Loading...

Follow Travel Portland on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

To truly get to know Portland, it’s good to start with its historical roots. These beloved, longstanding local institutions and attractions allow you to explore the Rose City’s history without busting your budget.

Getting around on a budget

For each of our budget itineraries, we recommend getting an all-day TriMet pass ($5) good for the city’s public light rail, streetcar and bus.

A history buff’s cheap guide to PortlandBreakfast in Old TownEstimated cost: $7–10

Start your morning with diner classics like cheesy Denver omelets and decadent chicken-fried steak and eggs at John’s Café ($7–10, cash only). This retro, family-run breakfast joint in Portland’s oldest neighborhood is perfect for early birds. John and Kristina Kapsopoulos have served customers in their cozy establishment since 1973 and eagerly share stories of yesteryear.

Step back in time downtownEstimated cost: $5

Next, head to the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center ($5) for an exploration of Oregon’s history of Nikkei, or people of Japanese descent living in the United States. Located in the heart of where Nihonmachi (Japantown) once stood, the center features a permanent exhibit that retraces the history of Japanese immigration and internment, while rotating exhibits have explore topics such as multi-generational storytelling, printmaking and photography. Walk around historic Old Town Chinatown with the aid of the free “Japantown PDX” app.

Take a quick stroll through the South Park Blocks (free), a Dutch elm-lined corridor developed in the late 19th century. Two blocks south of the Oregon Historical Society (free to Multnomah County residents, with ID), you’ll find Director Park (free), a modern spin on the park blocks. This former parking lot turned European-style plaza features a seasonal wading fountain, family games and cultural events in the summer.

A couple of blocks west, you’ll arrive at the Multnomah County Central Library (free). Built in 1913, it’s the oldest library on the West Coast! Peruse the library’s expansive collection, gorgeous Georgian architecture and works by local zinesters. Between April and October, you may even be able to snag a spot on the library’s free eco-roof tour. General library tours are offered a couple of times a month, all year.

Lunch in Northeast PortlandEstimated cost: $5–10

After all the knowledge-building works up your appetite, take TriMet bus line #6 to Northeast Portland’s Alberta Street for lunch. Budget-friendly choices include hefty, vegan burritos from family-owned El Nutri Taco ($610) or La Bonita ($59). Or opt for a gooey sandwich from Grilled Cheese Grill ($58) or wings and jojos from popular corner store Alberta Street Market ($6).

Alberta Street Black Heritage walkEstimated cost: Free

After lunch, head to Northeast Alberta Street for an educational self-guided walking tour of the area’s rich Black history. Debuted in 2019, the Alberta Street Black Heritage Markers are a series of five markers commemorating the accomplishments and experiences of African American residents from the Alberta neighborhood. The markers stretch along Northeast Alberta Street from 11th to 24th avenues.

Drink (and dine) at schoolEstimated cost: $10–12

End with dinner, drinks and educational entertainment at McMenamins Kennedy School. This quirky hotel and entertainment complex inhabits the refurbished site of a once-abandoned elementary school, originally constructed in 1915.

Happy hour offerings at the former school’s five bars and restaurants include $5 pints of brewed-on-site beer and pub fare like Cajun tater tots and cheeseburger sliders ($4.257). The Kennedy School hosts trivia twice a month and regular free history-themed events in the on-site movie theater, and offers a ceramic saltwater soaking pool ($5 per person, per hour) that’s open to non-hotel guests daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (don’t forget your swimsuit and towel!).

The post Cheap things to do in Portland for history buffs appeared first on Travel Portland.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Travel Portland by Molly Woodstock - 1M ago

Every Sunday in Bogotá, Colombia, the city briefly transforms. Miles of roads are free of automobile traffic, allowing residents to bike, walk or roller-skate across the city unimpeded. Inspired by Bogotá’s weekly event, Portland’s Sunday Parkways began in 2008, closing streets to cars and opening them to people. Sunday Parkways is an annual event series that’s offered on one Sunday a month from May–September. Perfect for riders of all skill levels, these community rides let cyclists take their time and roll through the neighborhoods that make up the heart of the city.

Bike-friendly Portland

Pedaling through Portland on two wheels is a summertime must. With almost 400 miles (650 km) of bikeways woven throughout the city, Portland is consistently listed as one of the most bike-friendly cities in America. Portland’s bikeways are made up of bike paths, designated bike lanes and neighborhood greenways where bicycles and pedestrians are given priority over cars. In just a few minutes, cyclists can go from riding beneath a canopy of trees in Ladd’s Addition to biking along the Eastbank Esplanade and watching the sun set over the Willamette River. If you don’t have your own wheels, Portland’s many bike rental services and Biketown bike-share program have you covered.

Sunday Parkway routes

Sunday Parkways are set routes throughout the city, opening up streets to people-powered wheels (including skateboards and bikes) and getting pedestrians out for a good stroll. They offer a refreshing momentary imagining of what a city could look like if it prioritized people over personal vehicles.

In 2019, five Sunday Parkways are scheduled from May–September:

Children ride through a mister at a Sunday Parkways event. Photo by Michael Andersen.

