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Portland, Oregon

If you described Portland as a scaled-down version of Seattle you wouldn't be off the mark, as both cities share some very enticing similarities. They boast natural settings that showcase the Pacific Northwest's remarkable beauty. Each has a distant but unmistakable landmark: 14,411-foot Mount Rainier rising from Seattle's horizon, 11,239-foot Mt. Hood serving as Portland's backdrop. Water is a prevailing characteristic as well—as Puget Sound helped shape Seattle, so do the Willamette (pronounced “will-AM-ett”) and Columbia rivers define Portland. Both are decidedly pro-environmental, resulting in a bounty of urban parks and green spaces. Coffee on practically every corner? Check and check.

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Portland, Oregon


Just a quick TriMet MAX train ride from downtown, Washington Park (S.W. Rose Garden Way & S.W. Kingston Ave.) is a must-visit on any vacation, if only to be wowed by the multitude of blooms at the International Rose Test Garden (400 S.W. Kingston Ave.) and experience the Zen-like serenity of the Portland Japanese Garden (611 S.W. Kingston Ave.). The wooded park is home to other attractions that top the list of things to do, including the Hoyt Arboretum (4000 S.W. Fairview Blvd.), with a network of pretty hiking trails that will make you forget you're near a bustling city.
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Top Picks for Kids

There's nothing like animal antics to entertain little kids, and the menagerie at the Oregon Zoo (4001 S.W. Canyon Rd.) will not let them down, making this a top destination for families. Critters here range from adorable to strange-looking and everything in between. Don't miss the Zoo Train, which winds through Washington Park (S.W. Rose Garden Way & S.W. Kingston Ave.) between the zoo and the International Rose Test Garden (400 S.W. Kingston Ave.).
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Oregon doesn't charge sales tax—one of only five states that don't—which is obviously good news for Portland shoppers. Probably the most convenient place to take advantage of this tax-free situation is in and around downtown. Here you'll find compact historic districts with all sorts of boutiques and stores, and the streetcar and light rail lines make getting around this destination a breeze.
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AAA Travel Tips

Portland, Oregon

Inspector Picks: Five Favorite Rooftop Restaurants

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6 of the Best Spots for Picturesque Portland Views

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National Bacon Day: December 30

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