It's Easy Being Green on a Budget in Portland, Oregon

Posted August 19, 2009 by Kate Hamman

Portland-Skyline Portland, Oregon, is a leader in green initiatives, so it's not surprising that many of its private establishments have followed suit. Plus, you don't have to spend a great deal to feel good about yourself or Mother Earth. Eat at a pizza joint that takes sustainable practices to the next level, drink beers at an all-organic brewery, and stay in a renovated hotel that creatively uses recycled materials.

Hotlips Pizza: Each of Hotlips' four locations in the Portland area makes every effort to spread environmental awareness through its pizzas and homemade sodas. Local farms and producers provide fresh ingredients, many of which are certified organic, for every pie and fruit drink. Try a seasonal specialty made with toppings such as summer squash or locally grown apples. Small pizzas start at $15.25, and a 12-ounce soda costs $2.

Roots Organic Brewery: As Oregon's first all-organic brewery, Roots knows a thing or two about making top-quality beers from the hops of the earth. Living by the motto, "Drink organic—save the planet one beer at a time," the brewers produce beers using old-fashioned techniques and organic ingredients. Help do your part by drinking a pint of hand-crafted ale or one of the brewpub's seasonal drafts. Pints start at $4.50, but cost $3.50 between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. on weekdays and are just $2.50 all day, every Tuesday.

Ace Hotel: Close by the Pearl District in downtown Portland, you'll find a boutique-style hotel that has given its historic location a hip and green redesign. The Ace incorporated recycled elements, such as couches covered in salvaged U.S. Army rain cloak fabric and furniture made from reclaimed timber, into its stylish design. You can also enjoy a fresh cup of java from Stumptown, the onsite coffee roaster dedicated to sustainable practices. Rooms start at $95 per night.

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(Photo: Portland Oregon Visitors Association)

Portland, Oregon's Artistic Side Shines in its Pearl District

Posted February 26, 2009 by Kate Hamman

OR-Portland-PowellBooks-DEF With lofts housing the tortured artistic elite, cafes fueling their creativity, and shops designed to capture their spirit around every corner, the Pearl District is Portland's premier arts area. Wander the stacks of dreams fulfilled and lost in a giant bookstore. Or take inspiration from contemporary artwork displayed in a local gallery. After you've spent the day appreciating the visual arts, you can indulge in creative concoctions at a trendy bar.

Powell's City of Books: You'll find a contender for the world's largest bookstore straddling downtown and the Pearl District on Burnside Street. Housing 68,000 square feet of new, out-of-print, and long-forgotten titles, Powell's City of Books is where hardcovers and paperbacks are given a second chance at a new life. The store buys and sells books of all shapes and sizes for all tastes. You can get lost in the maze of massive shelves overflowing with the written word for months, even years. It's free to browse, and most used books are marked way down from the original price.

Froelick Gallery: Museum admissions can add up, but it doesn't cost a thing to go to an art gallery. Since 1995, the Froelick Gallery has exhibited and represented contemporary artwork from different regions of the world, and includes a strong Pacific Northwest influence. The inviting and sparse display space highlights the work and encourages you to view each artist's talent free from distraction. Exhibits change monthly, with a public reception on the first Thursday of each month.

Vault Martini: If you've ever wondered what sloth, wrath, envy, or greed might taste like in liquor-form, Vault Martini is here to quench your curiosity. With more than 44 diabolical and angelic elixirs, this hip lounge turns martinis into an art form. The menu features concoctions named after the seven deadly sins, along with sweet and savory tastes like banana bread and cilantro. And, you can sip your drink next to the fireplace for warmth or at the 18-foot ice-glass bar if you need to cool down. Happy hours martinis cost $4 Mondays through Fridays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m.

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(Photo: Powells Books)

Portland Invites You to Twisit. Wait, What?

Posted February 13, 2009 by Carl Unger

Portland_or_local No, that's not a typo. Portland, Oregon, is the first U.S. city to launch a Twisitor Center, which allows visitors to communicate with Twisitor Center staff members and receive all sorts of tips and ideas for fun Portland activities and money-saving vacation deals—all via the micro-blogging tool Twitter.

The Twisitor Center is operated by Travel Portland, and even allows residents who aren't affiliated with the agency to answer questions, giving the program a local's-eye view as well. Visitors seeking information can add "inpdx# to their tweets, which alerts Travel Portland staff and signals to other users that someone has a question.

Travel Portland will also send out several tweets each day, covering topics from dining tips to green travel ideas and travel deals.

Visitors can hook up with Travel Portland's Twitter stream directly from the agency's website, and then follow the stream to read Travel Portland's messages along with tweets posted by visitors.

(Photo: Yellowpages.com)

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