Renovated Hotel near the River and Downtown Portland
Downtown Portland is made up of narrow streets and square, compact city blocks; the blocks are nearly a third of the size of the typical ones you’d find in Manhattan. The compact infrastructure makes it easy to walk around Portland past its charming corner businesses. The renovated Hotel Fifty sits near the banks of the Willamette River and blocks from downtown Portland, just a two-minute walk from the Yamhill District MAX station.
The chic H5O bistro & bar is Hotel Fifty's onsite restaurant. Seasonal dishes here are made from locally sourced and organic ingredients. Sample the duck leg served with frisée and pickled onion in a sherry vinaigrette ($15) or the goat-cheese ravioli topped with Niçoise olives and toasted pine nuts in a parsley pesto ($17). The bar puts a new spin on classic cocktails, mixing cucumber sake-tinis and apricot-tarragon mojitos. Wines by the glass, local draft beers, and a selection of sakes for sipping are also available.
After a day on the town—or a long stroll through Tom McCall Waterfront Park, located across the street from the hotel—you’ll retire to a chic courtyard room. The Simmons Beautyrest Black Beverly Hills plush memory-foam bedding is a guest favorite, and all rooms feature 42-inch wall-mounted flat-screen TVs.
Portland, Oregon: Quirky Riverfront City Known for Its City
ParksExtensive bikeways, edgy chefs, indie-rock bands, and progressive environmentalists—counterculture is almost a way of life in Portland. And it’s certainly a source of civic pride. Locals have adopted the slogan “ Keep Portland Weird,” which is brandished on bumper stickers in businesses ranging from an art-house movie theater to a donut shop that used to glaze its pastries with NyQuil. The city has always been a little ahead of its time; it was originally planned with strict urban-growth boundaries that left plenty of room for parks and other green spaces. Today, in new developments, shops are built at street level with apartments above them—following a European model that complements Portland’s slightly European, laid-back atmosphere.
The downtown area is a refreshing mix of the traditional and the offbeat: high-rise buildings are interspersed with clothing boutiques and restaurants serving sustainable cuisine. Streets here are narrow and the blocks are compact to encourage walking, which visitors are wont to do to take in the parks, plazas, and fountains. You can also get around the district on a vintage trolley. A popular place to hang out is Pioneer Courthouse Square, a 40,000-square-foot public space often referred to as “Portland’s living room.” In warmer months, the square hosts free shows and festivals, as does Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Located on the west bank of the Willamette River, the waterfront park was named 1 of 10 Great Public Spaces in America in 2012 by the American Planning Association.
Just north of downtown, the Pearl District, formerly a warehouse area, has recently sprouted a bevy of art galleries and specialty shops housed in lofts. It’s also one of the best bets for a good night out in the city, especially if you’re looking for a solid craft beer. Portland boasts one of the largest collections of microbreweries in the country, and a good number of them can be found in this neighborhood.