“What are some fun things to do in Portland?” I asked a few friends who lived there. They mentioned some restaurants, bars and coffee shops.
“No, I mean like, what are some attractions or experiences in the city I shouldn’t miss?”
Cue another list of restaurants, bars and coffee shops. I got the message. You come here to eat, drink and be merry. Portland is the city for food, coffee, books and music.
This Weekend Trip was full of all of the above. Two of my best friends were visiting me from the Netherlands and LA, so we obviously had to go on an adventure together! After a lovely Christmas, we drove into and over the snowy mountains to Hipster Capital more than 7 hours up north.
We basically ate and drank our way through the city, and I’d love to recommend some of the places we went.
B O O K S
Powell’s is the largest new and used book store in the world. If you’re anything like me, you will likely spend a few hours here.
C O F F E E
Although there’s a coffee shop inside Powell’s, we walked to the Ace Hotel to get some Stumptown Coffee and sit in its gorgeous lobby.
Another coffee classic in Portland you cannot miss is CaseStudyCoffee. This one was probably my favorite coffee in town, I wish I had time to sit, read and write all day here. We went to the location in the middle of downtown, which has a SmartPark around the corner.
If you’re in the Missippi Avenue area, there’s a shop called Locale that sells great coffee and cocktails. Another coffee place a local recommended is Barista.
W A N D E R
Downtown Portland is best to explore by walking. Park your car at one of the SmartParks, and wander around anywhere in the Pearl District or Downtown. We also walked down Mississippi Avenue and dove into some artistic stores and boutiques there.
E A T
Portland is famous for its good restaurants and bistros, so you can always find a great place close to you when you’re feeling hungry. We ate dinner at Oven and Shaker, which had pretty good pizza and cocktails.
If the weather allows you to stay outside, I would get your lunch at one of the food carts. Walk to where SW Washington Street meets SW 10th Ave, and you will see and smell the trucks from afar. They have everything; from great Thai to German sausage to Scottish fish&chips and (my personal favorite) lots of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern garlic-glory.
Portland means donuts. One of the locals told me the *the other popular donut store* isn’t worth the wait, because BlueStar Donuts is at least as good. Make sure you get there early, as they’ll probably be out of sugary yummies by mid-afternoon.
S H O P
In between the fancy, big stores like Apple and Louis Vuitton, there are those cute gems that sell that perfect birthday card and get you inspired to decorate.
One other store in Downtown you definitely have to visit is Buffalo Exchange. Think thrift store meets nice brands. I pretty much bought a whole wardrobe there.
A nice area to explore and stroll through cute stores in the (North) Mississippi Avenue. Pistills Nursery alone is enough reason to stroll down this street. I mean, it was featured in Kinfolk, so it obviously needs to appear on your Instagram feed now too.
And then there’s Flutter. Be in no hurry, cause you will find great gifts for friends and yourself here.
W A T C H
We ate our dinner while watching a movie in the Living Room Theaters, but there are many other historic and unique movie theaters around town. McMenamins has a list of few movie theaters that are in old schools or churches. Definitely on my list for my next Portland trip!
We had a special experience during the trip that involved some great tunes, I will write about that tomorrow. Make sure to check out the other Weekend Trip posts in the meantime.
Have your own Portland recommendations to share? Leave a comment below!
Adventure is easier than you think. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars or fly for hours to have those vacation vibes. There’s easy-accessibly beauty you can enjoy by traveling local. It’s all about collecting stories, exploring new places and going on adventures that shake you out of Autopilot Living.
In the Weekend Trip series, I share recommendations, travel tips and stories to inspire you to plan your next adventure. Every featured location is in the North California/Oregon area and every recommendation keeps in mind that we want to keep travel affordable.
Currently featured: Eureka, Portland. Coming up: Sacramento.