Portland Advice?

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#1
Maryland
23 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
Good morning!

I'm going on an Alaskan Cruise next year, leaving from Vancouver. I'm going to spend the week before hopping up the coast from Portland to Seattle to Vancouver. I've gotten a lot of great advice from this board on the last two stops. Anyone have some "can't miss" information on Portland? We are excited to hit a handful of the breweries the Pacific Northwest is famous for, and some donuts.

Other than that, what are the best "attractions", restaurants, bars, etc. that we must hit during our stay?

Thanks!
#2
Anchorage, Alaska
3,216 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
I’m kind of thinking this may not be your cup of tea since you’ve mentioned the attractions you’re interested in are bars and restaurants. If we had a couple days in Portland and had a rental we’d be driving the Historic Columbia River Highway.
#3
Seattle WA
4,522 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Originally posted by RU_Gremlin
Good morning!

I'm going on an Alaskan Cruise next year, leaving from Vancouver. I'm going to spend the week before hopping up the coast from Portland to Seattle to Vancouver. I've gotten a lot of great advice from this board on the last two stops. Anyone have some "can't miss" information on Portland? We are excited to hit a handful of the breweries the Pacific Northwest is famous for, and some donuts.

Other than that, what are the best "attractions", restaurants, bars, etc. that we must hit during our stay?

Thanks!
Originally posted by Glaciers
I’m kind of thinking this may not be your cup of tea since you’ve mentioned the attractions you’re interested in are bars and restaurants. If we had a couple days in Portland and had a rental we’d be driving the Historic Columbia River Highway.
Both are easily combined.

While it's currently closed following the fires from last month, by next year the Historic Highway should be reopened. It's one of the most scenic roads in the country - it passes numerous waterfalls and vista points, you can visit Herman the Sturgeon at the Bonneville hatchery.

At the west end of the main part of the Gorge (around 10 minutes east of Portland airport) is the very fun McMenamins Edgefield, a remarkable resort in the converted Multnomah County Poor Farm. McMenamins is an Oregon-based owner of various hotels, bars, restaurants, movie theaters. The Edgefield incorporates a brewery, distillery, winery, spa, movie theater, gardens, umpteen bars and places to eat, listen to music... check it out at https://www.mcmenamins.com/edgefield

Then at the east end of the "waterfall corridor" in the Gorge is Hood River. Hood River is a charming town, home of several craft breweries and wineries, and is a big center for wind surfing, kiteboarding and other activities on the Columbia. The Hood River valley extends south from the town up to Mount Hood; the valley is full of orchards, vineyards, and (IMO) is one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest, and that's saying something. You can be at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood (used in The Shining) in an hour from Hood River.




An hour farther east from Hood River is the funky Maryhill Museum with its collection of - among other things - many of Rodin's plaster studies for his famous sculptures - http://www.maryhillmuseum.org/ - and a little further is a replica of Stonehenge sitting on the cliffs over the river.



If Seattle is your next stop, a terrific route to take is to head north from Maryhill on US 97 through terrific "old west" country and through the Yakama Indian reservation to Yakima, then on I-82 and I-90 into Seattle from the east. From Hood River this "eastern" route takes basically the same time as the route up I-5 from Portland, but it's way, way more scenic and interesting.
#4
YVR & PDX
3,873 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
^+1 to the above, and aside from specifying that you definitely want to visit Vista House as one of the scenic stops along the gorge I really don't have a thing to add to that I82-Maryhill-US97 loop, it definitely incorporates the top views and the oddest of Great American Roadtrip roadside attractions. I'll even tolerate McMenamins beers - which in almost any other state of the union would be very good, but suffer poorly in comparison to the truly ridonkulous number of great Oregon brews - because they do do a superb job with their building renovation & repurposings (consider staying in one of their hotels - e.g. the Kennedy School in Portland - for a night).

On the Portland itself front, which breweries/restos/donuteries to visit definitely needs more info about your tastes, budget, and tolerance for queuing up. The donut angle is the only one I'm confident in summarizing - tourists go to Voodoo because they are gloriously weird, but actually making a quality donut was never their game plan; it's all about ridiculous toppings which sometimes work and sometimes don't on top of middle-of-the-road donuts. Tim Hortons up here makes better actual donuts than Voodoo...

