gluten free · gluten free travel

Portland, Oregon: Gluten Free Getaway (with Kids)

International Test Rose Garden

When you think of having children, there are so many things you do not consider. For example, their birthdays~ where they fall on the calendar and the fact you will be responsible for a party every year at that time until they are old enough to understand smaller is better. True, some people love the whole party planning thing, but since I am not a party person, nor a planner, the idea of invitations, food, setting, goody bags, etc, leaves me stressed for weeks. Once my youngest entered the prime party-hat wearing years of preschool I knew I would never survive planning two parties a year, therefore I suggested we have one party each year and one little getaway each year, and the years would alternate. This went over surprisingly well, mostly because the getaway for two years in a row was to Great Wolf Lodge. This year we talked my oldest into going to Portland instead, and he agreed, much to our relief. I wasn’t sure I could handle another year of GWL and I’m pretty sure my husband feels more than the same way. Portland has a surprising number of gluten free places as well as plenty of things for kids to do. We were only there one night, but here is what we did and some things we didn’t do but are on the agenda for next time: We left a little after 9:AM on Friday and got to Portland right after noon, which means lunch time. Portland is actually a lot bigger than I remembered so we just pulled over at the first place where most of our group would eat at least something, which happened to be a Chipotle. If you click on that link you will see their special diet information which is clear, thoughtful, and varied. (We were in the SW quadrant, close to PSU so it was very busy and hard to find parking, though we eventually did so in public garage not far from the restaurant.) We then drove to Washington Park which could itself keep a family busy for a whole weekend. Things to keep in mind: the first Friday of the month is free at the Children’s museum from 4-8:PM. At the zoo, the second Tuesday of every month is only $4.00 admission, and everyday if you take public transit there (which is easy to do) you get $1.50 off the ticket price. The Hoyt Arboretum and Rose Gardens are free.
We parked by the roses which also happens to be on top of a big hill with nice views of Portland beyond the park. From there we walked to the kids’ playground where the boys managed to run off the steam that 3 hours in the car had built up. Our hotel had a check-in time of 3:PM so we took advantage of that fully expecting to head back to the Children’s museum after 4: when it happened to have it’s free hours for the month, but as so often happens when traveling with kids, we had a change of plans. Once we were in our hotel I checked my phone GPS and saw that Powell’s books was not far away and definitely within walking distance. The weather was sunny and warm enough, so the walk was a great way to get a taste of Portland, and Powell’s is heaven for just about anyone interested in anything really~there’s bound to be a book about it at Powell’s. By the time we walked back to the hotel though, the boys were exhausted and ready for dinner, not a museum. (They were both suffering from colds unfortunately. In fact one had an inhaler for bronchitis, so considering that they really did quite well and were troopers.) My friend told me about a gluten free fish and chips place called Corbett Fish House on Corbett. There are actually two owned by the same people, the other one is Hawthorne Fish House, on….Hawthorne. Corbett was closer to our hotel so we went to that one and weren’t disappointed~ it was delicious. Not only did I eat breaded fish (they use rice flour!) I had it on a gluten free bun, and it was good! If fish is not your cup of tea though, the Deschutes Brewery actually has a gluten free menu in Portland. There is also a helpful site with a gluten free restaurant list which is a great place to narrow your options in a growing city. After dinner we were done for night and went back to the hotel to sleep. The next morning we wanted to get to the main attraction, the OMSI, just when it opened (9:30) so we did not go gluten free hunting, but there are several places we could have gone. There is the Tula Baking Company and the Cravin Raven bakery. My friend also told me about The Old Wives’ Tales which looks especially good for children. The OMSI was amazing~ and we have been to a lot of museums. We were there for 3 hours and saw maybe half of it. It was definitely a great birthday trip, especially because my sons have always loved submarines and they have a real one there to tour. I thought the guided tour might be a bit much for my 6 and nearly 8 year old, but they loved it. They asked more questions than anyone else and remembered the layout enough to draw it days later! We were going to go to the Saturday MarketGluten-free Gourmand. There are so many options there next time we just might end up staying a whole week instead of just a weekend!

Submarine at OMSI



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