My mom and teenage sister left today after a long weekend visit, and we spent a few jam-packed days sightseeing and catching up. It made me realize that I love hosting out-of-town visitors because there are actually things to DO in and around Portland. Having grown up in Indiana, I really appreciate having options for activities that are other than a) sitting around talking, b) going to a movie, or c) ordering Pizza Hut. Now, Indiana’s not all that bad, but it really is different living in a city you are proud of and enjoy showing off. Two years and a sleeper sofa purchase later, my boyfriend and I are quite proficient at showcasing Portland in two days. I’ve concocted a formula for all of you Portlanders to use when you have your own lovely guests:
One part Scenic Outdoor Oregon, such as the Gorge, Mt. Hood, or the Oregon coast.
Two stops of Local Flavor Shopping (this would be Powell’s, plus a local boutique/vintage/knitting shop, etc., depending on your guest’s interest)
Three good servings of Portland Booze Culture – a brewpub, a happy hour, and yes, a McMenamins (I suggest Edgefield on the way to the Gorge if you’re on a tight schedule). Don’t count the McMenamins as the brewpub, though. We’re trying to impress people here.
One visit of Urban Beauty. I suggest the Rose Garden if your visitor is an older female (mother, aunt, DEFINITELY grandmother). A hike in Forest Park or up to Council Crest is a nice touch if they are fit enough.
One ride on Public Transportation- a trip on the streetcar will be a hit if your visitor is from a small town. Bonus points if they see a homeless person sleeping on the seats.
And you’ve got to show off our Local Food – either a meal prepared at home after a trip to the Farmer’s Market, or a meal out at _________ (insert your favorite Northwest cuisine restaurant here; I’d choose Park Kitchen)
Spread out nicely over two-three days, and you’ll have a great time. If your guest doesn’t leave saying, “I see why you love it here so much!”, then they obviously aren’t worth a return visit.