Portland Walking Tours

The Year of the Monkey: Lan Su Chinese Garden Re-opens Just in Time for New Year’s Festivities!

February 8th, 2016

How does the song go? “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot.” Well, in Portland we did the opposite — in the year 2000 a beautiful walled Chinese classical garden opened to the public on a site that was once a parking lot. Right in the middle of the Old Town Chinatown neighborhood, occupying an entire city block, the beautiful Lan Su Chinese Garden is the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China. Built by artisans from Suzhou, Portland’s sister city which is renowned for its Ming Dynasty gardens, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is an oasis of calm and inspiration created by the harmonious blending of nature, art, and architecture. Trust us, as soon as you enter the gates you definitely feel like you have left the cares of the modern world behind. We highly recommend a visit.

ChineseGarden

Photo courtesy of lansugarden.org

We have been missing the garden for several months while it was closed and undergoing some renovations, but we are so happy to announce that it is opening its gates once again on February 8 . . . just in time for a very special New Year’s Celebration of the Year of the Monkey. Over the course of 15 days, many fun events are happening, starting with a jam-packed day on February 8 when each visitor will receive a hong bao, a traditional lucky red envelope. Also on this day, the first 100 visitors will get the opportunity to roll oranges and coins over the threshold of the front door to bring forth prosperity in a tradition called “Roll in the Wealth.”

There are so many wonderful activities planned for bringing in the Year of the Monkey that we can’t possibly list them all here, but if any of these sound intriguing, be sure to get yourself to the garden: folk art demonstrations, calligraphy workshops, lion dances, puppet shows, martial arts demonstrations, feng shui talks, and wishing tree activities. Capping it all off are four nights of lantern viewings on February 19-22 where you can see the magnificent splendor of 150 red lanterns hanging from pavilions and 250 floating lanterns on newly renovated Lake Zither as well as a dragon procession and a lion dance. Lions and dragons and lanterns, oh my!

LanternViewing

Photo courtesy of lansugarden.org

Chinese New Year is the most popular time of year to visit the garden, so purchasing tickets in advance is highly encouraged. What’s great is that all New Year’s events are included with admission except for the Lantern Viewing Evenings. And, the garden is just a few blocks from the starting location of our Underground Portland Tour, so a stop at the garden either before or after your tour would be a wonderful addition to your itinerary.

We wish you a very happy, healthy, and prosperous Chinese New Year!


Article by Natasha Kelly

Portland Walking Tours FAQs – Answers to All of Our Most Frequently Asked Questions!

February 5th, 2016

Thinking about booking one of our fabulous tours? Already booked a tour and still have questions? We’ve got the 411 on our most popularly asked questions.

What if it rains?

Lucky you, you’re going to get the full Portland experience if you do a walking tour in the rain! It’s hard to avoid our liquid sunshine during certain months of the year, and we hope you will embrace it like we do. Our tour guides come dressed for the Oregon weather, and we recommend our tour guests do the same. Umbrellas are even available for sale in our box office!

Should I tip my tour guide?

That is always a great way to show your guide that you have enjoyed the tour, and will be very much appreciated by them. Feel free to use the 15-20% scale that you would give at a restaurant or other industry of service.

How much of the Underground Portland tour explores the Shanghai tunnels?

OK this is probably the most asked question we get. So here’s the skinny folks: about ¼ of the tour goes into a subterranean space to explore the area that once led to the legendary Shanghai tunnels. The actual tunnels have been closed off since the 1970’s, and no one, not even the water bureau, can go into them. But we show you what’s left of them (and yes you need flashlights, and yes we provide them!) and give you all the expert and true information about the practice of “crimping,” or kidnapping, that is a very real part of Portland’s history. That said, just because you are not going into any tunnels does not mean that this is not the most incredibly fascinating tour giving you all kinds of information about the dark side of Portland’s criminal past, including other “underground themes” such as gambling, ethnic crimes, corruption, and much more.

I live here in Portland. Why would I want to take a tour?

