What to eat, where to hike, sites to see, selfies to take, and more of what to eat… you know… the vacation essentials.
I want to start this post off with a disclaimer*.
*I am by-no-means an expert on the city of Portland. This was my first time visiting and I can promise y’all it won’t be my last, because I fell in love with this eclectic “weird” city (and their sales tax free shopping).
With that said… I did quite a bit of research, asked for suggestions from my loyal followers, and from local friends who have lived there since childhood. We had a fantastic girls weekend and I would recommend all of the activities and restaurants below for your next trip to Portland, OR. These places are tried and tested and we managed to fit in all of these activities in 3 1/2 days.
- Brunch at “Screen Door” (get there early to avoid line). This was the overall favorite meal from the entire trip. I’d highly recommend their sweet potato waffle and fried chicken combo as well as their praline bacon.
- Hike to the Witches House in Forest Park. Easy hike through the rainforest and end at an old, abandoned stone house.
- Pick up Voodoo Donuts for road trip snacks for your drive along the Oregon Coast (Highway 101)
- Tillamook Cheese Factory. Portland, Cannon Beach, and the Tillamook Factory kind of make a big triangle so it is best to hit this up on the same day you decide to drive to the coast. Try cheese samples, see how their infamous cheese is made, get an ice cream cone and a grilled cheese to get the full Tillamook experience.
- Take Highway 101 to Cannon Beach.
- Stop at designated view points as you hit the cost
- Take selfies in front of Haystack Rock (Goonies never say die!)
- Play in the tide pools
- Dinner at Pok Pok Thai– or if there is a 3 hour wait… go to sushi bar with Late Night Specials nearby (Yataimura Maru)
- Healthy Breakfast to cleanse from yesterdays donut overload- green juice and acai bowls at Kure
- Portland Saturday Market- Lot’s of great crafts, jewelry, snacks, artwork, etc. Catch live shows from street performers.
- Powell’s Book store – Definitely the most impressive book store I have ever stepped foot in. Worth visiting for sure.
- Shopping – there is NO SALES TAX in Portland. Take full advantage of this in the neighborhood around Powell’s Book Store where you can find all the best stores (Anthropology, Lulu Lemon, etc.)
- Lunch at Grassa– they make fresh, homemade pasta.
- Ride Portland Aerial Tram for a great view of the city. Costs only a couple of dollars, ride the tram up, hang out at the top, and catch another tram down.
- Foot Reflexology Massages at Fei Long Spa. This spa is located in Old Town- Chinatown, and it’s a little bit sketchy but the masseuses and owner were all so nice and accommodating. You pay $30 for an hour long foot reflexology massage which ends up being a full body massage.
- Escape from NY Pizza– huge pizza slices, legit, fresh and cheap.
- Salt & Straw Ice Cream– best ice cream i have ever eaten. Be prepared to wait in a VERY long line, but just know that it is worth it! My favorite flavors were their Cinnamon Snicker doodle (huge snicker doodle chunks) and almond brittle with salted ganache. Don’t be afraid to try one of their more unique flavors like pear and blue cheese. I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
- Off the Waffle breakfast- sweet & savory Leige waffles with fresh OJ
- Drive to Multnomah Falls– Hike to the top for a great view- round trip takes about an hour, moderate hike.
- Visit Portland’s Food Truck Village– i’d recommend going on a day other than Sunday because a lot of the trucks were closed when we visited
- Lunch at Cheryls on 12th– fresh beignets and delicious tuna salad. They are known for their Portuguese fried rice, which is offered on both their breakfast and lunch menu.
- Drive around Nob Hill and dream of living in one of the gorgeous homes.
- Visit Pittock Mansion (Amazing view of Mount Hood) and free to walk around the grounds.
- Burgers at Little Big Burger– Two words: Truffle Fries.
- Get up early to beat the crowd and grab some Blue Star Donuts- Many say these are better than Voodoo, but i’d have to disagree. They are far more gourmet and adventurous but they aren’t your typical donut. When it comes to donuts, less is more. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed them but I don’t think it is fair to compare this place to Voodoo. They are on totally different playing fields. Blue star is is the fine-dining of the donut world.
- Brunch at Pine State Biscuit – southern soul food. YES!
- Keep Portland Weird sign- beware of the sketchy parking attendant. This is just a fun sign to see and take a picture with. If you didn’t get a picture in front of this wall, did you REALLY go to Portland???
- Tour the Japanese Gardens for “Inspiration, serenity, tranquility, and the aestheticism of nature.”
- Cry because vacation is over and you have to go back to reality. (OK, don’t do this)
- ALWAYS PAY FOR PARKING AND KEEP TRACK OF THE TIME
- Get to Blue Star early to make sure you have all of the flavor options. They sell out fast and only make random batches throughout the day.
- The line for Salt & Straw will be long AF but be patient… it is worth the wait
- Don’t poke the sea anenome at the tide pools bc they will die
- Go to Pok Pok right when they open at 11:30 am or you will not be able to go at all because of insane wait times and no reservations unless party of 6+
- Bring your selfie stick- you will be glad you did
- Smile at passers-by. The people here are so nice and sometimes a smile or nice conversation will get you free food. 🙂
- Be careful when driving: lots of 1-way streets, bike lanes, tram lanes, etc.
Thanks for all of your suggestions on Instagram and Facebook, I just love y’all!
What are your favorite things to do, places to eat, shops to see, special tips for a trip to Portland?
Keep eating, Spokane (and Portland)!
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Thank you for this idea: Brunch at “Screen Door” (get there early to avoid line). This was the overall favorite meal from the entire trip. I’d highly recommend their sweet potato waffle and fried chicken combo as well as their praline bacon
We went there to eat just because of this article.
Thanks for sharing this feedback, Steve! We are so happy that you enjoyed Screen Door as much as we did 🙂 Hope you had a wonderful trip!
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