Blue Star is the bees knees of modern donuts - and if you prefer old-school then Pips or waiting until you get to Seattle to eat Top Pot. For me, as a broad-spectrum donut lover, Blue Star spanks literally everything else out there - I only eat them once a year as a birthday treat these days (diabetes), and I have returned to Blue Star for my donut fix every year since they opened. Their Old Fashioned base is pretty much as good as anyone's but their brioche dough version is, pardon the pun, the real bread & butter of their rep. If in doubt, start with the Blueberry Bourbon Basil.

Resto-wise, you have to hit a Food Truck pod for a casual meal - but there's so many that again without knowing what would be the best kind of food for you impossible to say which to hit - and at least one locavore PNW resto. But depending how high/low brow you like your food, it's seriously challenging to say which to visit. Kachka definitely deserves all the praise heaped upon it, and how often do you find good Russian food in the US?

Happy Hour in the Portland City Grill is a safe bet - be prompt if you want a window seat, it's all about the views! The regular menu is a fairly typical big city steakhouse affair, but there's a few quirkier items available too (kung pao calamari is reliably good) and it's very keenly price during Happy Hour (worth a buck or two extra per beer compared to Bailey's close by for the view). I could go on for hours about the food scene - but instead I'll point you to Eater, where the PDX site is very active and should give you a very solid start on new & interesting as well as tried & true eateries.

Baileys is the pub to go if you want a single spot to sample as many beers as possible - while there are a couple of other beer halls with even more choices on tap, they are pricier and less convenient for downtown core tourism. If you have the time to actually visit multiple breweries, then you need to do more research or give examples of particular beer styles and other breweries you enjoy to tease out the likeliest candidates for you - personally I'd try comparing different takes on the same kind of beer all the way up the coast. I think at last count Portland alone was approaching 70 breweries inside the city limits, more than anywhere else on the planet (they overtook Cologne last century IIRC) so it's simply not even feasible for most to sample even one product from each brewery!!!

Other stuff to do - Tripadvisor is a great starting point, but there are some things that are way down the list due to their obscurity that might really make for a definitively Portlandian experience. Try googling 'weirdest things to do in Portland' and you'll find lots of travel blogs with big lists of stuff. The single best thing we've done was the bridge tour we went on - with PDX Bridge Tours. While there are some cities that have more bridges, apparently there's nowhere else you can actually see every type of bridge simultaneously - and you get to join an operator inside their 'control tower' as well as actually standing inside the guts of a bridge while it's opened & closed.
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#5
LA
370 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
I would skip TripAdvisor, way way too many fake reviews for that place to be useful. You will certainly be able to spend the entirety of your time in Portland on microbrews but there are also a bunch of micro distilleries in Portland now you might want to look at. It's called Distillery row you can Google that. You could also go north across the river to the Northwest fur trading post it's pretty impressive.
#6
Seattle WA
4,522 Posts
Joined Jan 2002
Originally posted by martincath
^+1 to the above, and aside from specifying that you definitely want to visit Vista House as one of the scenic stops along the gorge...
If you're traveling eastbound along the historic highway, you actually want to pull off before Vista House at the Portland Women's Forum viewpoint, aka Chanticleer Point. It gives you the iconic view of the Gorge including Vista House for scale, e.g.


#7
Washington
2,170 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by geeko1
I would skip TripAdvisor, way way too many fake reviews for that place to be useful.
How were you able to determine how many fake reviews there are on TripAdvisor?
#8
LA
370 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
Originally posted by Husky61
How were you able to determine how many fake reviews there are on TripAdvisor?
Don't recall which one but either Yale or Harvard did a study.
#9
Maryland
23 Posts
Joined Jun 2017
Originally posted by martincath
^+1 to the above, and aside from specifying that you definitely want to visit Vista House as one of the scenic stops along the gorge I really don't have a thing to add to that I82-Maryhill-US97 loop, it definitely incorporates the top views and the oddest of Great American Roadtrip roadside attractions. I'll even tolerate McMenamins beers - which in almost any other state of the union would be very good, but suffer poorly in comparison to the truly ridonkulous number of great Oregon brews - because they do do a superb job with their building renovation & repurposings (consider staying in one of their hotels - e.g. the Kennedy School in Portland - for a night).

