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Points of Interest & Landmarks • Historic Walking Areas
Old Town - Chinatown
Neighbourhoods • Points of Interest & Landmarks
Old Town - Chinatown
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- We had planned to stop here during our trip, but had stayed flexible on where to work it into our itinerary. We were on our final day in Portland where it made sense to try to visit this place (en route back from our day trip to Mount St. Helens) so we didn't have as much time or energy at that point. Had we visited earlier in the day, we might have toured the mansion also. As it was, we just toured the grounds, which is free.
To get to the mansion, you climb several hilly roads, eventually making a very sharp turn onto the final street. That leads to a narrow driveway (I wondered aloud if it was 1-way until we saw as 'share the road' sign...). This widens a bit an leads to...another sharp turn into the parking lot. All of this is more challenging as you meet an oncoming (thankfully slow) vehicle, but is still navigable.
The parking lot is fairly large. You have to pay to park here, which was the only expense we incurred. Also, I think there was a trail at the far end of the lot connecting to Washington Park, so you may be able to hike here from the park (you should research this if you want to pursue it).
We checked out the gift shop briefly before advancing to the mansion. If you are jus touring the grounds / gardens, you can circle around either side of the house. There are various flowers, shrubs, and trees all around. Most of the flowers seemed to be on the far side of the house. This was also where the lawn was located, which sloped down to a bluff overlooking the city. You could also see Mt. Hood clearly from there. It seemed to be a popular place for picnics.
The lot has a pronounced slope, so be prepared to climb stairs or a sloping asphalt path as you circle the house.
Depending on your schedule and your level of interest in old mansions, a tour of the house might be worthwhile (I think it cost on the order of $10 per person, but check their website). This was a nice stop with beautiful scenery. We probably toured all of the grounds in 45 minutes. It is worth checking out.Written 4 August 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Alberta Street was a food and street art gem. Lots of varieties to offer from street food to cafes to small eateries with Ethiopian, Nepalese, American, Mexican and more. Little shops with a mix of clothing to unique souvenirs and art work. Plan to browse for a few hours.Written 18 September 2021This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- This is the museum for PT-658, a WWII-era restored Patrol Torpedo Boat. This is a MUST-DO in Portland. This is literally the only PT Boat in the entire US that you can climb aboard and explore stem-to-stern on a regular basis - and it is readily accessible, with a little planning in the form of a phone call at least a week in advance of your visit. The PT boat has her own boathouse right within the grounds of Vigor Shipyard, and the boathouse opens to the Swan Island basin - leading right to the EXCELLENT Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum (LCI-713, an infantry landing craft from WWII). So, this museum and that of the adjacent LCI really go hand-in-hand despite being two separate non-profits. Plan accordingly! You really should see both (and I will do a separate review for the LCI). Here's some tips for visiting:
1. CALL ahead! There is a contact email address on the Save the PT Boat, Inc., website. They are open to the public on Mondays and Thursdays from 9am to 3pm - and Saturdays by reservation. Because the PT is only 78' long, space aboard is limited - and the boat is functional. So, call ahead, let them know what day you're wanting to visit, and they'll take it from there.
2. The gate to visit the PT boat is right across from the Peterbuilt at 5555 N. Lagoon Ave - what I did was use the Peterbuilt address for my GPS, then called the number on the gate (photo included in this review) when I arrived and waited for Jerry to come unlock the gate. You can wait either in the Peterbuilt parking lot, or you can park temporarily in front of the PT boat's shipyard gate - once they open the gate for you, you drive into the shipyard, turn right, and park right outside the PT boat's maintenance shed. I've included a labeled Google Earth map at the end of the photos in this review, hopefully some folks find that helpful.
3. Bring a camera! Everything is SO well restored - you'll want to document these rare spaces for sure.
4. Bring closed-toed, well-fitting shoes - to access the PT boat's interior, you have to navigate several steep staircases with 3-4 steps each, and the engine room and aft crew quarters are down vertical ladders. Note there is not air conditioning.
5. Plan on spending 3+ hours. As I said earlier, this really goes hand-in-hand with the landing craft museum next to the boathouse. You can opt not to do both and they'll go unlock the gate for you to drive out - but I don't really see a good reason to skip either vessel. Both are unique experiences and very special, each very different in their own right.
6. Be respectful! The PT is exquisitely restored - lots of little items have gone into this, including desalination packs, signaling mirrors, compasses, pictures, and other knick-knacks. While they're happy to let you handle the artifacts, let the crew lead the way - if they hand something to you, it's safe to handle. Otherwise, a good rule of thumb is to look but not touch. These things are not playgrounds - they are machines of war - and the oils from human hands does deteriorate them over time. If you bring kids, they certainly encourage interactive activities in the museum, but as a personal recommendation, I'd keep kids under close watch aboard the PT. They'll have a BLAST - just saying to respect the artifact is all. Plus, the boat is floating, and when other vessels pass outside, the wake does make the boat rock just slightly.
7. DONATE. There is no price of admission. It is a FREE attraction. But keep in mind, these organizations run on donations and volunteers. They have no full-time staff. The guys showing you the museums are volunteers. The guys doing repairs are volunteers. Again, these are unique vessels - support them however you can, be it a review like this one, or telling your friends to go visit, or donating (or, better yet, all three!). There is a donation box inside the boathouse, and a separate one for the landing craft over inside that ship. They are separate organizations.
