Travelogue | Weekend in Portland

Washington Park Stairs

Downtown Portland | the whinery

Spring Magnolia - Portland


Downtown Portland Signs

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.

The Willamette River

Powell's Books

Washington Park

Smith Tea

Dinner time at Caffe Mingo

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. rustic Italian with lots of veggie options
Natural Selection | 3033 NE Alberta St. unpretentious vegan and vegetarian fare
Mother's | 212 SW Stark St. breakfast and brunch spot; delicious comfort foods, charming decor. Gets quite busy
Caffe Mingo | 807 NW 21st Ave. Italian homemade feel with tasty fresh ingredients.
The Bye and Bye | 1011 NE Alberta St. pub with vegan food - late night spot
Nel Centro | 1408 SW Sixth Ave. downtown location, great simple Italian!
Clyde Common | 1014 SW Stark St. place for drinks and catching up
Bollywood Theater | 2039 NE Alberta St. http://www.bollywoodtheaterpdx.comUnique with tasty (fusion) Indian cuisine. Lots of varieties for sharing

Spring in Portland


Portland Heathman Hotel

Portland Union Station

Bouquet at Heathman

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.
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
The RiverPlace Hotel | 1510 SW Harbor WayRiverfront hotel with excellent service!



Coffee Break


Northwest 23rd Avenue

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.'s pretty much what the name says.
Salt & Straw | 838 NW 23rd Ave. & 2 other locations and unique flavours... with a few wonderful coconut-based (vegan) flavours!
Heart Coffee Roasters | 2211 E Burnside St. & 537 SW 12th Ave. cafe with well-crafted drinks... read my review
Moonstruck Chocolate | 526 NW 23rd Ave & other locations the dark chocolate chili bar and the Mayan hot chocolate!
Stumptown Coffee | 1026 SW Stark St & other locations go-to spot for great coffee and ambiance... read my review here
Blue Star Donuts | 1237 SW Washington St. & other locations good made-from-scratch doughnuts!
Smith Teamaker | 1626 NW Thurman St. tea shop on a quiet tree-lined street
Woodblock Chocolate | 1236 SE Oak St. with a small storefront to watch chocolate being made!

Salt and Straw


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.



Portland at Night

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