Could you live in Portland?

There will be a moment during your visit to Portland, Oregon when you’ll have an epiphany. Maybe it won’t happen during your blissful stroll through one the city’s giant public parks, your nostrils fresh with the scent of pine trees and clean air. And it might not hit you during your $3 lunch at one of Portland’s plentiful food carts, your taste buds humming to a savory, cheesy mac n’ cheese made with locally produced Tillamook Cheddar. It might not even cross your mind as you get lost in aisles of Powell’s, a temple of a bookstore that fills an entire city block. But at some point you’ll be overwhelmed by how much you’re enjoying yourself and start to wonder: could I live in Portland? Why am I not here already?

Portland is a place that seems as if it was created with travelers in mind. Everything about it, from the city’s accessible size and convenient public transportation, to its killer food and beer culture, top-notch shopping and easy access to nature, is made to appeal to the visitor in ways that feel welcoming, inspiring and surprising. In a word: wonderful. Sure, as a visitor it’s easy enough to glance over the city’s problems: the unemployment rate is currently hovering above 10%, and for much of the year the city is shrouded in a gloomy, misty haze of rain. But these facts ultimately pale in comparison to the reasons why Portland is such a forward-thinking, livable destination.

Could you live in Portland? Or maybe you’re just curious about making a visit? Keep reading below for our Portland tips.Getting in, getting around
Portland visitors will arrive at Portland International Airport (PDX), located about 45 minutes from the downtown city proper. Don’t bother with a taxi – for just over $2, you can jump on the clean, speedy Light Rail to whisk you towards downtown. Public transport is a big win here: a one-day pass covering rides on all city light rail, bus and street car lines is just $4.75. Travelers who are renting/driving a car will find there’s ample street parking, though the city does have occasional traffic gridlock (no place is without a few flaws, right?).

Portland is bisected by the Willamette River, and most addresses and neighborhoods identified by their relationship to this body of water. On the West side of the River you’ll find Portland’s main commercial center. Just North of this (in the Northwest) is the Pearl District, a humming district of art galleries, shopping and killer cuisine. In the NW, the area along 23rd Avenue is also popular for shopping.

The East side of Portland is decidedly more low-key, but definitely worth a visit. In the Northeast you’ll find plenty to check out on Mississippi Avenue. The happening Southeast is anchored by plenty of great dining and shopping along Hawthorne Boulevard.

What to do
With so much to see, eat, buy and explore in Portland, a better question for first-time visitors might be, what shouldn’t you do?

  • Have a brew – like beer? Welcome to Nirvana. Boasting one of the largest concentrations of microbreweries in the country, you’d be hard-pressed to come to Portland and not enjoy one of the town’s outstanding, locally-crafted beers.Though you can’t go wrong at most bars, spots like Deschutes, Henry’s Tavern and Laurelwood get consistently high marks.
  • Eat out – not only is Portland a great town for beer, it’s also a great town for outrageously fresh, delicious food. One of the greatest features of Portland is the city’s many cheap food carts. Ditch that bland bag lunch and track down tasty fare with the locals, like Schnitzel sandwiches and tip-top Thai food at Nong’s. At night, head to the SE for dinner at Pok Pok, one of Portland’s best restaurants.
  • Parks – Portland’s reputation for livability and beauty has a lot to do with the city’s plentiful parkland. It’s a great way to spend the day, enjoying a blissful trail hike, riding a bike or simply stopping to smell the roses. Check out Forest Park, one of the nation’s largest urban parks. During the summer, stop by Portland’s Rose Garden for thousands of the colorful flowers overlooking the city’s downtown.
  • Shop local – the diversity and quality of Portland’s small-scale retail is unmatched. Visitors will be hard-pressed to track down a chain store and everywhere you look are creative, one-of-a-kind handmade goods. The mother of all bookstores is Powell’s, a modern-day “Great Library” bursting with new and used tomes. Music lovers flock to stores like Mississippi Records in Portland’s Northeast.

Killer food and drink. Blissful nature. Quirky local shopping. What’s not to like about Portland? Perhaps it’s time you came to check out this buzzing Pacific Northwest capital for yourself. But consider yourself warned – spend a weekend in Portland and you’ll come away wanting more.

Three products for people who carry too much stuff on the plane

Ever found yourself sitting in your coach seat with way too much stuff? Your iPod, magazines, mobile phone, water bottle, headphones, bag of snacks and a book? Or things could be even worse, and you’ll have kids to your left and right which means you also have diapers, more books, crayons, toys, wipes and juice boxes.

Lets face it – coach seats are not designed for people with stuff, the seat pocket is usually occupied by the airline magazine, stale pretzels and of course, the Sky Mall catalog.

This is where the three products in this article can help – they each offer a way to help you carry some of that stuff, and get it organized once you reach your seat.
Zen Class Travel Nirvana Seatback Organizer and Travel Tote

The Nirvana seatback organizer is the perfect product for people with too much stuff. The bag starts out as a shoulder tote, and once on board your plane, you open it up and hang it on the seatback table.

Inside this tote is where you’ll find multiple pockets, a bottle holder and even special pockets for your MP3 player and memory cards/sim cards.

The Nirvana Seatback Organzier and Travel Tote is available directly from the manufacturer, and costs $39.99.

Sarahbelli “Tray Bien”

The Sarahbelli Tray Bien is different kind of seatback table organizer. The Tray Bien slides over the entire table, and comes in various designs.

Each design is specifically made to hold stuff for its intended user – the kids version holds crayons, coloring books and a water bottle, the baby version holds a baby bottle, diapers and wipes, and the traveler version is designed for your mobile phone, MP3 player, magazines and a water bottle.

Each of the six versions costs $39.95, and can be ordered directly from Sarahbelli.

The Cup-Pilot

The final product in this lineup only holds one item – but to many travelers it’s the one product they’d never want to board the plane without.

The Cup-Pilot is a cleverly designed cup holder, which can be attached to almost anything. It’ll hang on your tray table or even on your rolling suitcase.

The Cup-Pilot was invented by Patrick J. Garahan, who twice served as Secretary of Transportation for the State of Vermont, so this man knows a thing or two about travel.

The product costs $18.95 and can be ordered directly on their site, or from Sky Mall.

(Via: Flyertalk)