Green Loop Sunday Parkways (Aug. 25)

Every route has its own worthy points of interest, but the Green Loop may be the most accessible for visitors. Based on an ongoing city project to create a 6-mile (9.7 km) multiuse path connecting the central city, the Green Loop is the only Sunday Parkways route to cross the Willamette River. Cyclists will travel over the Broadway Bridge and Tilikum Crossing, a car-free bridge carrying light-rail trains, streetcars, bicycles and pedestrians. (It’s the only bridge of its kind in the nation!). The Green Loop event also includes walking tours of the central city.

North Portland Sunday Parkways (June 30)

The North Portland loop also boasts an extra-special feature. For the second year, a section of the street near Harper’s Playground — Portland’s pioneering playground for kids of all abilities — will be taken over by Every One Rides, an organization enabling free access to adaptive bikes and other assisted devices. Participants will be able to test out adaptive bikes and devices in a space free of other riders.

What to expect at Sunday Parkways

Each Sunday Parkways route is closed off to cars and other motorized vehicles from 11 a.m.–4 p.m., allowing cyclists full access to the city streets. Dozens of volunteers are stationed along the route, directing traffic at busy street crossings and providing additional safety measures (and encouragement) for young and less experienced riders.

Each ride passes through a number of “activated” city parks filled with local food vendors, bike repair stations, community booths, kids’ activities and much more. Visitors can also expect live entertainment, including music, DJ sets, circus performances, Shakespearian plays and Zumba. Unofficial concerts, snacks and yard sales also tend to appear outside the residences along the route — be sure to bring quarters for the many adorable lemonade stands that inevitably pop up!

Sunday Parkways features a wide array of kid-friendly activities. Photo courtesy of PBOT.

Sunday Parkways is a reminder of how city infrastructure can help make neighborhoods more bicycle- and people-friendly. Wandering through Portland by bike on a lazy Sunday is an ideal way to get to know the city and the people who live in it. Learn more on the Sunday Parkways 2019 website.

The post Portland Sunday Parkways appeared first on Travel Portland.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Travel Portland by Molly Woodstock - 1M ago

Summer is the perfect time for scenic activities like picnics, hikes, beach trips and maybe even hot-air balloon rides. In Oregon, you don’t have to travel far to see an impressive, picture-perfect display of your own. The Festival of Balloons in Tigard (a suburb 30 minutes southwest of downtown Portland by car) brings more than a dozen brightly colored, colossal hot-air balloons to the sky every June.

“There’s a huge adrenaline rush every time you inflate a balloon and every time you fly,” says Katie Griggs, a hot-air balloon pilot who’s participating in the 35th annual Festival of Balloons this June. (She’ll be the one flying a 75-foot [23 m] yellow goldfish.) “It’s the greatest feeling.”

Want a taste of that exhilaration? The Festival of Balloons is taking to the air June 21–23, 2019.

What to expect at the Festival of Balloons

If you’re eager to see these hot-air balloons in flight, you’ll need to get up early. And we mean early: Balloons launch between 5:45–6:15 a.m., thanks to the laws of thermodynamics. (The sun heats up the earth during the day, creating thermal drafts, which make flight conditions unsafe for balloons.) After floating southward, the balloons are driven back to the festival’s location at Cook Park in time for the evening festivities.

Hot-air balloons range from brightly colored beauties to goofy creatures. Photo by Randy Kashka via Flickr.

Although the festival doesn’t offer balloon rides, you can go up a few stories in a tethered balloon. From 6:30–7:30 a.m. (or until the fuel runs out), attendees can rise 20–30 feet (6–9 m) in the air. These “tethered rides” offer some of the adrenaline rush of flying with nothing more than hot air— while staying safely roped to the ground.

Tethered rides are free, but offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so hurry across the field after launch to secure a spot in line. (Pro tip: Kids usually rush for the hot-air balloons in fun shapes, so lines for classic balloons are typically shorter.)

Not an early riser? The Night Glow showcases these humongous hot-air balloons each evening of the festival at dusk. As pilots burn propane to fill the balloons, the flames light up the night. Festival program director Kristin Romelhardt suggests laying out a blanket and relaxing in the glow.

More than hot-air balloons

If you sleep through your alarm, there’s still plenty to see and do at the Festival of Balloons. Beginning at 10 a.m. each day, a fair-like vibe awaits, complete with carnival rides. If giant slides and upside-down rides aren’t your thing, the Rogue Ales Beer Garden serves award-winning brews beginning at 5 p.m.

Balloon festivities run from the early morning through the evening. Photo by Randy Kashka via Flickr.

Festivalgoers can also groove to live music throughout the day or set out a picnic blanket and simply hang out. (Visitors are welcome to bring in their own picnic items of food and non-alcoholic beverages). An obstacle-course-like play area for kids can keep little ones busy in between balloon events.

Visiting the Festival of Balloons

The Festival of Balloons takes flight June 21–23, 2019. A $5 advance ticket ($8 at the gate; kids under 6 years old enter free) gets you into the festival all weekend long. Parking at Tigard High School is $8; you can walk to the festival from there or pay $1 per person for a shuttle.

