My friends and I are starting to think about planning a trip up the west coast of the US into Vancouver. I currently live in Fresno so we were thinking about starting the trip in SF. We really want to take Amtrak up the coast the whole way and were thinking about hitting Portland, Seattle and Vancouver and then flying back home from there.
Does anyone have any suggestions about what to do/see along the way. Also, is there a better way to travel or better cities to see? I really would like to see Seattle and Vancouver, but the only really I am thinking about Portland is because 17.5 hours seems more doable then 23.5 hours on a train lol.
Any advice, or suggestions are welcome, we are in the begging stages of planning. Thanks!
I live in Portland, and I can tell you that the Amtrak Cascades service (Eugene to Vancouver) is considerably nicer and faster than their Coast Starlight (Los Angeles to Seattle). Coast Starlight uses ancient equipment while the Cascades is on the Spanish built Talgo equipment - I was amazed how much nicer it is. Bring your own food aboard as all Amtrak food is expensive and bland as hell. Yes, Portland seems to be "The Place to Be" these days. We have new light rail service close to the Amtrak station that can take you to both the airport and downtown - look for the MAX trains. You also have the option of walking over from the station through the Pearl District (west) and catching the free Portland Streetcar to downtown locations (if you're anything like me, I prefer to walk downtown - about 1/2 mile due south).
What is there to do in Portland? Anything you can recommend specifically? Thanks for the heads up on the different train lines, that will be very helpful!
Portland is the Green City where cyclists rule. When they're not cycling or running marathons, they're at the brew pubs (this is the Milwaukee of craft brews). You can also rent a car and see the Columbia River Gorge, several local volcanoes, many good restaurants and 100% tax free shopping. If you like San Francisco, Portland has very much the same vibe.
The Pearl District apparently earned its name by featuring a large variety of Asian restaurants--and for having an industrial area became renewed ("a pearl within an oyster shell area"). It seems that there are numerous restaurants that specialize in large varieties of tea in Portland--many of these having well over 100 varieties each.
Just as Seattle became famous for coffees (Starbucks, Seattle Brewing, Peat's, etc.); Portland is famous for its teas. The Pearl is also known for being an area that "rose from the ashes" and is a great example of urban renewal and good use of "green, open-space" architecture and urban planning.
[ Edit: Edited on 17-Oct-2010, at 20:57 by Calcruzer ]
The first thing you should plan is the mode of your travel. If you are going to travel through Amtrak, make sure that it has services wherever you are planning to travel.
Seattle is mainly famous for its coffee and Vancouver is mainly known for its natural beauty i.e. Vancouver Parks and Scenic Sites. Also you can go for its well known landmarks and festivals. If you find hard to travel then best way is to select a cheap car rental site.
So traveling by car is out of the question?
trouble with the train is if you see a great spot to explore all you can do is watch it pass by,with a car you can stop and check it out maybe stay a while..