Oh, Canada! Oh, Portland!

We're thinking of going away the weekend after next, partly because the travel bug is up to its old tricks and IT ITCHES OH IT ITCHES, and partly because I have a (soon to expire) promotional code to use on a last-minute getaway, and since I always seem to leave things to the last minute anyway, it seems particularly fitting that I'm leaving it to the last minute to take a last-minute vacation. Isn't that irony or something? Alanis?

When we first talked about moving to the West Coast, we were so excited about all the West Coast weekend trips we'd be able to make---to places like Vancouver and Seattle and Portland and Napa and L.A. Well, Napa is choked with tourists at the moment, I was just in L.A. a few weeks ago, and the flights available to Seattle next weekend don't work out with our schedule, so we're down to Portland and Vancouver. Both of which I'm dying to see, and both of which I know very little about.

So how to decide? Well, that's where you come in! You know I'm incapable of making a decision on my own (Burma or India? Ellen Barkin bob or Emily Mortimer do?) and you've never steered me wrong yet. So where would you go? Neither of us have been to Portland before, and all I know about it is that it rains a lot, they're big on recycling, and I once had a co-worker who grew up there and loved it. But then there's Vancouver, and Vancouver is in CANADA, and I've always wanted to go to Canada and see what it's like and also how mad the Canadians get when you ask them if they all say "aboot." (Trust me, Canadians, I feel your pain. You don't know how often I get asked if I'd like "a spot of tea." Or if I know this guy John from London, you know, JOHN, oh come on, you must know him, he's from London! Doesn't everyone know everyone there?)

So really, Internet, if faced with the same choice, where would you go? What would you do? Bear in mind that Vancouver is a teensy bit more expensive---but, like, the equivalent of a tank of gas, so nothing to fret over, and besides, it's CANADA, isn't that worth it?---and the flight is a teensy bit longer, so we'd get maybe a few hours less there. (But again: Canada!)

Where would you like to go? Which would you like to see? If given the choice, where would you prefer to lose your luggage and spend several hours doing sudoku puzzles, eating junk, and waiting for your horribly delayed plane? Speak now or forever hold your peace.

1
Melanie
Oct 25, 2007

I've said it before.....come to Vancouver! I'll meet you and Sean for a drink! If you need help looking for a place to stay feel free to email me. I worked in hotels for 6 years so I won't steer you into East Vancouver. Well, we won't talk about that part of the city for now.

2
Emily
Oct 25, 2007

Yaaay 100% Canada! Even if there are only 8 votes!

Seriously though, you should come to Canada.

3
Kristie
Oct 25, 2007

Um, it's CANADA. Go. Have fun.

4
Kate
Oct 25, 2007

I LOVE Portland, but I'm going to have to go with Vancouver on this one. It's so beautiful, plus--Canada! I pretty much always vote for a different country, when it comes right down to it.

Also, I cannot believe people seriously ask you if you know random people in London. I am ashamed of the human race sometimes, for reals.

5
Saucepan Man
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver. Susie needs your take on whether it's a good place to be educated for the next three years. You can put the extra cost on the credit card if we get a useful report back.

6
Janet
Oct 25, 2007

I've been to both places and I honestly think you'll be happy with either choice.

7
Gail
Oct 25, 2007

I voted Vancouver, even though I don't live there anymore. You'll probably like Portland, too, but hey, you can always go later.

8
Catwalker
Oct 25, 2007

I found that you can vote for both~! so I did! sorry... but I've only been to Torono (they really leave out the second t...) which is practically east coat - but so so great - shopping museums AND and underground tunnel system to avoid bad weather... and great 70's architectural details! (my parents have been to West Coast Canada and have great things to say - but not necessarily about the shopping or museums...) and I'm going to Portland on Sunday - and seriously.. the shopping!!!! Oregon has NO SALES TAX!!! I plotted all of my shopping and dining... (my google map of where I am starting with the shopping and eating... http://tinyurl.com/yt66fg) tough choice!

9
whoorl
Oct 25, 2007

You simply MUST go to Vancouver so I can live vicariously through you. Okay? Promise?

10
brandi
Oct 25, 2007

I would go to Portland because I found a fun new blog today and she wrote about cool hotels in Portland and I want to go there and stay in them. Or possibly live in them.

http://morewaystowastetime.blogspot.com/2007/10/wanderlust-portlands-hip...

