Portland Walking Tours

We’ll See You in the Theater

November 11th, 2014 By David Schargel

Portlanders have many stereotypical quirks. Supposedly, we’ll put a bird on anything that stands still long enough to get DIY’d. We all commute to work by bike (when our unicycles are in the shop). We will walk half a mile to find a recycling bin for the bottle of artisan cold-brew coffee we just chugged, and we’ll walk even further to find a microbrew on draft.

This is just nonsense. You shouldn’t need to walk more than a quarter mile to find draft microbrew in Portland. Here’s the real secret about Portlanders: we don’t like standing around outside (unless it’s for brunch). It’s in this spirit that we are pleased to announce the new departure location for the majority of our walking tours: the Theater on the Square inside Pioneer Courthouse Square.

Whether you’re arriving for a Best of Portland, an Epicurean Excursion, a Flavor Street, or a Chocolate Decadence, the Theater on the Square is the place where you can take a seat and relax before your walking tour begins.

If you’re taking an Underground Portland or Beyond Bizarre tour, you’ll still meet your guide outside 202 NW Davis, which will familiarize you with perhaps the most universally Portland trait: discussing the weather.

It’s Summer Time…. Let’s Eat!

July 9th, 2014 By David Schargel

Nothing says summer time better than dining al fresco. To celebrate summer we will be offering our fun (and delicious) Flavor Street tour 6 days a week — Mondays through Saturday. The tour begins at 1 PM and lasts a little under 2 hours from the library of the Mark Spencer Hotel. Be sure to get tickets in advance as space is limited and tours often sell out.

The Best of Portland is Getting Better!

January 29th, 2014 By David Schargel

Our flagship tour, the Best of Portland Walking Tour, is on the move!

suddenly-concierge-herb-smStarting this Saturday, February 1, 2014, our Best of Portland Walking Tour will start at the forthcoming Big Red Arrow “Portland in a Box™” location at SW Sixth Ave and Yamhill St. Map it here »

This allows us to get you right into some of Portland’s top attractions from the very first minute of the tour, such as Pioneer Courthouse Square, the “Animals in Pools” exhibit, the transit mall and more.

Plus, it make the tour easier to get to by rail. It’s right at the MAX stop!

Come try the new “Best.” It’s better than ever!

Honoring Dr. King and his legacy

January 20th, 2014 By David Schargel

Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King – his life, his legacy, his accomplishments, his vision.

There are many ways to honor Dr. King. Many of us take the day off from work, hopefully spending at least part of that time reflecting on the sacrifices and leadership he put forth to make the world and in particular our country a better place. Considering some of the shameful ways that people of color have been treated over the years, including in Oregon, it is well worth taking that moment to thank him, albeit posthumously, for all that he has done.

Many remember him by rereading his speeches, such as his “I Have a Dream” speech. Words well worth remembering.

Some remember his marches for freedom, equality and justice. A worthy endeavor. We need not all march, but perhaps as we walk around our beautiful city, we can march with Dr. King in spirit if not in person.

How we choose to honor him, though, is perhaps not as important as just making sure that we do. We all owe him a great debt of gratitude – no matter what the color of our own skin.

Portland named among top ten cities in the world

January 16th, 2014 By David Schargel
Rough Guides names Portland tenth best city in world to live

Rough Guides names Portland tenth best city in world to live

We love top ten lists.

We love them even more when they say nice things about our city.

And even best when we’re rated one of the top ten cities in the world – yes, world – to live.

Rough Guides (http://www.roughguides.com) has done just that in its latest issue. They include Portland in a list that includes Sarajevo, Rotterdam, Marseille, and Glasgow.

And they give good reasons. For example:

“Smaller than San Francisco but with the same green, open-mindedness,” the article states. It lauds our creativity (“Portland is a city that loves to innovate”) and our greenery (“Breezy gardens stud Downtown’s grid of tree-lined streets”) and food (“more than four hundred food carts dotted across the city”) while not neglecting our Beervana status (“home to the laidback bars that support one of America’s best craft beer scenes”).

What else is there to love? “Farmers’ markets, doughnut shops and brunch joints.”

But don’t take just the writer’s word for it. Local singer Beth Ditto is quoted too: “Portland is a place where you can find a community… Artists, musicians, knitters and filmmakers can all meet like-minded souls.”

We think those are good reasons to live here. And, we think we’ll stay.

Portland’s Top 5 Beer Bars (Best in U.S.)

January 13th, 2014 By David Schargel

We all know Portland is the best city for beer in… well, anywhere. Usually what we have in mind when we say that is that Portland make the best craft beers, or has the greatest selection, or both.

Add a third meaning to the phrase. Portland is the best beer bar city, too.

Draft Magazine rated America’s best 100 beer bars for 2014. Almost a third – 31 of the 100 – were in the Pacific Northwest. Of those, five are in Portland.

Our big sister city to the north… you know, the one with the football team and over twice our population… yeah, they only had four.

Without further ado (and bragging constitutes “ado”), here’s the list of best beer bars in Portland, according to Draft:

  • Bailey’s TapRoom
    • 213 SW Broadway, Portland, Ore.
    • baileystaproom.com
  • Bazi Bierbrasserie
    • 1522 SE 32nd Ave., Portland, Ore.
    • bazipdx.com


  • Belmont Station
    • 4500 SE Stark St., Portland, Ore.
    • belmont-station.com


  • Imperial Bottle Shop & Taproom
    • 3090 SE?Division St., Portland, Ore.
    • imperialbottleshop.com


  • Saraveza Bottle Shop & Pasty Tavern
    • 1004 N. Killingsworth St., Portland, Ore.
    • saraveza.com

For the full list of America’s best 100, see http://draftmag.com/features/americas-100-best-beer-bars-2014/.

