I was lucky enough to get to go to Portland, Oregon for the ACRL conference this spring, a city I’d long wanted to visit. I didn’t wind up extending my trip but a whole lot, but I did have about two full days that were free of work obligations. And Portland is such a compact city that it wound up being really easy to pack in a lot of sightseeing. I would gladly go back again, though I think I would want to make sure I spent some time in Mt. Hood National Forest and the Columbia Gorge.
Getting Around: Portland, at least the part I was in, turned out to be a very compact and walkable city. I stayed on the same side of the Willamette River as the Convention Center, and had an easy half-mile walk to and from my hotel each day – I never even used the free light rail pass that everyone at the conference received. I walked almost everywhere I went! To a certain extent that meant I only went to places I could walk to, but there were enough things to do that this actually helped me narrow my choices. Hailing a cab seemed to be a little tricky – there weren’t as many circulating around as I’m used to seeing, even in the downtown area. But the couple of times I called one, it was there in just a few minutes.
I flew into PDX, which was a great airport. (I am now a person who has preferred airports; thank you, business travel.) Cabs to and from the Jupiter were $42 and $36 (that was at the crack of dawn).
Slept At: I stayed at the Jupiter Hotel, which was not in the official conference block. I had stumbled across it pretty early in my Google Maps explorations, and when I heard the conference blocks were filling up (and realized I didn’t have the info I needed to get into them anyway) I decided to stay there as the cost was comparable. The staff were hip and quirky, super friendly and extremely helpful and efficient. The hotel itself is an old motor lodge that’s been renovated, and has a large tent that seems to be permanently installed inside one part of the property, creating a covered patio for guests and an event space. They do allow smoking in that patio, and some of the rooms open right on to the patio, so do be aware of that. I was in a second floor room near the patio, which worked out fine. Note that you won’t really get any daylight in the downstairs rooms on that side.
My room was very mod and cute, and the bed was super comfy. We were able to cram a full-size airbed on the floor for my friend Julie, so you could squeeze four people in a Metro Chill Side room if needed. My only real complaint is that the bathroom did not vent well. This meant that a few days into my weeklong stay, the room smelled pretty stale and musty, and the only way to combat that was to run the fan in the air conditioner. I probably should have just left it going permanently, but that seemed wasteful since I wasn’t spending a ton of time there.
The hotel restaurant is the Doug Fir Lounge, which had live music every night. I admit I was a bit worried about what the breakfast service would be like the morning I went, but it was exactly as I like when I’m traveling – friendly, quick, efficient and delicious. I was able to hang out at the table working as long as I wanted and felt no pressure to get a move on.
Portland is known for its local beer scene, and I took full advantage of that while I was visiting! I’ll recap my beer adventures, and my other adventures, in separate posts.