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Portland’s Aerial Tram
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What’s to Love: This has the potential to be a controversial post. Obviously, there are some people who do not like the Tram, especially many who live below it. I certainly can see their point (literally). I remember riding with my son and seeing the F#$* the Tram sign on someone’s roof. Personally, I thought it was amusing, and s/he obviously had a right to do it. If that sort of thing bothers you, don’t worry, because s/he took it down.

Politics aside, the Tram is a striking piece of engineering prowess, and I have to admit that I love riding the Tram with my son. I can’t imaging that I’d ever ride it on my own. We usually ride it on our way home from the Circuit Bouldering Gym. I have an annual Trimet pass, and my son rides for free. It’s very entertaining for him, and I get a big kick out of watching his face as the Tram takes the big swing over the support. It’s a quick ride, and the view is fantastic, especially on a clear day.

One of the best things about the ride is stopping at OHSU’s outdoor sculpture garden and viewing area. You’ll notice it on your right as the pod docks. Definitely spend some time with your kids in this area.

Caveats: I’ve seen a couple of kids get a bit freaked-out by the heights and the swing it takes over the first support. If it’s crowded in the summer, I would avoid taking a joy ride. There is no air conditioning and the windows do not open, which is probably a good thing. The ride will cost adults $4 round trip, which might not be worth it for several adults.

Website: Portland Aerial Tram

Distance from Portland: Within a mile of downtown Portland

Recommended Ages: All ages, but beware if your kids are frightened just looking at the Tram. They will probably not like the ride, if they can barely look at it from the ground. It’s a bit intimidating.

Parental Stress Factor: Low – The Tram is a pretty relaxed cruise.

Physical Difficulty: The only difficulty here will be holding your kids up in the front window so they can get a better view.

Family Fun Factor: Low – I wouldn’t recommend the Tram for the whole family. It’s not an amusement ride, but 1-1 with a kid is pretty fun. The fun factor can be increased with a trip over to the viewing area.

Pet Friendly: Service animals only.

Weather Considerations: All weather…however, in some cases (rare) they might shut down the Tram (e.g., high winds). Avoid it on hot days.

Insider Info: If you have an annual Trimet pass, you ride for free, which is a very nice deal! Bikes are permitted, and the trip is real quick depending on the weather. The Daily Cafe, which is a good place to eat, is located on the ground-level of the OHSU building, the area is expanding with some additional restaurants.

Family Tips: The Portland Streetcar makes a trip out past the Tram now, and it’s fun to park up by PSU and take a ride down to the Tram. Better yet, ride bikes down to the bottom of the Tram (great bike lanes) and take a ride up to OHSU. After exiting, you’ll have an all-downhill ride back to PSU. You also could continue your bike adventure on the paved path on Terwilliger, which is a hilly, but very pleasant ride.

Technorati Tags: Aerial Tram, tramway, Portland’s Tram, Portland Streetcar, south waterfront development, Portland, Oregon, alternative transportation, OHSU, National College of Natural Medicine

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