On the Portland itself front, which breweries/restos/donuteries to visit definitely needs more info about your tastes, budget, and tolerance for queuing up. The donut angle is the only one I'm confident in summarizing - tourists go to Voodoo because they are gloriously weird, but actually making a quality donut was never their game plan; it's all about ridiculous toppings which sometimes work and sometimes don't on top of middle-of-the-road donuts. Tim Hortons up here makes better actual donuts than Voodoo...

Blue Star is the bees knees of modern donuts - and if you prefer old-school then Pips or waiting until you get to Seattle to eat Top Pot. For me, as a broad-spectrum donut lover, Blue Star spanks literally everything else out there - I only eat them once a year as a birthday treat these days (diabetes), and I have returned to Blue Star for my donut fix every year since they opened. Their Old Fashioned base is pretty much as good as anyone's but their brioche dough version is, pardon the pun, the real bread & butter of their rep. If in doubt, start with the Blueberry Bourbon Basil.

Resto-wise, you have to hit a Food Truck pod for a casual meal - but there's so many that again without knowing what would be the best kind of food for you impossible to say which to hit - and at least one locavore PNW resto. But depending how high/low brow you like your food, it's seriously challenging to say which to visit. Kachka definitely deserves all the praise heaped upon it, and how often do you find good Russian food in the US?

Happy Hour in the Portland City Grill is a safe bet - be prompt if you want a window seat, it's all about the views! The regular menu is a fairly typical big city steakhouse affair, but there's a few quirkier items available too (kung pao calamari is reliably good) and it's very keenly price during Happy Hour (worth a buck or two extra per beer compared to Bailey's close by for the view). I could go on for hours about the food scene - but instead I'll point you to Eater, where the PDX site is very active and should give you a very solid start on new & interesting as well as tried & true eateries.

Baileys is the pub to go if you want a single spot to sample as many beers as possible - while there are a couple of other beer halls with even more choices on tap, they are pricier and less convenient for downtown core tourism. If you have the time to actually visit multiple breweries, then you need to do more research or give examples of particular beer styles and other breweries you enjoy to tease out the likeliest candidates for you - personally I'd try comparing different takes on the same kind of beer all the way up the coast. I think at last count Portland alone was approaching 70 breweries inside the city limits, more than anywhere else on the planet (they overtook Cologne last century IIRC) so it's simply not even feasible for most to sample even one product from each brewery!!!

Other stuff to do - Tripadvisor is a great starting point, but there are some things that are way down the list due to their obscurity that might really make for a definitively Portlandian experience. Try googling 'weirdest things to do in Portland' and you'll find lots of travel blogs with big lists of stuff. The single best thing we've done was the bridge tour we went on - with PDX Bridge Tours. While there are some cities that have more bridges, apparently there's nowhere else you can actually see every type of bridge simultaneously - and you get to join an operator inside their 'control tower' as well as actually standing inside the guts of a bridge while it's opened & closed.
Wow... A ton of great information in here. That bridge tour sounds different and cool. I'll look into it a little more.

To answer your other questions: we'd like to consider ourselves "foodies". We are game to try anything once (okay, I'm game to try anything once, she'll wait to hear if it's good or not). We aren't looking to break the bank, but definitely will splurge for a nice meal if it's worth it. As to how high/low brow we're looking to go: I don't plan on breaking out the suit until the cruise ship. It would be nice if it was casual enough that nice casual/business casual dress wouldn't get weird stares.


We do want to stop at a food truck pod at some point (is there a map of where they are usually located? I found an app but it was last updated 2015), and planned on hitting the Saturday Market as well to see what's there.