11
alidarien
Oct 25, 2007

I think saucepan man may have blown his cover!

12
mummy
Oct 25, 2007

Also........... nice bacon, proper cheese, and possibly Marks&Sparks, which means knickers and tuna and tea-bags.

Plus the red postboxes of your childhood.

13
bente
Oct 25, 2007

I voted Vancouver, but I'll always vote for Canada because that is where I'm from originally and there's always, at least, a little homesickness in me.

Plus I have been in the Vancouver airport and if you do end up being delayed that is one nice airport!

14
Carroll
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver! Stanley Park...Granville Island...Reallly good food all over the place. It's a lot like San Francisco, only with more bridges, and more people who live in high rise buildings right mixed in with the same buildings where they work and shop. It's a wonderful city!

15
Carroll
Oct 25, 2007

Also, there was a whole store (a whole entire store!) that sold nothing but potato chips -- (crisps to you, chickie ;) -- freshly made, and available with all sorts of different toppings. Amazing! I didn't dare go in, but I think I gained five pounds just standing out on the sidewalk sniffing!

16
Julia
Oct 25, 2007

Okay, Portland won out because it's 40 miles from my hometown and, well, hi, you can't skip over the insanely huge but insanely awesome bookstore, otherwise known as Powell's, can you? Or the purple-tiled roof of the original Spaghetti Factory? Or OMSI, which makes you wish you were 8 years old again? Or the waterfront that actually has a front you can walk on? No? I didn't think so. Vancouver is awesome, yes, but well, right now it's 1.02 USD to 1.00 CD, so think of ALL the mone you'll be saving...all...2 cents of it. :)

17
Nothing But Bonfires
Oct 25, 2007

Um, the store with the crisps might have sold me.

18
Joanne
Oct 25, 2007

...but if you go to Vancouver, fly into Seattle (if you can) and then drive up to Vancouver. First, it's a beautiful drive, and secondly, you HAVE TO stop at White Rock --- it's a town just north of the border, and it's so fun and yet so beautiful. Great for a stop-off for some lunch before heading on to Vancouver. Have a meal atop one of the rooftop restaurants and enjoy the view of the ocean just a few feet away! Enjoy!

19
Lyndsey
Oct 25, 2007

Hey,

delurking day may not have got me but if we're talking Canada I'm all in. I'm from Edmonton so I'm biased but I can guarantee you, you will love Vancouver. If your looking for some slighty touristy but still awesome stuff to do make sure to hit up Granville Island and the Aquarium, plus there is a great restaurant that over looks the harbour, can't remember the name for the life of me though.

20
edj
Oct 25, 2007

You have to come to Portland because I'm here and can tell you cool places to go. I realize this sounds creepy because I've left like 2 comments now so you don't exactly KNOW me, but really I'm nice and in no way psycho, at least, not abnormally psycho, just when driving, which is normal.
Also we do have Powells. And now we have a tram. And the fall colours are very nice.
Although I actually think you'd love Vancouver. I love Vancouver too.
If I were you, I'd visit both. First go to Vancouver, so you'll have the British candy with you when you stop by here.

21
Adele
Oct 25, 2007

Never been to Portland, but Vancouver is one of the nicest cities ever! Stanley Park is fabulous. And the Canadians, eh? They're great, eh?

22
katie
Oct 25, 2007

Look, I'm a dual citizen, and still - my vote goes to PORTLAND! Not only for Powell's, but also, happy hour at Portland City Grill atop the Big Pink? You don't even know until you've had the white cheddar burger (oh, sweet dreams of the PCG white cheddar burger...) whilst overlooking the whole city. The Hot Dog Hut on E.Burnside! Forest Park! NINE BRIDGES! More microbreweries per square mile than any other US city! An hour from the coast (where Goonies was filmed!) and an hour from Mt.Hood (which probably isn't open yet, but still!). AMAZING restaurants galore (Lemongrass if you brake for Thai!) Oh...I could go on and on ---> GO PORTLAND!

23
Plattie
Oct 25, 2007

Ooooh go to Vancouver! We were just there for a week over the summer and had a fabulous time. It is a gorgeous city and I seriously want to move there now.

24
Aveleigh
Oct 25, 2007

I'm completely biased, but if you decide to go to Vancouver you should try to check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park. Also, take lots of pictures! I miss Canada...