I visited with my wife, and our guide arranged for some folks from his neighborhood and a friend from work to join since we went on a Saturday. I had contacted them two weeks in advance to ensure that would work - Saturdays are appointment-only days, and volunteers will be on the adjacent landing craft doing maintenance (gives it that real war-time feeling of constant chores, too). Overall our group was seven in total, plus our guide Jerry. That was a good number, many more and some of the smaller spaces would have been overcrowded. I hung at the end of the group so I could take pictures of the compartments in detail. Total tour of the PT was right at 2.5 hours, and some of that may have been extra since I probably slowed the group down with my incessant photography. Some folks opted not to go into the engine room or the aft crew's quarters based on how confined those spaces were, so food for thought. In general, I found the interior spaces to be small, but not overwhelmingly small - pretty much on-par with how cramped ship compartments usually are. Space comes at a premium, and is a luxury.
All-in-all, this was a day we will never forget. I took over 400 photos of PT-658 alone, 385 of which made it past the cutting room floor and into my photo collection for posterity. Everything was so well done - packed with detail, clean, polished, quality, and fascinating. The crew even fed us pizza and gave us water (you'll want water) between seeing the PT and touring the landing craft - not sure how normal that is, but their hospitality was above and beyond and I cannot sing their praises enough. The knowledge Jerry brought to his tour was extensive and thorough - I learned quite a bit from the anecdotes he shared, and picked up a book on the way out to read more about PT shenanigans from one of the guys who volunteers thereWritten 6 August 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- There are some adorable animal statues by the courthouse and the square entrance has some historic gates marking the entrance to what once was an enormous hotel. Apparently the initial hotel investor went broke so the local citizens paid to complete the hotel. The hotel was demolished and the square was eventually installed. I liked the animals but the square didn't hold my interest until I read the sign about the weather statue. There is a tall statue in the corner of the square that keeps track of local weather. Every day at noon, the statue performs, which is AWESOME. The entertainment starts with an instrumental melody announcing the enchantment to come. You will then see the bird on the statue disappear into a dome after which a dragon and spikes emerge. Water mist gets sprayed during the performance, need I say more? Go see this.Written 12 January 2020
- We went by it several times and enjoyed seeing it because of its nostalgic vibe. No need to make a special trip, you will pass it since it is right down town.
Fun sign!Written 5 October 2019
- Enjoy getting a doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts when I'm in the area. Love the idea of what the city is trying to do to make it a tourist attraction, but there are so many homeless people and people who are having loud conversations with the air as they walk along. People setting up camp on the street covered in tarps sleeping. It's definitely a challenge for the city...Written 16 February 2020
- I visited with my family in Spring 2021. The water fall is beautiful and the Brain Bridge is open for trail walk. We enjoying walking till the Besan Bridge, and we got chance to take few pictures. It’s not much crowed, and face mask is mandatory. I felt worth visiting even in Spring.Written 15 April 2021
- There is really no reason to go see this. It looks like most of Chinatown is gone. Now it looks like heroin town. Lots of dirty people screaming at nobody. Creepy.Written 15 March 2022
- Great spot. Not all the trucks were open when we were there. There was a place with sushi and a place with Chinese food. Both were good. Reasonable prices and good food. We would definitely stop again!Written 14 February 2020
- The museum opened in 2018. Friendly staff. Great exhibits. I didn't know that Portland had the second biggest Chinatown after San Francisco. Spent about 1.5 hours there. Walked around and saw many of the mentioned buildings, even patronized the golden horse Chinese restaurant!Written 7 June 2022
- If you are in Portland for a few days, go check this out. It predicts the weather for the following day. Sun for nice weather, Heron for drizzle and Dragon for an approaching storm. Located in Pioneer Square. Just another weird (but cool) thing about Portland!Written 22 October 2019
- Walking around the Pearl District in Portland one morning, I saw the Lovejoy Columns. They describe that the Pearl District used to be a railyard prior to being redeveloped. The Lovejoy Ramp spanned the railyard. Between 1948 and 1952, Tom E. Stefopoulos, worked for the SP&S railroad. During his free minutes as a watchman, he did paintings. As these columns have some of the paintings done by Tom Stefopoulos, the columns were spared though the ramp was demolished. These columns are truly unique and worth your time to see!Written 11 November 2019
- I was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer in 2018. Dr. Jen Jane Liu removed half of one kidney arthoscopically. I have had no problems since then, and they do regular checkups just to be sure. I credit Dr. Liu with saving my life; thanks Doc!!!Written 7 August 2020
- This is a must see tourist attraction. The home was built by the great philanthropist Simon Benson, who originally came from Norway. The home is built of cedar wood, with copper gutters. He was the gentleman who donated 20 bronze drinking fountains, that are called "Benson Bubbles", you can see one out the front of the building. His thought was by providing the drinking fountains on each block, it would keep the men out of the pubs! Thoroughly enjoyed visiting this historical home & the history surrounding it.Written 28 December 2019
- Most significant hint: it is called The Saturday Market, but it is open on Sunday also!
We enjoyed a couple hours at the market today eating very good food from various ethnic food trucks (I had Greek), relaxing to some good laid-back music, and browsing the craft booths.
The craft offerings spanned a wide range from "imported but trying to sell as original work" to truly fine art and craft work. One fellow would make a clay sculpture caricature for you from a picture. Very unique and humorous, starting at $16.
Another man had beautiful handcrafted musical instruments he had designed and created. Think a cross between a dulcimer and a guitar . Not only did they sound and look beautiful, they were very simple to play by virtue of their construction.
It was a misty day when we went so I am thinking there will be more vendors when the weather is better. All in all, a nice way to spend an afternoon.Written 23 September 2019
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