Family of 5 in Portland, Oregon: Day One


In the minivan, we left Seattle and stopped for lunch in Centralia.


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Burgerville looks like a regular roadside burger place. But step inside, start reading the posters, signs, and menu, and you’ll soon realize it is a fast-food eatery promoting values: fresh, local, sustainable. I recall big posters that tell the stories of actual people who provide the potatoes, cheese, and recycling services, descriptions of vegetarian-fed beef, cage-free chickens, and information on where the berries, salmon, and nuts come from. With all these special ingredients, it is surprising that you can still get a small cheeseburger for about $1.50 and a double cheeseburger with a soda and fries for $5.50 to $6.50. Our total for five quite delicious burgers and four beverages was under $26.00. I’m glad to hear there are plans for more Burgervilles beyond the 39 current locations in Washington and Oregon.

3D Center of Art and Photography

3D Center of Art and Photography

We arrived in Portland midday, checked in to our La Quinta hotel, and drove to an area very near the Pearl District.

We found free street parking near our first stop, the 3D Center of Art and Photography. Its website says it is “the world’s only art gallery, museum and theater dedicated to the art and science of 3D!” We are not usually ‘into’ art museums, but I figured the science part would interest all of us, and I was right.

Greeted warmly by a museum board member, we paid $15 and entered a single-story small-retail-shop-sized space divided into rooms by partial walls. Though two other groups of visitors subsequently entered (along with a subtle aroma of marijuana), it was not crowded and I’d say there were under 20 people inside. It is rather quiet, and kids under 10 might quickly grow restless.

In the course of one hour, we used devices requiring two hands to view black & white photos on the wall, used paper glasses to look through 3D color books, and used plastic glasses to watch two 3D movies.  We also read descriptions about how eyes and brain and camera lenses work together to create images, learned how anyone can create 3D photos with a regular camera and some free software, and marveled at the existence of pocket-sized cameras with two lenses that produce 3D digital photos.

Powell’s City of Books
A bookstore of amazing proportions, and quite overwhelming. Free maps of Powell’s are provided that diagram the many doorways, stairs, aisles, and subject rooms of this multi-story building. We selected the sections we each wanted to browse, then I accompanied the 12 year olds to the teen area, and hubby and our 15 year old went to the computer area (what a surprise. not.), then we all met up later and walked around the physics and other science books.

It is a must see just for the spectacle of it. The website proclaims it is “the largest used and new bookstore in the world”. And the Washington Post called Powell’s “perhaps the best bookstore in the world.” Exciting!


Bridgeport Brew Pub Bratwurst Plate

Bridgeport Brew Pub has a warm atmosphere, housed in an historic building with brick walls, and modern touches such as a metal staircase leading to the restrooms and additional seating. The brew pub has small outside signage, making it sort of hard to spot. See this wikipedia link for a photo so you’ll know what to look for.

It was crowded on the Saturday night we were there with our kids, but we were seated quickly on wood stools at a high table near a wooden post with hooks for our coats and carry-alls. We shared the pretzel plate, and individually selected the Mediterranean plate with hummus and pita, a kids’ menu pepperoni pizza (hand made, not frozen), a burger with bacon, a shepherd’s pie, and the bratwurst plate with spaetzle. We all loved the food and eagerly tried each other’s dishes. The service was friendly; our waiter had a tie-die tee shirt, and provided helpful recommendations with an upbeat, down-to-earth manner. He had to move around the table to speak with each of us, as it is noisy in that big room. The beer was tasty, and soda refills are free. Our total for the 5 of us, including tip was $85.25.


Waiting for ComedySportz to start.

I wasn’t sure an 8:00pm live ComedySportz show could really be ‘family-friendly’ as the website describes, but it truly was. There were quite a few kids even younger than ours who clearly had been there before and knew the routine. Upon entering, we sat among 8 or 9 rows of chairs of the stackable variety, in a small, spare space facing a stage. Soon, the cast was milling around, creating merriment with corny jokes and puns and props, and then the real show began with game after game of hilarity. Think “Whose Line is it Anyway”, with even more physical humor. The announcer encourages the audience to offer ideas and root for either team, while a brilliantly funny computer whiz punctuates the competitions with images and words on video screens. Our kids still quote a few of the witty lines spontaneously blurted by the comedic performers. Candy, soda cans, and beer are available. We bought tickets online for $12 each. It was a memorably fun time, and we can’t wait to attend more evenings of similar comedy stages, including Theatresports in our own Seattle!


Note: Another family of 5 we know recently visited Comedy Sportz and reported “The comedy show was well-done. We all enjoyed it. Although, I think C. (8th grader) has just seen his future career. We could have left him there. He was still repeating various lines and laughing all the way home.”

Click here for more Portland blog posts.

-Sandy Nielsen


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