So I had a class field trip to downtown Portland. (For the record, while I've been to Portland I don't go down there all the time like I know some people do... hey, you see how much I blog, where do you think I spend my time??) I was running low on time, so I ended up parking in a lot next to the Oregonian building, where my class was going to tour. (They're a local news-paper, but also have an extensive online news site, and we talked to people about video journalism. It was cool.) Anyway, I know the class thing would take a while, and parking was either for 1 hour, 2 hours, or all day. I just went for all day to be safe (and I now realize that I probably could've found cheaper places now, but whatev the past is the past.) So thus after our class trip, I decided to just walk around Down Town Portland, which is something I've never really done on my own.
I started out by getting down to the waterfront. I don't know about the east side, but the west side has quite an amazing waterfront, and it's even nicer when it's not crowded from some public event. Then I made my way down to the Steel Bridge and crossed over to the convention center, where Bricks Cascade is going to be. I walked around a little trying to see what good restaurants are nearby, and realized that the Lloyd Center Mall is within walking distance. (Somehow never made that connection before... remember, I said I don't go to DT Portland often, much less walk the streets for hours.) Lots of good restaurants there... and a Chipotle. I'll have to stop by there at least once during the convention.
Sadly, the local Lego Store is quite a ways away, and the TRU in the mall appears to be gone. It would've been really cool if the mall had a Lego Store within walking distance from the convention... I'm sure that would've helped business.
Then I crossed the bridge again, wandered around the Pearl, and went to VooDoo Doughnuts. I guess it's like the famous Portland doughnut place. It was fancy, and I could see lots of cool doughnuts they had in there. The one I got was decent. IMO a fun little place but not exactly what I would define Portland by. (My definition of the city would probably be all the cool bridges.) But I could tell it was popular... there was a fairly long line in the shot itself, and I could see where the line would go when it extends outside... they had it all the way down the block, which means they must get busy sometimes! Another fun note; I was trying to find the exact location, and then a few blocks away I could smell the doughnuts in the air before I even saw the shop. Crazy.
Then I went back to my car, and drove home, and got stuck in stop-and-go traffic on I-5 North. Standard stuff.
One of my main goals for this little excursion is to see what we can do in Portland for Bricks Cascade. I know a few people who are coming down to our area for the convention who might stay an extra day, so I'm thinking of all the cool stuff we could do. Walking across all the bridges would be neat, if we're up for the exercise. We could also go to Lloyd Center and go ice skating on their rink... for all of us who want to embarrass ourselves in public.
Another idea is to go to OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. Sure, it's not the Smithsonian, but it's still pretty awesome, depending on what exibits they have up in June. (I looked at their website... they don't seem to plan that far ahead.) We could also visit the Oregon Zoo, which is awesome even though I've been there many a times as a kid. My other ideas also involved driving through the Gorge and going on some of the nasty vertical hikes that are offered there... but dunno how others would appreciate that idea.
(Also, Velox suggested Laser Tag again, but there aren't any places quite as close as the one was in DC.
A few other notes of my little trip today; I walked far. My legs are sore now. I must've covered a couple of miles at least. Also, I'm impressed with the public transit in DT Portland. I didn't take it (because I was walking
) but it was all very high tech and nice. But the crosswalk things would speak to me, like really say "Do not cross yet." Or worst, "The light is already green, you didn't need to press this button loser." But the light was red just before I pressed it!! Um, anyway, yeah, interesting day.