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Vacation Seattle or Portland?
Old 06-30-2016, 12:12 PM   #1
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Vacation Seattle or Portland?

Other than CA, almost all our vacation travel has been midwest, east or south, so we need to shake things up.

Things we like (in rough order):
  • Cities vs remote locations
  • Outdoors, especially on/near the water
  • Restaurants
  • Shopping Looking
  • Museums/art/music
Recognizing some of these places don't fit all the above criteria, some of our favorite travel destinations would include Austin, Chapel Hill, Asheville, Nantucket, Newport, Napa.

Planning on traveling in Sept - any guidance as to which western city/area we might enjoy more?
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:39 PM   #2
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San Francisco! Sorry. Why not both? It's only a 3 hour drive or 4 hours on Amtrak. Another option would be Vancouver, BC. All three cities are safe and clean. Seattle and Vancouver are both waterfront. Portland has the Columbia but is a fair distance from the ocean. Vancouver has decent beaches close to downtown if you are into that. Vancouver is the same drive time from Seattle as Portland is. I don't think you can go wrong with either city. My preference was slightly in favour of Seattle over Portland.
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:45 PM   #3
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I've vacationed in Seattle/Olympic Penninsula about 15 times. Been to PDX a few times. Obviously I prefer SEA.
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:52 PM   #4
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Being a native of Seattle, and convicted to never move, I am a little biased. Portland has a great foodie appeal, and great surrounding areas to explorer. If you never been to Seattle in Sept, it should be on the top of your list. Go to Paul Allen's Experience Music Project, EMP for a museum of music not to miss. With the waterfront, theater, and great restaurants Seattle is hard to beat, except for maybe the eastside. You can do a day trip on a ferry up to Victoria BC, or just drive 2.5 hours up to BC and explorer. The NW typically has great weather in the early fall, of course my fingers are webbed for a reason.
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Old 06-30-2016, 12:56 PM   #5
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Also to mention, I just took the family (with husbands) on an Alaska cruise from Seattle RT. Its a great option to tie this in if you can in the early fall. Of course, some may not want to spend time on a ship, but Celebrity has some very nice accommodations.
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Old 06-30-2016, 01:21 PM   #6
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We spent a week in Seattle, Victoria, BC and Vancouver.

All great places in close proximity to each other.
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:11 PM   #7
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I'm going to both in August; I'm thinking I'll like both! Seattle has the water; you can ferry to surrounding islands or water taxi to the various parts of the city; Portland is the gateway for the Columbia River Gorge....so much to do!
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Happyras View Post
Being a native of Seattle, and convicted to never move, I am a little biased.
Was your sentence to just sit somewhere? I hope you were at least allowed rain gear.

Ha
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:18 PM   #9
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Do you like sun?
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Old 06-30-2016, 02:19 PM   #10
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We just got back from our west coast road trip that started in Seattle. Only spent 1 day and night there - went to the Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass, and roamed around downtown. I'm not a city person, but I enjoyed Seattle. Didn't go to Portland.
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Old 06-30-2016, 03:57 PM   #11
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Vancouver was great; Liked Portland mainly for the Columbia River Valley waterfalls, Mt Hood, and wineries. Never been to Seattle.
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Old 06-30-2016, 04:16 PM   #12
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Like them both. Would probably lean towards SEA - but just barely. Great times on coast close to PDX, or up the Columbia River Gorge. Same with SEA - lots to do, lots of great places to eat, we always end up heading out to the Olympic Peninsula and sometimes even Victoria BC.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:07 PM   #13
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We try to drive down to Seattle and Portland somewhat regularly. We like them both.

In Seattle, we generally centre our trip around a visit to Pike Place Market and the area around it. Pike Place Chowder is a must. We may walk down to the pier (which is being redeveloped) or walk over to Westlake Centre and/or Pacific Place mall. We occasionally walk over to the International district and Pioneer Square area to check out the shops and restaurants.
Not sure if a stadium tour or taking in a Mariners or Seahawks game interest you but they're really nice stadiums. While walking around to various destinations around downtown, we find there are a number of dead zones (at least during the weekend).
We also like to track down farmers markets which have led us to different neighbourhoods. The one in West Seattle is small but driving around the neighbourhood along the water is nice. We also frequent one in the University District which also has a bit of a retail area nearby.

We don't do a lot of shopping in Seattle. We'll typically hit Seattle Premium on the way down or venture further south to Southcenter Mall.

We hit up a lot of different fish & chip, chowder, and pizza places when visiting Seattle. One quirky place we like to eat at when the timing is right is Maneki.

One area on our list we never get around doing is walking around the Space Needle, EMP, and Olympic Sculpture Park.

Lots of potential destinations in Seattle along some body of water.


In Portland, we generally centre our trip around a visit to the Farmers Market around PSU and the Saturday Market along the Willamette River. We'll also walk around Pioneer Square which seems to frequently have activities happening in it. There's a lot of retail along the square too. We'll also walk around the Pearl District.

In Portland, what drives us to visit areas outside of downtown are food cart pods and restaurants we're interested in. There's generally two areas we'll regularly visit: NE to Mississippi Ave and east along Hawthorne. Mississippi has a bunch of small shops and restaurants with a food cart pod at the end.
Along Hawthorne, there's a food cart pod along 12 Ave (with two of our favourite carts: Potato Champion and Pyro Pizza). Further down, we'll visit Apizza Scholls. We just find Hawthorne an interesting street to walk or drive along.
Other food places we try to hit up are Olympic Provisions and Laurelhurst Market among the various the various food carts on our list.

We seem to run across a lot of festivals and events when visiting Portland in the spring/summer like a craft beer fest, food cart fest, street art festival (Art in the Pearl), etc.

For shopping, our primary destination is a run south to the Woodburn Outlets. Along the way, we may stop at Bridgeport Village, an outdoor mall. The "regular mall" we usually visit is Washington Square. We may also hit up the Nike Outlet but it's not a special outlet.

Quirky stuff we like to do include stuff like playing video games at Ground Kontrol, buy doughnuts at Voodoo (really touristy), get lost in Powell Books, etc.
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Old 06-30-2016, 06:08 PM   #14
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