Portland day trip: Old Town Chinatown

A mix of old and new makes this Riverside neighborhood a funky-fun place to spend the day

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  • Getting to Old Town Chinatown: Head to the west side of the Willamette River, north of downtown Portland and east of the Pearl. Or take the MAX Light Rail (trimet.org).

    Portland map

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1. Pretty in pink: Take a walk through Waterfront Park, where 75 cherry trees are in full bloom―and the ginormous open-air Portland Saturday Market starts up this month. The expanded market location makes it better than ever. Expect more steaming bowls of pho, hand-stitched skirts, and photography. Sat–Sun; S.W. Ankeny St. and S.W. Naito Pkwy.

2. Hot plate: When Ping opened last year, it drew diners from around the city―and the world―to this oft-overlooked neighborhood. The open kitchen pumps out peppery pork broths, noodle dishes, steamed buns, and skewered meats for a small-plates menu that traipses across Asia. The bar mixes concoctions of fruity drinking vinegars, shochu, and sake. $$$; closed Sun; 102 N.W. 4th Ave.

3. Preferred mode of transport: No, the Pdx Pedicabs are not just for tourists. Hop on for a pedal-powered, pre­-recorded audio tour. Drivers pull you from architectural to cultural sites as each is mentioned, adding fun details as you go. Ask for a spin down cherry blossom row. Hail or call ahead. From $15; 503/828-9888.

4. Nikes like you’ve never seen: The Compound Gallery has got to have the most colorful collection of sneakers this side of Tokyo. Plus Japanese collectible figurines, offbeat art books, and an impressive selection of design magazines that even Powell’s Books doesn’t carry. ​107 N.W. 5th Ave.

5. Take it home: Pick up a stash of local Tao of Tea loose-leaf teas at the Tower of Cosmic Reflections Teahouse, located in the Lan Su Chinese Garden; it offers about 50 variations on smoky, woody, tropical, or nutty. The staff can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about picking seasons, smoking and drying methods, and modes of steeping. Need just the right teapot? Check out the gorgeous selection. 239 N.W. Everett St.; 503/224-8455.

Next: More spots to smell the flowers around Oregon

  

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