1/18/12

The Grotto + Movie at Cinetopia - Deep NE/Vancouver


Are your parents religious? Get them to the Grotto right away! The Grotto offers 62-acres of impeccably maintained gardens and walking paths, studded with chapels, over 100 religious statues and shrines, and reflection spaces. Yes, it's very Catholic-focused, but the Grotto is one of Portland's largest green spaces and best kept secrets, plus you get to take an elevator ride up an 110 foot cliff. Here's your map.

From the parking lot, you head straight to the gift shop where you buy your token for the elevator ride and can also stock up on rosaries, candles, wax Virgin Mary statues, and trinkets. The elevator takes you up to a breathtaking view of the city and a large bluff of manicured gardens. You don't need to be religious to appreciate this scenery: it's truly lovely and has a very NW-feel to it in the winter when the rain drops are trickling down from the large pines.

View from the top
If your parents happen to be visiting November 25th through December 30th, you can take them to the Festival of Lights, which is pretty spectacular. There is a life-size nativity, choirs singing carols, and even a petting zoo!


After the Grotto, it's time to relax and there's no better place to do it than the flagship Cinetopia. Yeah, you'll have to put on your big boy pants to drive to uncool Vancouver to get there, but this place is worth it. 


Cinetopia plays first-run movies, including the Disney-type that don't have uncomfortable sex scenes. This is truly a first-rate movie experience that exceeds most people's expectations. You can eat lunch or dinner in your seat, sample the finest NW wines at the bar beforehand, and spread yourself out in your chair without having to worry about touching your dad's elbow or knee.

On an indulgent note, Cinetopia has a flavored butter bar where you can pump streams of gourmet butters onto your popcorn. I recommend getting your own small bag so that you can secretly be a pig without being embarrased. Three pumps per popcorn bag is plenty; otherwise, you'll have to run to the bathroom mid-movie to wash the butter from your hands. Jalepeno is the best flavor by far.

Popcorn, the classic medium for putting butter in your body
If your parents are wine snobs, they'll be impressed with Cinetopia's wine bar where you can sample the West Coast's finest wines from a state-of-the-art, air-tight wine bar, for which "Vinotopia" is regularly recognized with awards from Wine Spectator.

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