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Add these classic local experiences to your lineup



COURTESY: TRAVEL PORTLAND - Any kind of movement on the Willamette River, including kayaking, can be a refreshing and invigorating form of exercise in 2017.Buckle up, Portland. It’s going to be a wild year.

The political climate being what it is, many of us no doubt will turn inward to find joy and intrinsic rewards in our own community.

It’s a good thing that our fair city will soon thaw and return to its more civilized state as a playground for some of the region’s best food, drink, cultural activities and outdoor adventure.

If you’ve been looking for ways to get out of your comfort zone and find your zen this year, we’ve rounded up 10 essential Portland experiences to add to your 2017 bucket list.

Happy adventuring!

1. Paddle on the Willamette River. All year long, thousands of people have fun each year on the Willamette — by kayak, personal watercraft, dragonboat, jetboat, stand-up paddleboard or even a raft or tube. These river rats are addicted to the serenity, the rush, the life energy only the water can provide. It’s easy to rent gear, take a lesson and be on the water in no time. Check out deals from local outfitters including SUP Portland, Next Adventure Paddle Sports Center, Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe, Gorge Performance and Cascadia SUP, among others.

2. Go by NikeBike. Channel your inner hipster and hop on an orange BikeTown cruiser, which are a blast to ride around town thanks to the city’s intentional rollout this past summer. Eliminate the stress of navigating through downtown traffic and head out to the eastside instead; a 3-mile ride along neighborhood streets to Laurelhurst Park is a nice 25-minute ride. Stop at the Cartopia food cart pod on Southeast Hawthorne for a nosh, or pack it in your front basket for a picnic at the park. For more: www.biketownpdx.com/rides/laurelhurst-park.

COURTESY: TRAVEL PORTLAND - Running and hiking are commonplace at Forest Park, the area's foreseted urban getaway, and it could be a place to be in the new year.3. Spend a day in Forest Park. How well do you know your backyard? Portland’s backyard, that is. No matter how many times you’ve been to Forest Park, the city’s 5,200-acre urban forest, there’s more to discover. Take a free, expert-led “discovery walk” at the park to learn about the flora, fauna and wildlife; the hour-long romp set for Feb. 4 will focus on medicinal uses of plants that can be found in your own backyard. Or go your own way and sign up for Forest Park’s All Trails Challenge (pledge to hike all 80 miles of trails or all 30 miles of the Wildwood Trail) as a way to motivate yourself to keep exploring new trails. For more: www.forestparkconservancy.org.

4. Indulge in a coffee cupping. They don’t call us Stumptown for nothing. Nationally lauded as a hotspot for third-wave coffee roasters, it’s a humbling experience to learn the intricacies of sourcing, roasting, brewing and tasting (cupping). Strike up a conversation with anyone at Water Avenue Coffee, or the new Barista Brass Bar at Pine Street Market, or sip your way through the scene at a curated experience led by experts at Third Wave Coffee Tours. You’ll be all the wiser. For more: www.thirdwavecoffeetours.com.

COURTESY: JAMIE FRANCIS/TRAVEL PORTLAND - There is something awe-inspiring about Tilikum Crossing, 'Bridge of the People.' Be one of the people to cross it in 2017.5. Walk over the Tilikum Crossing. TriMet’s “Bridge of the People,” the first of its kind in the U.S. designed for pedestrians, cyclists and mass transit, has been a vibrant addition to the city landscape since opening in September 2015. As the east side and west side forge more connections, it’s both a functional feature and a beautiful one. The 178 LED lights that come on at night change based on the river’s speed, height and water temperature. Take a peek at the live “Tili-cam” and be inspired; see www.allclassical.org/tili-cam.

6. Catch a flick. We are a city for movie lovers, with no shortage of inspiring cinema for young and old. The 40th annual Portland International Film Festival is the Northwest Film Center’s annual showcase of feature films and short films from around the world (Feb. 9-26). The Portland Oregon Women’s Film Festival (March 2-5) spotlights the growing number of homegrown women filmmakers. And Filmed By Bike (May 5-7) is a raucous celebration of bicycle culture, with films from Portland and around the world. Sometimes there’s nothing like seeing the world through a different lens to put much-needed perspective on things. For more: nwfilm.org, powfest.com, www.filmedbybike.org.

7. Get spirited on Distillery Row. Do you know how whiskey is made? Or the difference between absinthe and aquavit? A special breed of local artisans are making small-batch spirits right in the middle of the city, and welcome visitors for tastings, tours, talks and monthly crawls as well as other events. The eight distillers produce more than 20 liquors. Go find a favorite, and come home with a new appreciation for innovation in craftsmanship. Toast, the Oregon Distillers Guild’s annual spirits festival, is set for Feb. 18. For more: www.distilleryrowpdx.com.

8. Eat out during Portland Dining Month. For the eighth year, more than 100 of Portland’s top restaurants will offer $29-per-person three-course prix-fixe dinners during the month of May. Portland Dining Month donates money for each reservation made to the Oregon Food Bank. Why cook when you can explore some of Portland’s top culinary talent, find a favorite new spot and support local businesses? This year’s lineup will be announced in early February. For more: www.portlanddiningmonth.com.

9. Catch an Oregon Symphony concert. From “E.T.” and “Harry Potter,” Prince and Indigo Girls to Storm Large and everything in between, the Oregon Symphony isn’t just for classical music anymore. Be swept away by the movie soundtracks performed live and other easy entry points to traditional winds and brass. Tickets are on sale now for this year’s exciting lineup at www.orsymphony.org.

10. Lose yourself on Sauvie Island. All year round, there’s something going on here on the pastoral island just across the Columbia River. Winter is a prime time to catch flocks of migratory birds and other wildlife. Springtime brings flowers and early fruit. Summer brings plentiful U-pick berries, blazing hot sandy beaches (family-friendly and clothing-optional) and incredible biking opportunities; fall brings pumpkin patches and corn mazes and dreamy sunsets. Go forth and explore. For more: www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/visitors/sauvie_island.

@jenmomanderson

Contract Publishing

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