Enter the Magical Land of Hipsters, Great Beer, and Even Better Donuts
The City of Roses and By Many, Many Other Interesting Names
“City of Roses”, “Bridge Town”, “Beervana”, “Stumptown”, and more!
As I watched professional soccer team Manchester United play against Club America at Glendale Arena here in Arizona back in July, I realized my yearning for seeing more matches in person. Despite one of my favorite English teams losing the match before my very eyes, I decided it was time to see my all-time favorite Major League Soccer (MLS) team, the Portland Timbers, in person and at Providence Park. That same night I purchased the match tickets and airline tickets both, catching the match September 8th.
Let The Trip Commence
Walking through the terminal at PDX (Portland International Airport) my excitement grew wildly for what was to come over the next few days. Immediately I began planning all that I would take part in, leading up to the match on Saturday, September 8th. Although I flew in Thursday afternoon and had a planned departure back to Arizona early Sunday morning, I was going to make the best of the trip. The hotel I was staying at was situated neatly on Hayden Island on the Columbia River, between Washington State and Oregon. My accommodations were fairly comfortable except for the private party taking place only two rooms away. Seeing as I was going to spend almost the entire day exploring, quickly threw that notion in the back of my mind. Feeling that ol’ “jet lag” and climate difference, nestled into my hotel room for the rest of that Thursday. Since I brought my Chromebook along for the trip, did a quick little “Portland To-Do” search on Google and came across a neat guided tour throughout all the districts in Portland the following morning. Friday morning rolls around, I quickly make my way via Lyft into Downtown Portland towards the designated tour meeting spot.
Guided Tour Across Portland
Our first stop was the Portland International Rose Test Garden. Absolutely breathtaking! Not just in the sheer size of the garden but the many different types of roses, all brought in from various parts of the world! One of my favorite “Rose Shots” can be found below. Next up was the Pittock Mansion History Museum – more like a castle! The third and final stop of the tour was China Town and the Lan Su Chinese Gardens. If you ever get a chance to visit beautiful Portland, Oregon, the guided tour, especially through the garden is highly recommended!
Set Loose on the City
Portland Timbers match didn’t start until 6:00 pm and the tour ended at 10 am; plenty of time to walk throughout Portland for a “thrown to the wolves” style of experience.
While on the tour, it was emphasized the Northwest 23rd Ave section of the Pearl District was by far the most popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. With its quaint modern mixed with Victorian architecture throughout, there was no way I would pass up this opportunity. Each step I took was always the right step in any direction as I was surrounded by niche shops, craft breweries, high-quality restaurants, taverns, and pubs, all with its own sense of expressionism. One of my favorite stops along 23rd Avenue was a delectable little donut shop called “Blue Star Donuts.” Ignoring the price tag for each donut kind beautifully displayed, the Lemon Poppy Seed Donut sung my name like a siren. Upon the first bite…..nirvana. Before I finished the first one, I ordered a second. And then a third. Now, before you get ahead of yourselves, this isn’t that kind of a shop – knowing what Oregon is also alternatively known for.
Beervana: An Understatement
On nearly every corner, especially along Northwest 23rd Ave in Pearl District, a tavern, pub, and/or craft brewery could be found. As the not-so-beer-snob that I am, it was high-time for a little “sampling” of local favorites.
There were plenty of astounding beers available on nearly every corner but a rather quaint hole-in-the-wall bar received my attention most. Santa Fe Taqueria is its name. And if you ever get a chance to visit, definitely pop in for the best beer on the avenue.
Take Me to Providence Park
The time had come – time to get ready for my first Major League Soccer match, in person, at Providence Park. Standing in line just outside the gates, I had the pleasure of chatting with a few individuals who drive in from Montana: Bill, Edgar, and Gene. Despite our political differences, we found within each other the ability to come together over common ground and laugh together. What’s more is meeting others who had also flown in from Tucson, Arizona (2 hours south of me) for the big match against the Colorado Rapids. As the time drew closer for the gates to open, I repeatedly glanced at my watch, nearly jumping up and down, trying to contain my excitement. Words cannot express the joy I felt walking through the stadium, much less the unforgettable night at Providence Park, watching my favorite MLS team win against the Colorado Rapids.
The Way Home
Sunday morning rolled around, checked out of my hotel and made the half-hour long drive to the Portland International Airport. Despite my short time in Portland, I’m looking forward to going back for a minimum of a week, rather than 2 full days. Hope you enjoyed my first “travel blog” post. I promise you the next travel blog posts will be more thorough in detail, accompanied with more skillful storytelling haha.