Portland is weird and proud of it! Because this city is so quirky, there is always something to do. Whether that is checking out the Saturday Market, taking a hike in the middle of the city, or catching a flick at Kennedy School, there is never a dull moment.
Although I would recommend visiting Portland for at least one week, I know for many this is not always possible. So, I present a Weekend Guide to Portland
Day ONE: Downtown Portland: Pearl District
First things first, breakfast! Or Brunch if you are a late riser. Prasad, located in the Pearl District, this is the perfect place for anyone who wants a good breakfast. Everything is fresh and local. Did I mention, their smoothies are pretty good and it is a vegan restaurant. Major Plus! This trendy spot is perfect to get your first taste of Portland.
Next stop, Powell’s Books. Right around the corner from Prasad you will find the biggest bookstore in the world. Say what?! It is a whole city block, selling both new and used books along with Powell themed knick-knacks. They have everything from new best sellers to a rare book room. Now let me warn you, your first visit you might get lost, as it is a multi-level building with countless stair and hallways. Also, did I mention it’s a whole CITY BLOCK! For any Book lover it is a much see.
Now, lunch! I know you might think that it is too soon for lunch, but trust me, if you went to Powell’s, you most likely spent two hours walking around and didn’t even know it.
Although you might appear to be busy at the corner of SW 10th Ave and SW Adler, trust me there are so many places to choose from, you really don’t need to wait in line. Here, you will find a whole city block dedicated to food carts. Thai, Mexican, Italian, America you name it, you will be able to find it here. Also, these aren’t the only food carts in the city. There are big and little pods throughout the city filled with stationary carts. I would check out foodcartsportland.com , as it will give you all the registered food carts in the area you are visiting.
Next up, the Portland Saturday Market. This is one of the biggest arts and crafts markets in the country. WHOA! Located within Tom McCall Waterfront Park, the Saturday Market is an open-air market place hosting local vendors every Saturday and Sunday between the months of March and December. This market caters to all visitor’s needs, everything from landscape paintings, upcycle flatware earrings, to quick-switch fire started and everything in between. Also, another place to find some awesome food. The market also host local brews and music along the scenic Willamette River, that runs through the city of Portland.
We all need a little more culture in our life. That is why, the Portland Art Museum (PAM) is the next on the list. With only a $20 entry fee, you can be transported back in time with the home exhibits featuring, Native American art, modern/contemporary, European, graphic art and more. They also have outstanding rotating exhibits, giving you a glimpse into a world that you may not know. While there, I experienced The Enclave by Richard Mosse. It was eye opening to say the least.
After many hours walking around the Saturday Market and PAM I am sure you are famished. Time for some good grub and a few drinks. Am I right?!
Deschutes, is an Oregon based brewing company. Although they have a few places to check out throughout the state, Deschutes Brewery Public House in Portland is pretty awesome. You walk in and the atmosphere is awesome and the food and boos are too bad, either. They offer of 20 different beers on tap, while feature all their seasonal brews. Because this is an instate brewery, everything is local, in true Portland fashion. They offer great pears and regularly change their food menu to better pear with each seasons brews.
Now, don’t part too hard because you have an outdoor day a head of you!
DAY TWO: The Beautiful Outdoors
As I am sure you know, Portlanders are known for their love for coffee. So while you are out there for a visit, why not jump on the bandwagon? Check out Stumptown. Not only will you get some pep in your step, but also you will love the coffee. Personally, I am not a fan of coffee, but I have to admit I really did enjoy their cold brews. While you are there you can pick up a yogurt and croissant.
Belly is full and you are hopped up from all the caffeine. Why not do a hike? Head on over to Portland’s Northwest neighborhood, where you can start your afternoon hike. Now, I always recommend bringing food when hiking, especially if you are not a regular hiker. It is always good to have plenty of water and some food on hand.
Here, you will be entering Maclaey Park. This park is filled with hikers and their dogs, year round. So, be ready for a crowd. The Lower Maclaey hiking trail features a wooded forest, and old abandon home said to be haunted, a river and little critters. The trail is moderate, with some inclines and it is about 5 miles round trip. It will lead you to Pittock Mansion, which gives you a great glimpse into the history of Portland, as well as some amazing views of Portland city proper. Not to mention, on a clear day you can see Mount St. Helen. Pittock grounds are open to the public and is a great place to have a picnic midway through your hike.
After all that hiking, you probably deserve a reward. You’re in luck because right on 23rd street is where you find Salt and Straw, aka the perfect reward. Depending on the time of day, you might need to stand in line that is out the door and around the corner. Trust me, it’s worth it.
This place caters to dairy lovers and dairy free folks. Which is just an added bonus to the sea salt, caramel ice cream. It makes you think that because its vegan its not as bad for you (no matter what it still not that good for you). Salt and Straw has their house favorites that are available year round such as my fav, Gooey Chocolate Brownie as well as new seasonal flavors. Whatever you choose, it will be the right choice.
I don’t know about you, but after a day of hiking, I usually like to veg out. If that is what you are into, I would say hit up a flick at Kennedy School. When going to Kennedy School for a movie, it’s not like going to your typical movie theatre. Think cozy, shabby-sheik. You can grab a McManamin’s brew or wine while ordering a big juicy burger with caysian totes. (My mouth is watering just thinking about it) I will say there is not a tone of veggie/vegan option on the movie theater menu. Keep that in mind. Once you have ordered, head on into the theatre where you are greeted with rows, upon rows of vintage chair and couches, giving you the perfect cozy, relaxing vibe.
A few other things to note about Kennedy School, it literally was a school at one point. The McManamin Brothers bought it up and put in not just a movie theater, but five bar/restaurants, a brewery, a hotel, soaking tubs and even a wedding venue. So, if a movie is not fitting your fancy, you will still find something to do.
Day Three: Grab a Bite and Go
While there is one last stop, before you catch your flight. You better make it worth your while.
No! It is not Voodoo Doughnuts! I am not going to bad talk Voodoo, but is it not worth it to stand in line for 45 minutes to get a joe-shmoe doughnut with fruitloops on it? If you want a memorable doughnut then pay the extra buck and save some time in line by going to Blue Star. Just by walking into any Blue Star you will see it is quality that they are going for. Their gourmet doughnuts are inspired by recipes from south of France. And, man-oh-man can you tell! They have earned the nickname “Doughnuts for Grownups.”
There you have it, a quick trip to Portland. That is not to say there isn’t anything else to do. Trust me there is tons! Don’t worry about being a Newbee in Portland, as it is the Midwest in the Northwest. When you think you have run out of things to do, just ask a local and they will point you in the right direction.
Other Sites In Portland Proper