Portland, Oregon

When I Went: April 13-16, 2013

Was That the Best Time of Year to Go? Personally, I thought mid-spring was the perfect time for us to go. Portland is such a green city, and everything was in bloom wherever you looked.

Why I Went There: For a scouting trip with family members who were interested in moving to Portland. And also because… IT’S PORTLAND

Who Went With Me? My brother and sister-in-law

We Stayed Here: We stayed in the Northwest Portland Hostel, which is in two beautiful historic homes in the Nob Hill district. It was my first time to stay at a hostel and I had low expectations, but was blown away by how warm and inviting both the staff and fellow travelers were. It felt like you were all bunking in someone’s home, complete with a full kitchen, where meals were served in the evening and a lovely little courtyard, and all within walking distance to tons of restaurants, shopping and transportation. Great little coffee shop across the street, too, that offered discounts to hostel travelers.

You Won’t Want to Miss: Walking on foot, biking or taking public transit. There are so many hole-in-the-wall places, and the city itself is just such a pleasure to experience. I would take it slow and soak everything in.

Eat Here: At any of the food carts! They have whole blocks filled with amazing and affordable food carts that span from Thai to Polish cuisine. I had a Banana Nutella Pecan waffle from one that will never be forgotten. Oh, and Coffeehouse Northwest.

Play Here: The Portland Japanese Garden during the day. It’s nestled in the woods, up high enough to overlook Portland, and so soul-soothing.

If I Went Again: I would spend more time researching and visiting the restaurants and local art/live theater/etc. shows. Because it was a scouting trip with family members who have small children, we focused on the family-friendly elements–gardens, museums, neighborhoods, etc., and didn’t put too much emphasis on meals or recreation.

How Did You Get There From Dallas? Flew from DFW to PDX via US Airways

Other Tips For Fellow Travelers: Portland has some of the friendliest, most helpful people I’ve ever met. I was initially afraid of its hipster reputation, but found it to be an eminently walkable, laid-back city, chock-full of historic homes, parks and blooms and people who just seemed happy to be there and happy to be doing things they loved.

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