Design Lifestyle Travel

Travel Guide: Portland, Oregon

January 20, 2018

So without a doubt, I have hundreds of blog posts that for some reason or another don’t get finished. However, travel guides are always needed; I use them, I write them, and I refer to others’ guides while I’m on the road to my destination of choice. I originally started writing a guide to Portland specifically for a girls weekend or bachelorette, which was where my own bachelorette was held. The truth about bachelorette parties – they are always so fun but can be tricky to plan, and my sisters did it perfectly (and for a group of 12) for that matter. At the end of the trip, I wrote a travel post focusing on bachelorette parties, as I know how hard they are to plan;  in the end, I never published it, probably because I was distracted by wedding planning, work, and life. Better late than never though!

Image above was taken during day one of my epic bachelorette during a bike tour. {this photo always puts a smile on my face}.

Then, this past weekend, my husband and I spent three days in Portland to celebrate our bdays {both in January} – in lieu of gifts, we choose to travel (even if it is for a quick getaway). We had so much fun and many of the activities really can be done as a couple or with your girlfriends, so either way, this guide should get you motivated to check out this sweet spot in Oregon.

Ready to discover Portland?

If you are anything like me, you want someone just to lay it out simply, making the whole thing less of a guessing game – the type of guide where someone simply says – “here, do exactly this and you will have an amazing time.” So here I am saying it directly to you.

Disclaimer – this list does not nor could it cover it all; if I missed your favorite spots, let me know! I am not an expert on Portland — just a fan who can’t wait to go back.

Accommodation{where we stayed}

The Nines Hotel – 525 SW Morrison, Portland, OR, 97204

I’ve always found booking hotel rooms for bachelorettes is much easier than booking a house; girls can split into the rooms of their choice and payment can be broken up more easily. Plus, you can’t beat the daily maid service, which is necessary when you have been partying with your friends! The Mr. and I also chose to stay here as it’s a nice hotel overall with a great rooftop and two restaurants inside. The hotel itself is in a fantastic location, right near the Pearl District, in downtown, and near lots of eateries and boutiques.

Eateries/Drinks:

Portland is amazing; when it comes to food, they take brunch very seriously and for good reason – there are so many options with inventive and must try dishes. Here are a few of my favorites places.  Be warned to get to places early and to make reservations when you can. This list is in no particular order.

Image was taken at Angel Face, Portland.

  • Tasty and Alder – weekends expect a 2-hour wait, so try to get there on a weekday or super early to put your name on a list. The upside of waiting outside for a table is that you can start your way down their drink menu – I love the bloody mary’s they make.
  • Mediterranean Exploration Company – came here for my bday dinner, and it did not disappoint! Great for sharing, and it is around the corner from 10 Barrel Brewing, if you want to go for drinks after.
  • Shalom Y’all – a sister restaurant to MEC {above} that we went to for lunch since the dinner the night before was so good. We couldn’t have been happier when we left.
  • Clyde Common – Part of the ACE hotel, and you won’t be disappointed by the food. While the bistro lights in the restaurant look great, it was beyond dark in the place and this felt odd to me. The Mr. didn’t mind one bit as he was too busy drooling over the food.
  • Deschutes Brewing – A casual place that is great for a group or any beer lover for that matter.
  • 10 Barrel Brewing – Portland has more microbreweries than anywhere else; this one features a woman brewer and is also run by a woman – gotta love some girl power in a male-dominated industry. Can’t decide what beer to get? Share a tasting with a friend – they are large!
  • Cheryls – not far from Tasty and Alder, this breakfast place is a great second spot to check out. I loved their pumpkin spice latte with almond milk. The waiter told me they were the best, and he was 100% right. In regards to the food, you will start with a beignet or two on the house – basically, everything is great, but you probably won’t leave feeling healthy.
  • Multnomah Whiskey Library – Love whiskey? This speakeasy should be at the top of your list. I came here at the start of my bachelorette with just my sisters, and they had small bites to enjoy alongside their amazing cocktails.
  • Angel Face – I met up with a friend and her husband for a drink – which was amazing – but I also fell hard for the handpainted walls which look like wallpaper.  It’s a beautiful but small spot and great for a date night.
  • Voodoo Doughnuts – I really enjoyed them more at 3 am with my bachelorette ladies than I did when my husband and I revisited for a breakfast.
  • Pok Pok – chicken wings in fish sauce is a must try. There are two locations, and the North West locations take reservations.
  • Departure – rooftop bar at The Nines with an amazing view, but you can also check out their restaurant, located inside.
  • Urban Farmer – I’ve heard great things, but have yet to go myself. I should mention it is also inside The Nines, which makes for an easy walk no matter how hungover or tired you are.
  • Stumptown – we had heard of this coffee, so we stopped in for a cup. However, there are so many wonderful small coffee shops, I simply can’t remember them all. You won’t go long before you come across one you want to check out.

