Driver Destinations: Portland
It’s no secret that hitting the road and exploring new places is one of our favorite things, but when it comes to looking for things to do or see in a new city, there’s nothing like getting a recommendation from someone who’s just done some serious exploring themselves. When we’re looking for new ideas, we call up one of our (off-duty) drivers. A definite work perk for these folks is getting to spend their layovers resting up and exploring cities across North America.
That’s why we’re letting our drivers take the virtual steering wheel of our Driver Destination series and tell us about their must-see and -eats for some of their favorite destinations in the U.S. and Canada!
Operator Jason Futch
Home Base: Currently Seattle, Washington, formerly Jacksonville, Florida.
Has been driving for Greyhound since: April 2014
Why did you want to become a driver?
I wanted to be a driver because I have always thirsted for adventure since I was a kid growing up inNorth Florida. When I was much younger, I was exposed to countless movies, television shows and projects that involved traveling in theUnited States. Every time I had the opportunity to leave Florida, whether it was going to Atlanta or a journey to the mountains of North Carolina, I was always giddy with a sense of adventure.
Which route has the best views?
The most scenic route I have driven was from Redding to Portland. Simply put, on a clear day you can see EVERYTHING! From Mt.Shasta to the evergreens and the rivers, it is just gorgeous. It is also a great route to feel at peace and see the beauty the state of California offers. It is like seeing something out of a post card all the while making you feel the spirit of the days of the Scenicruiser. It’s a great advantage to work for a company that has been here for over 100 years.
What city would you put on your customer’s must-visit list:
Portland—also known as the City of Roses—is home to many things. From being one of the first major port cities in the Pacific Northwest, to being one of the most laid back cities in the country, Portland offers a lot. Before working for Greyhound, I had never been to Portland. But when I finally went there, my mind was blown as to how awesome it was!
Where to eat:
I had been walking through the Pearl District on Broadway Street looking for a good place to eat when I stumbled into a nice locally run restaurant called John’s Café. The restaurant is run by a Greek family, and they make some of the best homemade food in the district. It’s very inexpensive and you will probably spend less than $10 there unless your eyes are bigger than your stomach! My recommendation is to get their burgers – they are absolutely amazing. They also make a great homemade lentil soups.
What do to:
The Pearl District has many things available from bars and microbreweries to some of the best art around. Chinatown is only about a 10-minute walk away from the Greyhound station and has many Chinese restaurants and stores. Just a block or two from Chinatown, there are a series of food carts and stores that promote the local shops and businesses in Portland. Because Portland and the State of Oregon have no sales tax, it is relatively cheap to purchase items in the city. If you are traveling on a budget, this would be the perfect place for you.
It is also home to a big music scene, mainly from the punk rock genre. Bands such as the Exploding Hearts, The Jackals, and musician Courtney Love all got their start in the city. One of the bands to also have emerged from Portland is Quarterflash; known for their hits like “Harden My Heart,” “Take Me to Heart,” and “Night Shift” – the title theme song to the hit movie from the 1980′s starring Henry Winkler, Shelly Long and Michael Keaton. You will find the music of Portland mainly in the downtown area at the local bars, restaurants and often on the corner of the streets where the young and old sit and collaborate on their guitars and harmonicas. Other bands to have come out of Portland include classic rock musicians The Kingsmen and Paul Revere and the Raiders.
Before arriving to Portland, I wish someone had told me:
How awesome the city is! It is just full of culture and liberation that you can’t find anywhere else in the Pacific North west unless you head to Seattle or Vancouver. I’ve met many people from many backgrounds in Portland, expressed my love for music there and also enjoyed the history that surrounds the Rose City.
If this is your first time visiting, I would recommend tagging along with someone so you don’t lose yourself in the city doing many things. It is absolutely easy to get distracted, especially if you are one who doesn’t like to work with an agenda. Also, pick up a map before leaving the Greyhound terminal of all the locations you are interested in visiting. Pop into a local diner, a local store, or enjoy the artwork the city offers! Everything is just about a perfect walking distance away from the Portland Greyhound Terminal.
Want to keep up with Operator Futch’s adventures? Follow him on Instagram. Now we want to hear from you, what would you add to this list on your next trip to Portland?