Advice Needed: Taking Cascades From Seattle to Portland

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Trackside

Plays Well With Others
The family and I will be taking the train for an overnight trip to Portland and I wondered if anyone can school me on what works on the Portland side without a car. We will be traveling with 2 young children.

Was hoping to find out about nearby hotels, attractions, and public transportation.

Thanks for your help.
 

thaddeusthudpucker

Meat Popsicle
Congratulations, you have picked the BEST city in the northwest for public transportation. To answer your question, EVERYTHING works without a car.

As long as you do not pack an overburden of luggage (if it is one night I would say one medium suitcase for all plus a bag for stuff for the young'uns should suffice.

Once you arrive in Portland you can walk right outside and have a slough of taxi's all beckoning you to to ride. Or you can save a lot of money and walk a block to the south and hop on the MAX Yellow or Green lines to the North and East/South respectively or over one more block after that and have the opposite direction. If you need to get to say Lloyd Center take a Green line to the East. Yellow line turns before it gets to Lloyd Center.

Trimet All Day passes are $4.75 per person. This is a fantastic deal as Trimet covers from Hillsboro to Gresham. They are good on MAX and buses and even the WES if you are here on a weekday. If you are patient you might even catch the old ARR RDC's running. http://trimet.org/

The blocks in Portland are very short. Do not be daunted by 'having to walk 10 blocks'. They are about 260 feet.

I live in Beaverton now and my work is such that I have to know about downtown....Any more questions?
 

Trackside

Plays Well With Others
Thanks a lot for the help. Another member contacted me and mentioned the Zoo which I didn't even think about and I'm glad to hear the MAX runs to so many places. I'm guessing its safe enough for a family to ride the MAX during the day with luggage in tow?
 

thaddeusthudpucker

Meat Popsicle
Here is something you can do about luggage: Assuming you have time to go sightseeing in the time before your train goes (I don't necessarily recommend it, unless on 508) you can check your luggage at Union Station for $5 a piece (business class is free, but that was in Seattle and may be different in Portland).

Your best thing to do would be to stay two night in Portland to get a full day to do the Zoo, etc. If your tickets are already bought don't bother changing them, they will still be good the next day.
 

Bob

Forum Host
Staff member
Thanks a lot for the help. Another member contacted me and mentioned the Zoo which I didn't even think about and I'm glad to hear the MAX runs to so many places. I'm guessing its safe enough for a family to ride the MAX during the day with luggage in tow?
Safe? Yes, it should be, folks do it all the time to get to the airport. But it's not real convenient, especially at peak times. So use the suggestion of checking your luggage at Union Station.

As others have mentioned, you picked an excellent city to visit without a car. Portland Zoo (with it's 30 inch guage railroad) is but a short Max ride away. Next to the zoo is the Portland Children's Museum, which is apparently quite nice, though I've never actually been inside. The Rose garden and lovely Washington Park isn't accessible directly by Max, but I'm sure there's a shuttle from the zoo and/or bus service. During the summer season, you can ride the zoo train to the rose garden. There's also a world famous Japanese garden right next to the rose garden. It's incredibly lovely, and well worth a visit, though depending on the age of your children it and the rose garden may not be overly exciting for them.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is just across the river, and should be another easy bus ride. From what I can tell, it's like the Science Center in Seattle. Soon you'll be able to get there by trolley, and be able to walk across the street and visit 4449 and 700 in their new digs.

The suggestion of staying a night is a great one, Portland is lovely at night and many hotels are easily accessed by light rail. I often stay at the Red Lion, which is a bit more expensive than my usual lodgings, but you can usually find a deal online via Expedia or Priceline that brings the rates within easy reach.

There are, of course, tons of resteraunts and stores, including at least one Mall served by light rail. The minor league ball park is right on Max, and so is Lloyd Center which hosts a multitude of events. They also have a basketball arena someplace down there, but I don't follow B-Ball, so I can't recall exactly where.
 

thaddeusthudpucker

Meat Popsicle
The minor league ballpark (formerly called PGE Park) is no longer such. It is now Jeld-Wen Field, home of the Portland Timbers MLS team.

