So, I have been meaning to take a break from the baby business and write a post on Seattle. Well, here it is… sorta. Having spent two summers here in Seattle, my husband and I decided to venture down south and see what Oregon is all about. We decided to take a mini-vacation down to Eugene, OR. On the way, we stopped in Portland for a day and took in as much as we could while we were there. On the way back, we took the scenic route through the Colombia River Valley near the end of the Lewis and Clark Trail just outside of Portland. While my short visit to Portland and my 15 months in Seattle by no means make me an expert on either city, I figured I would give my “outsiders” opinion on the two.
Scenery: The Pacific Northwest is one of the, if not THE, most beautiful part of the country. It is a place where snow covered mountains literally meet deep blue seas; where waterfalls are abundant, and where a breathtaking vista is a stone’s throw away. Likewise, both Oregon and Washington are gorgeous. However, when it somes to strictly comparing the to cities, Seattle wins handidly. Now I may be biased having been here longer, but when you are in Seattle, you are surrounded by deep blue water and snow peaked mountains alike. Everywhere you look, you see trees, parks, lakes, etc. In Portland, there was definitely an abundance of trees and parks (the park lining Park St. actually trumps anything downtown in Seattle), but besides the murky Willamette River…not too much water. I would take sitting outside on Lake Washington or Puget Sound anyday over the riverfront in Portland!
Eats: When you think of good food, Seattle is probaby not one of the first cities to pop into your head, but if you live here or have travleled here frequently, you would be amazed to find excellent local good eats! From Vietnamese to Italian to Arabic, Seattle has an abundance of local as well as world cusines. Since living here, I have even experienced Hong Kong food. Those stone pots are delish!!! When we visited Portland, we loved how they had all of the steet vendors downtown. And these vendors were not just selling hot dogs and pretzels!! They were serving food from all over and it smelled and looked awesome. Had I ahd known, I may have skipped lunch at JAke’s crawfish, although the crawfish were yummy. So as far as food goes, I would say that they are probably tied when it come to quality, but Seattle is a bigger city, so there are more choices.
Vibe: When I visited Seattle for the first time, I though to myself, “Wow, these people are really laid back!” When I visited Portland for the first time, I wish I had a take-back for my comment on Seattle. When it comes to easy-going, Portland takes the cake! I think that on the surface Seattle seems casual, but when you start really looking at people’s attire and attitude’s, you begin to realize that yes, everyone is wearing jeans and jackets, BUT they are designer jeans and expensive jackets! Don’t get me wrong, Seattle is no L.A when it comes to fashion; in fact they are nowhere even close, but it seems that many Seattleites are well off, and it definitely shows…perhaps not in Dolce and Prada, but in $5,000 road bikes and $600 North Face jackets. I am sure there is some of that in Portland, but it doesn’t make up the masses. I saw people riding bikes, but they were Schwinn’s not Gary Fischer’s. I saw people with their babies everywhere, but they were in Graco’s and not Bugaboo’s.
Things to Do: In this category, there seems to be an even tie. Both cities are less than an hour from the Cascades. Both cities are close to great outdoor parks and forests; Portland has Mt. Hood and Seattle has Mt. Rainier. The coast is also not too far from either city; its about 2.5 hours from Seattle and perhaps a little closer in Portland. Oregon and Washington are both home to hundreds of winerys and brewerys, and both are full of museums, historic sites, and local shops.
The bottom line is … visit these cities!!! They are great anytime of the year (despite the critics), and unless your my dad, you just might want to stay clear of the beaches in December. (He’ll never hear the end of it)