From downtown Portland, take MAX light rail or Portland Streetcar to the emerging South Waterfront district. Lunch options abound at The Gantry food cart pod, home to a diverse collection of tasty cuisines, from Hawaiian-Korean bowls to sliders to Southern barbecue. Dig into a colossal Cobb from Garden Monsters or a pesto bacon melt from Juniper as you admire gorgeous views of the Willamette River.
Across the street from the Gantry sit branches of two Portland favorites: Greenleaf Juicing Company offers premium organic green juices and “super smoothies” loaded with avocado and almond butter, while sunny Lovejoy Bakers serves up fresh-baked breakfast pastries and light lunch fare.
A quick trip across Tilikum Crossing, you’ll find the Central Eastside’s flagship attraction, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. One of the nation’s leading science and tech museums, OMSI houses five halls with more than 200 interactive exhibits and activities for all ages. Take part in fun and educational science experiments or catch an IMAX documentary at the museum’s state-of-the-art digital theater, which boasts the biggest screen in Portland. OMSI also features an extensive museum store and a restaurant serving wood-fired pizza and other hot bites.
Next door to OMSI awaits the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. Opened in 2012, this free, volunteer-run, nonprofit museum preserves Portland’s storied rail history, keeping three antique steam locomotives in tip-top shape.
North of OMSI, industrial Water Avenue has evolved into a burgeoning foodie destination. Heath-focused folks wet their whistles at Kure, a hip juice bar specializing in fresh-pressed juices and superfood smoothie bowls. For a heartier meal, hit up Japanese-inspired Noraneko for housemade ramen loaded with eggs and pork belly. No Portland excursion would be complete without coffee, so opt for an artisan cappuccino at Water Avenue Coffee Roasters.
To the tram and beyond
For a bird’s-eye view of the bridge, the neighborhoods you’ve just explored and, on clear days, Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, cross the bridge again. Back on the west side of the river, take the Portland Aerial Tram up to the OHSU main campus on Marquam Hill. The tram provides a panoramic view of downtown Portland and the surrounding area, and its upper terminal also links to the 4T Trail — a self-guided urban nature tour by train, trail, tram and trolley.