Well, Portland, Oregon and sloe gin fizz, if that ain’t love, then tell me what is.
My friend Niki wanted to go see the Florence + the Machine concert in Portland since she missed them in Chicago. And I have always wanted to go to Portland—great food, great scenery, and great fun.
There’s a lot to do in Portland and there are a lot better travel guides that cover the best things to do there. These are just a few of the things we did and places we went:
- Explore neighborhoods, mostly in the Northwest District and Southwest District.
- Shop in the Pearl District and NW 23rd Portland has a lot of great local shops. I liked Rachelle M. Rustic House of Fashion.
- Hang out in Powell’s Books—I couldn’t miss that! This is my idea of heaven.
- Wander the International Rose Test Garden to see the beautiful roses. Great place to sit and read or lay down in the grass, watching the clouds pass by. (We wanted to go to the Japanese Garden but it was closed for construction.)
- Visit Multanomah Falls for a beautiful and an easy hike. I’ve heard people say there are better places to hike—and I am sure there are—but I still think Multanomah Falls is worth it.
We stayed at the Marriott Downtown because we could use our points there for a free hotel stay. The location was pretty good and conveniently located for easy access to the expressway. For my next trip, though, I would stay somewhere else.
How about where NOT to eat? So many great food places in Portland, you can’t go wrong. I met a local there who said instead of recommending specific restaurants, she tells people neighborhoods to explore and then to try any restaurant in that neighborhood. There are food trucks galore. Donuts galore. Coffee shops galore. Ice cream, Thai food, Korean, Indian, and the list goes on and on.
We tried the typical places like Salt and Straw for ice cream (it was good, hey, it’s ice cream) and Voodoo Donuts (not my fav). We went to Pip’s Originals (better place for donuts). Pip’s makes tiny donuts in simple and delicious flavors (like raw honey and sea salt) and real chai, the kind that is spiced not sweet. We went to Luc Lac for Vietnamese food—damn good!, Pok Pok for Thai—pretty good, and Tilt—best fried chicken I have EVER had. All of these places are casual spots and affordable. Keep in mind that most places don’t take reservations and will have waits.
It’s easy to get around Portland using public transportation and taxis but if you want to venture outside of Portland, it’s best to rent a car.
Everyone who has been to Portland warns you but I didn’t think it was really an issue—brunch on a Sunday in Portland is a marathon sport. You have to go early (definitely before 10 am) and be prepared to wait for a long time. Apparently brunch is THE thing to do in Portland.
I barely scratched the surface of Portland. Here is a list of a few other things to see, do, taste in Portland that I gathered from other people and travel sources.
- Pine State Biscuits
- Mother’s Bistro
- Blue Star Bakery
- Olympic Provisions
- Ava Gene’s
- Veritable Quandry
- Apizza Scholls
Outdoor Sights/Day Trips
- Multanomah Falls
- Vista House
- Columbia River Gorge
- Hood River
- Stumptown Coffee
- Coava (coffee)
- Breakside Brewing
- Cooper’s Hall (wine bar and food)
- Apex (bar)
- Angel Face Bar
- Expatriate (for cocktails)