Eating, Drinking & Soaking up the Northwest!
October 5th, 2009

As you may know, I recently took a road trip through the Pacific Northwest, starting in Seattle for a family wedding, heading to Oregon and finally down to Eugene before backtracking up to Seattle to fly home.

First, let me say that Washington and Oregon are two of the most beautiful states I have visited. The fact that from some spots you can be just a few minutes outside of the city with a breathtaking view of the mountains and a short walk to the beach floors me (in a great way).

While I didn’t get to see everything I would like to see in these states (it would take a month) I did come away with a few recommendations for my readers! Here is my Road Trip Top Eight – the only order is that of my road trip.

1. The Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. It’s fun, quirky and filled with eclectic shops, restaurants and people. It’s far enough out of the city center to not be “downtown”, yet still (a slightly long) walking distance. Wander 10th St (Broadway) and 15th for the best shopping and dining.

2. Pike’s Place Market – though I’ve been there before, I always enjoy it. The flowers were especially beautiful this time of year and the flying fish always entertaining!

3. Portland’s Saturday Market – ironcially, we visited this on Sunday (it goes both days). Local artisans display their handiwork, food and brewery vendors abound and, at least when we went, there was live music. Just a fun event and great for all ages.

4. Portland’s Waterfront District – first, if you are a dog lover, park yourself there on a weekend and just observe – it’s packed with 4-legged friends! In addition, the waterfront runs the length of the downtown and boasts green space, fountains, cafes along the river, and is a favorite of joggers and bikers.

5. Hawthorne District in Portland – the laid back, hipster vibe of Hawthorne plus slightly eccentric shops, coffee houses and eateries made for a fun half day of exploration.

6. Brew Pubs – If you love beer, especially microbrews, you’ll like Portland (nicknamed Beer City). We personally sampled McMenimans – which has multiple locations throughout Oregon, Portland City Grill (fantastic city view), Henry’s and Deschutes.

7. The Vegan and Vegetarian food – Lunch at Al Amir Lebanese restaurant and breakfast at both The Original and Bijou in Portland. Dinner at the Pizza Research Institute, breakfast at Keystone Cafe and dessert at Sweet Life in Eugene.

8. Hiking the Erma Bell Lakes trail in the Willamette National Forrest.

9. Soaking in the Cougar Hot Springs. Need I say more? A warning though – these hot springs are clothing optional, so may not be suitable for children or anyone who might find this offensive.

10. The gorge, Columbia Scenic Highway and Multnomah Falls about 30 minutes outside of Portland. Can be a bit touristy, so go during a week day if possible and hike to some of the further falls. Incredibly serene and good hiking routes!

I do want to mention that I have been to both Seattle and, very briefly, Portland in the past so didn’t do some of the traditional sights. Though I missed them on this trip, I do highly suggest wandering the different areas in Seattle including Pioneer Square, Freemont (see the troll!), the downtown area and Lake Union. In Portland, I recommend Washington Park along with the Japanese Gardens and Rose Gardens. Finally, for those who are wondering, I did not make it to Voodoo Donut – or rather we did and the line was ridiculous and I’m not quite that big a fan of donuts!

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