We’re lucky to host family fairly often, but since some of them have been visiting for a decade plus, I want to show them old favorites but also mix it up with some new things, too.
Case in point.
My brother and his family just came this past week and I wanted to make sure we dabbled with the classic stops– plus added in hefty servings of the new.
So here we go.
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO WITH OUT-OF-TOWN VISITORS.
Let’s start with the obvious classic choice: Multnomah Falls.
My brother and wife had been there long ago but interestingly enough, their kids had not, so we made a trip out there during a break in the rain.
MF never fails to wow and the crew took a long hike up the mountain and then we reconvened at the base.
Did you know that on September 4, 1995 a 400 ton boulder slipped off the waterfall and dropped 225 feet into the upper plunge pool?
It sent a 70 foot splash over the Benson Bridge (the viewing spot you see here), drenching a wedding party taking pictures at the time and injuring a dozen people.
We included Bailey in on this adventure; my whole family has golden retrievers and they were missing their two at home.
Bailey was mesmerized by the rushing water, and enjoyed chasing after the chipmunks scampering about.
I love the waterfalls because it feels like there are a million different shades of slate and gray and green here.
These hues are so beautiful together: in the babbling brook, along the waterfall, and in the mossy covered visitor’s house/restaurant.
I’ve been there now probably seven or eight times, and I’ve enjoyed it every time.
Next time, I may spend some more time at some of the lesser known falls just down the road, like Bridal Veil. And I’ll pack a picnic to enjoy with the crew.
Visit a couple food carts.
Visitors who stay with me are shocked by how many — and how terrific — our food carts are, so on this trip we headed there right after they landed.
My brother and his family live in Menlo Park, California (Dave works for Stanford University) and while they have a few trucks in the area, real estate is so expensive that many of these trucks can only be found once a week in a permanent location (often serving as mobile ambassadors to all the tech companies the rest of the time).
I took them to Tidbit Food Farm and Garden (one of my favorite pods) on Division Street.
The food here is so good.
A couple of us got offerings at Hapa Ramen.
And that’s just a start — there’s also fantastic offerings from Paper Bag Pizza.
And great sushi.
And obscenely rich and delicious burgers.
There are also the freshest of bowls and more.
Sadly, for only another week or so, you can also visit the lovely Menagerie: a lovingly converted Airstream-turned-micro retailer selling beautiful jewelry, natural cosmetics, grooming and body products, and a few other beautiful items.
For the next week or so, all the beautiful offerings are being sold at half off while they liquidate the business. The last weekend of April Casey should be selling what’s left and the last of the display items.
Casey is doing all this selling and then taking her thriving beauty packaging, branding and consulting business down to Mexico.
Damn — I will miss this little store. It’s so beautifully curated — GO THERE NOW while you can still score some great discounts in their last week or so here.
Next time I will return here to try some of he carts not yet hit here and perhaps venture to another pod as well. Any suggestions for favorite carts/pods in other areas of the city?
If you possibly swing it, hit an outlet or snag a guest pass at one of our great employee stores so they can do some serious shopping.
My brother was able to procure some passes to the Nike Employee Store, and we spent an hour or so trying on sneakers, jackets and various workout gear.
By the end we walked out about five hundred dollars poorer — but when everything is basically half-off retail, it’s easier to justify.
Next time I have visitors, we may try to hit Adidas and Columbia — I’ve heard some raves about their offerings, too.
All your visitors will probably ask for Voodoo Donuts, but see if you can get them to broaden their donut repertoire.
Take them to Pip’s Original, instead.
There’s something so satisfying about the homemade Chai and fried-to-order donut pairing
and this place really embodies the whole Portland vibe.
And their offerings are smack-you-in-the-face delicious.
We couldn’t agree on our favorites. Some swooned for the Nutella, others for the Meyer lemon curd.
Me, I liked the Original (cinnamon sugar), Dirty Wu (the Original honey and drizzled Nutella) and the one with Candied Maple Bacon.
And chai from here is a must order, too.
There are five different kinds of housemade chai and they’re all spectacular– even in a to-go cup and sipped a half hour later.
Next time visitors are in town I may try to sneak in a visit to Blue Star or Coco — both are making some delicious donuts.
Go on a Segway Tour.
A while back I took my family on a Portland by Segway Tour and we all loved it so much that I was eager to get my visiting family out on Segways, too.
We were met at Lovejoy Park on Harrison by our tour guide Jered, and he gave us each a quick lesson on how to ride it and safety precautions we needed to keep in mind.
Within minutes, all seven of us were zipping around Park Blocks, listening to a little history about our city and checking out various statues and landmarks around town.
And then we headed down to the waterfront and spent some time there gliding along, picking up some speed under bridges.
We then checked out some of the new development that’s opened up here — an area I knew very little about.
There are some great views on the south waterfront.
It was drizzling out but that didn’t deter us — we just took a break mid-trip to a Starbucks to warm up and decide where we wanted to go next.
When you’re a big single group, the company is great about allowing you to customize your trip and go at your own pace.
Riding a Segway is so much fun– and it’s surprisingly easy to do, even for a klutz like me.
Next time, I think I’m going to request we go over a bridge — and maybe even request a longer time so we can go even further. And I’m eager to check out Segway tours in other cities, too.
So those are my new 5 MUST DO’s for Portland visitors.
What have I missed?
Is there a favorite food, landmark or activity that you’ve recently discovered that’s a hit with visitors?
(I’d love to hear your suggestions — more family is set to arrive next month.)
In the meantime, thanks for a rockin’ visit, Kennedys.
We loved stuffing our faces and touring the area with you.
Come back soon.
We miss you so much.