I love weekend getaways. I literally live off that rejuvenated feeling I get after being some place different for a few days. Luckily for me, I live a hop and a skip away from cities and towns ripe with endless exploration opportunities.
We spent a weekend in Portland last month, so I’m putting together this rough guide to having a fun weekend in Portland.
Portland is one of a few cities that I’ve always wanted to live in. Except I’ve learned this lesson that moving to a city you love is a sure-fire way to fall out of love with that city. Instead, spending a few days or weeks here and there, is what keeps the love affair going. It’s sort of like a fling that way.
I still think going by train is the best way to get to Portland from Vancouver if you have time. It’s an eight hour scenic and relaxing ride, but that’s me, I’ll take train travel over any other form of transportation.
We went by car this last time, which is a breezy five to seven-hour drive depending on traffic and wait at the border. Going by car has its advantages too, like breaking up the drive with a pit stop in Seattle for coffee. Singing off key for hours to your favourite songs is something you can’t do on the train or plane – so that’s a point for going by car.
Portland is amazing for leisurely getaways; it’s compact and walkable, has incredible food (and beer!), beautiful parks, trails and outdoor adventures, glorious tax-free shopping and some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.
|Ava Gene's | 3377 SE Division St.||http://avagenes.com/||Casual rustic Italian with lots of veggie options|
|Natural Selection | 3033 NE Alberta St.||www.naturalselectionpdx.com/||Wonderful unpretentious vegan and vegetarian fare|
|Mother's | 212 SW Stark St.||http://www.mothersbistro.com/||Awesome breakfast and brunch spot; delicious comfort foods, charming decor. Gets quite busy|
|Caffe Mingo | 807 NW 21st Ave.||http://caffemingonw.com/||Cosy Italian homemade feel with tasty fresh ingredients.|
|The Bye and Bye | 1011 NE Alberta St.||http://www.thebyeandbye.com/||A pub with vegan food - late night spot|
|Nel Centro | 1408 SW Sixth Ave.||http://www.nelcentro.com/||Convenient downtown location, great simple Italian!|
|Clyde Common | 1014 SW Stark St.||http://www.clydecommon.com/||Great place for drinks and catching up|
|Bollywood Theater | 2039 NE Alberta St.||http://www.bollywoodtheaterpdx.com||Unique with tasty (fusion) Indian cuisine. Lots of varieties for sharing|
After a few visits, I still go armed with a new itinerary – mostly recommendations from Portlanders and other Portland lovers – I don’t think I could ever run out of things to do.
So this is by no means a definitive guide since I feel like there’s still much to discover. This is just a little list of places I’ve traipsed and loved, and a few other recommendations I’m yet to try.
For instance, I stay at the Heathman because I’m hooked on the charming friendly service and also because there are balloons and chocolate in my room when I check in. I’d love to find a cool place on Airbnb, a colourful Victorian in Nob Hill close to Forest Park perhaps?
|The Heathman Hotel | 1001 SW Broadway||Charming and traditional with impeccable service
|The Nines | 525 SW Morrison St.||http://www.thenines.com/|
|Ace Hotel Portland | 1022 SW Stark St.||Great location, trendy and fun!
|Jupiter Hotel | 800 E. Burnside St.||Another fun boutique hotel, across the Burnside Bridge
|The Society Hotel | 203 NW 3rd Ave.||Delightful boutique hotel
|Airbnb | online||Rent a unique space in a cool neighbourhood and feel like a local
|The Benson Hotel | 309 SW Broadway||https://www.coasthotels.com/hotels/oregon/portland/the-benson-hotel/|
|The RiverPlace Hotel | 1510 SW Harbor Way||Riverfront hotel with excellent service!
Of course, I want to hike Forest Park and catch the views of downtown from Pittock Mansion. Next time, I’ll take my time to explore the Columbia River Gorge and see Multnomah Falls again, with a fully charged camera this time. I also want to spend hours on the historic Columbia River Highway stopping on all the picturesque spots I’ve read about.
