Tips to Portland are allowed via Amtrak Cascades, adjacent from Tacoma Dome Station. So in the great tradition of making a vacation out of what people do for work everyday, here are a few places to stop by on your day trip to Portland. And don’t forget: “Keep Portland Weird.”
1. Powell’s Books- If you’ve ever found yourself nostalgic for those fabled bookstores of yesteryear that only exist in history books and in Lakewood, Portlandia’s Powell City of Books has got your back. Stretching across an entire city block, you can read, drink coffee, find a comfy couch, or just browse a magazine like your parents did in the ’90s.
2. Old Town/Chinatown- Just like Tacoma, Portland has a similar seedy creation story filled with shady politicians, women of the night, and secret underground tunnels. And also like Tacoma, it became a hotbed for drug users and the homeless, only to become a sort of attraction for hipsters and lovers of historic buildings. JUST LIKE DOWNTOWN TACOMA. But unlike Tacoma, you can get some pretty amazing Chinese food here, too.
3. Forest Park – Portland’s answer to the East Coast’s Central Park is Forest Park. Here you will find over 500 acres of trails and rainforest. This is the epitome of the Pacific Northwestern experience, where rugged lovers of grunge and coffee walk a few blocks from their downtown apartments to get their nature on.
4. Voodoo Donuts- A national treasure, Voodoo Donuts (or ‘doughnuts’ if you’re fancy) is probably the one place you must go if you take a day trip here. Here you will find novelty shaped donuts with toppings like cereal, maple syrup, candy bars, and even bacon. You may be saying to yourself, “Fred Meyer has a fruity pebbles donut,” and to that I would first say, “sick,” and then of course that Voodoo did it first. It’s about tradition and the namesake of it all. You will also get to participate in the Washingtonian post-social networking tradition of bringing home a box of Voodoo to give to your top 12 friends. Suck it Myspace.
5. Buffalo Exchange- If you have been hate-following the hipster movement like I have, you will adhere to one of the two following creation stories. A: They started in Portland or B: They started in Brooklyn. Regardless, Portland is probably the headquarters of modern hipsters, so stop by Buffalo Exchange if you want to snag some secondhand American Apparel for dirt cheap.
6. Youth Hostels – If you didn’t leave before 10 a.m., you will likely want to cut your losses and crash at a youth hostel. Youth hostels are internationally recognized organizations and don’t usually charge more than $15 a night for a shared dorm.
Editor’s note: U-PASS does not offer rides to Portland.