Know before you go

Bear in mind that hot-air balloons are finicky, so the festival’s schedule depends on the weather (simply the threat of rain can ground balloons). Keep an eye on Tigard’s weather forecast and monitor the festival’s website for the latest updates.

The post Festival of Balloons appeared first on Travel Portland.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Bring your walking shoes, water bottle and day-pack for an urban adventure that highlights several things locals love about Portland. This itinerary of cheap things to do in Portland is designed to help you make the most of a weekend day in the city.

Getting around on a budget

For each of our budget itineraries, we recommend getting an all-day TriMet pass ($5) good for the city’s public light rail, streetcar and bus.

Cheap weekend activities in PortlandA morning at the market (and lunch for later)Estimated cost: $8–20

Portland offers lively farmers’ markets throughout the city, but the granddaddy of them all is the Saturday-morning edition at Portland State University in downtown Portland.

The PSU Farmers Market runs year-round on Saturdays (8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. April–October; 9 a.m.–2 p.m. November–March). In operation since 1996, this vibrant market boasts fresh produce, food carts and flowers galore. There’s also live music every week and chef demonstrations from June–October. Visit more than 100 vendor stalls, and keep an eye out for free samples of fruit, cheese, baked goods and more. Grab breakfast at one of the food carts ($4–10) and stock up for a healthy lunch for later ($4–10).

A walk in the parkEstimated cost: $3

Next, hop on the speedy MAX Light Rail Red or Blue line toward attraction-filled Washington Park. Use the free Washington Park shuttle to reach the Hoyt Arboretum Visitor Center (located within the park) by noon for a stunning 90-minute tour ($3 donation requested). Portland’s 190-acre (77 ha) museum of living trees is home to more than 6,000 specimens, including vulnerable and endangered types. Aromatic magnolias and dogwoods abound in spring, wildflowers thrive in summer and warm autumnal colors paint the sky in fall. (Free.)

After the tour, keep exploring the arboretum’s 12 miles [19 km] of trails, or make the 30-minute trek to Forest Park for an equally awe-inspiring change of setting within city bounds. Take plenty of breaks and enjoy a scenic lunch in nature.

Dinner & down-home tunesEstimated cost: $8–12

Return downtown using bus 63 or MAX, then make your way to Portland’s east side via bus 19.

Enjoy a leisurely dinner at Northeast Portland institution Laurelthirst Public House after a day exploring the town. Choose from standard pub fare like BLTs and mac ‘n’ cheese (for vegans and vegetarians, they also make a mean kale salad and vegan burger [$8–12]). Every meal comes with a free side of live music — typically of the down-home bluegrass, Americana and folk varieties.

The post Cheap things to do in Portland for weekend adventurers appeared first on Travel Portland.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Travel Portland by Molly Woodstock - 2M ago

Going to an arcade is a fascinating, multi-sensory experience that has never been just for kids, and arcades in Portland offer visitors plenty of opportunities to dive into a good game. Read on for our picks, from family-friendly arcades to dive bars and adults-only bar arcades.

Family-friendly arcades in PortlandQuarterworld

This historic theater-turned-arcade is home to nearly 100 video arcade and pinball games in two rooms: the Q Lab and Q Lounge. Games typically range from $0.50 to $1 per play and include selections such as big- and small-screen Pac-Man, Time Crisis and skee-ball. Catch live musical Tesla Coil shows at Quarterworld every Sunday and Tuesday at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Don’t miss the pun-filled food menu of kid-friendly “bytes” and “ate-bit” burgers (adults can also share vodka-spiked “Mario Party Bowls”). Admission is $3 after 6 p.m. and $1 during “happy hour” (noon–6 p.m.). All ages until 8 p.m.

Avalon Theatre & Wunderland

Have hours of fun at very affordable prices at Wunderland, a family-owned local chain of arcades and theatres around Portland. Second-run shows fill the three screens at Oregon’s oldest operating theater, the art deco Avalon Theatre on Southeast Belmont Street. The Avalon has housed a nickel arcade since 1925, and still offers a vast array of arcade games (plus air hockey and other favorites) for five cents per play. To pair arcade fun with a few rousing rounds of laser tag, head to the suburban Wunderland locations in Gresham and Beaverton. There are more than 100 arcade games in each location, with plenty of opportunities for ticket collection. All ages.

A group of friends enjoy an air hockey match at Avalon Theatre & Wunderland. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

Punch Bowl Social Club

This sprawling establishment occupies the entire third floor of downtown Portland’s Pioneer Place mall and boasts a catalogue of entertainment options. Explore an arcade dedicated to golden-era video games and pinball, table-top games and giant-sized versions of Jenga and Scrabble. Find more entertainment in the private karaoke rooms and 10-pin bowling lanes. Punch Bowl offers plenty of food and drink options as well, with a kids’ menu filled with cafeteria classics like sloppy joes and grilled cheese sandwiches. Minors allowed until 10 p.m.