On my first visit, we walked the Waterfront Park, went over bridges, meandered through pretty tree-lined streets by the river and found a little bridge overlooking Union Station, then somehow wandered into the Pearl District – I think everyone should do this on their first visit to Portland.
I want to come back one weekend this summer with my friend N just for the food cart pods.
If I do get that Airbnb, I’d want to try the PSU Farmers’ Market for produce and baked goods – I’ve heard many wonderful things about that market. See, there’s still so much to be done…
Coffee & Co.
|Good Coffee | 150 SE 12th Ave. & 4725 SE Division St.||http://www.goodcoffeepdx.com/||It's pretty much what the name says.|
|Salt & Straw | 838 NW 23rd Ave. & 2 other locations||http://saltandstraw.com/||Creative and unique flavours... with a few wonderful coconut-based (vegan) flavours!|
|Heart Coffee Roasters | 2211 E Burnside St. & 537 SW 12th Ave.||http://www.heartroasters.com/||Lovely cafe with well-crafted drinks... read my review|
|Moonstruck Chocolate | 526 NW 23rd Ave & other locations||http://www.moonstruckchocolate.com/||Try the dark chocolate chili bar and the Mayan hot chocolate!|
|Stumptown Coffee | 1026 SW Stark St & other locations||https://www.stumptowncoffee.com/||My go-to spot for great coffee and ambiance... read my review here|
|Blue Star Donuts | 1237 SW Washington St. & other locations||http://www.bluestardonuts.com/||Seriously good made-from-scratch doughnuts!|
|Smith Teamaker | 1626 NW Thurman St.||http://www.smithtea.com/||Contemporary tea shop on a quiet tree-lined street|
|Woodblock Chocolate | 1236 SE Oak St.||http://woodblock.myshopify.com/||Bean-to-bar with a small storefront to watch chocolate being made!|
|Powell's Books | 1005 W Burnside St|
Largest independent bookstore in the world, covers a city block!
|The Pearl District|
Cool area to wander, eat, shop, discover
|Alder & Co | 616 SW 12th Ave
I could spend hours here! Everything here looks beautiful, unique and carefully sourced.
|Lan Su Chinese Garden | 239 NW Everett St, |
Serenity in the heart of the city!
|Walk the Burnside Bridge |
For views of the city's skyline, the Willamette River and the iconic Portland sign, and take pictures!
|Union Way | 1022 SW 10th Ave
An alleyway connecting two busy downtown streets filled with chic cool stores
|Multnomah Falls | 50000 E Historic Columbia River Hwy, Bridal Veil|
Breathtaking waterfalls! In the Columbia River Gorge, a short drive from Portland
|Portland Saturday Market | 2 SW Naito Parkway|
Historic local market, nice way to while away a Saturday afternoon!
|NW 23rd Avenue
Vibrant neighbourhood with quaint Victorian and Craftsman style buildings with trendy shops, restaurants and cafés!
|Portland Art Museum | 1219 SW Park Ave|
Another great way to spend an afternoon in Portland
|Portland Aerial Tram | 698 SW Gibbs St.|
Do it for the views! Don't forget your camera!
|Canoe | 1233 SW 10th Ave
Lovely airy shop with a selection of useful and beautifully designed household items
|Portland Japanese Garden | 611 SW Kingston Ave|
Check out the International Rose Test Garden while you're in that part of Washington Park
|The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall | 1037 SW Broadway|
Catch a show at this beautiful historic theatre!
|School House Electric | 2181 NW Nicolai St.
I want to live in this gorgeous and unique showroom!
|Forest Park | Portland, OR 97210|
Beautiful urban park!
|Beer Tour |
Discover Portland’s unique beer culture on these fun brewery tours!
|Tanner Goods | 1308 W Burnside St
Locally handmade durable leather goods from a beloved Portland company.