25
hello insomnia
Oct 25, 2007

I vote for C: Seattle. In a non-stalkerish way, please come to my city and we will have cake! Who doesn't love cake?

26
Susie
Oct 25, 2007

Holly, I want to go to university in Canada and I'm considering West Coast, maybe you should try driving there some time so I know how long it will take me to visit you! Also, report back on weather please!

27
another Teej
Oct 25, 2007

Go to Vancouver, unfortunately our dollar is not in your favour right now but you definitely must see it. I went 2 years ago and ever since I have wanted to move there. If you can I would also recommend driving up the Sea to Sky highway to Squamish and Whistler. It is absolutely gorgeous.

28
squindia
Oct 25, 2007

I voted Vancouver. Mostly because of my own feelings of guilt for living a mere 4 hours from it for 4 years and never once making the trip. I hear great things about it. And I think it would be a bit more exciting than Portland. I do love Portland though, its just more slow and steady.

29
superblondgirl
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver! Because I've always, always wanted to go to Canada and haven't yet had the chance. And I hear it is awesome. Besides, you have other weekends, and can do Portland another time, so it's all good.

30
Kyla Bea
Oct 25, 2007

Either would be amazing - but if you have the travel bug you should go somewhere you've been really wanting to go.

Vancouver's one of my favorite cities on earth. Check it out.

31
Natalie W
Oct 25, 2007

Totally Vancouver! You might get to see one of those hot Mounties.

32
Corina
Oct 25, 2007

I voted for Portland, but I really think you'd love both cities (as long as you bring your rain gear). But you must go to Portland eventually - in addition to Powells, which everyone agrees is something you must experience, you must also try the canelet at Boulangerie St. Honore, the most awesomely simple, elegant, and delicious pastries ever.

33
Chelle
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver, totally. And not just because I'm a Canadian, but because it's on my list of places to go too, and I know I'll get a great recap from you. Go Canada!

34
Andi
Oct 25, 2007

I voted for Portland because my parents went there this summer and their pictures were beautiful! They drove out to crater lake and that looked neat! But Canada is another country so that is pretty cool too....

35
Blythe
Oct 25, 2007

Please go to Portland. I used to live there and it is just such a fantastic city. I may be having one of those don't-know-what-you've-got-till-it's-gone (cue 80's hairband now) moments, but the greenery, the food, the bookstores, the friendly/crunchy/grungy/stylish people, oh I wish I were there right now.

Having said all that, I have never been to Vancouver and hear it's just lovely (and is winnin your poll in a landslide). But do get to Portland at some point. And when you do, let us know, so I can wax nostalgic again and send you some restaurant recommendations.

36
chirky
Oct 25, 2007

Holly. Is there really even question? If those are your two choices, it is OBVIOUS that you should go to Vancouver. OBVIOUS. (Hello, another stamp on your passport!)

37
Carrisa
Oct 25, 2007

Ok so I picked Portland because that's where I would go. Because Rhi from rhiinpink.blogspot.com and DeAnn from tvgoddess.com all live there. And at least one of them would hook me up with free lodging. Do you know either one of them? If so you could ask them to hook you up as well.

But it seems the majority of the people want you to go to Vancouver, so what do I know?

38
tiff
Oct 25, 2007

there is not another place on EARTH like Vancouver. Plus they are finally getting their own H&M.

39
missbeegail
Oct 25, 2007

Here's the thing: I love Portland. I think every other entry on my blog is about missing Portland (I live in Chicago now). You cannot go wrong with Portland. BUT, I voted for Vancouver. Because if you haven't been there you simply MUST GO NOW. It is one of my favorite cities in the world. I beseech you to go to the market at Granville Island while you are there and drink coffee and look at the water. But don't forget about Portland. Go there another time. Read at Powells. Shop on Hawthorne. Eat breakfast at the Tin Shed.

40
gina in sc
Oct 25, 2007

ohh easy. i have lots of blog friends in vancouver!! you should look them up... you know , john and oh whats her name ? emily?

ha ha. have a lovely time, sweets

41
Nancy
Oct 25, 2007

Dakin and I just did a whole Pacific Northwest trip in late August (Vancouver, Whistler, Victoria, Seattle and Portland) and although both are awesome in different ways . . . I'd vote Vancouver. It's really quite a gleaming city -- seriously, I have rarely seen so much glass anywhere -- with seriously wonderful food and a good vibe. Stanley Park is something else. And check out the new library building (assuming that stupid strike is over).