High Score Arcade

For those seeking a proudly dark, no-frills arcade illuminated by the glow of games and shiny cups full of quarters, Southeast Portland’s High Score Arcade is the place to be. Play a rotating selection of vintage pinball machines while tossing back cans of soda pop (or beers for patrons 21 and older). Started by the proprietors of nearby Robo Taco, High Score’s menu includes house-made frozen burritos. Minors allowed until 10 p.m.; children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Portland bar arcadesGround Kontrol

Portland’s best known bar arcade is inarguably Ground Kontrol, a monstrous, two-level gamer heaven beloved by locals and visitors alike. Founded in 1999 (and expanded extensively in 2018), Ground Kontrol houses more than 150 video games and pinball machines. Bring a group to tackle the fan-favorite Killer Queen, which accommodates 10 players at a time. Gaming on a budget? Twice a month, the arcade hosts unlimited free play nights for a $7 cover. Open to minors until 5 p.m. daily.

Ground Kontrol features Killer Queen, a 10-player real-time strategy game. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

The Standard

For those seeking a classic Portland dive setting, head over to the Standard, just off East Burnside Street. Named one of Portland’s last true neighborhood bars by Willamette Week, this straightforward, dimly-lit watering hole offers stiff drinks and a selection of gaming options including pool, shuffleboard, pinball and Pac-Man. For the extra adventurous, try your luck at a mystery bag from the joyous and wacky Venderia vending machine on site. 21+. (Read more about Portland’s Venderias in our article.)

The Wurst

Contrary to the name, this sleek but cozy Burnside bar is definitely not the worst! Patrons can enjoy cider and beer selections from rotating taps, munch on goldfish crackers at the bar and partake in a game of pool or skee-ball. The Wurst also boasts nearly a dozen video games, including classics like Donkey Kong, Tetris and Mortal Kombat II, plus the thrilling Pacific Northwest favorite Big Buck HD. 21+.

Honorable mentions: Bottles (pinball and Super Nintendo; minors until 8 p.m.), C Bar (pinball; minors until 10 p.m.), The Slingshot Lounge (pinball room, pool and Big Buck HD) and Spirit of 77 (basketball arcade, foosball, skee-ball and pinball; minors until 10 p.m.).

The post The best arcades in Portland appeared first on Travel Portland.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Although many of the sweetest spots are hidden in plain sight, Portland’s African food scene is alive, well and growing bigger each day. From a 30-year-old Moroccan restaurant to up-and-coming West African eateries, these African restaurants in Portland are serving up some of the city’s most flavorful dishes.

Akadi

Inside an eye-catching yellow building on Northeast MLK Boulevard, Akadi Chef Fatou Ouattara cooks up flavorful West African dishes she learned to cook as a child in Cote d’Ivoire. The mural-lined walls and kente cloth-covered tables provide a warm welcome into Ouattara’s homey West African dining spot.

If you’re a meat-eater, check out Akadi’s beef suya or the true West African specialty of slow-cooked goat meat in a spiced tomato stew. Vegan and vegetarian options are just as packed with flavor (the tofu suya plate features grilled tofu marinated in a housemade kankankan spice, along with a sweet fried plantain that could have you ordering seconds within the first bite). Stews come with rice or fufu, a soft dough made from pounded yams (the fufu is the way to go).

Black Star Grill

Named after Ghana’s national soccer team, Black Star Grill is one of just a few Portland spots where you can find one of the greatest culinary gifts of West African cuisine: jollof rice. This spiced tomato and rice dish is a highly revered West African specialty, and it’s also the base for Black Star’s build-your-own bowls.

Add your choice of meat or veggies, carrot cabbage slaw, black-eyed pea stew or sweet fried plantain to any dish. If spice is not your friend, start with the simple brown rice option and pile on the flavor with added toppings. This Southwest Fourth Avenue food cart is the perfect lunch stop during a walk around downtown’s Portland State University campus.

Black Star Grill’s Enoch Aggray serving Portland State University students. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

E’Njoni

Any night of the week, you can enjoy a delicious, flavor-packed meal at E’Njoni, a cozy Ethiopian spot in North Portland. For the full experience, visit E’Njoni’s all-day, all-you-can eat brunch buffet, offered only on weekends. Boasting a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options — including their unrivaled timtimo (red lentils in berbere sauce) — this buffet is equally satisfying and affordable. Plates run at $15 for all the food you could possibly want to consume on a leisurely Sunday afternoon.

Abyssinian Kitchen

In an intimate bungalow just off Southeast Clinton Street, Abyssinian Kitchen serves up a full menu of Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine. Vegans and vegetarians, try the beyaynetu: a sampler of stewed yellow split peas, spicy red lentils and tangy collard greens.

Don’t expect the massive table-sized sampler platters common to most Ethiopian eateries. Instead, Abyssinian serves modestly sized plates, with satisfying portions and truly impeccable flavor. Good news for those with gluten allergies who might normally miss out on the joys of injera: Abyssinian Kitchen makes a version with 100% gluten-free teff flour.

