Our eldest nephew, who is 12-going-on-13, recently came to Portland to visit — his first flight, and all by himself! — and we had such a good time traveling together around the region and getting to show off some local sights and eats with him. Here’s a quick round-up of the visit — think of it like a mini-travelogue, as it combined a vacation for our nephew, Aidan, and a staycation for us. ;)
Before his visit, my husband had put together a list of possible activities. At the end of each day, we then went over the list, and Aidan got to choose what he wanted to do the next day. We also traded turns to pick what restaurant, or kind of food, we were in the mood to eat each day.
Our first full day involved a morning of disc golf (for the boys) and the finishing of library systems training (for me). We then spent the rest of the day at Oaks Amusement Park, which included rides (Sam and I had to take turns on the rides, as our tummies and aching bodies needed rests inbetween!), roller skating (it has been over 20 years since I strapped on roller skates!), the century-old carousel, and miniature golf. We had lunch at Old Town Pizza and dinner at one of our favorite local spots, Russell Street BBQ.
And just look at those major pattern-mixing skills of our nephew! Dude is sartorially fearless! :)
The next day was more low-key (Sam and I were still recovering from Oaks Park!), as we spent the morning at the college where my husband is teaching a summer class. We then hit downtown Portland, and OF COURSE had to stop by Voodoo Doughnut. It is a Portland rite of passage! While waiting for the bus, we all took turns swapping sunglasses, and Aidan proved that he can wear any shape of shades and still look cool! 8-)
FYI, we had dinner at Cha Cha Cha, a local chain of traditional Mexican food. And on our way back across the river, we came upon a neighborhood street party and concert!
Sam and I have been wanting to visit the Portland Children’s Museum for quite some time — you have to have a kid to get in! — so WE were the ones dragging our nephew to check it out. He was good-natured about it, and my husband especially had a blast! There were themed rooms, including a treehouse room and a mass transit room (hence the goofy pic of me by the miniature bus stop). The best part of the Children’s Museum was the outdoor area, which included a mural, a miniature waterfall, a maze, and dwelling-like twig sculptures that reminded me of the shapes in Spike Jonze’s 2009 adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, as seen here.
I also enjoyed that Sam and Aidan were mirroring plaid patterns. :)
The rest of the day included the Oregon Zoo — we’re members, woo-hoo for free entertainment! — which is right near the Children’s Museum. Aidan bought a zebra face mask, which we all took turns wearing (and scaring others). My husband and nephew then enjoyed a boys’ night out at the drive-in movie theatre in nearby Newberg.
On our nephew’s final full day in Portland, we enjoyed the traditional Saturday brunch at Bridges Cafe (yum) and then set out for some of the area’s natural wonders. Our first stop was the view atop Larch Mountain — Mt. Hood was gloriously clear! — as well as sights along the Historical Columbia River Highway, including the Vista House, Horsetail Falls, and of course, Multnomah Falls. On our way back, we then stopped for dinner of buffalo wings (they also have vegetarian-friendly options) at Fire on the Mountain.
We had a LOT more on our possible to-do list, but as Aidan’s shirt proclaims above, what we were able to do was “money well spent.” :D It was a great visit! And please feel free to share sight-seeing tips of you own and/or other great places you’d like to see on a trip to Portland.