The basketball stadium is Rose Garden Arena, adjacent to the Rose Quarter TC MAX stop.

Washington Park Zoo is accessed by an underground station deep within the West Hills of Portland. It is the deepest train station in North America, second only in the world after one in Russia. An elevator puts you out at the top right at the front entrance to the zoo.

I will warn you about the MAX though: There have been a few cases recently of parents and offspring being separated by a closing door and one being whisked away by the MAX while the other is left at the platform. Be EXTRA vigilant of your children if they are strong willed and like to wander off exploring, they could be left behind. This should not be a deterrent to riding MAX, just something that is a risk.

MAX is also heavily used at times during the weekend. I have seen crush loads on trains, so just be that much more vigilant when it is full.
 

Bob

Forum Host
Staff member
The minor league ballpark (formerly called PGE Park) is no longer such. It is now Jeld-Wen Field, home of the Portland Timbers MLS team...
OK, so I don't exactly follow minor leauge baseball that close either. :) Thanks for the update!
 

Trackside

Plays Well With Others
I will warn you about the MAX though: There have been a few cases recently of parents and offspring being separated by a closing door and one being whisked away by the MAX while the other is left at the platform. Be EXTRA vigilant of your children if they are strong willed and like to wander off exploring, they could be left behind. This should not be a deterrent to riding MAX, just something that is a risk.

MAX is also heavily used at times during the weekend. I have seen crush loads on trains, so just be that much more vigilant when it is full.
Hey thanks that is exactly the kind of advice/warning I'm looking for!

Well shoot now I'm all excited for the trip! Last time I spent a family weekend in Portland was the mid 80's and I was in 4th or 5th grade. My apologies to those whom I'm about to offend, but back then the impression I had of Portland was that it was an armpit of a city. I remember we were walking around downtown trying to avoid all the city parks cause they were full of really aggressive pan handlers and I vividly remember one throwing up at my dad's feet. No places to swim in the river either. Hearing about friends going down and how much fun they had it sounds like things changed a lot since the mid-80's.
 

thaddeusthudpucker

Meat Popsicle
The city does seem to have undergone a renaissance then. There is a visible homeless population up around the Pearl District and Chinatown but I think that as long as you keep moving they'll let you be.

One place to definitely go is Powell's books, which is at about 10th and Burnside. Quite an amazing selection of books. If you want Railroads, go across the street to the Technical Book store (still Powell's, they had to split it off).

I wouldn't mind attempting playing tour guide when you come to town if I am not otherwise engaged...
 

SP&SFan

MP 72 - BNSF Spokane Sub.
Hey thanks that is exactly the kind of advice/warning I'm looking for!

Well shoot now I'm all excited for the trip! Last time I spent a family weekend in Portland was the mid 80's and I was in 4th or 5th grade. My apologies to those whom I'm about to offend, but back then the impression I had of Portland was that it was an armpit of a city. I remember we were walking around downtown trying to avoid all the city parks cause they were full of really aggressive pan handlers and I vividly remember one throwing up at my dad's feet. No places to swim in the river either. Hearing about friends going down and how much fun they had it sounds like things changed a lot since the mid-80's.
Ross,

It has turned has turned into yuppie-cyclist town now.. There are still pan handlers, but the city has taken some measures to ensure the public's safety..


SP&SFan
 

steveeshom

New Member
Thanks a lot for the help. Another member contacted me and mentioned the Zoo which I didn't even think about and I'm glad to hear the MAX runs to so many places. I'm guessing its safe enough for a family to ride the MAX during the day with luggage in tow?
We MAX our way to the Zoo these days instead of driving. Much easier and just fine safety wise....especially during the hours you'd be using it.
 

Bob

Forum Host
Staff member
We MAX our way to the Zoo these days instead of driving. Much easier and just fine safety wise....especially during the hours you'd be using it.
You'll also get dropped off closer to the entrance than most of the parking, avoid parking fees, and get a $1.50 discount on your admission when you show them your MAX ticket! How's that for a deal?

I think dropping the luggage at the station is the best idea, but if you bring it to the zoo and it's Samsonite, maybe you can re-shoot the famous Gorilla commercial! ;)
 




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