We literally hear every week from locals who say things like, “I’m finally getting around to learning more about my city!” — or as is more frequently the case — are accompanying their out of town guests, and remark “I cannot believe how much I learned on my tour. And I thought I knew Portland! Ha!” Don’t let the out of town visitors leave more knowledgeable than you are about your beloved hometown!

Can I bring my dog on a tour?

Portland is a very dog friendly city, so we do allow pet dogs on our Best of Portland tour. That said, other guests need to be comfortable with your pet dog being on the tour, and we ask that you keep it leashed, well behaved, and not take it into any buildings. Only certified service dogs are welcome on any of our tours.

Which tours are child friendly?

Our Best of Portland tour is a delight for children, and if your child is okay with ghosts as a theme, our all-ages Beyond Bizarre ghost hunting tour at 7:00 PM is a lot of fun. Our food tours are also fun for children, depending on how comfortable they are with trying new things. And of course you are the best judge of the adventurousness of their palates. Keep in mind, every person on a food tour needs to purchase a ticket, even children. We don’t recommend the Underground Portland tour for children under 13 since the topics covered are for a more mature audience, but again, it is at the discretion of the parents. The only tours that are specifically age restricted are the 10:00 PM Beyond Bizarre tour (18 and over only) and the We Got Tipsy in Portland tour (21 and over only).

Should I buy tickets in advance or can I just show up?

Our tours regularly sell out, therefore we highly recommend that you buy tickets in advance as that is the only way to guarantee your spot on the tour. There are three ways to purchase advanced tickets: on our website, by calling 503-774-4522, or by visiting us in person at our box office located indoors under Pioneer Courthouse Square (701 SW 6th Ave). If you are not able to purchase advanced tickets, you can take your chance and show up early to purchase the tickets on-site if there are still tickets remaining for the tour.

Do you have a tour today?

We sure do . . . we have tours literally every day of the year! Our tour schedule varies depending on the day of the week and the time of year (and we have seven different tours to choose from!), so feel free to give us a call or visit our website to discover your options.

Can I cancel or change my tour?

Because we operate a ticketing system as opposed to allowing reservations, our tickets are sold as a non-refundable and non-exchangeable purchase to a specific event — your tour. We keep our tour numbers small to give you the best experience possible, so if you do encounter an emergency and you won’t be there for the tour, let us know as soon as possible so we can open up spots for other people.

Where do I meet my tour guide?

Your guide will be waiting for you at one of two locations depending on which tour you are taking. For the Best of Portland, Epicurean Excursion, Flavor Street, Chocolate Decadence, and We Got Tipsy in Portland tours, the starting location is the Theater on the Square under Pioneer Courthouse Square at 701 SW 6th Avenue. For the Underground Portland and Beyond Bizarre tours, the starting location is 131 NW 2nd Avenue between NW Davis and NW Couch at the Old Merchant Hotel Building.

Where will we go on the Epicurean Excursion, Flavor Street, Chocolate Decadence, and We Got Tipsy in Portland Tours?

While we do have several regular stops on all of these tours, the selection can vary depending on several factors, so we leave that as a delicious surprise for our guests. Also if you come back and do the same tour again, you might very well experience a whole different variety of places!

Do I need to print my tickets?

No! We try to make it as easy as possible for our guests. As soon as you make your purchase, your name goes on a guest list for the tour, and all you need to do when you arrive for your tour is tell the guide your last name, how many are in your party, and you will be all set. You don’t even have to show your guide the confirmation email on your phone.

How early do I have to arrive for my tour?

Check in time is officially 15 minutes before the start of the tour, and we greatly encourage that you arrive by then because we start our tours promptly at their designated times. We wouldn’t want you to miss yours!

How can I pay for my tour?

We accept credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover) on our website and through our box office, and in person you can also pay with cash.

Which tour should I take?

Each of our tours are quite different from each other, and all offer a wonderful combination of fun and information, so it is just a matter of what you are looking for. We have a description of each tour on our website, or feel free to call us and we’ll help you decide. And why not take more than one?

