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Portland, Oregon

Portland has long been known as a clean, green, friendly city, with lots to do and even more to see.

Leading Portland into the 21st century is its economical, easy-to-use public transit system, which annually transports millions of visitors and residents throughout the city and the surrounding area. Thanks to forward-thinking city officials and an environmentally friendly philosophy, you can explore even the farthest reaches of the Portland metro area while concentrating on enjoying the city - not navigating it.

TriMet's 38-mile MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) light rail system, which connects downtown Portland to the city's international airport, also features door-to-door access to one of the area's richest collections of visitor attractions. A 10-minute ride from downtown Portland delivers visitors to the Washington Park station, the deepest underground transit station in North America. The stop, located 260-feet below the Earth's surface, provides nearby access to Washington Park, the Oregon Zoo, the Forest Discovery Center, CM2 - Children's Museum 2nd Generation, and Hoyt Arboretum.

A new streetcar system links Portland's downtown Cultural District, the Pearl District, Portland State University, and the Northwest/ Nob Hill Neighborhood. The sleek Euro-designed streetcars follow a 4.8-mile loop route through downtown Portland, the art gallery-filled Pearl District, and Nob Hill, known for its outstanding restaurants and hip, upscale shopping.

No such thing as a free ride? TriMet, the Portland Streetcar and MAX see it differently. Passengers always ride for free in "Fareless Square," a 330-block area that encompasses the city center and much of the Pearl District.

At some point, however, visitors inevitably want to hop off Portland's streetcars and trains to wander and explore. Strolling leisurely through the city's museums, parks, historic districts and markets is truly the best way to drink in Portland's laid-back charm.

Building a name for itself as the place on the West Coast to see the world's biggest blockbuster exhibitions, the classic red-bricked Portland Art Museum also houses an impressive permanent collection spanning 35 centuries of Asian, European and American art. A recent multimillion dollar renovation and expansion project has added an outdoor sculpture garden as well as new galleries, including the Center for Native American Art and the Center for Northwest Art.

There's a reason Portland is nicknamed the "City of Roses" - the metro area's incredible 37,000-acre park system includes three distinct rose gardens, including the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park and Peninsula Park Rose Garden on the east side.

Complementing these lovely blooms are Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, the Leach Botanical Garden, the Berry Botanic Garden, and the more than 50 miles of hiking, biking and walking trails that crisscross the nearly 5,000-acre Forest Park. It's no wonder that America's Money magazine recently named Portland one of "10 perfect places to spend your summer holiday."

The Portland Classical Chinese Garden, covering an entire city block downtown, inspires "oohs" and "aahs" from visitors. Its on-site tea house is the perfect place to spend an afternoon relaxing and surveying the garden's pond, architecture and fantastic rock formations.

On the slopes of upper Washington Park, the Japanese Garden is a beautiful 5.5-acre oasis encompassing ponds, a waterfall, a pavilion and five garden styles. With a majestic view of the city and its surrounding mountains, the garden has been called the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden outside Japan.

All this touring can create a hearty appetite. But, never fear, visitors won't go wanting in Portland. In fact, Gourmet magazine recently praised Portland as "the Burgundy of America, rich in produce, laden with seafood, and blessed with fabulous wines."

In the midst of such bounty, Portlanders have developed a European reverence for their food and wine. This is clearly evident in the the city's sheer number of top-notch restaurants, wineries and cozy microbreweries that draw their exceptional flavors orom Oregon's freshest ingredients.






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