Planning a West Coast road trip up with my wife this coming fall. What neighborhoods in Portland and Seattle should we check out? Which hotels should we look at staying in? We primarily enjoy exploring new cities (in the more walkable cities, we usually clock in 15-30 miles per day) just sampling any food or drink that looks inviting along the way. Getting a true local feel of each new neighborhood and city we visit tends to be our favorite experience. I've been researching and reading blogs and guidebooks all over the place, but thought I'd reach out for recommendations here. (New member and all.)
I know that some major cities' downtowns tend to be indistinguishable from a lot of other major cities... Portland looks like it's got a cool mix of everything going on downtown, but how is Seattle's? Part of my research so far gives me the feeling that it might just be a somewhat generic central business district with some touristy/market/shopping areas, and we might have more fun getting out into the neighborhoods or even further out of the city than we think. Can you guys chime in and let me know if I'm off here, or if I should be looking for anything specific?