And just so people don't think it's all about the food and booze (although, it is a LOT about the food), we're already looking to go to the Rose Test Garden, Lan Su, Powell's, etc. We just also want some things that may not appear without digging 10 pages deep into Trip Advisor or other "tourist-y" websites but are one of a kind or must see experiences.

Another point: we are only looking to have a rental car on days we are going from city to city, else we plan on relying on public transportation or walking.
#10
YVR & PDX
3,873 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by Gardyloo
If you're traveling eastbound along the historic highway, you actually want to pull off before Vista House at the Portland Women's Forum viewpoint, aka Chanticleer Point. It gives you the iconic view of the Gorge including Vista House for scale, e.g.
Yup, I certainly didn't mean to ONLY stop at Vista House - but there's a reason it was built where it was... and it has the best elevator ever inside! But I know what you mean about views from iconic building not including them, I have the same issue with the Space Needle and CN Tower - they're such a definitive part of the skyline that not seeing them makes your pics look like they're wrong somehow!

Originally posted by RU_Gremlin
Wow... A ton of great information in here. That bridge tour sounds different and cool. I'll look into it a little more.

It was certainly a very well-organised and informative tour, and quite different from any of the other architectural/historic tours we've taken due to the very specific focus - we worried it would be TOO niche, but there's a great mix of anecdotes and dryer facts, and since it's only ever run by the one guy it should be very consistent.

To answer your other questions: we'd like to consider ourselves "foodies". We are game to try anything once (okay, I'm game to try anything once, she'll wait to hear if it's good or not). We aren't looking to break the bank, but definitely will splurge for a nice meal if it's worth it. As to how high/low brow we're looking to go: I don't plan on breaking out the suit until the cruise ship. It would be nice if it was casual enough that nice casual/business casual dress wouldn't get weird stares.

There are a handful of PDX and SEA restos with a dress code - and they're all very pricey. Vancouver doesn't have any at all these days, so even throwing on a tie will out you among the best-dressed men in almost any resto unless.

It's impossible to keep up with new openings in person even though we dine out every second night when we're down in our 'urban cottage' - Eater is our main source for new openings and initial reviews to see if it's likely to be somewhere we might enjoy, so I'll stick to places that we've had multiple great meals at and are part of our regular rotation.

I'd suggest Park Kitchen as a very reliable PNW locavore place - and since it went grat-free it's very easy to budget as what you see is exactly what you pay, and since there's no impact on staff tips during happy hour you can get the cheaper priced drinks & items at all the tables, not just at the bar. We almost always spend US$120-150 between two of us for a cocktail and 2 glasses of wine each (or occasionally a whole bottle), plus enough food to feel quite full. It's not quite as good as Paley's on the fancier items - that's where we go for our foie gras/sweetbread - but we've had some of the best veggie dishes ever in Park (if you see anything involving beets, order it).

If you want a more Portlandian menu than in the City Grill, but still want a high up view, then Departure might work - its up on top of the Macy's downtown, technically part of The Nines Hotel. I'm usually thoroughly underwhelmed by 'modern' restaurant decor, and went solely for the food, but I actually found that the design was extremely well done - it's like you're inside a really nice airport! It's modern Chinese - but there's a whole lot of fusion/locavore/hipster chef stuff going on so try not to assume too much! lots of small plates available so you can try a few very different items, see if it's your thing or not.

Same building but down on the interior courtyard level on 9 is the Urban Farmer steakhouse - if you ever wanted to do a 'horizontal steak tasting' (same type of cow, same cut, same aging, but different fodder) this is where you should come.

Kachka I do recommend because it's awesome - and by next year their new larger location will be well open (they're keeping the original too, they are very popular). The food is based on old family recipes but updated with a bit more subtlety & presentation - the Must Do dish remains Herring Under a Fur Coat and do yourself a favour by pretending that the flavoured vodkas are just very tightly-flavoured Gins if you are not a vodka drinker (I had not drunk vodka in twenty years before visiting, but now I happily knock back at least one carafe of the Caraway flavour). It's actually very reasonably priced, as most of the dishes have fundamentally cheap ingredients and can be made in bulk - so despite being rated as one of the best US restos of the last decade, you can easily get in and out for a hundred bucks a couple if you arrive at the end of Happy Hour to get a few bucks of your first round of food and drink.

