Saturday, January 29, 2011

10 enticing urban walkabouts help you explore Portland and its unique suburbs

by Grant Butler

We picked 10 of Metro's itineraries -- five in Portland and five in the suburbs -- of varying degrees of difficulty, so there's a walk that's right for everyone. Want a quick walk that will leave you plenty of time for shopping and eating? Check out the supereasy downtown Hillsboro jaunt, which has fun stops at soda fountains and antique shops. Want the ultimate challenge? Dare yourself to traipse all the way up the West Hills, from the Pearl District to Pittock Mansion. You're sure to sweat and need plenty of breathers for digging the beautiful city views.

Besides getting you off the couch and out for exercise, these urban walks offer great opportunities to learn more about the city you live in, particularly hidden-away parks and historic places. You'll work your brain and not just your feet -- that's a combination that has us gearing up to check out the 40 additional game plans Metro's created.
Bridge, Waterfront and Esplanade Loop

The walk: Here's one that every Portlander needs to do at least once. Starting at the Hawthorne Bridge, head north along Tom McCall Waterfront Park's river walk, past several fountains where children engage in warm-weather play. You'll cross the Willamette River on the Steel Bridge's skinny lower deck where you may have to dodge a cyclist or two. From here, head south along the Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade's suspended and floating walkways, finally crossing the Hawthorne Bridge for a perfect lunchtime loop. Along the way, you can stop for people-watching, read historical placards describing Portland's heyday as a shipping port and drink in the beautiful views of downtown's skyline
Hillsboro, photo by Dan Haneckow
more about walkability:

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