If you do end up in Portland though, it's more intimate feeling, a little funkier. Also FOOD, holy moses. Actually, there have been a bunch of good articles about Portland lately (we keep cutting them out and sending to D's brother and fam who just moved out there) -- look at the NY Times archives for one on the restaurants. (http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/09/26/dining/26port.html)

Happy trails!

42
Carrie
Oct 25, 2007

Besides. . .in Vancouver you can buy great things like Smarties - the real ones! - and ketchup chips. Seriously, chips that taste like really salty ketchup but are addicting anyway.

43
angela
Oct 25, 2007

I have been to Vancouver and you must go there!! It's great.

44
MetroDad
Oct 25, 2007

You will LOVE Vancouver, Holly.

We ski at Whistler every year and we always make sure to spend a few days in Vancouver on the way back. It reminds me of the best that San Francisco, Singapore, HK, and NYC has to offer. Very cosmopolitan and international but also truly beautiful and laid back. People are great. Food is awesome. And if it weren't in Canada, I would seriously consider moving there.

GO!

45
Sar
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver! I am from Calgary, and though I have been all around the world, one of my favorite places is close to home. Vancouver is blessed with warm weather, diverse people, lots of shopping, arts and culture, and haute cusine right at your fingertips. A fabulous excuse for a pilgrimage to Vancouver. You have to go to Granville Island and spend an afternoon walking around, then head over to Kitslano beach for some people-watching (Kits is the equivalent of Venice beach, great even in cool weather), add some great shopping and great restaurants, and you are going to have a great trip! Fusion is the operative word for Vancouver, where you will experience such diversity on every single street. I truly believe you will fall in love with all the things Van city has to offer. Did that sell you yet? Enjoy!

46
Jen
Oct 25, 2007

Oh, I'm so sad you're not coming to Seattle, but that's cool you even considered it!

I've only been to Vancouver once before, and only for about a day, but I loved it. I can't wait to go back, as it's really just a couple hours away from Seattle.

But then, I've never stopped in Portland (on our many drives through it coming to CA), but I hear it's fantastic as well.

Argh. I'm sure whatever you decide, you will have a fabulous time. But next time - choose Seattle, for the love of pete!

47
Jennie
Oct 25, 2007

Well, Portland is getting its ass kicked! But it's what I voted for. I think Portland is more of a weekend getaway trip. I've been to Vancouver and there seems to be a lot more to do in the surrounding areas. Portland is a larger city than you'd think, yes, but it's probably easier to take in over a long weekend.

Okay so one of my best friends just moved there and I'm missing her like crazy. Quite possibly I'd pick Portland to see her. And stay for free. But she has nothing but incredible things to say about the city when I talk to her. And she moved from Southern California, so it's not as if she is comparing Portland to small-town Texas.

48
MJ
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver. Because I'm parochial like that. (Not that I live in Vancouver. I live in another great Canadian city: Toronto.)

Seriously, Vancouver is a great city (as I'm sure Portland is)and can you possibly turn down an opportunity to help your sister? UBC campus is beautiful. Also, ditto to all the other reasons suggested by previous posters.

49
Someone Being Me
Oct 25, 2007

I've never been to Portland so I had to vote on that. I spent a day in Vancouver a few years back while vacationing in Seattle and I wasn't wowed like I have been with some cities. Probably because I am a Southerner and the weather was a bit brisk for my liking. It was pretty though so I don't think you can go wrong either way.

50
Shawnte
Oct 25, 2007

I just spent last week on the Olympic peninsula in Washington state and my friend and I kept looking longingly at Vancouver Island over there...jutting so beautifully past the Straight of Juan de Fuca...beckoning to us, almost.. Even thought Vancouver city isn't actually ON Vancouver Island, I still wish to live vicariously through you.

As a side note, I'm a bit jealous that you're going up there. We came back on Sunday to everything on fire - literally (flames!) and figuratively (95 degree temperatures!), so I'd give anything to plop on the ole woolen hat again and traipse around in the rain...Vancouver! Onward!

(p.s. We LOVED Canadian radio...especially when they played a Bryan Adams song - ! - and then had an entire commercial devoted to "what you're going to do after hockey practice today").

