My favorite thing about being on tour is getting to travel (obviously) – but I also love that get we ample time in each city. We were in Portland for about 2 months and it’s easily been my favorite stop so far on this tour! Before we even got to #PDX, I rounded up a crazy long + intensive spreadsheet of what to do in the city. I mean intensive. I got the scoop from Pinterest, travel + food bloggers, Yelp’s best reviewed, and so on. I tried to hit as many as possible (and I came pretty dang close). Here are some of my favorite places in Portland, Oregon.
details on my suitcase here
Stumptown Coffee Roasters $ – The infamous Stumptown adjacent to the Ace Hotel! As it was extremely close to our apartment and has crazy good coffee, I loved grabbing it in the morning to kick start my day. There’s not much room to sit inside, so be prepared to grab + go – unless you want to sit in the Ace Hotel Lobby as some do.
Heart Coffee $ – My go to spot if I wanted to get some work done. It’s easily one of the prettier coffee shops in Portland and good vibes all around. The staff is friendly and there’s usually seats available (a rarity in PDX).
Barista $ – Barista is a smaller chain throughout the city – and it’s so dang good. They also serve vegan drinks which makes them unique in the Portland coffee scene. I love the Yaletown location as it’s got a really cute patio to sit + sip on.
Tea Bar $ – Definitely one of the most Instagram-friendly spots in the city. With insanely tasty flavors like lavender, vanilla rose, and cocoa cinnamon – they have something for every kind of tastebud. Not to mention they serve hot tea, matcha, boba tea, fro-yo and elixirs (like blue majik) for the wellness junkies – a huge market in Portland!
photo courtesy of Holly Seeber
Whiskey Library $$ – A must for the whiskey enthusiasts. Unfortunately, we didn’t make it into Whiskey Library before we left but it was on the top of my list! The space is stunning + cozy as it’s a actual whiskey library which serves over 1,500 whiskeys.
Teardrop $$ – A chic cocktail lounge in the Pearl District where I celebrated my 21st! They have an extensive cocktail list for everyone from the easiest to please to the most sophisticated sipper. The joint is smaller and definitely has a more intimate vibe which makes it a great spot for date night. Happy Hour is M-F/4-7pm.
Jackrabbit $$$- One of our favorite + exxtraaaaa meals in Portland. We ordered practically everything off the menu from the pig’s head to the grilled cheese – and everything was incredible. It was truly one of those dining experiences you just don’t forget for all the best reasons.
Mother’s Bistro $$- We hit Mother’s 3+ times and I feel no shame. They serve breakfast until 2:30 which already made them a winner in my book. My boyfriend + I agreed it was one of the best brunches we’ve had in our lives. We always ordered the french press coffee (I’m telling you, Portlanders take their coffee v seriously) and my go-to was the Mike’s Special Scramble with extra garlic.
Oven & Shaker $$- We overlooked this popular pizza joint from our window which was dangerous to say the least. They were always busy with people sitting indoors + out (the patio is packed during the summer). The Maple Pig Pizza is out of this world, and their kale salad is huge + delish if you’re wanting something lighter.
Pok Pok $$- One of PDX’s most popular restaurants, Pok Pok is a low-key (really low-key) spot for out-of-this-world thai food. The Fish Wings are the most popular item on the menu, loved by locals + tourists alike. Pok Pok isn’t downtown, so if you’re visiting without a car, you’ll have to Uber this one.
Tasty n’ Alder $$$- Tasty n’ Alder was recommended by every foodie in Portland. Known for their small plates and killer brunch, it’s easy to see why. We stopped in one late Sunday night and ordered the hush puppies (fav), goat cheese dumplings, steak tartare, cheese board, and fingerling potatoes. Because who needs veggies anyways?
Lardo $$- I really loved Lardo for lunch as it’s casual sandwich shop in the middle of everything. Their Pork Meatball Banh Mi + parmesan fries (probably the best fries I’ve had in years) hits the spot, for real.
Departure $$$$- We had a really fun dinner at Departure for one of our friend’s birthdays as it’s definitely a good place for celebrations. Tt’s one of the swankier restaurants in Portland with the best view over the city and elevated Asian cuisine. Call ahead for a resy.
Bamboo Sushi $$- Bamboo Sushi is a pretty amazing sushi spot in downtown PDX. The fish is extremely fresh and the interior is really cute. Unfortunately, we didn’t try Bamboo until the end of our stay, or else we would have been back a few more times.
Kachka $$- We didn’t hit Kachka during our time in Portland, but I saw a lot of food blogs rave about this Russian dumpling restaurant for it’s food, atmosphere, and vodka.
