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  Portland, OR   Visiting Portland, Oregon

Portland Hotels
The oft-overlooked sibling among West Coast cities, Portland deserves respect for its small town charm paired with big city amenities. Stoic to drizzle, Portlanders are fiercely proud of their unique city and any visitor who scores a rain-free day or two can see why. Cradled in the fertile Willamette (Will-AM-it) Valley and cut neatly in half by the river, the city's west side is home to downtown and the swankier Portand neighborhoods, while the east side is diverse and low-key. In all, Portland boasts a laid-back vibe, great restaurant scene, thriving independent bookstores, eclectic neighborhoods and unbeatable access to the great outdoors. Since the seventies, liberal city politicians have worked hard to beef up public amenities, building a one-block public plaza in the center of downtown, tearing down a freeway to open up the riverfront and limiting urban sprawl. Explore Portland and you'll come away with favorites of your own: the old-fashioned bubbling drinking fountains downtown; a funky coffeehouse with great chai and mismatched chairs; that street with the colorful art and the dirt cheap taquerias. Word to the wise: July through early October is the time to visit, or you'll be too damp to feel enchanted. (Jennifer Miller)

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