Visiting the Port of Portland


The Portland skyline

So, I recently visited Portland, Oregon for a whirlwind tour of the city in conjunction with a First Lego League Robotics competition.  (Don’t know about the organization?  It’s off the topic of travel, but extremely cool nonetheless and worth checking out if you’re a Lego fan and have kids the right age.)

You may wonder why I’m talking about Portland in this blog, since it’s not widely known as a cruise port… but there are actually some amazing river cruises available that explore the Columbia and Snake Rivers.  Companies like AdventureSmith Expeditions, American Cruise Lines, and Un-Cruise Adventures offer a wonderful domestic river cruise experience throughout this region.  (I did a blog a while back on AdventureSmith’s In the Wake of Lewis and Clark” expedition, which is a must for history buffs, and starts in Portland, by the way.)

In addition to the wonderful cruises that depart the city, there are a host of other reasons to visit.  One of the things that we kept hearing was to visit downtown, and see all that it has to offer.  It’s a beautiful area, with specialty shops, small boutiques, gourmet restaurants and world class shopping.

There are so many things to do in this lovely city, it would be impossible to name them all, so I won’t try here… but there’s a great site at if you’d like to take the time to do some virtual exploring.

The USS Blueback, moored near Marquam Bridge on the Willamette River.

Perhaps our favorite stop (bearing in mind that we are toting two school aged kids) was OMSI, the science museum that also includes an Omniplex, planetarium and host of other engaging activities.  We really enjoyed the sub tour (it’s an additional cost, but not a budget breaker) that takes you down into the U.S. Navy’s last non-nuclear, fast-attack submarine, the USS Blueback (SS-581).  If you’re a fan of the movie The Hunt for Red October, this is a double treat, as some of the scenes were filmed onboard.

The only thing we were disappointed by is that OMSI is doing a MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition attraction… but not until next month!  If you’re interested in finding out more about the museum, visit

Make sure to stop and explore this city if you’re traveling near or taking a cruise from this area. You can find out more about AdventureSmith Expeditions, American Cruise Lines, and Un-Cruise Adventures by visiting the AllThingsCruise Browse Cruise Lines page.

Are you familiar with Portland?  Ever taken a cruise that originates there?  Tell me about your experience in the comments.

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