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September 01, 2019 1 Comment
Portland is weird, but not that weird. Sure we have unusual donut and ice cream shops, a risqué bike ride, a city block of books, and an obsession with urban goats (urban chickens are so 2010), but you can read about those things on dozens of other blogs. Instead, we're sharing our favorite things to do in our hometown; you know, the things we take our friends and family to do when they visit Portland. Maybe you'll find some things to put on your bucket list next time you're in town or showing friends around. Let's go!
You can't walk five minutes through any neighborhood in Portland without running into a coffee shop, but we know some hidden gems that are worth the extra effort. Hunt down Deadstock Coffee in Old Town (where sneakers and java collide) and Courier Coffee Roasters in the West End (get the salted chocolate chip cookie too).
When we travel we like to take in a new city day and night. That's why where we sleep is as important as how we spend our day. There are a lot of wonderful Portland-centric boutique hotels to choose from, but we have a couple favorites. The Jupiter Hotel, and their sister hotel across the street Jupiter NEXT, on East Burnside are our hotel spirit animals because they infuse design with travel (right up our alley!). Although they're iconic Portland hipster in mood, their unique and sophisticated features (including some pretty classy bed throws) create an experience rather than just a stay. Across the river, The Hoxton blends Northwest modernism with trendy but timeless touches in a historic, 20th-century building. Located at the entrance to Old Town Chinatown and walking distance to the heart of the city, the public spaces and eats at the Hoxton are worth the visit alone. Also, don't forget to peruse the "library" just across the lobby from the front desk. It's stacked with goods from local makers and designers, including one of our throws, exclusive to The Hoxton and inspired by Portland. If the Hoxton isn't accessible to you and you're loving their throw, pick up a Portland Throw from us!
If hotels aren't your jam, we're big fans of taking in a city from the real homes of the people who live there. Take a peek at St. John's Retreat and the Laurelhurst Guest House, both in charming Portland neighborhoods. If you're willing to travel a bit out of town, the Forest Suite in Camas, Washington and the Red A Frame in Hood River, Oregon are well worth the drive and in communities with lots to do. Travel tip, book early because all of these beauties are well loved and in high demand. If you've never tried Airbnb, use this link for $55 off your first trip.
Sure, we have a famous forested park less than 10 minutes from Downtown Portland, but who needs 70 miles of walking trails? Won't eight do? Just a 15 minute drive from the center of town, Tryon Creek State Natural Area will help you get your steps in while exploring this 650 acre natural wonderland by foot, bike or horse. With 300 plant species (including the park’s iconic Pacific Trilliums), 50 species of birds, small animals and creek fish, Tryon is one of our favorite easy-to-get-to day adventures. Need something even smaller? Try Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden (which just happens to be close to the neighborhood we talk about below; Sellwood).
Portland has become one of the best food cities in the country. With that said, we could write a blog post every day for a year about the Rose City's food and drink scene, but instead we've narrowed it down to a few of our faves. We've been eating at mother-daughter owned Jade Bistro in historic Sellwood since the day it opened in 2008. Their handmade French-Vietnamese cuisine will exceed your expectations. Everything on the menu is perfection. Make sure you get there before or after the lunch rush to avoid a line, and don't forget dessert (we recommend the macarons and sesame balls). If you choose to meander down the street, stop by Tilde for some artisan shopping, Tea Chai Te (or the "red caboose" as we call it) for a hot drink, or The Portland Bottle Shop for happy hour and small bites.
EAT & PADDLE
Portland is about as far away from a tropical paradise as you can get. Or is it?! When we're craving island vibes, we head just a bit north to a diamond in the rough not even most Portlanders know exist. The Island Cafe sits on a quiet part of the Columbia River (the river that divides Oregon and Washington) amongst yachts and houseboats. You can enjoy burger faire and even an island cocktail while watching kayakers glide by. And if you're inspired to join them, you can! After lunch, head next door to Alder Creek Kayak and spend a couple of hours cruising down the river at your own pace. If the day is clear, you'll get one amazing view of Mt. Hood.
If getting the absolute best view of Bridgetown is on your bucket list, show up early to the Portland City Grill bar and grab a window seat, or make reservations in the restaurant and request a window table. On a clear night you can see the entire city, in addition to Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. Winning! If you want a view from the other direction, head up to the Roof Deck at Revolution Hall on the east side of town. It's in the renovated Washington High School that also houses a music venue and several other places to snack and imbibe.
Although the city who holds the record for the most breweries is up for debate (we see you, Chicago), Portland has a lot. And many of them make really, really good beer. We recommend heading to Base Camp Brewing Company for a S’more Stout served with a toasted marshmallow — so very Pacific Northwest. And since you’re already on the east side of town, grab a bike/scooter/Lyft over to Baerlic Brewing Company and see why they’ve been racking up awards for their tasty brews. You really can't go wrong with Portland (and Oregon, for that matter) beer options.
We could go on and on about Portland, so if you have any questions about visiting, just drop us a note. There really is something for everyone. Whether you live here already or planning to visit, we hope our tips have helped you add a few things to your to-do list.
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