Horn of Africa

Looking for variety? Horn of Africa showcases a wide array of menu items from Ethiopia, Somalia, Djbouti and the Middle East. Visit their weekday lunch buffet to pile your plate high with curried goat, oxtail cooked in a medley of East African herbs and spices, and butter chicken: flavorful chicken breast cooked in an Ethiopian spiced and clarified butter. End on a high note with plantain and pineapple ice cream or mandazi, a Somali sweet fried pumpkin beignet.

Horn of Africa’s butter chicken, curried goat, greens, basmati rice and injera. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

Marrakesh

Opened in 1989, Marrakesh is the go-to spot for a traditional Moroccan tagine in Portland. Tapestry-adorned walls and elaborate decor set the stage for a multi-course prix fixe menu. Start with b’stilla royale (puff pastry stuffed with beef or chicken, scrambled egg and crushed almonds), yellow lentil soup and fresh salad with homemade bread. That’s followed by a flavorful tagine of your choice, such as lamb m’rouzia stewed in honey, nutmeg, and roasted almonds.

Round off the meal with hot tea and a decadent dessert, like homemade baklava, fresh fruit salad or milk pudding. If the five-course Marrakesh Royal Feast Dinner feels like too much, you can also order a la carte. Try the tagine of chicken, honey and prunes or the spicy lamb with peas and roasted potatoes in tomato cumin garlic sauce.

Enat

A few blocks east of E’Njoni, Enat Kitchen is an Ethiopian spot distinguished by its wide variety of meat, fish and vegetarian and vegan options. For the flavor-curious, vegetable and meat combo platters provide a taste of everything. Veggie combos include crowd-pleasing favorites like the kik key wot (split peas cooked with onion, ginger, and garlic in a berbere sauce) and buticha (ground chickpeas mixed with lemon juice, diced onions and jalapeño).

If you’re in the mood for a single entree, try the Enat special: a plate of minced beef with jalapeño, butter, mitmita spice, ayib (cheese curd) and stewed collard greens. Enat offers a modest selection of Ethiopian beers, such as the acclaimed Hakim Stout and the sweet and malty Bedele.

The post Seven great African restaurants in Portland appeared first on Travel Portland.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Travel Portland by Molly Woodstock - 2M ago

Set within a deep, forested ravine just 7 miles (11 km) south of downtown Portland, Tryon Creek State Natural Area is Oregon’s only state park within a major city. More than 330,000 people explore the free-to-visit park’s 658 acres (266 ha) annually, making Tryon Creek one of Portland’s most popular and accessible nature escapes.

History of Tryon Creek State Natural Area

Sculpted through a prehistoric series of cataclysmic floods and lava flows, Tryon Creek State Natural Area occupies the original homeland of several indigenous Chinook tribes, including the Clackamas Chinook, Multnomah and Wasco-Wishram. The creek was eventually named after Socrates Hotchkiss Tryon, a doctor who settled in the area in 1850.

By the 1870s, abundant stands of massive old growth trees attracted logging activity, and timber was harvested there as recently as 1961. Forest renewal efforts began in the 1970s with the formation of Friends of Tryon Creek. This nonprofit group partners with state park officials to safeguard the area as a public park.

Sights and sounds of Tryon Creek State Natural Area 

Filled with girthy second-growth Douglas firs, western red cedars, hemlocks and a thick carpet of ferns, Tryon Creek is a haven for wildlife. The dense forest canopy is alive with song sparrows, belted kingfishers, stellar jays and five species of woodpeckers. Snags and stumps throughout the natural area bare the telltale chiseling of the latter. (Keep an eye out for the Pileated woodpecker, easily identifiable by its large stature, black-and-white body, and crimson, wig-like crown.) Resident mammals include blacktail deer, red fox and even a nocturnal species of flying squirrel.

At the center of the canyon, the park’s namesake creek trickles steadily, acting as a year-round tributary to Portland’s Willamette River. A series of eight wooden bridges crisscross the waters, providing a vantage point to scan for Pacific tree frogs, rough-skinned newts, great blue heron, beaver and river otter, as well as a small population of native cutthroat trout.

Wildflower lovers, take note: Tryon Creek boasts one of the region’s most reliable showings of trilliums. Eggshell white with canary-yellow stamens, these tri-petaled buds are a harbinger of spring, adding pops of color to the evergreen hills. As bloom season progresses, the flowers gradually shift hues to a deep burgundy. (Blooms begin in late February and peak in April.)

Trilliums typically bloom in late February and peak in April. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

Tryon Creek State Natural Area hiking trails

Eight miles (12.8 km) of paths lace through the park, with most leading down to the banks of Tryon Creek. Trails are well-signed and open year-round for hiking, but multiple junctions can make navigation tricky. (Be sure to grab a free printed park map available at the nature center.)

For an informative park primer, stroll the Trillium Trail adjacent to the nature center. This 0.3-mile (0.5 km) paved, universal access path offers a pair of overlooks and displays noting characteristic flora and fauna. To observe the creek, follow the Old Main Trail, a wide dirt and gravel path. It dips 100 feet (30 m) into the heart of the park to meet the rustic footbridges over the stream. (Tip to remember: What hikes down, must hike back up!) Don’t miss a side trip up the 0.3-mile (0.5 km) Lewis & Clark Trail to a wobbly suspension bridge above a fern-filled gulley.

