Portland for the first time with RS and had an amazing time. I loved the city so much that I can't wait to go back. Thanks for your list of suggestions!
  • In reply to wisjohn56021853:

    Thanks for the ideas. I’m actually staying in Nob Hill and I’m looking forward to checking out the Salt and Straw.
  • If you like walking/hiking look into the 4T trail which gives you the opportunity to use several types of transportation, for little cost and see a lot of the Portland area. The 4Ts are tram, train, trail and trolley. The trail is energetic but takes you through heavy forests to the top of the hill overlooking downtown Portland to the east and the burbs to the west. The tram takes you down to the riverfront from OHSU (hospital), trolley takes you into downtown area and past some of the food pods (yum) and the train goes from downtown out to the zoo. Just out of town there are lots of wineries to visit and beautiful countryside off the main roads.
  • In reply to ceczander8051256:

    this sound like a good idea for me.Since I will be in Portland a short time before my plane leaves.Do you have to change trams to see everything?
  • In reply to FLORENCESONNTAG35042926:

    The tram is at the airport and will take you downtown. To the Zoo and on to Hillsboro and back to the airport
  • In reply to FLORENCESONNTAG35042926:

    The tram goes all the way to the zoo without transferring IF you take the train that says Hillsboro on it. The other train says "downtown". It would probably take about 45 minutes. At the zoo you can access the walking part of the tour. It goes through old growth type forest, is a bit strenuous (for a 65 yo lady), can get slippery if it has been raining recently. The walking part takes you to the OHSU tram which goes down to the Willamette River. Immediately on exiting the tram you can get on a trolley that take syou into the downtown area. We stopped at the food truck pod area and had lunch. A couple of blocks further takes you to the shopping district and the train that will return you to the zoo. It took my group of friends and me about 4-5 hours at a quite leisurely pace. So I would count on at least 6-7 hours (more would be safer) to do this from the airport. Happy hiking.