How To Spend A Day In Portland, Oregon


Ray Collins

We visited Vancouver and Seattle—and thought we’d take an Amtrak to spend a day in Portland while
we were in the region. One of my nephews lived there a couple years ago and told us to run, not walk,
directly to Nob Hill—which turned out to be great advice.

Nob Hill is full of Victorian houses, tree-lined streets—and even more interesting, fifteen trendy blocks
of shopping and dining along NW 23 rd Avenue. Erin and I spent hours going up one side and down the
other, stopping for brunch and even came back later in the day for dinner before we headed to the

Unlike Vancouver and Seattle where we didn’t need a car, Portland does require wheels. Our next stop
after Nob Hill was only two miles away, but straight uphill from the Northwest District to the West Hills
of Portland.

My trusty nephew told us we could accomplish two goals in this next side-trip: To see a really cool
mansion of one of early Portland’s business moguls—and be in position to go on a leafy hike through an
adjacent trail.

Pittock Mansion reminded me of the Ringling mansion in Sarasota. Both were built in the first quarter
of the 20 th century—and both have been restored to honor the respective pioneers of industry. (Henry
Pittock published The Oregonian newspaper and John Ringling was the most successful of five brothers
behind their self-named circus.) Both gentlemen also only lived in their respective mansions a short
time before passing away. The lesson—make your fortune early in life! Both mansions also fell into
disrepair later in the century before being renovated into the tourist attractions they are today. They’re
also both owned by the government.

Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style mansion on the hill that looks out at the downtown
Portland skyline. Adjacent to the sprawling grounds is a hiking trail nearly a thousand feet in elevation.
It was nice to conveniently park once for both attractions.

We were going to check out other areas for dinner, but decided we saw too much we liked in Nob Hill so
went back there for our final hours in the region. We took an Uber to the airport and flew overnight
from the Pacific Northwest back to the Atlantic Southeast—happy to have experienced another great
city outside our usual paths.

Ray Collins is a travel writer who usually spends more than a few hours in each city he writes about. You
can see 150 other articles he has had published at Ray is also an
award-winning Sarasota-based Realtor, an elected official and former TV news anchor.