I have dietary restrictions, can I still go on your food tours?

Absolutely! Your guide will ask the group before the start of the tour if there are any dietary restrictions, and they are often times able to provide alternate tastings when available. This does not guarantee that there will be alternate tastings at every stop, but the guides will do their best to accommodate you.

What is the difference between the all ages Beyond Bizarre tour at 7:00 PM, and the adults only tour at 10:00 PM, and why is their a price difference?

The 10 PM tour covers the same tour route and topics, but there is no holding back with adult language and expressions. You are paying for the guarantee of having an adults only experience.

If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask them! You can contact us through our website or call us at 503-774-4522. We look forward to seeing you on a tour soon!


Article by Natasha Kelly

 

The Origin and Truth Behind the ‘Keep Portland Weird’ Motto

February 4th, 2016

The other day we had a guest come in and see our bumper stickers and ask, “So, what’s up with the whole ‘Keep Portland Weird’ thing?” Being from the area, we’ve grown so accustomed to the “weird” things in Portland: the person with a cat on their shoulder, Darth Vader riding a unicycle with a fire breathing bagpipe (aka The Unipiper), donuts shaped like male genitals, a fan club devoted to tacky carpet from the airport, and of course the smallest park in the world, complete with figurines depending on the season. To some it might be weird, but to Portlanders it’s a unique way of self expression. Not caring what people think and being ourselves — that’s what it’s all about… right?

stickers

Well, when we look at the origins of the motto, we find it’s more than just a catchy phrase. According to the ‘Keep Portland Weird’ website, our motto is “about supporting local business in the Portland Oregon area…they make Portland stand out from other cities and make it a more unique place to live.” But we’re going to burst your bubble for just a second. Portland was not the first city to adopt this motto. Terry Currier, owner of Music Millennium, was inspired after seeing a local campaign slogan in Austin, Texas (Keep Austin Weird) created by the Austin Independent Business Alliance with the purpose of encouraging folks to buy local. Currier then brought the expression and sentiment here to Portland, and it fits us like a glove. We weren’t the first, nor will we likely be the last city to adopt this motto. We’ve even heard rumors that other cities have already picked it up too. Some like to debate which city actually is the weirdest, and over at sparefoot.com, they’ve put together a fun infographic, seeking to settle once and for all which city is really the weirdest. We’ll give you a hint: it starts with a P and ends with an ortland.

GrumpyCat

Photo courtesy of realgrumpycat.tumblr.com

If you’d like to take some travel selfies to share with others and reminisce in the fact that Grumpy Cat was once there, you can visit the Keep Portland Weird sign at 22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204. And of course don’t forget that Voodoo Doughnut is right across the street. Go treat yourself!

And to learn even more weird stuff about Portland, including the seedy weird side of Portland’s past, come join us on the Underground Portland Walking Tour!


Article by Adriana Bordea

 

In the Spotlight: Meet Portland Walking Tour Guide Damon Kupper Live on the Streets of Portland and on Stage in Great Expectations

February 3rd, 2016

Kupper-Headshot

Damon Kupper is a triple threat: great guy, talented tour guide, and accomplished actor. We are proud to have him as our longest running tour guide at Portland Walking Tours, and thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about him and pick his brain about his latest show, Great Expectations at Portland Center Stage. Read on to find out what brought Damon initially to Portland, what he’s learned about life from being in Great Expectations, and if he sees any commonalities between acting and giving tours.

Married with two young sons, Damon enjoys engaging in both the larger community narrative and the fantastical realm of bedtime stories. He bike-commutes whenever he can and enjoys fixing up his family’s old home in SE Portland. A proud company member of Third Rail Repertory Theater, Damon is also a Drammy winner and has graced many prominent Portland stages as well as regional theaters across the country. His travels have taken him across the globe where he has worked as an instructor for various educational theater programs and entertained as a street performer. As if that isn’t enough, Damon has a masters degree in acting from UC Irvine and completed the two year actor training program from Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts.

