Wander Guide: Portland, Oregon Travel Guide
In honor of my Birthday week, I figured I’d write a post about where I spent my Birthday last year: Portland, Oregon. Portland is one of my favorite cities in the world. I love that they are an environmentally conscious city. I love that they have amazing restaurants, bars, and LOTS of local hard cider and wine options. I love that the people who live there are friendly. I love the small city feel of a large city. And mostly, I love that there is so much beauty all around the city. It is a little bit like the show Portlandia with some crazy hippy people, but that’s ok. If housing wasn’t so damn expensive I’d think about moving there. Maybe one day.
Things To Do
There are SO many things to do in and around the city! We had three days in Portland during our Pacific Northwest vacation last year. So, we tried to do as many things in and around the city as possible. Here are the things we did in and around the city!
In The City
Stopped to get a doughnut at Voodoo Doughnut. It’s an experience and a really good doughnut. There are a lot of creative flavors. I think there’s probably a line 24/7 because it’s one of the most popular stops in the city.
Checked out new and used books at Powell’s Books. They definitely lived up to the hype. One of the coolest, and largest, bookstores I’ve ever seen.
Saw a lot of pretty roses at the International Rose Test Garden. Really fun and free! I loved the whole Washington Park area.
Also in Washington Park, checked out the view of the city from the Pittock Mansion. Perfect spot if you want to take a picture of the Portland skyline.
Walked around downtown Portland and took pictures of all the cool signs. The Portland Saturday Market happened to go be going on while we were there, too!
Spent an afternoon at the Oregon Zoo because they offer $4 admission on the second Tuesday of every month!
Played some arcade games at Ground Kontrol. They serve alcohol and have a lot of vintage arcade games. It was just OK.
Walked around the Alphabet District.
Walked around the Hawthrone District.
Around The City
Explored the Columbia River Gorge area. It’s such a beautiful area and just a short drive outside of Portland. We stopped at the Vista House, took a short hike at Bridal Veil Falls, and, of course, stopped to see Multnomah Falls. The drive itself is wonderful- there are so many waterfalls visible right off the road. I like hiking to them better, though. We happened to go on Labor Day weekend so there was a TON of traffic! I’m not sure if it is usually like that but parking at Multnomah Falls was terrible. It was also pouring rain when we were there so we didn’t explore the whole area of Multnomah Falls, just hung out for some pictures and then headed back. The whole area was definitely a highlight of my time in Oregon.
Drove to see the Timberline Lodge at Mount Hood. The Timberline Lodge is where The Shining was filmed, so it was interesting to see, but I don’t think it was worth the drive out there.
Walked around Cannon Beach. The iconic Haystack Rock from The Goonies movie is a highlight at the beach. It was relaxing and fun to walk around and take pictures for an hour or so. There’s parking in the city near the Haystack Hill State Park and then you can just walk to the beach. Don’t make the mistake we did by first going to Ecola State Park. The parking lot area there is really high up, and I’m not even sure you can get down to the beach from there. You also have to pay to get into Ecola State Park. Cannon Beach was worth the drive out for an afternoon.
Mount Rainier and Mount Saint Helens are both a few hours away from Portland as well! We stopped at both of them on the way into Portland. I’ll have to write a separate post about them! I especially loved Mount Rainier… such a beautiful place!
Where We Ate (& Drank)
Portland Cider House (Hawthrone District) : LOVED this place. So many ciders! Such a cool atmosphere! I really wish we had somewhere like this in Knoxville.
Salt & Straw (Alphabet District) : I was skeptical after seeing so many Yelp reviews praising this place and I thought, how can an ice-cream place be this good? Well, it was amazing. They have so many creative flavors. You can also get an ice-cream flight and try out a bunch of flavors! (And they give samples) Such a cool place.
Rock Bottom Brewery : Everything was good, but nothing special. It’s location is really nice though, right by the Waterfront Park Trail, which was a fun place to take a post-dinner walk.
The Fireside (Alphabet District) : Stopped here for happy hour drinks. AMAZING atmosphere. Really creative, craft made drinks.
Mio Sushi (Alphabet District) : Good sushi, but nothing amazing. Nice outdoor seating, though!
Spin Laundry Lounge : We had to stop and do laundry, so we stopped at Spin Laundry and ate while we waited! Really good paninis (and cider)!
Where To Stay
So, that depends on how much you want to spend. We decided to stay across the bridge in Vancouver, Washington because it was a lot cheaper and it’s just a short drive into the city. Our last night we stayed at the Marriott next to the airport so we’d get to the airport early for our flight.
I really love Portland and can’t wait until I can visit again! I’d love to go back to the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Rainier again as well. There are a lot of other places I need to travel to before I go back, though. I think everyone should take time to spend at least a day in Portland. It’s a unique and wonderful place.