51
barbie2be
Oct 25, 2007

oh, you will LOVE vancouver. it is a super clean, beautiful city. you can get smarties in almost any store, and not to mention flakes and wine gums!!! of course it is a bit different than it was a few years ago when the canadian government practically paid on to visit because of the exchange rate.

now, portland on the other hand.... beautiful city also. if you go, you MUST plan AT LEAST four hours at Powells bookstore. I have (many times) spent a full eight hours there and still not made it to every floor. gorgeous scenery, awesome food.

if anything i would choose portland if you don't have much time as it is closer.

52
lissa
Oct 25, 2007

It seems like you really want to go to Canada so I say go for it!

53
Erikka
Oct 25, 2007

I'd like to point out that YOU holly want to go to Vancouver. Not sure if you noticed it or just won't admit it, but it is plain in how you wrote. And so far, we all agree with you. :)

54
D Phud
Oct 25, 2007

PORTLAND! Powells, fantastic FOOD, WAY better beer!!!

55
Gretchen
Oct 25, 2007

Looks like Vancouver for you. Stay out of Southern California; it's smoky and ashy and stinky down here!

56
Sarah Marie
Oct 25, 2007

Head to the university's Anthropology Museum in Vancouver. It is a bus ride away but sooo worth it.

57
Caroline
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver...and here is a bunch of reasons why:
1. Granville Island - great chowder and artisans...not enough chowder artisans.
2. You can just walk and walk and walk and never get tired.
3. Stanley Park
4. Shopping on Robson Street
5. The aquarium if you're into that kind of thing. There are some famous otters there who swim around holding hands like an otter couple - so cute!
6. A little secret I know called "Fun in the Sun". It's a hole in the wall shop that sells clothes and shoes an all kinds of great stuff at awesome prices. I only tell my closest friends that this place even exists so please use the information wisely.
7. My Aunt and Uncle (who are British and cook up a beautiful English breakfast) have a B&B there that is absolutely perfect and if you don't already have a place to stay, you could go there. (Columbia Cottage)
8. The sea taxi which takes you across the water...and it's a taxi!

It will probably be equally rainy in both cities but you never know, the sun might just shine like mad. Enjoy!

58
Maxine Dangerous
Oct 25, 2007

I voted for Portland because I haven't been there and am seriously interested in moving to Oregon. Also, I was in Vancouver when I was 14 and had a surreal AND crappy time (sing "Blame Adolescence" to the tune of "Blame Canada"). But seriously, as I'm sure many have said, either one will be awesome. I do remember riding bikes all around this park (I think ... it was 20 years ago -- OH MY GOD, THAT TRIP WAS 20 YEARS AGO??!? *weep*) and it was a lot of fun.

Okay, I'm going to go have a little breakdown now and suck back a spot o' Geritol.

59
aweb
Oct 25, 2007

PORTLAND! The craft beer is so yummy but the wine is even better. Visit Yamhill County ~30 miles west of Portland. The view this time of year will be simply breathtaking. In the city go to Powells, eat at Portland City Grill and dessert at Pix or Voodoo Doughnuts. Have breakfast at Gravy. Do it!!

60
Laura
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver! Oh my gosh, come to Vancouver. I live here and it is such a beautiful city. There is so much to see and do here, the suggestions of those above are great! Sounds like you have a bit of a Vancouver fan club going here, maybe you should do a Nothing But Bonfires Vancouver meetup :P

61
Erin
Oct 25, 2007

CANADA. Vancouver is the greatest city in our country by far - and I live near Toronto so I am not biased. Stanley park, the Lions Gate bridge, so many great restaurants, beautiful landscapes. Get going before the winter rain ruins it for a few months.

62
erica
Oct 25, 2007

I am a long time reader, but have never commented. Sorry I've been lurking.
You should definitely go to Vancouver! I live in the area and it's supposed to be mainly sunny with no rain this weekend! Plus, Vancouver is in CANADA like you said! And, you can get Smarties here...the real ones made with chocolate, not sugary powder!
Enjoy your trip!

63
jill
Oct 25, 2007

i LOVE portland and therefore voted for it (i mean really, no sales tax! the food! the scenery! the pearl district! how can you go wrong?), but after reading the comments i want to go to vancouver. i think i could make an entire vacation of the chip store alone.