Here’s proof: Portland is best at… everything!

January 6th, 2014 By David Schargel

Everyone’s got a list, it seems. But when it comes to the list of who’s best – it’s almost always Portland.

In 2013, Portland was ranked among top cities for:

  • Meeting People:
    • Best 10 Cities for Single Women (Shape)
    • #10 City for Men (Men’s Health)
    • #2 City for Families to Visit (Parents).
  • Creative People:
    • 20 Great American Cities for Writers (flavorwire.com)
    • #5 City to Be a Moviemaker (moviemaker.com)
  • Alternative lifestyles:
    • Most Hipster City in America (Estately blog)
    • #5 spot for Best US Cities for Hippies (movato.com blog).
    • #5 Most Tattooed City in America (total beauty.com)
    • #2 Most Vegan-Friendly City in 2013 (PETA)
    • #1 Bike-Friendly City (Bicycling)
  • Just plain good stuff:
    • #10 among the Fastest-Growing Cities in America (Forbes).
    • #1 Beer Town in America

But it’s not all roses in Rose City. Here’s some lists we didn’t want to make:

  • #36 Worst-Dressed Cities in America
  • 154th out of 200 on Allstate’s ranking of America’s Best Drivers.
  • America’s 11th Snobbiest City (Travel + Leisure)

Snobby? Us? Maybe all of those Top 10 lists have gone to our heads.

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Portland

December 30th, 2013 By David Schargel

We’re busy making New Year’s resolutions around here, and while we’ve included the usual suspects on the list (that we’d rather not share) we came up with a few that we think would be nice for all of Portland to consider.

Everything's better with chocolate. Especially 2014.

Everything’s better with chocolate. Especially 2014.

1) Eat more chocolate.

Yes, more, not less. After all, Chocolate Fest is coming up.

2) Walk more, bark less

Our dogs contributed this one. They love walks, and so do we, and like some of them, we don’t have tails, so “wag more” was right out. And easy on the horn there, fella. We’re in the crosswalk.

3) Once a month, do something new.

Considering how many fun options Portland offers on stage, screen, street, and sidewalk cafe, we think this one should be easy. And since we’ve already jaywalked, we’re not getting cross-wise with #2.

4) Celebrate the daily “wins.”

Every day, each of us does something good (or, does something rather well). No more beating ourselves up for screwing up the little stuff. It’s all about noticing when we – and others – do things that make the world a better place. And speaking of which…

waiter5) Tip better.

Waiters, valets, baristas, bag handlers, and yes, tour guides are among the hardest-working people we’ve ever met. They depend on tips for their living and make life better for us. Isn’t that worth 15-20%? We think so.

Happy New Year!

Christmas and Chocolate, together again in Portland

December 17th, 2013 By David Schargel

Quick quiz: after Halloween, at which holiday or festival do Americans consume the most chocolate?

A. Easter
B. Valentine’s Day
C. Christmas
D. Mother’s Day

(Hint: This is a Christmas-season blog.)

Chocolate Decadence Tour - drinking chocolate

Wouldn’t you love to sip this by a roaring fire?

Yes, it’s “C,” which coincidentally stands for Chocolate AND Christmas. This, we believe, is not a coincidence. Nor does Tony Thomas of Our City Radio, who recently took our Chocolate Decadence Walking Tour and loved it. (LOVED it! Thank you, Tony!)

It makes perfect sense. Chocolate makes (most) people happy. So does Christmas. Naturally they go together. But which chocolate should you buy for your gifting, your scrumptious holiday dinner desserts, for hot cocoa by a roaring fire as you watch the little ones (aged 2 to 102) open presents?

Well, you could do a lot of personal research (which, trust me, is hard, hard work… sorta…). Or you could do what Tony and his colleagues did: they went on the Chocolate Decadence Walking Tour with our highly informed and engaging Resident Experts who have already done the necessary research – and who bring you the sweet results to enjoy, as you taste chocolate of all kinds, textures, derivations and combinations all over downtown.

We think you’ll find a lot of great gift ideas along the way. (Did we mention how much we love getting chocolate in our stockings?)

And hey, speaking of great gift ideas… a Chocolate Decadence Walking Tour gift certificate isn’t a bad place to start.

(Oh, and here’s a link to Tony’s great article. It’s definitely worth a read!)

Daily Tours, in Winter? You bet, Portland!

December 10th, 2013 By David Schargel

Are we still running daily tours, you ask?

Do red-nosed reindeer still fly, we respond?

(You had BETTER be answering yes to that, Rudolph.)

While it’s true that it’s gotten kind of chilly outside, and that in past years we’ve gone to our weekends-only “winter” schedule a few weeks before the official solstice, this year we’re still putting boots to the ground on Portland streets and finding that locals and visitors alike still love seeing and hearing of Portland’s fascinating parks, art, histories, festivities and more.

So, Monday thru Thursday you can take a Best of Portland or Underground Portland Walking Tour. On weekends we’re still running the full regimen of tours, so you can still taste, ghost-hunt and laugh your way around the city.

As long as you’re up for it, so are we. No matter how chilly it gets.

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