Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tourist's Guide to the 2010 Oregon Brewers Festival

A couple years ago I wrote up a meandering guide to the Oregon Brewers Festival. The most useful part of it was a map showing things to do within walking distance of the festival, so I've updated the map with new recommendations -- Bailey's instead of Tugboat; Green Dragon now that Roots has closed -- and directions to the wide new sidewalk on the Morrison Bridge. The rest of this post is a rerun of the original, updated with the new information.

The Journey is the Destination

The OBF's location at Tom McCall Waterfront Park makes for a nice 2.5 mile loop along the east and west banks of the Willamette River, walking over or under four of Portland's drawbridges. Go south along the river, beneath the Morrison Bridge, and cross the Willamette (rhymes with "dammit", by the way) on the beautiful Hawthorne Bridge (1910). Pedestrians should keep toward the bridge railing -- bicycles get the part of the sidewalk nearest the cars. Follow the curving sidewalk down to the path on the east side of the river, the Eastbank Esplanade.

View Larger Map

Heading north along the river, accompanied by the automotive roar of I-5 overhead, you'll cross under the Morrison and Burnside Bridges before coming to a stretch of the sidewalk which actually floats in the Willamette. You'll cross the river back to Waterfront Park on the Steel Bridge (1914). There are other double-deck drawbridges in the world, but the Steel Bridge is the only one that telescopes: the lower deck can be raised while the upper deck remains open to traffic.  (For a shorter route, take the corkscrew sidewalk up to the nice wide sidewalk on the Morrison Bridge, and then cross Naito to get back to the festival.)

For Kids of All Ages

If you brought your kids to the festival and need to give them a break, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is a science museum on the east side of the river, just south of the Hawthorne Bridge, easily accessible from the Esplanade. There is also an IMAX theater and planetarium at OMSI.

Another interesting eastside youth attraction is the skateboard park hidden under the Burnside Bridge. Originally a do-it-yourself project that was later embraced by the city, you can't get to it directly from the pedestrian loop described above -- you can't even see it from there. You have to get onto the south sidewalk of the Burnside Bridge, either on the west side at Saturday Market, or by taking the stairs labeled "Burnside" from the Esplanade. Follow the Burnside sidewalk to MLK, turn right and go a block to Ankeny, turn right and go two blocks to 2nd (the sidewalk runs out), and turn right again to go under the bridge. You probably shouldn't go down there at night, but it's a cool thing to see during the day.

More Beer!

There are several interesting pub options you can walk to from the festival.

The Full Sail Pilsner Room [review] is about 3/4 mile south of the festival. Go underneath the Hawthorne Bridge and follow the sidewalk down towards the sailboat harbor.

Bailey's Taproom [review] is about 1/2 mile west of the festival. Follow Oak St. across Broadway, Bailey's is one block to your right.  Tugboat Brewing Company [review] is across Ankeny.

The Oregon outpost of Rock Bottom is about 1/4 mile southwest of the festival at 2nd and Morrison.

If you took the stroll to the east side of the river, you're only about a half-mile from the Lucky Labrador [review] at 9th and Hawthorne, and the Green Dragon [review] at 9th and Yamhill.

Further Afield

This article is too long already, so I'll briefly list a few more attractions that you should see while you're in Portland.
The Horse Brass would be quite a long walk: take bus #15 (to Parkrose) and get off near SE 45th. The Tram is not too long of a walk if you're already at the Pilsner Room, but it's not a very pleasant one; you could also take the streetcar.

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