Best of Portland | Portland, Oregon

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In Portland, Oregon, you’ll find a little bit of everything. The city is dotted with lively urban areas and serene wooded parks, ensuring that whether you want to browse boutiques or spend the day hiking, there’s always something to do. Their exciting and constantly evolving food scene means that every meal you eat will be something special. Portland’s unofficial slogan is “Keep Portland Weird,” a feeling you’ll understand as you begin to experience the uniqueness of the city.

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Inn @ Northrup Station

The Inn @ Northrup Station, located in northwest Portland, is a visually stunning hotel decorated with bright colors, retro décor, and local art. Stay in a suite complete with a kitchen as well as a private deck or patio perfect for kicking back at the end of the day. You’ll also want to catch their fun events – movie night Mondays, wine down Wednesdays, hop-py hour Thursdays, and sundae Sundays will add a little excitement to your stay. Indulge in the Just the Two of Us package, a romantic assortment of local wine and chocolates, embossed glasses, and a spa set.

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Forest Park

With over 5,000 acres of bright green foliage, it’s hard to believe that Forest Park is just minutes from the city. Choose one of their many trails and head out for a hike – we like the Ridge Trail, which provides a mix of natural and urban scenery. You’ll start out within the park and hike down to St. John’s Bridge, one of Portland’s most iconic features. Walk across St. John’s to check out Cathedral Park, a beautiful area underneath the bridge’s east side, before hiking back up into Forest Park.

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Pine State Biscuits

The melt-in-your-mouth biscuit sandwiches at Pine State Biscuits make the perfect post-hike meal. The well-known Portland eatery, which has been serving their perfectly crafted biscuits for just over a decade, was created by three southerners and has multiple locations across the city. Try the Chatfield, a stack of fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and apple butter between two biscuits. If you still have room, go for their seasonal pop tart – right now it’s blueberry cheesecake, featuring goat cheese and a lemon glaze.

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Washington Park

Like Forest Park, Washington Park is a beautiful wooded area in Portland. Spend a day exploring all of the attractions inside Washington Park. Visit the Portland Japanese Garden, a 12-acre collection of 8 different garden spaces created to inspire serenity and tranquility. Next, see why Portland is called the City of Roses at the International Rose Test Garden, which is full of different types of roses in every color imaginable. You’ll also find the Hoyt Arboretum, a “living museum” of over 6,000 trees with over 12 miles of trails that you can meander through. If you still have time, Washington Park is also home to the Oregon Zoo, an archery range, the Portland Children’s Museum, and more.

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Blue Star Donuts

Though many visitors in Portland head straight for Voodoo Doughnut, we recommend trying out Blue Star Donuts instead. Their donuts are crafted with a handmade dough that takes 18 hours to make. The dense and moist Buttermilk Old Fashioned is perfect for purists, while the more adventurous will like their unique flavor combinations such as the Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk, a sweet and savory explosion of flavor.

Summer Fun | Island Palms Hotel and Marina | San Diego, California

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Beautiful scenery, unparalleled dining, and fast-paced nightlife make San Diego a good choice for a romantic getaway. Here are our picks for what to enjoy with your special someone in America’s Finest City.

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Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina

With multiple pools, tennis courts, complimentary bike rentals, massage services, and a private marina, the Best Western Plus Island Palms Hotel & Marina has everything you need for a fantastic summer vacation in San Diego. Island Palms is located right along the coast of Shelter Island, which means you’re just steps away from a number of exciting activities on the water! It’s also close to other great areas like Point Loma, downtown San Diego, and the Gaslamp Quarter. Book a romantic getaway with the Simple Pleasures Package, which includes water view accommodations, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and breakfast in bed.

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Blue Wave Bar & Grill

Indulge in California coastal cuisine at the Blue Wave Bar & Grill. Choose a table inside their elegant dining room, or relax outside on the deck overlooking the pool and marina. Grab a homemade quiche or breakfast burrito to start off your day, or enjoy fresh fish for dinner – we love the Seared Scallops, served with shellfish risotto, grilled asparagus tapenade, and parmesan cheese. You can get specially priced craft beer, cocktails, wines, and appetizers (like chowder fries and salmon tacos!) at their Island Time happy hour, every day from 4-7 pm. You won’t go hungry.