A 3-mile (4.8 km) bike path skirts the park’s eastern border, leading cyclists into the community of Lake Oswego. Several trails are also open to equestrian use.

Activities and events at Tryon Creek State Natural Area

A staffed nature center serves as the hub of Tryon Creek’s activities. Inside, peruse informative exhibits, chat with park rangers, grab free park maps and purchase area guidebooks. You can also shop for postcards, local arts and crafts, nature-themed kids’ toys and, of course, Junior Park Ranger vests. Family-friendly guided nature walks with themes like “Slugs: More than Slime” are offered most Saturdays (no reservation needed). Feeling adventurous? Join guided seasonal evening walks in search of bats, owls and other critters that go bump in the night.

A volunteer explains the life of a trillium plant during the Tryon Creek Trillium Festival. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

Friends of Tryon Creek host numerous park events , including the annual Trillium Festival, celebrating its 40th year in 2020. This beloved event takes place each April and features a native plant sale loaded with plenty of trilliums. Experts are also on hand to answer questions and discuss the role wildflowers and other native plants play within the ecosystem.

The post Tryon Creek State Natural Area appeared first on Travel Portland.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Going to an arcade is a fascinating, multi-sensory experience that has never been just for kids, and arcades in Portland offer visitors plenty of opportunities to dive into a good game. Read on for our picks, from family-friendly arcades to dive bars and adults-only “barcades” (bar arcades).

Family-friendly arcades in PortlandQuarterworld

This historic theater-turned-arcade is home to nearly 100 video arcade and pinball games in two rooms: the Q Lab and Q Lounge. Games typically range from $0.50 to $1 per play and include selections such as big- and small-screen Pac-Man, Time Crisis and skee-ball. Catch live musical Tesla Coil shows at Quarterworld every Sunday and Tuesday at 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Don’t miss the pun-filled food menu of kid-friendly “bytes” and “ate-bit” burgers (adults can also share vodka-spiked “Mario Party Bowls”). Admission is $3 after 6 p.m. and $1 during “happy hour” (noon–6 p.m.). All ages until 8 p.m.

Avalon Theatre & Wunderland

Have hours of fun at very affordable prices at Wunderland, a family-owned local chain of arcades and theatres around Portland. Second-run shows fill the three screens at Oregon’s oldest operating theater, the art deco Avalon Theatre on Southeast Belmont Street. The Avalon has housed a nickel arcade since 1925, and still offers a vast array of arcade games (plus air hockey and other favorites) for five cents per play. To pair arcade fun with a few rousing rounds of laser tag, head to the suburban Wunderland locations in Gresham and Beaverton. There are more than 100 arcade games in each location, with plenty of opportunities for ticket collection. All ages.

A group of friends enjoy an air hockey match at Avalon Theatre & Wunderland. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

 Punch Bowl Social Club

This sprawling establishment occupies the entire third floor of downtown Portland’s Pioneer Place mall and boasts a catalogue of entertainment options. Explore an arcade dedicated to golden-era video games and pinball, table-top games and giant-sized versions of Jenga and Scrabble. Find more entertainment in the private karaoke rooms and 10-pin bowling lanes. Punch Bowl offers plenty of food and drink options as well, with a kids’ menu filled with cafeteria classics like sloppy joes and grilled cheese sandwiches. Minors allowed until 10 p.m.

High Score Arcade

For those seeking a proudly dark, no-frills arcade illuminated by the glow of games and shiny cups full of quarters, Southeast Portland’s High Score Arcade is the place to be. Play a rotating selection of vintage pinball machines while tossing back cans of soda pop (or beers for patrons 21 and older). Started by the proprietors of nearby Robo Taco, High Score’s menu includes house-made frozen burritos. Minors allowed until 10 p.m.; children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Portland barcades (bar arcades)Ground Kontrol

Portland’s best known barcade is inarguably Ground Kontrol, a monstrous, two-level gamer heaven beloved by locals and visitors alike. Founded in 1999 (and expanded extensively in 2018), Ground Kontrol houses more than 150 video games and pinball machines. Bring a group to tackle the fan-favorite Killer Queen, which accommodates 10 players at a time. Gaming on a budget? Twice a month, the arcade hosts unlimited free play nights for a $7 cover. Open to minors until 5 p.m. daily.

Ground Kontrol features Killer Queen, a 10-player real-time strategy game. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

The Standard

For those seeking a classic Portland dive setting, head over to the Standard, just off East Burnside Street. Named one of Portland’s last true neighborhood bars by Willamette Week, this straightforward, dimly-lit watering hole offers stiff drinks and a selection of gaming options including pool, shuffleboard, pinball and Pac-Man. For the extra adventurous, try your luck at a mystery bag from the joyous and wacky Venderia vending machine on site. 21+. (Read more about Portland’s Venderias in our article.)