Activities:

Portland is a beautiful place to visit not to mention the history that is to be discovered. Here are a few of my favorite ways to see another side of Portland.

Image was taken at the Japanese Gardens, Portland.

  • Bike Tours – Our first activity was with Pedal Bike Tours. Having experienced bike tours in other cities, it really is one of my favorite ways to explore a new place. They customized our tour since it was a private tour, but they have many options to choose from.
  • River Rafting – Oregon River Experiences – we did the Clackamas River Tour 1/2 day.  This was hands down one of the best activities I have done with my girlfriends. Tips* wear water shoes, a bathing suit, a cover-up, sunscreen, and leave behind anything you would mind loosing overboard.
  • Japanese Gardens – On this last trip, the Mr. and I went to see the Japanese Tea Gardens which was about $12 a ticket and definitely worth it. Check times for free tours – recommend.
  • The International Rose Test Garden – Just steps from the Japanese Tea Gardens, take a leisurely walk through rows and rows of sweet smelling flowers. While we were not there during the season to see them bloom, you could easily see just how pretty the place would be.  We’re yearning to return to see it in bloom.
  • Tom McCall Waterfront – Take a stroll, bike, or run along the waterfront to check out the city from a different viewpoint. Each morning we walked along for miles with coffee in hand, of course.
  • Powell’s City of Books – Spend an hour, a few, or a full day searching through, discovering, or revisiting your love for books in this massive and well-known store which offers both new and used books. Can’t find what you are looking for?  Head to their rare book section.

Image was taken at Powell’s City of Books, Portland.

Shopping:

No sales tax. Need I say more?

Image was taken at Aurora Mills, Portland.

So, there are the recognizable stores you’d expect everywhere – Nordstroms, Madewell, J Crew, Anthropologie, etc., but I ended up going on a home decor shopping trip – checking out as many of the boutiques, antique, and refurbished shops I could find. In the end, I burned some serious calories walking all over while drooling over pretty finds and chatting with the locals.

Image was taken at Spartan Shop, Portland

Image was taken at Hippo Hardware, Portland.

  • Alder & Co.  Hilary Horvath Flowers located inside. – this shop is filled with pottery that makes my head spin it’s so beautiful. Pottery, not your thing? I’m not sure how that could be, but check out the stunning flowers by Hilary that will defiantly not disappoint.
  • WM Goods – A women’s clothing store from local & indie designers, plus gifts & home decor.
  • Crib Design House & Trove Curated Home – Part design shop, part interior design company – mother and daughter run. This was one of our first stops and was what really sent us on an all-day shopping trip focused on home good stores. The owner of Crib Design House, Chacha Sands, was beyond sweet and so helpful; she was just one of the many locals that left us saying how nice everyone was in Portland.
  • Cargo – A bevy of imported goods, everything from the perfect details for a themed party, to great blankets, trinkets, doors, and antiques.
  • Aurora Mills – The staff was beyond helpful informing us of many more shops to visit while in PDX — I just wish I could have visited them all. With a few locations, their shops are filled with vintage and refurbished home goods and unique items.
  • Urbanite – This location is filled with a bevy of handmade goods and vintage finds from local artisans.
  • Spartan Shop – Hello cool factor. Originally from Austin, it was my husband who insisted we visit the store that relocated to PDX. From art to pottery to beautiful lighting, there wasn’t an item I didn’t add to my ongoing wish list.
  • Hippo Hardware – I’ve been on the hunt for some specialty items for quite some time for my home. This place is full of treasures, odd at times, but full of treasures. This was my husband’s favorite stop.
  • School House Electric – I’ve purchased many items from them over the years.  To see them grow from afar was one thing, but it was so fun to check out their brick and mortar store.
  • Rejuvenation – so you may or may not have one where you live, but either way, this location is huge. We also happened to visit on a day that they were having a massive tent sale – you never know when you will come across a great find.

 

 

 

 

As I previously mentioned, I couldn’t list all the wonderful spots in Portland, but that should just go to show you there are more than enough wonderful activities, shops, breweries, and restaurants to visit. Want to add to the list or have questions? Comment below!

I hope you enjoyed this manicured travel guide.

Pin the image below to keep for future use! Also, find me on Pinterest for other travel guides, home decor and inspiration – see you there.

 

 

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