If you wanted one splurge resto, that you'd blend in with a sportcoat & tie on, I'd recommend Paley's Place - St Jack might be a smidge better at classic French fare, Le Pigeon might be a bit more envelope-pushing (but I hate the shared tables - I always worry that if the person next me isn't the ******* of the table, I must be!), but the food and service are always exemplary at Paley's and the menu always has a few new items and at least a couple of our faves. It's one of those long-running, family-owned, keep on the classics that regulars demand but continue pushing the envelope and bringing new stuff into the rotation every season places - the most common descriptor I've come across for east coast visitors is that it's Portland's equivalent of Balthazar (and while it's not as fancy as that, I've yet to see a T-shirt worn by anyone over age 12 among patrons, and we keep seeing the same faces over and over among servers, hosts, bartenders so they seem to treat their staff well too).

We do want to stop at a food truck pod at some point (is there a map of where they are usually located? I found an app but it was last updated 2015), and planned on hitting the Saturday Market as well to see what's there.
Try this one - but if in doubt, the most easily-found one in the downtown core is right next to Target; covers two blocks centred on 10th & Alder, and has several well-known carts and some super-obscure (you can even get haggis, although it's a pretty typical North American not-actually-a-proper-haggis with no lung tissue, though everything else is very authentic as the dude who runs it is Scottish). The german sausage guy is also excellent, and unlike 99% of carts actually has his own little 'beer garden' with seats & tables for a half dozen or so. There are also a few carts down at the market, but I find that they're never among the best ones which prefer permanent locations, and tend to offer more generic streetfood like tacos, hotdogs, ice cream.

And just so people don't think it's all about the food and booze (although, it is a LOT about the food), we're already looking to go to the Rose Test Garden, Lan Su, Powell's, etc. We just also want some things that may not appear without digging 10 pages deep into Trip Advisor or other "tourist-y" websites but are one of a kind or must see experiences.
Skip Lan Su since you're coming to Vancouver - it's the 'little brother' of our own Dr Sun Yat-Sen garden, and while not a straight copy is a poorer quality, less-authentic version of basically the same style of scholar's garden. Unless you want to do both, it's hard to argue with the bigger, better, newly-renovated, cheaper version up here being the one of the two that you want to hit... and be careful if asking for directions, especially on transit since the streetcar now makes a complete loop. Stupidly enough there is a small part of town called Rose Garden (which doesn't have one...) next to the Rose Quarter on the other side of the river from the Rose Test Garden!

With Portland's inherent hipstery weirdness, there are tons of weird things to see and do - some of which start being avoided by many locals once they climb the TA charts of mainstreamness. Zoobomb still manages to run despite becoming very well-known now (you may have difficulty getting a loner bike from the 'artwork' these days) but the need to bring your own lights does cut down on casual tourists. It's certainly unique!

The museum of vacuum cleaners and the 'dance of the dead Franz bread' (you can actually tour the bakery if you have a group of at least 10 people, but the huge windows mean it's free to watch the conveyors still operating after the bakery closes with a handful of leftover items just going up & down, round & round all the various tracks - quite hypnotic when you've sampled a few beers at nearby Burnside brewing!) are things that I don't think I've ever seen more than a couple of other people looking at.

Iconic Portland views/photos that must be done, touristy or not, include - getting your own pic of The Portland Oregon Sign and the Old Town Watertower (walk over Burnside Bridge - winter is better as the trees which block it have no leaves then and they add a red nose to the deer!), the Other Portland Sign (on Broadway, Arlene Schnitzer concert hall - unfortunately missing right now for cleaning, but that means it should be extra-shiny for you next summer), and then ideally get lost and have to ask someone as you attempt to find the ridiculously-hard-to-find-considering-it's-the-second-largest-copper-statue in the US Portlandia statue (yes, the show is named after this piece - and the best hint I can offer is 'look up') since it's impossible to get a really good picture of the thing thanks to the terrible location so the story about what a bugger it is to find is the memento you get to keep;-)

If it's a late season cruise, you might be in time to see one of the best nature-meets-humanity marvels - the swifts congregating in Chapman school's tower. While there's never quite as many as you'll see outside any stadium that Tay-Tay is playing, these swifts are much better behaved than hers;-) It truly is a sight to behold - even the 'worst' dates late Aug and early Oct with a 'only' couple of thousand birds plummeting into the tower.