The Wurst

Contrary to the name, this sleek but cozy Burnside bar is definitely not the worst! Patrons can enjoy cider and beer selections from rotating taps, munch on goldfish crackers at the bar and partake in a game of pool or skee-ball. The Wurst also boasts nearly a dozen video games, including classics like Donkey Kong, Tetris and Mortal Kombat II, plus the thrilling Pacific Northwest favorite Big Buck HD. 21+.

Honorable mentions: Bottles (pinball and Super Nintendo; minors until 8 p.m.), C Bar (pinball; minors until 10 p.m.), The Slingshot Lounge (pinball room, pool and Big Buck HD) and Spirit of 77 (basketball arcade, foosball, skee-ball and pinball; minors until 10 p.m.).

The post The best barcades and arcades in Portland appeared first on Travel Portland.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

In February 2019, Portland bike-share program Biketown debuted five new bikes featuring vibrant, multicolor and geometric designs in celebration of Black History Month. The bikes are the first in the Nike-sponsored company’s year-long Culture Collection. This initiative invites a diverse group of local Nike employees to create designs that reflect their cultures and communities, which make up the unique social fabric of the City of Roses.

The Biketown Black History Month collection

During Black History Month in February 2019, the bikes were wrapped in designs that drew inspiration from vintage posters and sociopolitical art of the 1960s and ‘70s civil rights movement. They also included elements associated with traditional African fabric designs, like the front basket’s West African kente cloth pattern. Against Biketown’s signature solid orange motif, the Black Culture Collection bikes’ modern design stood out in striking fashion.

“The Black History Month bike wrap design is an opportunity for us to reflect our city’s creativity and rich African American culture, and to highlight our commitment to celebrating a diverse and inclusive Portland,” said Nike’s Karol Collymore, Senior Manager, Global Community Impact, Oregon.

The challenge to design the African diaspora-inspired bikes was led by the Nike Black Employee and Friends network. Nike color designer Marcellus Johnson (who also worked on the color scheme and design elements for the brand’s Black History Month-inspired footwear collection) created the unique bike wraps.

Deadstock Coffee founder Ian Williams bikes past his coffee shop. Photo courtesy of Biketown.

“Design and the arts let us tell our stories in authentic ways,” said Johnson. “I drew from Pan-African culture and used methods of print and collage relative to our journey in a way that speaks to how we as a people can reimagine our future. Through textiles rooted in continental Africa, I wanted to create a visual that embodied a point of view about our connection and journey.”

Biketown’s celebration of Black History Month included a collectable companion book. Produced by local makers Scout Books, the book featured a map of select African American-owned business located near Biketown stations. Highlights include QTPOC (queer and trans people of color)-focused Ori Gallery and eateries like Akadi and Kee’s Loaded Kitchen. The books were available at each business on their map (see the full list online), while supplies lasted.

The Culture Collection continues

In March 2019, Biketown unveiled its Women’s History Month collection, using their Twitter account to promote a different local woman-owned business every day of March.

Cyclists bike through downtown Portland on Biketown bikes. Photo courtesy of Biketown.

These special designs join 2018’s Design Challenge Collection, which featured community-designed patterns inspired by Portland landmarks. And more special collections will roll out throughout 2019. No matter which bike design you get, borrowing a bike from one of Biketown’s 145 stations is the perfect way to discover the city’s many communities.

The post Biketown Culture Collection celebrates Portland’s diversity appeared first on Travel Portland.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Carlo Lamagna wants to bring Filipino food into the spotlight in Portland. The Philippines-born chef spent three years at beloved downtown restaurant Clyde Common, quietly introducing Filipino dishes onto the menu. He also ran a Filipino pop-up off and on for close to a decade. Now that he’s set to open his eponymous restaurant, Magna, in Southeast Portland, the pressure of the opportunity isn’t lost on Lamagna.

“This is our chance to define us as: one, a cuisine to be reckoned with and, two, to know there are many different aspects of Filipino food,” Lamagna said. “We don’t have to put all our eggs into that  ‘cheap food’ basket. We have a chance to really showcase the entire profile of what Filipino food could do.”

Filipino food in Portland

Pick up a national food publication from recent years and you’ll see more mentions of Filipino restaurants, ingredients and chefs than ever before. In the words of the Washington Post: “At long last, Filipino food arrives.” The cuisine seems to be appearing everywhere, from D.C.’s wait-worthy Bad Saint to L.A.’s breakfast sandwich baron Alvin Cailan to the amethyst-hued, ube-infused desserts blowing up Instagram.

In Portland, the mainstreaming of Filipino food has yet to fully take hold; in fact, the city has more Blue Star Donuts locations than Filipino restaurants. And unlike Portland’s more established Southeast Asian cuisines, Filipino food has yet to win over local diners.

Though more than 23,000 Filipino Americans live in the Portland region, only a handful of Filipino restaurants and pan-Asian food carts serve the community. Magna will be joining the ranks of other Filipino favorites like Tambayan (Southeast Portland), Fork and Spoon Food House (Northeast Portland), Boba Licious (Hillsboro) and Chicken Adobo (Bethany).

