We spent three wonderful days in the Rose City and to be honest, we can’t wait to go back. I am all about enjoying whatever city we are in and finding it’s best qualities, but with Portland I really didn’t have to try. We flew into Portland late and it was a dark Uber ride to our Airbnb. But when we stepped out for our 30 minute walk to brunch, we instantly fell in love.
After brunch, we set to wandering the streets in search of the ever talked about Voodoo Doughnut. The line was long, but we were already there and decided to wait. It was worth it for the decor and experience alone. I’ve had better donuts (gasp) but it’s definitely a place to check out if and when you’re in Portland. Tip: this place is CASH ONLY!
One of my favorite things to do on any vacation is to wander around the streets with no real destination. We wandered into some amazing local outdoor stores, Powell’s Books, a local leather goods retailer and then stumbled upon the Ace Hotel and Stumptown Coffee. We ordered cold brews and sat in the eclectic hotel lobby so Mark could check the latest on the NHL free agency.
The Ace Hotel entrance
You can’t visit Portland and not check out a local brewery (or ten) so our next stop was Deschutes Brewery.
On a recommendation from a friend turned local, we headed to the Multnomah Whiskey Library where she had promised “Mark [would] be in heaven!” She was absolutely right. With over 1000 varieties of whiskey to choose from, expert staff and a ton of other spirits for us non-whiskey drinkers, this was a highlight of our trip. For Mark the whiskey, for me, watching the bartenders slide along the “Beauty + The Beast” ladder. Our bartender also told us a couple other local “must-do’s” and we enjoyed them all! Tip: reservations are for members only so if you want to get in, I’d suggest going when they open as most reservations are for later in the evening.
Next we headed to a happy hour that came highly recommended from the folks at our Airbnb and once again, we were thrilled with the recommendation. Lúc Lác Vietnamese Kitchen gets INSANELY busy at happy hour and I for one loved their house rules. I usually don’t think it’s worth waiting in line, but this place is an exception. Great happy hour menu, crazy low prices and the service was 10/10.
For late night eats we headed to the food truck park in the heart of downtown and they had all of the greasy deliciousness your little heart could desire. The Uber’s and Lyft’s hang out around here so it is incredibly easy to order one once you’ve had your fill.
The next morning we stopped at The Grilled Cheese Grill on our way to Pioneer Square for our city tour. You can’t start a day in Portland without coffee, so on recommendation from our bartender at the Whiskey Library, we went to Heart Roasters — Mark claims it was the best espresso he’s ever had.
The Big Pink Trolley Tour was perfect as it showed us the highlights of the city and took us on an extensive tour of Washington Park. It was hop-on/hop-ff so we were able to stop at whatever sights caught our eye. One area that stood out to us was the Rose Garden. If we had more time, we would have brought a picnic lunch to enjoy in the garden. As it was, we headed to EastBurn where we sat on swings and enjoyed lunch on their back patio.
Our next coffee of the day was courtesy of SeeSee Motor Coffee Co. a coffee shop combined with a motorcycle company. Cool vibe + great coffee. We took our coffee to go and strolled down to the Willamette River and crossed over at Burnside Bridge — one of Portland’s 12 bridges. This gave us a perfect view of the ‘Old Town’ sign.
We ended our day with dinner at Pine Street Market. Being that it’s a food hall, we had several delicious options, but I of course, went for the ramen from Marukin. The BEST ramen noodles I have ever had, hands down.
All in all, we can’t wait to return to PDX! The food, the coffee, the people and the city — all worth the visit.