Mad skills for a tour guide, right? It is definitely safe to say that when it comes to Damon, we always have Great Expectations!

1) How long have you lived in Portland and what brought you here? What do you like about living here?

I was lucky enough to come to Portland as an actor with Artist Repertory Theatre eleven years ago. We were presenting a bilingual (English/Vietnamese) production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Portland immediately attracted me. I am from a small town in California but have lived in and enjoyed the vitality of larger cities. In Portland I found a wonderful balance of an accessible vibrant city that is also easy to escape from. Great people, beautiful parks and architecture, and dynamic port city history.

2) How did you get involved with PWT and how long have you been giving tours? Which tours do you give?

I joined up with Portland Walking Tour as one of its first guides 10 years ago. I love to dive into history and get down and nerdy, so giving tours was a great fit for me. I have always enjoyed traveling and seeing the spark in the eyes of those on the road of adventure. I have given a wide variety of tours including the Epicurean Excursion, Flavor Street, Underground and Best of Portland tours for both public and private groups. I know I have had an impact on making Portland a desirous destination.

3) What do you enjoy most about giving tours for PWT?

I love the being out on the streets of Portland, rain or shine, and seeing locals and visitors make the link to how city planning, risk, respect, and a scoop of weirdness make Portland such a fantastic destination. I also gain so much from the stories and observations of those I meet as a tour guide.

4) Do you have a few favorite tour stories you can share with us?

I have had people stop me on the street and tell me,“You are the reason we moved here.” I’ve enjoyed older residents giving me their first-hand experiences from some of Portland’s most harrowing moments (the expelling of Japanese citizens, the Vanport Flood, labor strikes). Portland’s grittier past is often a thin scratch under the modern Green.

5) Why should someone take a tour with PWT?

Portland is a very open city but being guided on the journey gives people an excuse and support to go beyond normal ‘yelp’ help and share community in a small group of adventure seekers. I love when people have a particular interest in an aspect of the city that they want to explore (art, food, political scandals, etc.) but many people simply want to take advantage of useful tips that a guide can offer.

6) Tell us about the production of Great Expectations at PCS. What can we expect when we go? Is it ok if we haven’t read the novel and aren’t familiar with the story?

GE is a rich, humorous, and poignant story. The play condenses the novel and it does in a creative and often narrative style. Our job is to make it clear. But to know who Miss Havisham or Mr. Jaggers is beforehand can only add to the fun.

7) What role(s) do you play?

I wear a few hats and two wigs. You’ll see me in the roles of Mr. Pumblechook and Mr. Wemmick as well as a few other cameos. See if you can find them!

8) What have you enjoyed most about being part of this production and working at PCS in general?

PCS holds a unique place in the Portland theatre community. They do some of the largest musicals and classics as well as some of the most cutting edge pieces you’ll find…and they do it in an historic platinum level LEED building.

9) What have you learned (about life, theater, anything) from being a part of this play?

It is a coming of age play about building character and facing the fears and frustrations of our expectations. It resonates strongly in me from my own navigations in life, especially now as a father of two boys myself. Like all great dramas, one can find new observations with every twist of the kaleidoscope.

10) Why should someone go see Great Expectations?

It is one of the best casts of actors you’ll find in the city, if not the best, and you’ll have the chance to be moved and guided and embrace some incredible language and characters. The Gerding Armory Theatre is its own destination as well.

11) What similarities are there between acting and giving tours?

All the world is a stage, but the streets of Portland and the tour groups themselves make for a unique ensemble and quite an impressive set to share stories in.

To experience the magic of a Portland Walking Tour with any of our talented guides, join one of our seven different tours and book advanced tickets at portlandwalkingtours.com. To catch Damon in Great Expectations at PCS before it closes on February 14, visit pcs.org/expectations.

Great Expectations was featured on the Big Red Arrow Hot Sheet! Check it out to find more fun things to do in Portland!


