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The specific promotions described in this article have now passed, but it remains online so that the resources named will be of future use to travelers.


Nicknamed the "City of Roses", Portland, Oregon, holds the distinguished reputation of being an environmentally friendly city, cultural hotspot, and natural playground. With the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway that follows the Oregon Coast just 74 miles from Portland's International Airport, Portland has much to the offer. Trek in the mountains, fish, sample area wines, golf alongside the Pacific Ocean, or just toy around the easy to navigate Portland metropolitan area taking advantage of the haute cuisine, bohemian scene, art museums and conversations with friendly natives.

Start your trip to Portland by visiting www.travelportland.com (tel. 877/678-5263), the official website of the Portland, Oregon Visitors Association. The site lists great deals on hotel packages to the city and has excellent content regarding area restaurants. In coordination with a museum exhibit highlighting the 200th anniversary of the West coast experience of American explorers Lewis and Clarke, several area hotels are offering special deals. The deal includes $15 VIP tickets to the exhibit meaning you don't have to reserve your place in line and you can gain admittance within one half-hour of arrival, 10 percent discount at the museum's gift shop, a discounted meal at Portland's Harrison Restaurant, double occupancy accommodations, free parking, breakfast for two and coupon books to the city's top retailers. Prices of the package depend on your hotel, most of which are four or five star properties rated tops in the city. We found a rate of $169 at the RiverPlace Hotel, an 84-room property with views of the Willamette River and a half-mile walk to the Portland Art Museum. The exhibit lasts through March 11, 2006 so you need to book before then. For less expensive stays outside of the Lewis and Clarke special, Portland has many centrally located national hotel chains. A mid-week January stay should run you $59 at the Days Inn Center City or $69 at the Mark Spencer Hotel, both of which are steps away from shops, theatres and restaurants.

For air and land trips to the Portland area, Travelocity's Last Minute Specials continue their low price availability. A three-day land-air trip to Portland from Chicago departing on a Thursday and returning on a Sunday costs approximately $370. Accommodations are at the Holiday Inn Portland Downtown, located in the Lloyd Business District, a short walk from the Oregon Convention Center, the Oregon Zoo, Rose Garden Arena and the original Nike Town. (Nike is located in the Portland area). A three-day fly and drive package from Chicago to Portland is available for $329.

If you have the luxury of an automobile in the Portland area, driving around the region is a treat. America's Byways (tel. 800/429-9297; www.byways.org) has several driving tours that take you through Oregon's most picturesque drives. A drive along the Oregon section of the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway (www.byways.org/browse/byways/2143/overview.html) takes you along the Oregon coastline beginning at the Pacific Ocean near the mouth of the Columbia River at the Astoria-Megler Bridge. The 350-mile drive south to the California border passes dunes, beaches, cliffs, farms and heavy surf. Enjoy sea towns such as Seaside with food-filled boardwalks and fishing village flair. America's Byways recommends 10 to 12 hours to do this drive right, stopping for food and sites.

Remember, it can rain in Portland (some call it Puddletown), so check the weather and bring a slicker. Rain, however, can be a good thing. For a romantic dinner on a rainy (or clear) night, try Wildwood (tel. 503/248-9663; www.wildwoodrestaurant.com) or Paley's Place (tel. 503/243-2403, http://paleysplace.citysearch.com) in Portland's historic Northwest neighborhood filled with old Victorian homes and wide streets. For long walks through one the safest cities in the United States, Portland's Pearl District is known for its industrial chic, outstanding breweries, classic bookstores and funky artistic feel. Of course, you can also spend rainy days in area shops, benefiting from a tax-free shopping in Portland. If you plan on visiting Portland in February, the Portland Jazz Festival (tel. 503/228-5299; www.pdxjazz.com/2006/index.html) takes place from February 17 to 19, 2006 with live performances from jazz greats McCoy Tyner and DeeDee Bridgewater. Tickets for performances can be purchased online ranging in price from $20 to $35 for individual shows.