When I found out my brother & his fiancé were planning an Oregon wedding, I immediately knew I wanted to spend a couple days in Portland. Despite living on the West Coast for eight years, I had never managed to make it to this hip city I had heard so much about. I packed a lot in during my 48 hour stay and am excited to share my little guide with you today!
Portland is a cool, relaxed city that felt like a love child of Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Seattle, Washington to me. The people were friendly and super down to earth and let me tell you, this city has no shortage of good food. I came with a long list of spots I wanted to hit up and they did not disappoint. I gained a few pounds during my two day stay, no doubt and prioritized food and drink over activities. Read on for all the favorite spots I visited!
Where to eat & Drink
- Heart Roasters: This seemed to be the spot to go to and the coffee was so good I almost bought a bag to come home with me!
- Kure Juice Bar: Secure some sustenance with one of their smoothies or acai bowls.
- Proud Mary Coffee: My hotel (see below) served this in the lobby and it was so good. They recently opened a cafe in East Portland as well that looks worthwhile. It’s on my list for whenever I return to PDX.
- Lardo: This spot was a highlight. It’s a casual sandwich shop that totally hits the spot after a long morning of travel. I got their Banh Mi meatball sandwich and a local craft beer. Both were utterly yummy.
- Olympia Provisions: This spot grew out of the meat purveyors of the same name and now they have a couple of restaurants. It was a place where I sat down and wanted one of everything on the menu! I opted for a great BLT.
- Blue Star Donuts: Oh man…these donuts!! So good, you guys. I had to get them both days…they are that good. There are a couple locations but I liked the one in The Pearl the best. Do not miss the Chocolate Bergamot Buttermilk donut and Raspberry Rosemary donut. (At the advice of several locals I opted for Blue Star over VooDoo but the latter also get quite a bit of buzz.)
- Tusk: Do not miss this spot! It came highly recommended and was well worth it. The innovative menu is full of delicious share plates and loads of thoughtfully prepared veggie dishes that I loved in particular. Make a reservation. I also heard their brunch is great.
- Doug Fir: This intimate, retro and loung-y bar also boasts a small concert venue in the basement but I came for the cocktails. It has a super cool vibe and despite being located in a hotel, it was bustling with locals during my visit.
- Tea Bar: This Instagram worthy spot is the perfect pit stop for a sweet treat. I got the vanilla rose boba tea and a rose croissant that had me licking my fingers.
- Guero: Love Mexican food like I do? Don’t miss this spot’s enormous tortas and delicious guacamole.
- Salt & Straw: You can’t come to Portland without having Salt & Straw ice cream. The successful creamery started in PDX and is home to so many inventive and delicious flavors that you’ll have a hard time choosing. The good news? They are all about letting you sample as many flavors as you’d like. Prepare to wait in line and don’t miss the homemade waffle cones. (I loved the location on NW 23rd and the neighborhood surrounding is beautiful, too. These photos were shot there.)
What to Do
- Pearl District: This is arguably the most famous neighborhood of Portland and boasts the world renowned Powell’s Books (I couldn’t believe how expansive this place was!). It also has some other cute shops not to be missed including MadeHerePDX, Alchemy Jeweler, Porch Light (I bought several beautiful little gold stacking rings here), Oblation Paper + Press, Cielo Home, adler + co and ecru stationer.
- International Rose Test Garden: This was a highlight of my trip. The expansive gardens are home to thousands of rose bushes and hundreds of varietals and on a pretty day this is the spot to be. Better yet? Admission is free!
- Japanese Garden: Right next door to the rose test garden this Japanese garden is a tucked away zen spot full of serenity. It occupies 12 acres and is set amidst rolling hills. They offer daily tours if that’s of interest.
Where to Stay
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Also, the folks at Volvo were kind enough to loan me a 2018 Volvo s90 t6 car for my time in Portland and for the 90 minute trip down to Corvallis for my brother’s wedding weekend and I had the best time driving this car. It tells you the speed limit in the dash, has Spotify built-in so you can hook up to your favorite playlists pronto and is such a smooth ride. I don’t drive often so I am often a nervous driver but this car made me feel so safe and in control. I had such a good time driving it and now know why people always have the best things to say about Volvos!
Have you been to Portland, Oregon? If so, what was your highlight?