Even if you don't do the bridge tour, do walk along the riverside - or bike - and cross over at least once to the other side (OMSI is over there, and there are many good resto/brewery areas on the cheaper side of the river too) so you can see some of the bridges - if you get lucky the Steel Bridge will open while you're near it (it has a unique two-level system for different height ranges of vessel).

Oregon, rather than Portland, has several excellent aviation museums - including the massive Evergreen complex which houses the Spruce Goose among others - and as you'd expect from a coastal state, some maritime offerings too. The best of these are right in Portland - the submarine Bluebuck at OMSI (which is a great science center even without the sub!) and the most criminally undersung historic thing in the country IMO, the Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum which maintains the only remaining WWII landing craft on the NPS national register. Considering over half of the 5000+ strong US fleet was this type of vessel, it's just insane to me how there are so few left anywhere!

Another point: we are only looking to have a rental car on days we are going from city to city, else we plan on relying on public transportation or walking.
You probably couldn't visit a better US city then - compared to Portland every other transit system basically sucks in the US. It's easy to use, very up-to-date (you can pay by phone onboard and get cheaper tix, no need to go get a reloadable card), goes to everywhere you could ever want to go inside the city, and aside from the occasional random nutjob that you could as easily run into on the street, very safe. The only oddity is that Streetcar tickets are priced differently - $2 instead of $2.50 these days - but regular Trimet day passes work on streetcars as well as MAX/buses. At $5 for a daypass bought from a machine at any streetcar/MAX stop it's incredible value, even if the 'no fare' zone downtown no longer exists.

The riverside walk/bike lanes are quite extensive - bike rentals are common, and they have 'Boris Bikes' for short-term rentals that are the cheapest way to get short rides ($12 for a day pass, which gives up to 3 hours total use over the day - ideal for hopping around between sites).

Man, that's more than I meant to write when I sat down - hopefully that gets your research off to a solid start!

Originally posted by geeko1
I would skip TripAdvisor, way way too many fake reviews for that place to be useful.
TA certainly does have plenty of bought & paid for (or just 'friends of the owners') reviews, but generally they're easy to spot - limited wordage, few other posts from the same poster (or a freakish array of one resto per city for dozens of cities all over the place). But as soon as a spot gets into the hundreds and thousands of reviews it's a reliable indicator of RELATIVE popularity (never out & out quality unfortunately, especially of food, since it's very hard to be objective about food). To me it's still my first cut at any new city - but definitely seek other verification. If TA disagrees with e.g. Expedia hotel ratings, the latter are always more accurate since you can't review without actually staying for example.
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#11
LA
370 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
Originally posted by martincath
Yup, I certainly didn't mean to ONLY stop at Vista House - but there's a reason it was built where it was... and it has the best elevator ever inside! But I know what you mean about views from iconic building not including them, I have the same issue with the Space Needle and CN Tower - they're such a definitive part of the skyline that not seeing them makes your pics look like they're wrong somehow!


Man, that's more than I meant to write when I sat down - hopefully that gets your research off to a solid start!


