Portland remembers its blue-collar past

Portland is a town more interested in paying homage to mid-century Americana than trying to impress. Nevertheless, it does

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You can also visit the 1915 Kennedy Elementary School, restored into a hotel and restaurant— complete with a bar in the “Detention Room” where you can smoke cigars and drink single-malt whisky. 

Fried chicken and buttermilk waffles for Brunch at Miss Delta. Image courtesy www.missdeltapdx.net 

Driving from Vancouver takes about six hours, depending on border traffic. But you can also make it a suitably retro/progressive trip and take the train

Here’s quick-reference guide to some of the other cool stuff. 

Worth Doing

Portland Bicycle Tours: See the city the way the locals do. You can hire a down-to-earth guide with the inside scoop, or just rent your own bikes cheap. 

Saturday Market: A carnival of food and crafts every Saturday (March to December) near the waterfront. Food-wise, you’ll find everything from Uruguayan empanadas to chowder and crepes. 

Spring and Summer Festivals: After a dreary winter the city celebrates the sun with the Portland Indie Wine and Beer Festival, the Rose Festival, and the Waterfront Blues Festival, among many other events. 

Powell’s Books: Give yourself a couple of hours here. At least.

Killer Eats

Toro Bravo: Crazy good Spanish tapas on the east side. Try the grilled octopus and bacon-wrapped dates.

Miss Delta: Affordable, unforgettable calories. Hushpuppies, smoked brisket sandwiches, gumbo, “trashy” mac and cheese with creole sauce. 

Byways Cafe: In the Pearl, a slice of neo-Americana plastered with vintage road-trip postcards. This is the place for corned beef hash, but you can’t miss the organic blue-corn pancakes with pecan butter. Share. 

Best Sleeps 

Hotel Deluxe: A downtown boutique hotel with Old Hollywood flair. Sit in the lobby and sip one of the Driftwood Room’s superb vintage cocktails. 

The Ace Hotel: A budget hotel in the true Portland style of recycled retro-chic. 

The Nines: A luxury option over Pioneer Square. Billiards in the library? Yes. 

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