At the end of 2019, Sasha and I moved from Hawaii back to Seattle, so now instead of taking weekend getaways from our former home on Oahu to Maui, Big Island, or Kauai, we go to Portland or Vancouver, BC. Our latest weekend trip to Portland was the first time in four years since we had last visited, and I forgot how much I adore it! I have to admit, Portland is like Seattle’s cooler younger sister – the sister who’s cleaner, prettier and a bit more put together. It has a safer, quainter small town vibe, its own snow-capped volcano (Mt. Hood), and a foodie scene that will knock your North Face beanie right off your head.
By the time I’m finished writing this blog post, I wouldn’t be surprised if another distillery popped up on Googlemaps and another delicious restaurant opened. When you look up places to eat in Portland on Googlemaps or Yelp, nearly everything is rated 4 stars and above. What Sasha and I love most about Portland, is its distinct small neighborhood boroughs, each with their own charm.
Your next trip to Portland should most definitely be driven by two things: eating and waterfalls. Maybe even simultaneously. In this blog post you’ll find some ideas on how to spend a foodie’s weekend in Portland. Let’s dive in!
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Where to Eat in Portland
Screen Door – creole cajun (great for brunch). We ordered the organic vegetable hash with parsley pecan pesto.
Kopi – coffee house adjacent to Screen Door – order their spicy chai latte
Por Qué No? Taqueria. Order the boozy horchata.
Prasad – Vegan, attached to a yoga studio. Their smoothies are healthy and fresh.
Pambiche – Cuban / South American. Their meat dishes are juicy and tender.
Blue Star Donuts – I don’t see the hype in the famed Voodoo Donuts. They use poor ingredients such as cereal with high fructose corn syrup, or Oreos. I think this is one of those places like Leonard’s Malasadas on Oahu that is simply famous because it’s been around for so long. Blue Star Donuts uses fresh, natural ingredients. And the best part? There’s no queue! We ordered the apple cider fritter and blueberry bourbon basil.
Salt & Straw – innovative ice cream
Though it’s been around a while and has since opened locations in Seattle, I still love the revolutionary flavors (bleu cheese & fig anybody?)
Ranger Chocolate Company
Pix Pattisserie – French bakery with home made chocolates, cakes and other sweets with a sexy interior and hip ambiance.
Other eateries on our list for our next weekend trip (which will probably be every month if we can help it!)
– Pok Pok Thai
– SOMA Kombucha Taproom (free sample tastings)
– Smith Teamaker (for the tea flight or fancy lattes)
– Multnomah Whiskey Library
– Freeland Spirits – Female Owned
– Kachka – Eastern European
– Swiss Hibiscus
Things to Do in Portland
Sasha always tells me that while eating is great, we should add depth and dynamic to our trips instead of just gorging ourselves with food. I guess that’s fair. 😉 Perhaps a trip to a museum, a stroll through a park, or stand up paddle boarding on the Columbia River.
There is a plethora of things to do in Portland, especially during the summer when it’s warm, and hiking and water sports are more enticing. But here are a list of things you can do in Portland during any season!
Visit Multnomah Falls
Below left: August
Below right: January
This fairytale-like waterfall is stunning in any season, and located just a 30-minute drive from downtown. We just so happened to visit during the wettest January on record in the Pacific Northwest in a long time, so the waterfall was roaring! You can continue along Interstate 84 and during wet season (pretty much the whole year in Oregon), the entire highway will be a giant waterfall show that I would say rivals Kauai!
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🌏 I love traveling so much. The act of going somewhere you have or haven't visited before and being able to see, taste, smell, hear and experience new things is so exciting. Your senses are on high, you're more aware of your surroundings, and even being with your partner is more exciting because you're in a new environment together. Travel is humbling, encouraging and often restores my faith in humanity when the world sometimes seems to be crumbling. As much as I love traveling internationally, it isn't necessary to go far to enjoy being away. We're only a 2.5-hour drive from home, yet it feels like a true getaway. Especially as a foodie and travel blogger, a childlike giddiness comes over me whenever we eat a delectable meal or encounter an awesome local who teaches us about the history or lifestyle of the place we're visiting. Whether our trips are two days or six months, I am so grateful to have the health and means to travel. I realize it is a privilege and I never take it for granted. ❤️ PS: Portland is awesome and (in my opinion) way cooler, quainter, more locally-focused and safer than Seattle. #multnomahfalls #travel #oregon #visitoregon #multnomah #waterfall #waterfallhike #bridges #pnwlife #pnw #pnwcollective #pacificnorthwest #travelinspiration #travelgram
You can opt to do a short hike up to the top of the falls and look right over it (not for the faint of heart).
Do a Flight Tasting at Eastside Distilling
Distilleries have been popping up all around Portland like tulips in April. The last tasting is usually held at 7PM as they close at 8PM. There are a few options of spirit flights at varying costs, but the starter is only $5, which gets you the top 5 best sellers + 1 more tasting of your choice. A “spirit guide” will enthusiastically tell you about the history and origin of each sip.
Visit Pittock Mansion – Built in 1914, you can tour this French Renaissance-style château or simply drive up for the views. You can learn more about the history here.
Embark on a Wall Art Treasure Hunt – You can locate all the murals by using the Portland Street Art Map.
Enjoy Nature Year Round at Hoyt Arboretum, Japanese Gardens, and International Test Rose Garden – Roses bloom from April – October with the peak bloom in June. The Rose Garden is free.
Stroll the Alberta Arts District
While you’re here, be sure to enjoy a burrito (vegan options available) at El Nutri-Taco, grab coffee at Just Bob’s, and get your vegan fix at Back to Eden.
Visit a Museum (Portland has some strange museums, including The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium and the Puppet Museum – “keeping Portland weird”)
Enjoy Views of Mt. Hood from Counsil Crest or Go for a Hike in Rocky Butte
Relax in Soaking Pools & Cedar Wood Sauna at Common Ground Wellness Cooperative (mixed gender, clothing optional) or Knot Springs (swim suits required)
Unleash Your Inner Arcade Game Nerd at Ground Kontrol (yes, it’s spelled with a “k”)
Visit the Largest Bookstore in the World at Powell’s City of Books – This bookstore occupies one whole city block and houses nearly one million books, both new and used.
Go Boutique Shopping in the Pearl District
Visit the Portland Saturday Market – much to my dismay, I found out that this market is closed from January – February. It’s my favorite market in the entire world because of the focus on local vendors. Some of my favorite t-shirts come from this market with clever sayings such as “tree hugger” and “The Happy Face” with the North Face logo.
This is by no means anywhere close to an exhaustive list of where to eat and what to do in Portland, but it certainly gave us a reason to want to return on a monthly basis!
What are some of your favorites in Portland? Tell me in the comments below!
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