Article by Natasha Kelly

 

Three Special Fertile Ground Theater Events in Portland

January 20th, 2016

Our sister company, Big Red Arrow ticketing, is proud to offer tickets to three very special theater events in Portland that are being featured as part of the Fertile Ground Festival. The festival is an 11-day, city-wide arts festival of new works featuring world premiere projects, staged readings, developing works, and a myriad of other arts events from the Portland creative community.

Daisy Dukes Shorts Night
9 new short shorts written on the theme “Starting Over,” and chosen by PDX Playwrights from submissions. Featuring works by Brad Bolchunos, John Byrne, Dave Chapman, Gary Corbin, Miriam Feder, James Kim, John Servilio, and Sally Stember.
Friday January 22 & Saturday January 23 at 7:00 PM
Hipbone Studios | 1847 E. Burnside, Portland, OR
Tickets $10 (+$1.50 Service Fee Per Ticket) available at Big Red Arrow

Family Hardware 
Gary Corbin’s latest comedy examines the struggles facing aging sexually active baby boomers whose bodies can’t keep up with their desires to remain sexually active and healthy, and puts the “fun” back into sexual dysfunction.
Sunday January 24 & Saturday 31 at 6:00 PM, Friday January 29 at 7:00 PM
Hipbone Studios | 1847 E. Burnside, Portland, OR
Tickets $10 (+$1.50 Service Fee Per Ticket) available at Big Red Arrow

Short and Sweet: Short Plays by P-Town Playwrights 
P-Town Playwrights presents new shorts by Sara Jean Accuardi, Audrey Block, Susan Faust, Miriam Feder, Naga Nataka, Rich Rubin, and Lolly Ward.
Saturday January 30 at 7:00 PM
Hipbone Studios | 1847 E. Burnside, Portland, OR
Tickets $10 (+$1.50 Service Fee Per Ticket) available at Big Red Arrow

Fertile Ground was featured on the Big Red Arrow Hot Sheet! Check it out to find more fun things to do in Portland!


Article by Stephanie Paris

Breaking News: City of Roses Becomes the City of Chocolate!

January 19th, 2016

Even if it is just for one weekend, thousands of people will gather in one place in Portland, Oregon to nibble, sip, taste, and feast on chocolate. The festival is appropriately named ChocolateFest, and we are proud to say that USA Today voted our festival as one of the top ten specialty food festivals in the country!

chocolatefest

Photo courtesy of chocolatefest.org

At this year’s event you will get the chance to taste chocolate prepared many different ways, and of course be able to purchase your favorites, watch presentations and demonstrations centered around chocolate and how it’s used, educate yourself on the truths behind chocolate from actual chocolatiers, and even have a little sip sip of some wine with your sweets — a perfect pairing. And remember, it’s not like you’re doing this for nothing. ChocolateFest is actually a fundraiser for the World Forestry Center. That’s pretty much the best excuse to eat as much chocolate as you can!

  • What: ChocolateFest
  • When: Friday January 22 (age 21+ only), Saturday January 23 and Sunday January 24 (all ages)
  • Where: Oregon Convention Center (Exhibit Hall A)
    777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd
    Portland, OR 97232
  • Price: $15 Adults, $13 Seniors (65+), $8 Student/Child, Under 5 years old is free
  • Tickets: Order advanced tickets online at: chocolatefest.org/ticketing
    Prices vary at the door. VIP tickets also available which include a lounge with free wine and cupcakes!
  • More info: chocolatefest.org

Don’t forget, if you’re still craving some sweets come join us on our Chocolate Decadence Walking Tour. A perfect gift for Valentine’s Day! The Chocolate Decadence walking tour is given year-round on Saturdays and Sundays at 3:30 PM. To purchase tickets, gift certificates, or for more information, visit portlandwalkingtours.com or call 503-774-4522.

This event was featured on the Big Red Arrow Hot Sheet! Check it out to find more fun things to do in Portland!


Article by Adriana Bordea

Fun Activities in Portland That Will Bring You Way Back

January 18th, 2016

For you adults out there who are just a bunch of kids at heart, check out these fun activities happening all across Portland. Trust us, you’ll feel younger just reading this!