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Sunset Cliffs

Between Ocean Beach and Point Loma you’ll find Sunset Cliffs, an area that’s exactly what it sounds like – a stretch of coastline with plunging cliffs that looks especially beautiful during sunset. Sunset Cliffs is only about a 10-minute drive from Shelter Island, so it’s perfect for a quick outing. Go for a walk or jog right along the cliffs, or pack some snacks for a romantic sunset picnic.

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Gaslamp Quarter

Alonzo Horton arrived in the San Diego Bay in 1867, purchasing land and kicking off the development of the area we now know as downtown San Diego and the Gaslamp Quarter. This year, the Gaslamp Quarter celebrates its 150th anniversary. Learn about San Diego’s past and see historic buildings on a walking tour of this unique area.

Today, the Gaslamp Quarter is San Diego’s premier spot for nightlife. Enjoy a night out on the town by exploring a few of the area’s restaurants, bars, and clubs. Start out at The Tipsy Crow, comprised of three different levels: The Main, a pub-like area, The Nest, a cozy lounge with fireplaces and pool tables, and The Underground, with music and dancing.

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Petco Park

Catch a Padre game at Petco Park while you’re in town! The ballpark, located downtown, is a fun place to explore whether you’re a baseball fan or not. Skip the hot dogs – plenty of local eateries have set up shop in Petco Park, so you can try some of San Diego’s best grub (and beer). Grab a juicy hamburger at Hodad’s, Mexican fare at Carnitas’ Snack Shack and Lucha Libre, or amazing sandwiches at Gaglione Brothers or Board & Brew. You can view the game schedule here.

Summer Fun | Bay Club Hotel and Marina | San Diego, California

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Planning your summer getaway? Head to San Diego, California for beautiful beaches, unique neighborhoods, great dining, and exciting nightlife. Stay in tropical Shelter Island, a serene area that’s close to everything you’ll want to do in San Diego.

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Bay Club Hotel and Marina

The Bay Club Hotel and Marina reflects Shelter Island’s tropical island vibe with beautiful greenery, towering palm trees, and a private marina. From your room, you’ll be able to gaze out on views of the water, marina, Point Loma, and downtown San Diego. With two welcome drinks, tropical fruit and cookies, and free parking, their Aloha Package will give you even more reason to love your stay in San Diego.

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Quarterdeck Restaurant & Bar

Whether you need a hearty breakfast, a homemade cocktail, or a gourmet dinner, the Quarterdeck Restaurant & Bar is the perfect place to relax and indulge. Grab a table on the patio to enjoy a drink and a meal outside in the summer sun. We like their Signature Coconut Shrimp Dinner, jumbo coconut shrimp served with jalapeno orange dressing and homemade peanut sauce. Pair it with a local craft beer or the Windward Cooler cocktail, made with vodka, watermelon pucker, lemon, and cucumber.

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Liberty Station

Liberty Station, formerly a Naval Training Center, is a collection of restaurants, shops, art studios, and the Liberty Public Market. There are a number of fun events lined up for the summer! On the first Friday of each month, you can talk with artists, enjoy performances, and explore museums and galleries as part of Friday Night Liberty. At Taste Liberty Station on June 21st, sample food from Liberty Station eateries and taste sparkling wines in the Bubbly Garden. Liberty Public Market also has live music on Sundays and a farmers market every Thursday.

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USS Midway Museum

One of San Diego’s most popular museums is aboard an aircraft carrier! At the USS Midway Museum you can check out over 60 exhibits, 29 aircraft, and two flight simulators. Chat with the docents you’ll find around the museum, who will talk to you about the Midway as well as share their own stories. Spend some time exploring the exhibits and then grab lunch at their Fantail Café, where you can order dishes from the Midway’s 1945 cookbook.

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SeaWorld

Spend a day at SeaWorld and check out all the exciting new attractions they’ve added for the 2017 season! In addition to informative animal exhibits, entertaining shows, and thrilling rides, you can now enjoy Electric Ocean, a nighttime celebration full of lights and music that simulate an underwater dance club. SeaWorld has decided to forgo its flashy killer whale show and has instead created Orca Encounter, a presentation about orcas with a more educational focus. Kids will love Ocean Explorer, a new interactive realm that gets you even closer to the animals.