PORTLAND, Oregon (CNN) -- is known for it's gray, bleak weather that spans the whole of winter. You might be surprised to find that even in the drizzle, according to CNN, Portland is a great place to visit. Of course the sun does come out on occasion and that just gives you even more options for things to do. In fact, from the 4th of July through Halloween you can almost count on it.
What is nice about being a tourist in Portland is the transit system. A visitor can easily and reliably get around to all the hot spots on their list. http://trimet.org/ Places like downtown Pioneer Square for an outdoor movie.
If your intent is to stray from the typical there are certainly some hotel options for you. The Ace Hotel which originates in Seattle, Washington takes up a city block near the swanky Pearl District and has a deferent decor in each room. (http://www.acehotel.com/portland/ 1022 SW Stark Street)
One way the locals enjoy the rain is to stroll over to their hundreds coffee shop, without an umbrella. A Portland favorite is Stumptown Coffee. (http://www.stumptowncoffee.com/) They have five locations and are known for their commitment to quality and the earth. Also they feature a local artist each month, a different one for each location, on the walls for their shops which are available for purchase.
Many say you haven't been to Portland till you've been to Voodoo Doughnut. (http://voodoodoughnut.com/ 22 SW 3rd Ave) The most unusual menu you have ever seen including a maple bar with bacon, which are available when you get done at one of the downtown nightclubs. Yes, this is a late-night doughnut shop which used to open around 8pm but now is open nearly all the time. And for just $175 you can get married there, that will make your day in Portland complete.
The next morning you will want to check out Mother's Bistro for breakfast. (http://www.mothersbistro.com/ 212 SW Stark Street). This is some wonderful comfort food with a dab of gourmet. Think Pork Apple Sausage and Cheddar scramble, Crunchy French Toast with Cornflakes and the Mother's Macaroni and Cheese Du Jour is always a good choice if you are there after 11:30am. It also has a wonderful bar and dinner menu so don't be afraid to check it out in the evening as well, but reservations are recommended on the weekends.
Another rainy day? Our most famous bookstore is Powell's Books. (http://www.powells.com/ 1005 W. Burnside Street) The main location, out of five, taking up an entire city block, it is very difficult to find something they don't carry.
To get the whole experience you need to check out a local band. Try Doug Fir Restaurant, Bar and Lounge. (http://www.dougfirlounge.com/ 830 E. Burnside Street). Naturally there is a lot of wood and a very funky crowd. You can come for dinner, just a drink or check out a live show downstairs. Northwest bands like The Dimes, Southerly or not so local, like Minnie Driver (really!). Like most places in Portland, the dress code is pretty much anything. You'll see jeans with Converse or heels with a mini skirt.
When the sun does come out there are plenty of parks sprinkled around the city for picnics, Frisbee or reading under a tree. Ducks live in the pond at Laurelhurst Park. (Stark and SE 39th) They even have activities like basketball and horseshoe pits. If you're a golfer there's also plenty of that around including Eastmoreland Golf Course ( http://www.eastmorelandgolfcourse.com/ 2425 SE Bybee Blvd) which is boardered by the beautiful Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. (6001 SE 28th Ave)
Just blocks away from Laurelhurst Park is Pastaworks. (http://www.pastaworks.com/ 3735 SE Hawthorne) This European-style market/deli sells pastas, sauces, olive oil, salami, cheeses, everything you need to throw together a great pasta dish. Or you can just visit the deli and try their delicious calzones. You can also stop by on Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. they host a free wine tasting from their selection of mostly Italian bottles.
If it's cold out and you're feeling like a cold beer and a cheap movie you'll want to try the Bagdad Theater. (http://kennedyschool.com/index.php?loc=9&id=177 3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) In fact, if you like beer even a little bit and would like to sample a local brewery you have to visit any one of the McMenamins locations, quite a few of them featuring a movie theater, restaurant and/or hotel. (http://kennedyschool.com/) Many locations are converts that used to be churches, a ballroom, a poorhouse or even a grade school. (http://www.mcmenamins.com/index.php?loc=57&category=Location%20Homepage)
No matter the weather, Portland has plenty of fun to offer visitors willing to explore and be adventurous.
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