DO’S AND DON’TS IN PORTLAND
(Editor’s note: unconventional apostrophe placement is for
clarity.  Let it be.)

This is what I learned from our weekend excursion:

DO take the train. 
Although Amtrak is no more likely to depart or arrive on time than your
average airplane, it is comfortable and pleasant.  On the southbound trip we rode on a double
decker train with tons of leg room, a dining car, and a kiddie play room.  Plus we got to stop in scenic Chehalis,
Kelso, and Vancouver, WA!

DO stay in a hotel with a swimming pool if you have
children.
 

 Conversation when we arrived
home:
Little Bit: Mommy, I wish we lived in that hotel, so we
could swim in the pool everyday.

Jodi: I wish we lived there too, so the maid would clean the
place every day.

DON’T visit Chinatown.  Although the tourist guides describe the area
as “refurbished” and possessing “splendor,” a brief walk through it proved it
would more aptly be named “Junkietown with faux Chinese script on boarded up
businesses.”  In spite of the promise of the enormous
gate pictured here, once past it I had to repeatedly move my five-year-old from
side to side so that I was always standing between her and whichever
junkie/wino we were passing.

Note that the first thing you see inside the gate is the Adult Bookstore.  Not a good sign.

DON’T eat at the pretentious, over-priced restaurant with
the easily forgettable name on the 30th floor of the giant pink
building.

DO take the MAX light rail train to Washington
Park, which contains the zoo and
the children’s museum.  The rail system
works well, except that we couldn’t figure out what to do with our fare tickets
after we bought them at the kiosk.  Note
to Rockinbear05: the zoo has polar bears! 
Don’t worry, Tigger took pictures. 
Bonus: reciprocal membership arrangements meant we didn’t have to pay
admission at either place.

DO visit Powell’s City of Books.  This excursion especially thrilled Tigger,
because Powell’s was mentioned in a novel she read recently, and she couldn’t
believe the place was real.  Also, it’s
so big they hand out maps so you can find your way around, and how cool is
that?

DO hug your children and thank them for being such
delightful traveling companions.  To Portland
and everyplace else.  

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21 thoughts on “

  1. Powell’s is to die for!  I’ve done two memorable train trips. When I was 8, my family rode from Vancouver to Montreal on a train. I’m sure it was easier than driving the same distance with 4 kids. Fast forward 25 years and we took my stepson from Oakland down to Anaheim when he was about 8, to visit Disneyland. Oy, what a disaster. The train was 2 hours late to begin so that after 4 hours from home we managed to make it to San Jose, approximately a 45 minute drive. ;(  That meant we missed the connection to Anaheim so they put us on a bus. Other than that it was nice though.

  2. What sort of irony is it that has you coming down to Portland the same weekend I went up to Seattle? 
    I take it you didn’t make it as far as the Chinese Classical Garden?  It’s beautiful, but otherwise Chinatown is a run-down construction zone. 

  3. I always heard that Portland OR was an especially nice city, so it stands to reason they would have polar bears.  I’m glad the girls got to ride on a train before they disappear completely…the trains, not the girls!

  4. I want to live in that hotel, too!  And, I cannot even begin to imagine how much money I could and would spend in a City of Books.  I can’t get out of Barnes & Noble without spending $100.00 or more!

  5. You are truly and inspiration to those of us who look back on all the really horrendous and stupid mistakes  we made as parents! (guess I didn’t do too bad though… my son seems to have turned out ok and he still says he loves and admires me).  It’s wonderful to see someone do great things with their kids, and allow them the freedom and space to express themselves. It sounds like you really listen to your kids. That will really pay off when they’re teenagers, believe me!

  6. Do…. ask Mydogischelse if Chinatown is a good place to bring young children. I could have told you it wasn’t! Also, you don’t actually do anything with your MAX ticket unless a Trimet employee asks to see it… which rarely happens. They go on the “if you don’t have a ticket stub when we ask for it, you’ll get a massive fine” honor policy here in P-town.

  7. Welcome home…glad you had a good time.   Note:  This bear appreciates a good home for polar bears too.   We’ll probably see the local ones when you’re here too.

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