1. Grownup drinks and science hijinks

Think OMSI, a truly amazing science museum in the Portland Metro area, but at night with beer and like-minded folk exploring science themes in fun and thought-provoking ways. That’s OMSI After Dark! omsi.edu

OMSI

Photo courtesy of OMSI on Facebook


2. Get outside and play

Regardless of the season, getting outside to play is always a good idea. Make and jump in huge leaf piles in the fall, have a snowball fight in the winter, have a sprinkler slip ‘n slide party in the summer, and just about any time, gather a big group of adults together in a park and get your hide-and-seek on! And to pump up the stakes, the last person found wins a trophy or something similarly awesome (a drink or appetizer at the nearest pub, perhaps?).

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Photo courtesy of Nick on Flickr


3. Paint and Sip at Mimosa Studio

What’s better than painting some pottery while sipping on free margaritas?! The fact that pottery prices start at just $15. Margarita Nights are the last Friday of the month. mimosa-studios.com

SONY DSC

Photo courtesy of Mimosa-Studios.com


4. Retro flashback at Ground Kontrol

Remember when you used to go to the arcade with your besties and a pocket full of quarters? Well Ground Kontrol gives you that same experience plus so much more. With 60 classic video games, 27 pinball machines, and a full bar, this is definitely one of the hot spots in town. groundkontrol.com

GroundKontrol

Photo courtesy of Pouregon on flickr


5. Go Back to School

With beer, cocktails, and wine available in old classrooms, uniquely designed guest rooms, and a movie theater in the old auditorium, the McMenamins Kennedy School is where it’s at!
mcmenamins.com/KennedySchool

KennedySchool

Photo courtesy of McD22 on flickr


6. Have Some Dessert

Remember those days when you heard that wonderful iconic melody, stopped everything you were doing, and ran as fast as you could to catch that ice cream truck driving away? Well don’t you worry, P-town has a plethora of amazing ice cream spots. No running required. rubyjewel.comcoolmoonicecream.comsaltandstraw.com

coolmoon

Photo courtesy of eyeliam on flickr


7. Enjoy a day at Oaks Amusement Park

Nothing brings you back quite like roller skating to old-school music, screaming on amusement park rides, puttin’ around on a mini golf course, and playing lots of carnival games. oakspark.com

OaksPark

Photo courtesy of ocean yamaha on flickr


Article by Adriana Bordea

Warm Up This Winter With Third Wave Coffee Tours!

January 14th, 2016

Sipping on coffee from award winning micro-roasters made by nationally acclaimed baristas is one the most quintessential Portland experiences you can have. Whether you already have your favorite coffee spot, or you don’t even know where to begin, taking a walking tour from Third Wave Coffee Tours is the best way to find new favorites, broaden your palate, and learn what makes Portland the greatest coffee city in the country. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at our city’s pioneering coffee culture as you experience brew method demonstrations, side-by-side coffee tastings, and even learn tips and tricks to brew better coffee at home. They offer five different tours to choose from, and each one will introduce you to a unique region of Portland with its talented coffee artisans and their exceptional brews.

ThirdWaveCoffee

 

Tour Schedule:

Sunday – A Streetcar Named Delicious Coffee Tour

Tuesday – Pearl District’s Specialty Coffee Tour

Wednesday – Downtown Portland Coffee Crawl

Thursday – Artisanal Donuts and Specialty Coffee

Friday – Portland’s Pioneering Eastside Coffee Roasters

All tours begin at 10:00 AM, and have varying starting locations. Visit bigredarrow.com or call 503-405-8999 to purchase tickets or for more information.

Third Wave Coffee Tours was featured on the Big Red Arrow Hot Sheet! Check it out to find more fun things going on in the Rose City.


Article by Stephanie Paris

 

Something to Sip On: A Brief History of the Cocktail

January 12th, 2016

“Let’s meet for cocktails.” Doesn’t that sound sophisticated, and have a vastly different ring than “let’s go for few beers,” or “let’s have a glass of wine?” If you’re invited to a cocktail party you instantly start envisioning an elegant affair replete with crystal goblets and hors d’oeuvres that are definitely a step up from pigs in a blanket. This stylish libation has made its way deep into our culture. Did you ever wonder where it came from? Let’s take a little trip through its history. But be warned: you’ll be thirsty by the end (but don’t worry, we have a solution for that, just read on!).

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Photo courtesy of star5112 on Flickr

The first appearance of the word “cocktail” referring to a drink and not a horse (long story) was in 1798. In 1803, the official definition of the cocktail described it as an alcoholic beverage made with spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. Essentially originating from the medicine cabinet, cocktails helped deal with illnesses and improve digestion. Toward the mid-19th century cocktails gained widespread popularity, and by 1862 “Professor” Jerry Thomas wrote what is considered the first bartender’s guide which included recipes for 10 cocktails. Ones that were originally found in that book that we know today include the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan, which used the key ingredient of bitters to distinguish them from other drink types such as sours, slings, or toddies.

The first “cocktail party” was in 1917, hosted by Mrs. Julius Walsh Jr. of St. Louis. It was held from 12 noon to 1 PM with 50 guests who hoped to inflame the increasing number of temperance advocates for Prohibition. If you’re ever at a loss for a toast at a cocktail party, you can make a tribute to Mrs. Walsh’s fine instincts. We salute you, Mrs. Walsh!

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Image courtesy of Dewar’s Repeal on Flickr

And now we come to Prohibition from 1920-1933. Who ever thought that was going to be a good idea?? The Roaring Twenties were certainly not lacking in alcohol consumption, and indeed cocktails had a heyday in speakeasies in spite of the laws, or shall we say because of the laws. Wine and beer, previously very popular, gave way to hard liquor which was easier to produce and smuggle. Gin supplanted whiskey because it did not require aging and the practice of people making gin in their bathtubs is a favorite legend from the era. Flavorings like honey and fruit juice were used to cover up the bad taste of the crudely made spirits, and also served a purpose since sweet drinks were easier to down if a place got raided. Fun fact of Oregon: we started a state prohibition five years before the national one!

In the 1980s the Margarita began its reign as one of the most popular cocktails ever ordered. It’s probably safe to say that if you drink alcohol, you have had at least one margarita in your life! Can we say Cinco de Mayo? In the 1980s the US fell in love with vodka, and began substituting it for gin here, there, and everywhere. The vodka martini is a prime example of this. An iconic advertising campaign for the Swedish vodka company, Absolut, in the 1980s and 1990s contributed to the surge of sales of the brand and the spirit in general. Soon after, the trend of flavored vodkas became popular and are still used liberally today. Known as mixology, our modern-day cocktail culture celebrates seemingly endless variations of novel ingredients, complex flavors, and inventive combinations. Just look on a menu today and your head will spin from the many concoctions available.

In the late 1990s through the beginning of the new millennium, the tv series Sex and the City showed fashionable women drinking cocktails with each other in the glamorous backdrop of New York City. This influence sparked the practice of women getting together for cocktails as an alternative to drinking wine with each other, and played an important role in the cocktail’s renaissance in popular culture, specifically the Cosmopolitan among women. We have a feeling Mrs. Julius Walsh would approve!

Thirsty yet? Since we’re sure this brief history of the cocktail has wet your whistle for an actual libation, be sure to check out our We Got Tipsy in Portland walking tour, given every Saturday at 1:30 PM. It’s a fun excursion through the streets of Portland and in and out of cider bars, restaurants, breweries, and wine shops, and gives you the opportunity to experience Portland’s liquid assets in all forms, including the venerable cocktail. To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit portlandwalkingtours.com or call 503-774-4522.