Tusk $$- Another IG-worthy spot is Tusk. Known for their feminine + modern interior and gorgeous plates, it’s no surprise this place has taken the PDX food scene by storm.
photo courtesy of Tusk
Maurice $$- The perfect place for an afternoon pick-me-up. With exceptional attention to detail, Maurice is known for their perfect pastries and dainty decor.
Blue Star Donuts $$ – We much preferred Blue Star to Voodoo. The donuts are heavier and you can tell that they’re made with better and clean ingredients. The flavors are more refined like Passion Fruit Cocoa Nib, Blueberry Bourbon Basil, and Crème Brûlée with a vial Cointreau.
Salt & Straw $$ – S&S is a Portland hotspot for ice cream. The whole place smells like heaven and ice cream is goooood. It’s a perfect place to stop for a treat yo’self moment.
Voodoo Donuts $ – What’s to say about Voodoo that hasn’t already been said? As it’s the main tourist hub of Portland, the line is usually 50+ people deep. I’ve walked by and seen people lined up around the corner, but when I went I just walked right in. It all depends on day + time you go. Go late (they’re open 24 hours) or on a weekday between 1-4pm.
Wiz Bang Bar $$- Inside of Pine Street Market, I loved the ice cream at Wiz Bang Bar. WBB is a soft serve dessert bar owned by Salt & Straw. I visited the spot during the weekend of the eclipse when they were serving a special treat of turmeric soft serve filled with marshmallow fluff, golden yellow coconut, all in a black charcoal waffle cone rimmed with edible gold, and topped with a black sesame shell + pop rocks. It was out of this world, getit?
Hi-Lo Hotel – We had a little stay-cation at the Hi-Lo when we were in Portland and loved it. The interior is stunning and they really pay attention to detail. Read my post about the Hi-Lo Hotel HERE.
Knot Springs – Knot Springs was my haven in Portland. I don’t even know where to begin with this place, I literally went there every day. Knot Springs is a new wellness club that offers a state of the art gym, fitness + yoga classes, sauna + steam room, and springs. They also offer massages and facials! The Hot Springs inspired pools were my favorite part. I would get a great sweat sesh’ in, clean off in their exfoliation shower, grab their freshly brewed team, and embark in the blissful experience of using their spa area. The springs also have a beautiful view over the city, I would love to sit outside after a hot soak with a cup of their tea and watch the sunset. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a little R&R!
photo courtesy of Knot Springs
Powell’s Books – A must see in Portland! It’s the largest independent new + used bookstore in the world. Even if you’re not a huge reader, it’s a cool place to see. Grab a map when you get in to navigate the many tall aisles and aisles of books!
Rose Garden – At it’s peak in the summer, the Rose Garden is a beautiful and unique thing to do in a city. You also get a great view of PDX from up there.
Pine Street Market – Pine Street Market is a popular food hall in Portland, (where previously stated Wiz Bang Bar is.) They also have burgers, ramen, BBQ, Kure – my favorite healthy chain for smoothies + bowls in the city, and more! PSM also has history as it was a Carriage & Baggage Building originally used as a livery and horse-drawn carriage storage facility in 1886-early 9000’s.
Food Cart Pods – The food carts we’re poppppinnn’ in Portland! There’s multiple little clusters/pods around the city that have everything from thai, indian, comfort food, sandwiches, etc. They literally have everything + the food is GOOD! It seemed popular for the people working in the areas as they typically close around 4pm.
Portland is known for their unique stores and love for all things local. There’s a major scene for boutiques here, be sure to stop in at a few.
Wildfang – An electric feminist shop that carries clothing and accessories like pins and paper goods. Think Urban Outfitters but way cooler. Grand Ave.
Union Way – A little covered strip that hosts well-known Steven Alan to local Portland brands like Quin Candy and Spruce Apothecary. W. Burnside St.
Woonwinkel – An eclectic + vibrant gift and trinket shop. The window display is always perfect. Washington St.
Frances May – A popular boutique that carries brands such as Acne Studios and A.P.C. Washington St.
Pistils Nursery – A shop for the green thumb. They carry plants, terrariums, succulents, etc. North Mississippi Avenue
Schoolhouse Electric – Vintage styled home goods + furniture. Nicolai St.
What’s great about Portland is that it’s so close to crazy beautiful nature! Oregon is the home to many hikes, waterfalls, wineries, and even hot springs. The list above has the day trips you can take from Portland, with how long each destination is from downtown PDX: (hour, minutes)