Twisted Filipino and Clyde Common

Magna is a promise Lamagna has spent 10 years trying to keep.

“On my dad’s deathbed, my dad finally said he was proud of me and what I was doing,” Lamagna said. “He said, ‘I hope that you will do great in whatever you’re doing and still be proud of who you are and where you came from.’ Basically, ‘Represent our culture.’”

That same year, Lamagna began formulating a Filipino pop-up while he was working as a chef in Chicago. For a few years, that pop-up manifested as groups of chefs eating homemade Filipino food in Lamagna’s apartment. But in 2013, the first Twisted Filipino dinner publicly debuted to back-to-back sold out crowds, and has steadily gained steam since.

Lamagna works at a Magna menu tasting event at the Nightwood Society. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

The pop-up took a backseat when Lamagna moved to Portland in 2013 to become executive chef at downtown’s Clyde Common. But it didn’t take long for those Filipino influences to creep their way to the forefront. Soon, crispy pata (deep-fried pig feet) and pork-shiitake lumpia Shanghai (ultra-crisp spring rolls shaped like fat cigarillos) found a home alongside marinated olives and tender gnocchi.

“It said foreign and domestic cuisine on the window,” Lamagna said. “Nobody knows what that means, so I put Filipino food on [the menu] and started getting recognized for it.”

Decolonizing the food scene

The road to popularity for any “new” global cuisine in America is hard-won. It often involves undoing generations of marginalization and forced assimilation perpetrated by the same people now declaring that food “trendy.” Marginalized community members are compelled to be educators and spokespeople for (or worse, bystanders to) their own culture and food.

“It’s so amazing that we have this opportunity, but Filipinos have such a colonized, Western mentality,” said Lamagna. It’s the colonial mentality that prioritizes steak and potatoes over rice and dinuguan, a Filipino stew with spicy pig blood gravy. And, for generations, he said, that mentality has boiled down to Filipinos acting “as white as possible.”

That colonized mentality has also trained the Filipino community to value outsiders’ opinions over its own, Lamagna said. He’s frustrated it took American culinary giants like Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain for Filipinos to recognize the power of their food.

“I love Anthony Bourdain,” Lamagna explains. “Anybody in their right culinary mind loves him dearly. But why does it have to be someone from an outsider’s point of view to point out what we already knew was delicious and good?”

According to Lamagna, his generation is finally starting to re-explore its roots, craving both the flavors of home (adobo, lumpia and pancit) and the cultural connection that come with them.

“For us, as chefs and as our generation gets older, we start recognizing we wanted more from our parents,” he said. “We wanted more from our community.”

Magna: going beyond “cheap eats”

Like most global cuisines outside the prestigious realms of fine dining, Filipino food made by Filipinos struggles with price-based racism. In essence, many people believe that in order for the food to be “authentic,” it must be cheap — regardless of the quality of ingredients or the difficulty of preparation.

Silog plate with Tapa (beef) was one of the featured dishes at a Magna tasting event. Photo by Ashley Anderson.

But Lamagna has also run into a frustrating roadblock among a more unexpected group: other Filipinos.

“You read all these stupid Yelp reviews from Filipinos, like ‘I can make that cheaper,’” Lamagna said about reviews of Clyde Common. “We were making our own sweet and sour sauce in house, we were using ripened fruit from farms, helping farmers unload excess and utilizing that. But does the public know that?”

On the menu at Magna

Lamagna plans to focus the initial Magna menu on educating the public about Filipino food before showcasing more regional cuisines. The opening menu will build on a bedrock of greatest hits, remixed with a few funkier dishes, Lamagna said. Expect pork adobo, a stewed pork dish often considered the Philippines’ national dish; pancit bihon, the pan-fried noodle, vegetable and meat staple (second only to rice); lumpia Shanghai; and caldereta, a rich stew made with goat meat or beef tongue.

“We’ll explore how we can elevate the aspects of the cuisine, and once we establish our identity amongst both the community and the public, that’s when we’re gonna get funky,” Lamagna said. “That’s when we’ll start bringing out the blood stew.”

Later iterations of the menu will delve deeper into the Filipino food canon, drawing inspiration from Lamagna’s identity as an Ilocano, the third largest ethnolinguistic group in the Philippines. Expect an updated version of his mom’s crab noodles, which mixes fresh Dungeness crab, house-cured salmon roe and chewy, housemade miki egg noodles with a pungent sauce made from ginger, garlic and a fermented crab roe paste called taba ng talangka.

“I’m super excited to be able to explore different regions of the Philippines,” Lamagna said. “To pull in different influences from different parts of the Philippines and really showcase and show people we’re not just the one-note cuisine.”

Visiting Magna

Magna is expected to open in May 2019 in Southeast Portland’s Division/Clinton neighborhood, near other popular eateries like Scandinavian brunch spot Broder and mussel-focused La Moule. Follow Magna on Instagram (@magnapdx) for their latest updates.

The post Chef Carlo Lamagna brings Filipino food to the forefront in Portland appeared first on Travel Portland.

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview