Navigating the Pacific Northwest through Social Media in Bridgetown
Last month during my awesome trip to Seattle, I took a quick detour to Portland, Oregon, aka Bridgetown. It was my first time visiting my neighboring state so I was really excited for an adventure. I took Bolt Bus from Seattle to Portland. It was a quick (less than 3 hours) trip complete with outlets and wifi. Technology is amazing.
Foursquare and Facebook have become my best travel guides. Back in the day I used to check out Frommers and Lonely Planet books but they easily become outdated and you don’t get the real time, social interaction from other people. On my recent trips to Chicago and Seattle I successfully explored new places through social media recommendations and Portland was no different. Foursquare’s Bridgetown list is very comprehensive. I had less than 48 hours in the city, so I wanted to optimize my time there.
I checked into the Westin Portland around lunch time. After dropping off my stuff, I stepped right outside to Food Carts galore. Portland is known for their gourmet food cart grub. The entire block was lined with so many different dining options. You will find every type of food there from Chinese, Mexican, Japanese, Ethiopian, Indian and more. If you visit Portland you can’t leave without having at least 1 meal from their food carts.
Powell’s Bookstore- I have heard endless raving reviews about Powell’s Bookstore so this was my next stop after lunch. I was in awe when I stepped into this place. It’s nerd heaven! While bookstores across the nation are dying, Powell’s is keeping them alive. So many different floors, sections and books! You can spend hours here. The staff is very friendly and happy to help you find anything that you’re looking for. I always wanted to check out the Modernist Cookbook after seeing it on Top Chef a while back (Yeah you guys know about my addiction to food shows). This is almost a $500 cookbook. They had a copy on special display. The employee let me see the book but gave me a tip that they were coming out with a paperback version very soon. I also have been trying to learn about all different allergies and was wondering about allergy friendly cookbooks. It turns out they have an entire section of their bookstore dedicated to Allergies. Powell’s has a book for everyone no matter what your interests are. I really wish I had more time to spend here. Next time I’m in Portland I’m definitely going to come here again.
Ground Kontrol Arcade- I loved playing video games when I was a kid. It was so simple and so much fun. There was one joystick, one button and the combination of those two did wonders. This place brings you back to the good ole’ days of gaming. I was drawn to the pinball machines. I used to play them at 7-Eleven after school. I also tested out my skills (which were quite rusty) with Pac Man, Dig Dug and Donkey Kong! All games I used to dominate on Atari and Colecovision. (Yep I bet you guys didn’t know I used to be a gamer–Ok not really.) Almost all of the games are only a quarter so depending on how good you are, you can really stretch your dollar here! This was definitely a fun stop for me. If you love old school video games, you’ll love Ground Kontrol.
Voodoo Donought- I’m not a huge doughnut fan but I know a Portland visit isn’t complete without a stop at Voodoo Doughnut so I waited in the long line to see what all the hype was about. Taste-wise I honestly was not impressed with their doughnuts. Their cake doughnuts are too dry. The other doughnuts are quite dense. I prefer soft-melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts. I tried a sample of 6 different doughnuts. Of course these were all shared as I definitely wouldn’t have been able to eat 6 whole doughnuts. My favorite doughnut was the Oreo doughnut. Believe it or not, this was labeled as one of their Vegan options. The other doughnut that wasn’t bad was the maple log bacon doughnut.
24 Hour Museum of Elvis- After doughnuts while on my way back to the hotel for a quick break, I walked by the 24 Hour Church of Elvis. Fortune Tellers, Barbie Dolls and other knick-knack toys…I’m not really sure how to explain this display. Even if you go on their website, you won’t get it. It’s one of those things you just need to see to understand. It’s a coin operated, interactive exhibit you access on the street of downtown Portland (make sure you have some quarters left from the arcade). I never, ever would have know this was here without Foursquare. Stop by here for a quick 15 minutes of unique entertainment.
Portland City Grill- Come here for the best view of Portland! They have an amazing reverse happy hour with tasty bites and classy drinks. Once you get to the place, it’s open seating at the bar so you’ll have to have a good eye to snag a spot with a nice view.
Can you believe I did all of this on my first day in Portland?! The best thing about it all is that everything was within walking distance from my hotel.
On my second and last day in Portland, I walked across a bridge to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). This place has so many interactive exhibits. I learned more about earthquakes in a mock earthquake contraption, watched an IMAX about cute Polar Bears and played with water pressure rockets.
Portland Blues Festival- While crossing the Bridge to the OMSI I noticed there were many people setting up for what looked like a huge outdoor event. I didn’t pay too much attention until I was leaving the OMSI and realized that the Portland Blues Festival was happening. For a $10 donation to the Food Bank, I walked right in. As with all of my other trips, it was absolutely perfect weather. With an amazing view of the city , positive energy and great music, I couldn’t think of a more perfect way to conclude my Portland trip.
If you’d like to check in with me on my travels and adventures, follow me on Foursquare. I’m ready for another trip so you’ll be sure I’m going turn to Social Media to learn about all the hotspots. Any recommendations on where I should jet set to next?