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Embassy Suites: Travel Portland with Kids
A few weekends ago our family took a weekend trip to Portland. We live just north of Seattle so we are about a 3 hour drive from downtown Portland. While we have traveled a bit with our kids ages 7, 5 and 3, this would be the first trip of it’s kind. In the past, we’ve stayed with family members or at an inclusive hotel (Great Wolf Lodge). This time, we’d be exploring the city but we also wanted a place we could rest and enjoy ourselves. Embassy Suites Downtown Portland couldn’t have been more perfect for our needs.
This beautiful hotel is centrally located making it within walking distance to many attractions. It’s also very convenient to Portland public transportation system which offers a variety of ways to inexpensively get around the city.
We arrived late Friday night after a long drive. We parked in the unload zone because we were having trouble finding the parking lot. We ended up opting for valet service and they were happy to take care of us. Check in was very quick and soon we were in our room which was gorgeous.
Embassy Suites isn’t the type of hotel I’m used to with small rooms consisting of two beds and a TV. Our room was like home, only better with beautiful furniture and decorations. It had a bedroom with two queen beds and a large television. The main living area had a sofa, chair, table with chairs, a bar area with a sink, microwave and mini fridge and another large television. Having two tv’s and two areas to relax made a huge difference in the overall enjoyment of our stay. We do wish there had been a lock on the bedroom door though 😉
We may have gotten a late start to our vacation but I was determined to make the most of it so despite the late hour of our arrival, we headed across the street to the famous Voo Doo Doughnut for a midnight snack. Literally. Midnight. Voo Doo Doughnuts is open 24 hours and from what I’ve heard (and experienced!), there’s always a line. We waited 10-15 minutes to order but got a delicious treat to enjoy back in our room at Embassy Suites. The nightlife in the area is a bit “colorful” but I think that’s pretty typical of any big city.
After a good night’s rest in a comfortable bed we headed down to breakfast. Embassy Suites is known for their free made-to-order breakfasts and a huge perk for families like us. The dining room was large and the selection of breakfast foods was better than even I expected! There was an omelet bar, bacon, sausage, eggs, fried potatoes, fruit, cereal, oatmeal, a selection of bread items like bagels, english muffins and toast, fresh fruit, yogurt and so much more!
Our kids were happy to sit by this pretty fountain and eat whatever their little heart’s desired! It was a great start to our day and provided plenty of fuel and energy to set out exploring! Originally we had planned on heading to the zoo but since something came up at work for my husband, we needed to stick by the hotel where he had wi-fi access.
Just a few blocks away is the Portland Saturday Market. Every Saturday and Sunday from March through Christmas Eve hundreds of vendors come together to offer shoppers a variety of products from handmade jewelry to art, toys, clothing and more. There’s also a great selection of food booths and live entertainment.
We found this fountain in midst of the market which operated on a seemingly random pattern. It was still early in the day but the weather was nice and hey, we were on vacation so we let the kids go for it. They had SO.MUCH.FUN. And it was FREE! While the kids were playing we took a look at the map the hotel had provided for us to decide what we should do next. We found a toy store and decided to go for a walk. We ventured up to Finnegan’s Toys and Gifts but along the way, we found this sculpture that the kids wanted to check out:
There were lots of things like this throughout the city making it that much more fun to explore! I enjoyed checking out the architecture of the historic buildings along the way, too. They’re so pretty!
The toy store was a lot of fun. We gave the kids a small amount of spending money and they had fun picking out a souvenir while playing with some of the display items like this mini air hockey game and a table of wind up toys.
Jackson picked out a small Lego set, McKinley picked out a really neat coloring book and Parker got some dress up shoes and a tiny rubber kitten. We headed back to the hotel so they could rest and play with their new toys and so my husband could check in with work.
There was plenty of space for everyone to do what they wanted to recharge. The girls rested while watching cartoons and Jackson built his [amazon_link id=”B00ITS4AYC” target=”_blank” ]Mixel[/amazon_link] at the table.
Next we headed back down to the Saturday Market thinking we’d grab some lunch. Instead, since we had such a big breakfast, we grabbed some ice cream cones instead. I had a chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick. Hey, we were on vacation, peeps! From there we walked up by Chinatown but then decided to check out Powell’s Books,the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world. By this point it was pretty hot outside so the trek seemed longer than it actually was. Along the way we found a park in the shade so we stopped so the kids could play.
Who knew Portland was so family friendly? A park right in middle of the city? That’s awesome! After the park we finally made it to the bookstore and again, gave the kids a small allowance to pick out a book. It was time for a rest again so we headed back to regroup and figure out what we wanted to do for dinner. After a short rest we asked at the front desk if they could recommend a family friendly Italian restaurant that serves macaroni and cheese. We were directed to Mama Mia just a couple of blocks away. It was a little fancier than I was hoping for but the food was good and even though we didn’t find macaroni and cheese on the kids menu, we asked and they did indeed have it! That made me happy since it’s what the kid’s hearts were set on.
Even though we just ate, we wanted to check out the Manager’s Reception at Embassy Suites. Every evening for two hours complimentary snacks and drinks are provided for guests. I relaxed with cranberry and vodka cocktail, crackers and dip. My husband had a rum and coke while the kids enjoyed some snack mix and M&Ms. The reception was held in the same place as breakfast but this time we noticed an attached game room.
What you can’t see from the reverse direction is a sofa and TV. Parents can relax and catch the game while the kids play video games. This is a great area to spend time together!
And finally, to wrap up the night, what the kids had been waiting all day for — the pool! Embassy Suites has a beautiful salt water pool. The temperature was very comfortable and the atmosphere very relaxing. I was super excited to see not one but TWO hot tubs. I haven’t been able to enjoy a soak in a hot tub for a very long time because I was either pregnant or had babies that couldn’t go in. This time, the temperature was just right and our kids were able to join us! It was pure heaven! Big fluffy towels were provided poolside which was a really nice convenience.
The well appointed gym is located right above the pool for those who make fitness a priority. For me, I got my walking in during the day and while swimming around with my kids. If this had not been a family vacation, I would have loved to check out the gym as it looked great!
After swimming we tucked our exhausted kiddos into bed and I made another run for Voo Doo Donuts. The hubs and I watched some tv together before heading to bed ourselves. In the morning we grabbed another awesome breakfast, checked out and headed to the Oregon Zoo. Originally we had planned to take the Light Rail on Saturday but since we had to change our plans, it didn’t make sense not to take our own car and head home from there when we were finished at the zoo.
Overall we had an awesome time. Portland was a fun place to visit and Embassy Suites was a great place to stay. I want to say a HUGE thank you to Embassy Suites for providing us with complimentary 2 night’s stay and a gift card for our adventures!