Article by Natasha Kelly

Unique, Affordable, Hipster-Approved Lodging in Portland

January 8th, 2016

We’re seeing it more and more… people want to visit Portland — and who wouldn’t?! Portland has a city feel with a twist of nature thrown in the mix, and there is so much to do here. Of course when you come to Portland, you could stay in one of our many outstanding, conventional hotels around town. But to truly experience this one-of-a-kind city, we suggest you make your time here even more special by staying in a quirky spot outside the norm. Below are some unique lodging options in Portland to consider, located in historic neighborhoods where you are bound to get a true behind-the-scenes Portland experience.

Caravan: Tiny House Hotel
NE Portland, Alberta Arts District
Price Range: $145-$195 (*excludes lodging tax)
tinyhousehotel.com

TinyHouses

Photo courtesy of tinyhousehotel.com

Yes, this is a real thing! Not only for those who want a fun experience, but especially those thinking about making a huge change to this lifestyle. And, you get to say you stayed in a Tiny House! Guaranteed, you’ll feel like a kid again. With six different tiny houses, all including amenities you would find in a regular-sized house, it will feel more like a community gathering — fire pit included. Have a pet? Caravan: Tiny House Hotel takes them with only a $25 pet fee! This little place has made a big statement in national news and has even made an appearance on Portlandia. It may be a tiny house, but it’s sure to be a big adventure!


 

Northwest Portland Hostel
NW Portland, Historic Nob Hill
Price Range: $25-$69 (*excludes lodging tax)
nwportlandhostel.com

Hostel

Photo courtesy of nwportlandhostel.com

For you devout travelers on a budget, this hostel is the spot to check out. It is located in one of the most popular neighborhoods in Portland, and the prices can’t be beat. While staying here you can either choose dorm-style with roomies, or get a private room for some alone time. Either way you’ll have access to bathrooms, kitchens, and the common area. You’ll also be near what defines Portland, such as coffee shops, popular foodie spots, and nightlife. One of the best things they offer is events that bring together the travel community such as hikes, pub crawls, live music, and even movie nights.


 

Bluebird Guesthouse
SE Portland, Division/Clinton
Price Range:$55-$135 (*excludes lodging tax)
bluebirdguesthouse.com

Bluebird

Photo courtesy of bluebirdguesthouse.com

This quaint bed and breakfast is a home away from home. Located in one of the most resturant-focused neighborhoods in Portland, this location is ideal for you foodies out there. While you’re there, check out Pok Pok, a restaurant that has made headlines as being one of the best Thai food spots in Portland. The Bluebird Guesthouse is also close to the Hawthorne, Belmont, and Downtown neighborhoods, so you are bound to find some cute shops for souvenirs and trinkets. There are seven guest rooms named after authors and one musician, and some rooms even include clawfoot tubs.


 

White Eagle Saloon (McMenamins Historic Hotel)
North Portland, Industrial District
Price Range: $75-$125 (*excludes lodging tax)
mcmenamins.com/469-white-eagle-saloon-home

WhiteEagle

Photo courtesy of White Eagle on Facebook

This rock and roll style hotel is all of that and so much more! Thought to be one of the most haunted spots in town, make sure to keep one eye open. This place is definitely not for you early sleepers though — they have nightly live music which is unique in itself. If you want to upgrade your stay, they even have a Beer 101 overnight package available which almost ensures to get you a little tipsy. The saloon is literally underneath the hotel so thankfully you won’t have to worry about how to get home, just head upstairs. And did we mention the Moda Center is just a mile away…Go Blazers!


 

The Society Hotel
NW Portland, Old Town/Chinatown
Price Range: $35-$119 (*excludes lodging fee)
thesocietyhotel.com

SocietyHotel

Photo courtesy of thesocietyhotel.com

This newly opened boutique hotel located in an up and coming district has more history behind it than any of the previous unique spaces. Originally known as The Mariners Building in the early 1880s, this site knows how to keep it classy by merging the unique history behind its walls with sophisticated contemporary charm. Private rooms or dorm-style with bunk beds are available, paying homage to the sailors who once stayed there lifetimes ago. With nightlife literally outside their doorstep and a gorgeous rooftop deck providing some of the best views around, joining their society may be one of the best things you do while in Portland.


Article by Adriana Bordea

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