You've got your visitor routine down pat, to the point where your favorite neighborhood bars bank on a certain allotment of out-of-towners visiting you for a huge hunk of their annual income. But someone always throws a monkey wrench in the works, a visitor whose very announcement of intent to visit gets your brain racing for ways to entertain. Worry not… Whether you're hosting toddlers, your often-embarrassing old buddy, or folks who once rocked "I Like Ike" buttons, you've got this on lock.
THE GUEST: YOUR SISTER AND HER THREE-YEAR-OLD KID Face it: your place isn't exactly childproof. Or sister-proof, for that matter. But, lucky you, Portland's a playground… and at most places, you can get a beer while the toddler plays.
The Oregon Zoo, 4001 SW Canyon Rd; West Hills; 503.226.1561 Because you've totally wanted to see baby Asian elephants and penguins but have been totally too embarrassed, use the kid as an excuse to hit the zoo and check out the naked mole rats in all their naked mole glory… and be sure to take the MAX in, because you get to see dinosaur bones in a tunnel, then take an elevator up through the core of a mountain.
What to Get Instead of Roses This Valentine's Day
Oaks Park, 7805 SE Oaks Park Way; Sellwood; 503.233.5777 A year-round mini-carnival on the Sellwood waterfront, Oaks offers you the opportunity to impress the kid with your mad skee-ball skills, ride a ferris wheel, and play "Crack the Whip" on the city's only roller-skating rink.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, 1945 SE Water Ave; SE Portland; 503.797.4000 Portland's coolest museum lets you get all Mr. Wizard w/ hands-on chemistry labs, play with gigantic pneumatic machines, and pretend you're in San Francisco in an earthquake simulator… and that's all before you head outside and take a tour of a real submarine parked in the Willamette.
Sky High, 11131 SW Greenburg Rd; West Hills; 503.924.5867 Remember when you used to do backflips on a trampoline? You probably can't do that anymore, but the real way to find out is to hit up this gigantic bouncy park where the entire floor is made of trampolines.
Laurelwood Brewery, 5115 NE Sandy Blvd; Hollywood; 503.282.0622 It's time for a drink, so head over to Laurelwood and fire back a pint or six of the award-winning Free Range Red after you drop the little brat off in the huge kids' play area, then avoid temptation to totally gank some LEGOs.
THE GUEST: YOUR GRANDPARENTS They're probably worried about you, what with you living in that weird town that looks so violent on Grimm, and all that meth they heard about, and why didn't you settle down with that nice girl who used to live down the street? Luckily, you've got the distractions on lock.
Huber's, 411 SW 3rd Ave; Downtown; 503.228.5686 Granny'll feel right at home complaining that George Clooney is no Clark Gable and hippity-hop isn't even music at this, Portland's oldest restaurant, which's known for its super-bomb roasted turkey and made-at-the-table Spanish coffee.
Multnomah Falls, 50000 E Historic Columbia River Hwy; Columbia River Gorge; 503.695.2372 At the mouth of the historic Columbia River Gorge Highway is this gigantic waterfall/tourist trap, where people pay more attention to their cameras than where they're going, and there's a huge gift shop/lodge/restaurant that shills everything from hot dogs to the horrible art that Grandma can't seem to stop stockpiling in her basement.
Oregon Historical Society Museum, 1200 SW Park Ave; Downtown; 503.222.1741 Pretend you know all about your state by hitting up this massive, three-story museum dedicated to everything "Oregon", from Lewis and Clark, to that one time the Trail Blazers won a game.
Saturday Market, 50-98 OR-99W; Downtown; 503.222.6072 Showcase all the weird crap that makes Portland odd in a controlled environment where the waterfront turns into a sea of handmade crafts, food carts, street performers, and other stuff you generally see every day when you walk down your street… only now, Gramps is totally fine asking that chainsaw juggler about his facial tats.
Aerial Tram, 3303 SW Bond Ave; SW Waterfront; 503.494.8283 Hit up this cable car around sunset for a crazy panoramic view of the city, which starts on the South Waterfront and -- luckily for Granny if she didn't tell you she's afraid of heights -- ends at the Oregon Health & Sciences University Hospital.
THE GUEST: YOUR FRAT BUDDY WHO CAN'T DRINK ANYMORE FOR VARIOUS REASONS You used to know him as Boner, or maybe Skidmark, and you once watched him eat a banana slug. For whatever reason -- or for those very reasons -- he can't drink anymore. But that doesn't mean you can't relive the old days… just keep him away from your garden.
Golden Dragon, 324 SW 3rd Ave; Downtown; 503.274.1900 Homeboy still loves boobs, right? Of course he does, so treat him to the juice bar at this no-booze temple of glitter and women named Cinnamon.
Glowing Greens, 509 SW Taylor St; Downtown; 503.222.5554 Glowing Greens is a totally psychedelic, indoor/underground putt-putt course rocking more black lights than your college dorm room and the option to put on 3D glasses to make real life, um, 3D-er.
Rose City Rollers , 7805 SE Oaks Park Way; North Portland You don't need booze to enjoy the sight of women in hot pants roller skating around a track and beating the holy hell out of one another. But they totally do sell beer, and your buddy doesn't need to know that it actually makes it all way better.
Portland Meadows, 1001 N Schmeer Rd; North Portland; 503.285.9144 Make it a derby double-header with a trip to the city's iconic racetrack, where you're definitely encouraged to wear a stupid hat and bet all your money on a lame horse just because its name reminds you of an ex.
Cartopia, at SE 12th & Hawthorne; Hawthorne District Get nostalgic for college and put on a brand-new freshman 15 by hitting up the infamous late-night cart pod, where you can suck down curd-heavy poutine, fried pies filled w/ pulled pork, wood-fired pizza, and burritos, all while playing Super Nintendo on a projector screen.