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Old 12-31-2012, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
26 posts, read 35,845 times
Reputation: 24

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This fall I am transfering college and the choice is between a school in Portland and one in Chicago. I do not want to say what school (which is not what this post is about) because I want to focus more on the city.

I have been toChicago numerous times, but I have never been as far west as Portland. I am excited to visit, to get a feel of the city. Though I believe that I should give myself as much time as possible to do this my college student budget gives me less then a week. This might me it a little hard.

It would help if people can give me advice on where to go to really experience Portland, not the way tourists do, but the way residence do. I will be there both weekdays and the weekend and already plan on using Trimet, for starters (I plan on not having a car next year). What do you do for fun? Where do you go to relax for an afternoon, for the night, on a Thursday, on a Saturday?

Any imput would be awesome!
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Old 12-31-2012, 09:30 PM
 
Location: the Beaver State
6,464 posts, read 13,461,514 times
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Actually telling us what school would help immensely. If you're going to Lewis and Clark, you're a bit out of the way for most of what Portland offers, even though they have daily busses downtown. But if you're going to Reed, PSU, or UP, you're closer in. Each is in a different part of the city though, so telling you that PSU and UP have great coffee nearby isn't going to help you if you're headed to Reed.

Also, what kinds of things do you like to do? That'll help us narrow down suggestions drastically. I can tell you where you can listen to some great local indy bands, where you can get one of the best elk burgers in town, or the best movie rental place for out of print and obscure titles in the world. But do you care about any of that? Are you into Microbrews? Coffee? Wine? Cocktails?

Are you the outdoorsy type? Would you rather cruise through the biggest used Bookstore around? Or would you rather go bird watching or join a Dragon Boat team?

In general these two blogs are great for free things to do:

Around the Sun: A Blog About Saving Money in Portland, Oregon, and beyond -
Dave Knows: Portland
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Old 01-01-2013, 01:39 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,695 posts, read 28,501,605 times
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Without knowing which school, it will be difficult to give you advice. There are several colleges in Portland and they are spread out all over. If you want to see what is near the one you will be going to and what transportation will get you between there and where you will be living, shopping etc. you are going to have to google those things for yourself if you don't want to divulge which school you will be attending.

In general, most public transportation leads to downtown so most schools if they have a bus or light rail nearby will get you there. But not all have good service.

If you want people to leave out places where tourists go, you will be missing out on some great places like Powells, Voodoo Dounuts or the many McMenamins all over Portland. And all of downtown for that matter. I think tourists and residents alike pretty much share the same attractions here.
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Old 01-01-2013, 02:43 AM
 
347 posts, read 670,882 times
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Most students tend to stay near their schools and apartment so I'd say stick to those areas and then add in whatever interests you have.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
26 posts, read 35,845 times
Reputation: 24
All good points!

I like beer bars, microbrews, when it comes to restaurants there is not one thing I really like. Really, I will try anything once, which I know does nothing to help you. Mostly, I like the places that surprise you with their good food and hospitality. I can tell you I am not a fan of sea food, does that help? Not a huge fan of sports bars. I like places that you can sit down and have a conversation.

I was accepted to PSU and I will be visiting the campus for the first time to see what I think. Yeah, on second thought, it would be nice to know some places around there.

I am planning on visiting places like Voodoos and Powells, but I can find those places in any Visitor's Guide! What do you guys recommend that I can't find in Fodors? What else is there to this city? I don't want to assume I know anything about Portland, but I feel that I have travelled to enough cities to know there is also cool stuff going on besides all that stuff.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:18 AM
 
3,805 posts, read 6,366,757 times
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I'm glad your school is PSU. PSU is not a "traditional" campus. It is integrated into and part of downtown. You will be close to just about anything you could want. There are plenty of bars, ethnic restaurants, food carts, farmer's markets very nearby. My niece goes to PSU and she lives on campus in a regular apartment building, takes the trolley to Safeway to get groceries, goes to Zoomcare when she needs to 6 blocks away, and avails herself of a Zipcar when she needs to make a trip out of downtown. She goes to a local bar with friends for Trivia Night and frequents the Starbucks and Seattle's Best coffee. PSU has a great bookstore and some beautiful park blocks which run the length of the city.

Walk along 5th Avenue and find my favorite mural. When springtime comes and you're up on a Saturday morning, stroll over to the farmer's market that's right on campus and is a huge draw from all over the city, and get yourself a slice of Chicago pizza, or some great pastries, or a fresh baguette and some local cheese for a picnic. Then walk or take the trolley a few blocks and take in a movie at Living Room Theater where you can order food and wine and it will be brought to you in the theater where little tables are set up to eat off of while you enjoy the movie.

Jump on Max and take it out to Ikea to get stuff for your apartment. Bike up to the Pearl district and sample some of the brewpubs there. Bus or bike over the Hawthorne bridge (enjoying the river views along the way) to the Hawthorne area, full of great eateries and funky shops. Go down to the waterfront and throw some bread at the Canadian geese.

I know nothing of the club scene, but I do know of several publications that will give you a feel of what's going on around the city. Look up Willamette Week, Portland Mercury and the Oregonians A&E section. Those will give you a great overview of what's happening and where. I think the best thing for you to do is just get yourself here and walk around this very walkable city, above mentioned publications in tow, and discover for yourself the secret delights Portland has to offer. These delights are different for everyone and they are waiting for you to find them for yourself.

What others have said here about the attraction appealing to both tourists and residents alike is true.
I hope I've painted enough of a picture for you that you can put yourself in it and imagine all that you will do here.
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,695 posts, read 28,501,605 times
Reputation: 35863
I just don't get this aversion to tourists. Portland is a small city and you are not going to be able to avoid them. They are everywhere the locals are. And in my experience they are nice people.

I can recommend a bar I don't frequent because I don't do bars but Claudia's on Hawthorne Blvd which is a favorite of residents is a bar my neighbors who have lived here for decades and enjoy the sports bar scene like to frequent. There is also a little and I do mean little rare book store on 32nd and Hawthorne that is little known to visitors that has been there for decades. The owner will do book searches for you and is a walking human encyclopedia of knowledge of rare books. A real alternative to Powell's which has a regular book store and a cook book store on Hawthorne, which is great but also touristy. However if you give Powells a miss just because tourists go there, shame on you.

I am recommending Hawthorne Blvd because that is the area around which I live. And it is easy to get to by bus from downtown. You will find the ubiquitous Ben and Jerry's but you will also find the above mentioned establishments as well as used record stores, an honest to goodness Australia hat store, an Asian knick knack store and other stores not necessarily shown in Fodors. But beware, you will also find tourists looking for unusual Portland offerings as well. Just can't get away from those pesky critters.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:12 PM
 
3,805 posts, read 6,366,757 times
Reputation: 7861
And you must face the fact that you will be a tourist for a while. No big deal. It's not as if we have legions of buses driving you to the Acropolis or the Louvre. Just grab a map and walk around. Have fun exploring and count on locals who spy you with a map to ask if you need help navigating. Don't over think it. Just come here and walk around PSU. Most of the people you'll see will also be new to the area. Most of all, have fun!
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:54 PM
 
Location: the Beaver State
6,464 posts, read 13,461,514 times
Reputation: 3581
Quote:
Originally Posted by sayulita View Post
It's not as if we have legions of buses driving you to the Acropolis
Well, the 33 does go by every seven minutes.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:00 PM
 
3,805 posts, read 6,366,757 times
Reputation: 7861
Quote:
Originally Posted by hamellr View Post
Well, the 33 does go by every seven minutes.
To where??
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