64
Diane
Oct 25, 2007

If the Canadian vote counts - go to Vancouver! It is truly an amazing city with so much to offer you and Sean. The weather this time of year is fantastic, the people are very friendly, there is a Starbucks on every corner and most importantly -so very much to do! Let me know if you need a recommendation of things to do or places to stay - I know the city very well - even though I live in Toronto.

You will get to find real Smarties, British candy and I doubt that anyone will offer you a spot of tea as most of us have English relatives and we know that no one really says that. Vancouver is a great city to walk in and explore. I can't wait to see your pictures.

Have a great trip!

65
heaths.b
Oct 25, 2007

it looks like vancouver has the runaway vote but if you end up picking portland you must spend some time at the saturday market.
http://www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com/
it's downtown, next to the river, and there is a MAX (their version of BART) stop in the center of it all. growing up in the northwest, i'm a big fan of p-town.

66
Donna
Oct 25, 2007

Don't forget that Alaska is also a West-Coast destination (but you need more than a weekend) oh, and wait for summer.

67
AlieMalie
Oct 25, 2007

I just returned from Vancouver and I can tell you that it is one of the best! Canadian! Cities! EVER! There is so much to do and see, getting around on foot in downtown is a piece of cake, the SkyTrain rocks, the beaches, ChinaTown, Kitsilano, YaleTown, GasTown, Robson Blvd, Burrard, English Bay, Granville Island, Granville Street, Davie Street, Stanley Park.

Now I want to go back. Take me with youuuuuu.

68
Mrs. Who
Oct 25, 2007

OK, I voted for Vancouver because who doesn't want to use their passport? So cool. OK, I admit I haven't had mine very long.

But what I really want to say? That is just the COOLEST gizmo where you can vote! I have gotta get me one of those. I have marked the website.

Thanks for that.

69
elle
Oct 25, 2007

Ummm... British *sweets* and crisps *shop*, surely? But I don't want to spoil your fun. Hope you have as splendid time, wherever you go.

70
Junewell
Oct 25, 2007

I voted for Portland because I have always wanted to go there but then I read all the comments ... wow! Vancouver sounds amazing! Who knew?

71
Willow
Oct 25, 2007

I voted for Vancouver.... Incidentally, I was wearing my Vancouver sweat pants this morning (coincidence? I think not).

72
Allison
Oct 25, 2007

Portland!! Yay Portland! I basically grew up there (well, if you could call ages 9-16 "growing up") and I love love LOVED it there. I've been meaning to take a trip back to visit, but haven't gotten around to it yet. There are so many fun things to do there - the saturday market, the Japanese gardens, the rose gardens, OMSI, Mt Hood, Multnomah Falls... I could go on!

73
Chiada
Oct 25, 2007

Well, according to the Vote Meter, it's a definite for Canada. I even voted for Canada.

However, I have been to Portland several times and never to Vancouver, which is why I voted to go to Vancouver if I had the choice.

But, Portland is a beautiful city. The city of roses and good music and Douglas fir trees (love!) and just a lot of cool things.

I don't think you can go wrong with either choice.

74
Lillie
Oct 25, 2007

It borders the U.S. So it's clear it's a country you should visit.

(I haven't been to Mexico and am feeling bad about it. I've been to Canada countless times.)

75
Angella
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver. Why?

1. Because it's in Canada, where I'm from. Canada ROCKS. Seriously.

2. I lived in Vancouver for six years. You cannot go wrong in Vancouver.

3. Vancover has Granville Island. And Robson street. And Stanley Park. And, and and.

You will not be disappointed. :)

76
polkadot
Oct 25, 2007

GO CANADA!

Go simply because Vancouver is beautiful, the weather is nice, the ocean and the mountains are side by side.

Another thing you can find in Vancouver that should seal the deal: Nestle Smarties in the purple box with the Smarties on top.

One more thing to try in Canada: Coffee Crisp. It's by far the best one dollar chocolate in the world =)

77
Caroline
Oct 25, 2007

My man-thing is in BC on business and it's blizzarding and what-not. Your travel plans may be safer if you choose Portland.

78
kat
Oct 25, 2007

i love BOTH! i went to school in washington so both were equidistant and fabulous.
if you go to vancouver, please visit smoking lily as it is the cutest clothing shop ever. sigh. also i love their parks for just doing absolutely nothing. AHHH.
but then again portland! books! coffee! waterfalls and walking.

too bad you're not choosing seattle b/c that's where i'll be this weekend!