TA certainly does have plenty of bought & paid for (or just 'friends of the owners') reviews, but generally they're easy to spot - limited wordage, few other posts from the same poster (or a freakish array of one resto per city for dozens of cities all over the place). But as soon as a spot gets into the hundreds and thousands of reviews it's a reliable indicator of RELATIVE popularity (never out & out quality unfortunately, especially of food, since it's very hard to be objective about food). To me it's still my first cut at any new city - but definitely seek other verification. If TA disagrees with e.g. Expedia hotel ratings, the latter are always more accurate since you can't review without actually staying for example.
It's a bit more sophisticated than that. People get paid to write fake reviews for places like TripAdvisor and Yelp.
#12
4,367 Posts
Joined Dec 2014
Originally posted by RU_Gremlin
I'm going to spend the week before hopping up the coast from Portland to Seattle to Vancouver. I've gotten a lot of great advice from this board on the last two stops. Anyone have some "can't miss" information on Portland?
How are you planning to get between the cities?
  • with a rental car... check out Mt. St Helens
  • Amtrak Cascades is available for train lovers.
  • Bolt offers $1 trips if you are quick!
#13
Anchorage, Alaska
3,216 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by geeko1
Don't recall which one but either Yale or Harvard did a study.
I read an article on a study by a couple of Yale professors which indicated that, yes, there are a number of fake reviews but they believe it's less than 10% of the reviews.

I don't limit my research to just TA but it's still a great site even though you need to evaluate the posts, most aren't fake.
#14
YVR & PDX
3,873 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by geeko1
It's a bit more sophisticated than that. People get paid to write fake reviews for places like TripAdvisor and Yelp.
We probably read some of the same articles - and I'll reiterate my points that there are clear indicators of 'fake-nitude' for the majority of them as the only viably priced markets for folks to be willing to do this for the absolute pittance of the fees that are actually paid for making TA/Yelp type reviews are predominantly in non-English speaking countries, so suffer badly from 'cut and paste-itis', extremely poor grammar and vocab, or both.


Even if you pay extra for 'premium fake' reviews from accounts with multiple posts (as even very naive readers soon pick up that 'one and done' posters are less trustworthy) those multiple posts show odd patterns of where they are reviewing things.


Ignore the 5s, ignore the 1s, and focus your efforts on actually reading 2/3/4 scored reviews that give more than minimal info about their experience and you're almost certainly in the land of not just 95%+ real but also sensible people who don't just throw 5 or 1 star scores around willy-nilly!
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#15
LA
370 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
Originally posted by Glaciers
I read an article on a study by a couple of Yale professors which indicated that, yes, there are a number of fake reviews but they believe it's less than 10% of the reviews.

I don't limit my research to just TA but it's still a great site even though you need to evaluate the posts, most aren't fake.
Actually the study said something like 40% are fake and that doesn't account for the people that get paid to write fake reviews. Should you need some extra income you can pick up some review writing gigs on Craigslist
#16
Anchorage, Alaska
3,216 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by RU_Gremlin
Wow... A ton of great information in here.
Yes, there is quite a bit of wonderful information in this thread. Portland doesn't come up that often. We drove the gorge last fall just to drive the gorge having not researched the other things to do. Guess we’ll need a do over, or two.

Originally posted by geeko1
Actually the study said something like 40% are fake and that doesn't account for the people that get paid to write fake reviews.
I’m sure there are more out there but this is the one I read.
http://insights.som.yale.edu/insight...ews-be-trusted
#17
LA
370 Posts
Joined Mar 2017
Originally posted by Glaciers
Yes, there is quite a bit of wonderful information in this thread. Portland doesn't come up that often. We drove the gorge last fall just to drive the gorge having not researched the other things to do. Guess we’ll need a do over, or two.



