What should I see and do on my Pacific Northwest road trip?

It’s almost time for my annual Baseball Trip, wherein my buddy and I take a road trip to see some ball games. Since the average baseball game takes about 3 hours, and there are 24 hours in a day, we may have some time to do other things. So, as I’ve done in other years, I’m asking Dopers to recommend stuff in - or between - the cities we’re visiting.

Specifically, I’m looking for suggestions of local watering holes, decent (but not fancy) resataurants, roadside attractions, funky museums, or really anything else you think might be worth doing or seeing.

This year, we’ll be off the beaten path a bit. There will be a couple of long drives, but also some short ones, so there should be some time to kill. Our destinations, in order:

Salem OR
Eugene OR
Hillsboro OR
Pasco WA
Missoula MT
Helena MT
Spokane WA
Vancouver BC
Tacoma WA

What say you, Dopers? (And thanks in advance!)

My advice is well out of date, but I was happy to see that the Eugene Emeralds were still a minor league club. I spend a summer as a starving student working in Oregon and I loved Eugene, I’d certainly give that city as much time as you can.

Unless something has changed, Hillsboro was a boring suburb of Portland, it is too bad Portland doesn’t have minor league baseball, I’d consider staying in Portland and just going to Hillsboro for the game.

If you like natural beauty, Silver Falls State Park is not too far from Salem. One of the coolest waterfall trails I’ve ever been on.

If you have time to spare in Pasco, they have half-day tours of the Manhattan Project B Reactor out of the visitor center in Richland.

Don’t forget the Everett Aquasox! Go Frogs!

I’m not a baseball fan and never been to a game, but I didn’t seem them on your list.

Someone called ‘Wheelz’ should not miss the Lemay America’s Car Museum in Tacoma.

The Hillsboro to Pasco leg will take you right thru the best part of the Columbia River Gorge.

Plan on multiple stops, etc. Visit a few waterfalls. Take the scenic highway.

In terms of baseball, go see the Hillsboro Hops, ask for Mike. Tell him FtG sent you.

Hillsboro is to the west; Boring is actually to the east. :slight_smile:

There’s also a fantastic collection of cars and airplanes in Hood River: The Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum.

Missoula: The Oxford is a classic, though my father (on whom be peace) swore that it was never the same after they swept up the sawdust and let women in.

Helena: While there are a slew of dive bars, the watering holes I used to frequent have disappeared or become unrecognizable in the interim; Bert and Ernie’s is probably the closest (and that not much). Though I would suggest a bowl of chili at The Parrot — don’t forget the vinegar.
It’s not clear to me how you will be getting to and from Helena. If coming from Butte, you can check out the Radon Health Mines in Boulder, and for a small fee breathe and/or bathe in radioactive toxins. On the other hand, if you’re coming via Bozeman I’d highly recommend the Museum of the Rockies.

Tacoma: Too bad I’m something of a hermit. I see that LeMay has been mentioned, and while there are a number of other museums I wouldn’t call them “funky.” I do find the Museum of Glass interesting, but it’s not for everyone’s tastes. As for food, I’d suggest the Red Hot or the Top of Tacoma. And then there’s the Java Jive, but it seems that it’s only open sporadically (the owner is keeping it open more from a sense of duty than anything else).

I concur with visiting the Lemay museum! I’m assuming you’ll be at Cheney Stadium for a Rainiers game. They’re a lot of fun. I don’t know where you’re staying, but be aware that Highway 16 (as well as its I-5 interchange) can be a nightmare during rush hour, so check traffic and plan ahead. It goes right over the Narrows bridge if you’re interested, which is a toll coming back. There is a viewpoint before the bridge if you just want to run down and have a look at it.

If you Google Cheney Stadium then zoom out, you’ll be able to see pretty clearly what I’m talking about. Right by the stadium is the Tacoma Nature Center which is a nice place to visit (and where my cousin was married). There are a bunch of typical fast food places on 6th Avenue east of Orchard, but west on 6th around Alder there are a bunch of quirky neighborhood eateries and bars. I’m sure you’ll find something interesting. Navigating that area to/from the stadium isn’t too difficult, either.


Not far from Portland is the Spruce Goose if you want to see a very large plane made of wood. In spite of the name it’s made of birch wood

On the last leg of your trip (Vancouver BC - Tacoma) consider a BC Ferry to Vancouver Island then the Black Ball Ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles. Then either loop around the Olympic Peninsula or take 101 south, bypassing Seattle (unless you consider the Mariners a baseball team).

Beautiful scenery from the BC ferry, lots of interesting stuff in Victoria & Olympic peninsula.

University of Oregon in Eugene has an anthro/history museum and an art museum that are pretty nice. The hip place to eat is Tacovore. If you have the time, either take Rte 126 W. to 101 from Eugene to the coast and points northward fore lovely scenery and seaside towns. Or take I-5 or 99 N. to Corvallis, where you can stop for a meal in a tiny, charming downtown. Salem doesn’t have much to offer.

When you leave Paso, head north on 395 toward Spokane. At the town of Connell, take a side trip to Palouse Falls. Spectacular falls and gorge, a remnant of the ice age Missoula floods. Then backtrack and continue north to hook up with I-90, which will take you through Spokane and then into North Idaho, over Lookout Pass and into Missoula.

if you’re ending your trip in Tacoma-Seattle, you’re close to Mount Rainier National Park.
Worth a visit…The area named Paradise is beautiful.

(Besides, you can then boast to all your friends that you’ve been to Paradise and back . :slight_smile: )

Watering holes in Spokane:

Also in downtown Spokane is the sprawling Riverfront park, which has some nice walking paths and bridges in and around the river and waterfalls. There is also the Skyride - a gondola that goes over the river and falls.

I was impressed with the Evergreen Air and Space Museum. The Spruce Goose is now there, and lots of other cool stuff, even if the second floor kinda goes off the rails.

If you’re going from Spokane to Vancouver BC, there is some pretty crazy geology over in Eastern Washington if you’re into that sort of thing.

Dry Falls is pretty cool: https://parks.state.wa.us/251/Dry-Falls

All of that glacial flood terrain is interesting (including Palouse Falls noted above). There are dry canyons and falls all over the place, with Dry Falls being one of the more spectacular.

When you are travelling East on I-84 toward Pasco there is a really nice museum across from Biggs in Maryhill, Wash. That is, if you have the time, it is a long drive to Pasco.