79
suz
Oct 25, 2007

My aunt lives in Portland..but I'd choose Vancouver!

80
Nothing But Bonfires
Oct 25, 2007

I've just seen that it's going to rain in Vancouver next Saturday. Should this make a difference, do you think? Con: rain. Pro: I do have some new galoshes I haven't yet worn.

81
maggie
Oct 25, 2007

Vancouver, hands down. Portland is nice (and there IS Powell's, a big consideration) but Vancouver is fabulous. FABULOUS.

82
Mo
Oct 25, 2007

I live in Seattle -- 3 hours by car from Portland, 3 hours from Canada. Portland is a great place to live. But if I had to choose just one to visit, without an ounce of doubt I would go to Vancouver.

83
dckatastrophe
Oct 25, 2007

hi there! Tony Bourdain's show no reservations just did a stint in the Pacific NW and it made me want to go just to eat the donuts he gets. I find donuts particularly persuasive!

84
cinnamon
Oct 25, 2007

Hi there - long-time reader delurking.
You must, must, must come to Vancouver. If you are thinking about this weekend there is a ton of stuff going on - for instance, the Parade of Lost Souls on Commercial Drive is not to be missed (thousands of adult people in costume wandering around gleefully). I live in Vancouver, have been to Portland and there really isn't any comparison (although Portland is nice, it's a little on the sleepy side). I live right in the heart of downtown and if you are interested would happily refer you to hotels/restaurants/things to do that are a little off the beaten trail... Just email.

85
Kristin
Oct 25, 2007

Both are beautiful, but Vancouver is much more expensive to fly to than Portland (what is it with every ticket to Canada being so freakin' expensive? I was looking for a ticket from NYC to Montreal, a one-hour flight, 6-8 months in advance and couldn't find anything less than $400!), so since you have a free ticket, you should take advantage of that, then get a cheap flight to Portland at some later date.

86
Jen
Oct 25, 2007

As a Seattlelite, I often frequent both Portland and Vancouver for weekend getaways. I am actually heading to Portland myself next weekend. Let me put it to you this way...if you want to be inspired by cool art, tasty restaurants, & artsy people Portland is your place. I always stay at the Hotel Lucia which is amazing.

Now, if you want to go somewhere and say "this is the cleanest city I have ever seen in my life" than Vancouver is your place. Stanley Park is fun, it is very walkable, nice beers and Canadians are just plan nice!

Either way you can't lose! Enjoy yourself in my neck fo the woods and email me if you want help on restaurants, hotels or shopping for either!
J.

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Melanie
Oct 25, 2007

I don't think that the rain should deter you. The forecast always says rain - but often they're wrong. For example, it's cool crisp and incredibly sunny here today (in Vancouver). And it was supposed to rain last weekend too but it was gloriously sunny! Come anyway but bring your galoshes just in case.

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jules
Oct 25, 2007

Well-since I live in Portland-I am biased toward this wonderful city. If the possibility of rain is a factor in your decision-I doubt there is much climate difference between the 2 cities.

If you do come to Portland-there are obviously a lot of us NBB fans-consider a get-together so we can all by you guys beers!

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liz d
Oct 25, 2007

go to portland!
the food is amazing. there are new restaurants popping up everywhere and it is a hipster breeding ground. plus, there is a bakery there called "saint cupcake", need i say more?

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Eleanor
Oct 25, 2007

I'm someone who has just started reading, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents.

Both cities have the following, in quantity:

-coffee
-water
-rain
-moss
-trees
-mountains
-great mass transit

I’ve been both places, and though I went to school in Canada (Toronto), I don’t like Vancouver. Stanley Park is great, but I found that the downtown didn’t have much sidewalk culture – they’ve built all these enormous glassy apartment buildings along the water, and no one is on the street in the evening, when you feel like being out. Maybe I needed a local to show me around, but I found it confusing and hard to maneuver, and the city has done a poor job of maintaining its heritage buildings.

Portland, on the other hand, has the most spectacular coffee roaster I know, Stumptown (I’ve found a coffeeshop here in Seattle that sells it), has an amazing world-renowned bookshop, Powells, and a fantastic, burgeoning music scene. I’ve been there a couple of times, I’ve loved it, and it’s a neat place to explore. I’d go to Portland in a heartbeat.