I’m sure there are more out there but this is the one I read.
http://insights.som.yale.edu/insight...ews-be-trusted
yes, it is easy to google stuff like making money writing fake reviews and other aspects that speak to unreliable reviews.. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/ne...iews-are-real/
#18
Portland, Oregon
328 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
There is a lot of great Portland info above. While I adore doing that loop trip out in the Gorge, there are a lot of fun things to do in the city itself, and everything is very accessible by public transit, Lyft/Uber and/or walking.
I'm happy to answer questions (lived here almost 30 years) but a few thoughts on the above:
- while I agree Lan Su is eclipsed by ones in other cities, it is beautiful and a lovely place to see live music. There are a lot of interesting places to see live music in the city so if you enjoy that, look at the listings at the time.
- I actually think you can't go very wrong with restaurants in Portland. Compared to some other places I go, as long as you avoid a chain, most places are good. And you can look at a menu and move on if you don't like it.
- Some of the less "big" city parks are fun - Director Park, Tanner Springs, just walking around the downtown is lovely in nice weather. There's a walking loop that will take you on the downtown waterfront, over bridges, and on the East bank esplanade. If you do go up to the Rose Test Garden (for whatever reason, not my fave) you might want to check out the recently remodeled Japanese Garden.
- There are so many great restaurants. Agree about the food carts near Target downtown. We've been taking people to Han Oak, Korean food on the inner east side. Beast is a foodie destination (a prix fixe, 6 course dinner) and Expatriate is a cool bar across the street beforehand - also east side. Downtown, South Park has good seafood. I like the outside patio at Nel Centro for drinks. Shift drinks is a fun, inexpensive bar near that Target food cart pod. For a more elegant bar, I'd go to Barlow.
But ask if there's something specific!
#19
Vancouver, BC
935 Posts
Joined Nov 2004
Definitely not the Portland experts as we only go down between twice a year to only once every other year. Just thought I'd throw out some of our favourite things in Portland that you can parse thru and google for more info. Most of our meals places in Portland are relatively cheap but might be harder for you to get to without wheels.

We typically schedule around a visit to the Saturday PSU Farmers market which also has a few ready to eat food vendors. Our favourite is Pine State biscuits. We'll then walk through downtown and down to the Saturday market, making a stop along Pioneer Square along the way since there seems to be always something happening there. We might make a detour for a walk through the Pearl District.

Yeah, Voodoo Doughnuts is pretty gimmicky. A couple of options if you really want to try them are to visit Voodoo Too outside the downtown core. If you like classic arcade video games, Ground Kontrol is pretty fun. It brings me back to my youth.

Our favourite pod is outside the downtown core at the Cartopia Pod at the corner of SE 12th Ave and SE Hawthorne which has a couple of our favorite carts Potato Champion (you have to like fries with sauces/poutine) and Pyro Pizza (really tasty thin crust pizza). Further down Hawthorne, a couple of places we like eating at are Por Que No? (cheap, fun, casual mexican place) and Apizza Scholls (really well made artisan pizzas).

We also like walking up and down N Mississippi Avenue. It's a pretty lively neighbourhood. They also have a food cart pod at the northend (Mississippi Marketplace). Most of our favs from that pod are long gone though but see Koi Fusion.

We try to make a stop at Olympic Provisions to buy some really delicious charcuterie. They have multiple locations now but you might be able to find them at the PSU Farmer's Market. We haven't eaten at one of their restaurants though.

A couple of other restaurants we've had success with are Laurelhurst Market (butcher/steakhouse), Pok Pok (Thai, multiple locations, we've only tried the original), and Koi Fusion (Korean tacos, started as a mobile food truck and expanded with a number of brick and mortar locations).

Here's a list of food cart pods I compiled a few years back. I can't confirm the accuracy of all of them now since I now typically only go to my favs nowadays.
Alder St. at SW Alder between 9th and 11th.
5th and Stark – SW 5th between Stark and Oak
3rd Ave – SW 3rd Avenue between Washington and Stark
PSU – SW 4th Ave between Hall and College
Cartopia – SE 12th and Hawthorne
Mississippi Marketplace – N Mississippi and Skidmore
North Station – N Killingsworth and Greeley
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#20
SW Washington State near PDX
85 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
FYI..........we tried to drive up to vista house last week and the Columbia Historic HWY was closed about a mile from it. Portland Women’s Forum was open ( that’s where the road was closed). Frustrating as you could see the Vista House from the women Forum.
Geez.... I’ve lived here sine ‘94 and haven’t seen most of what everyone has suggested. We gotta get out more!


As stated, we moved here from AZ back in the 90’s and I LOVE it here. I crave rain and cloudy skies after having to hide from the blazing sun in AZ for 25 years. Have always enjoyed its eclectic side, clean air, 4 seasons, and general beauty of the area.
Have fun exploring on your visit!

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