Portland was a blast, friends. An easy going, 3 days relaxing blast. It has been on our list since forever and we finally made it all the way up. Our journey started on Monday with a short stop at Crater Lake and continued on Tuesday, passing by forests and freeways, to Portland. The city welcomed us with the most hot day of the year. Like no air to breath hot. Sun was already going down but we knew – it’s going to be a sleepless night. I cannot really sleep good when it’s too hot. We left our stuff in our really cute Airbnb garden cottage and went exploring the neighborhood. Folks, I can really recommend this place. It has everything you need for few days. It’s clean, with new kitchenette, new bathroom, a nice patio and hammock. It’s located in a really nice neighborhood only 10 mInutes walk to the hip Alberta Street and if you feel overwhelmed by all the food spots, Whole Foods is just around two corners.
So there we were…In Portland, ready to eat! No joke, this city IS all about food. I cannot count all the food recommendation that I got. It’s impossible to decide where or what to eat. Honestly, I felt a little bit overwhelmed. I wanted us to try all the recommendations, but I recognized it’s not easy to have 5 breakfasts, lunch or dinners in one day. Luckily, next morning we met with my friend Jen at Sugar Cube, who also happens to be author of Portland foodie guide – Portland’s 100 best places to stuff your face. It’s a must have book for everyone who wants to experience Portland’s food scene from a locals perspective. Her writing is so fun and the tips great. Also you can follow her, while she’s eating her way through Portland, on her Instagram.
Freed from the pressure to wait in the line for 1h so we can say we had that one special doughnut, we were able to really enjoy Portland. Meant we drove around the neighborhoods, we walked the bridges, discovered downtown, spent one day driving north to Cannon Beach, went to a farmers market, had some good food, smelled the roses, relaxed in the park and watched Pretty Little Liars when the sun went down.
On our first evening we grabbed some salad from the Garden Monsters and strolled the Alberta Street. The vibe of this neighborhood is great. Lots of single family homes, lots of greens and super laid-back. People are definitely not rushing here. You will find here bars, restaurants, local shops and if you are a crafty soul there are plenty workshops going on. As a reward for being so good with our whole30 diet I treated myself with some ice cream from Salt & Straw. Super good and one of the best ice cream I ever had. Amazing combinations.
SE DIVISION STREET
Second day was all about exploring Portland. We started on SE Division Street – an upcoming neighborhood that’s getting a lots of new condo buildings mixed in between family houses. The food scene is thriving there. Restaurant next to restaurant. Pok Pok is located here. We haven’t tried it, but everyone loves Pok Pok, so it shouldn’t disappoint. Also if you love coffee and you are looking for some coffee history than you should check out the original Stumptown Coffee Roasters. It’s were all the coffee hype started.
Next stop was Pearl District and Downtown. Jen told us about Farmers Market going on at the Shemanski Park in Downtown so we headed there for some Rainer Cherries and Blueberries. Going to a Farmers Market in a foreign city has always this local feeling – more then going to any other place.
Short stroll through Downtown and you will find yourself at the Waterfront Park Trail. Green stripe directly next to the river perfect for biking, running, lunching and just walking. You can see most of Portland’s bridges from there. It’s a nice walk to escape the bustle of the Downtown. As we made our way back through the streets, there it was – the line for Voodoo Doughnuts. Yeah, it’s long, but so many people waiting for it – they cannot be wrong.
We skipped it this time. We spend some time walking and browsing the Pearl District which is really pretty, with all the industrial warehouses turned Anthropologie & Co.
Directly across ACE Hotel, Union Way is a a very nice shopping stroll. This clean scandinavian style alley host shops like Steve Alan, Marine Layer and some others.
I unfortunately missed to visit that day Alder & Co and when we came back on Friday, it was closed. I spied through the window and from what I could see I think this would be my favorite. If you are with the car you also maybe want to check out Schoolhouse Electric and Beam & Anchor. Both have amazing home stuff, but are also kind on the pricier side. We had lunch at Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen. The Big Healthy Chopped salad was the winner! And if you like hot chocolate and chocolate in general don’t miss hot chocolate tasting at Cacao.
NW PORTLAND / NOB HILL
I cannot decide between this neighborhood and Alberta which of them is my favorite. Both are super charmingly although Nob Hill feels more preppier. Compared to San Francisco I would tell this is Union Street/Marina. Especially the 23th street is full of restaurants and shops. It had the perfect summer evening vibe. Friends having dinner out side, families going for ice cream, besties shopping the boutiques – everyone was just enjoying the great weather.
We ended our day at the Rose Test Garden and yes, we stopped and smelled the roses. And yes, there is truly something incredibly relaxing about smelling the roses. We should do it more often.
Tip: Grab some food to go and come here in late afternoon, sit at the greek theatre stairs and enjoy a romantic picnic in the middle of all the roses.
Happily exhausted we had some dinner at Bollywood Theatre on the SE Division Street, followed by nothing but relaxing in our garden cottage.
Portland was really good to us. The right amount on city activity and relaxing. This laid-back, easy going city of food should definitely be on your radar. Next day we headed north to Astoria and Cannon Beach – on the trails of the Goonies. But more about that in the next days, folks.