If you missed the intro post to this blog series, be sure to check it out here.
Also known as The City of Roses and Bridgetown (with no shortage of roses or bridges), Portland is a great city. It is extremely walkable, its people are super friendly, and it has an impressive food scene, as well as an even more impressive craft beer scene. With the most microbreweries per capita in the world, what’s not to love? Further, Portland is the perfect city for outdoor enthusiasts, as it is surrounded by some of the best hiking in the country.
We arrived to our Airbnb around six p.m. and agreed that it couldn’t have been more fitting for our Portland stay. It was located in a downtown, historical building and its decor was the perfect mix of modern and vintage. Given that Portland was smack in the middle of our two-week trip, it was amazing to have access to a washer/dryer and full kitchen. With that being said, I won’t try to make night six of our trip sound exciting, as it was spent doing laundry, making pizzas, and watching a movie. As boring as it may sound, it was much needed.
Given our laidback night the evening prior, we woke up feeling refreshed for a full day of exploring the city. We roamed around the downtown area, hitting up all the hot spots, such as Pioneer Courthouse Square, Stumptown Coffee, Voodoo Doughnut, and the infamous Portland food carts.
Next, what was intended to be a quick visit to Powell’s City of Books ended up being a several hour stop. Needless to say, Powell’s is amazing! It spans an entire city block in Downtown Portland and is the largest independently-owned book store in the world. It has an amazing selection and is definitely worth checking out. Just a few blocks away is what is considered the Pearl District, which is home to great boutique shopping. A boutique that I particularly enjoyed was MadeHere PDX, as it has an amazing selection of tasteful, handcrafted items that are perfect for souvenirs.
After hours of roaming around, we were starved and eager for some brews. Naturally, we hit up nearby Deschutes Brewery for some grub and beer flights. I’m no craft beer connoisseur, but I was thoroughly impressed. Before we knew it, it was getting late. Knowing that we still had so much that we wanted to check out the following day, we headed back to our Airbnb.
Our second full day in Portland was even more jam-packed than our first. Dan wanted to sleep in, but there was no way that I was going to miss the farmers market only blocks away from our Airbnb. The Portland Farmers Market is known to be one of the best out there. As our stay in Portland did not coincide with one of the infamous Saturday markets, I was at least determined to check out one of their smaller, weekday markets. Well, color me impressed. If their Wednesday market is as impressive as I found it to be, I can’t even fathom what the Saturday market is like! Think: incredible bouquets; fresh, local, and seasonal produce; and artisan food items. Again, a great stop for tasteful, handcrafted souvenirs.
Afterward, I dropped my goodies off at our Airbnb and subsequently walked to NW 23rd Street in Nob Hill. If you’re looking for great shopping and local eateries on one convenient strip, this is the place to be. I first hit up Barista Coffee, followed by several boutiques. Dan and I ultimately met up for a late lunch turned happy hour and dessert feast. We stumbled upon an eatery called Papa Haydn, and I am so happy that we did. Known for its incredible dessert selection, it also has amazing food, cocktails, and service.
After feeling fat, happy, and buzzed, we headed to the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. A visit here is a must, especially if you’re into photography. Between its impeccable blooms and intoxicating aroma, it’s easy to get lost here for hours. When Dan finally convinced me that I had gotten “the perfect shot” several times over, we drove to Cathedral Park to take in some of the best views of St. John’s Bridge. Between the bridge’s turquoise coloring and unique design, I was swooning!
After the sun set over St. John’s Bridge, we headed to the Buckman neighborhood of SE Portland so that we could check out Cascade Brewing Barrel House. We really enjoyed this brewery, as it features a number of sour, barrel-aged beers. With unique flavors like apricot, elderberry, and honey ginger lime, I was in love. After several tastings, however, we headed back to our Airbnb knowing that we were set to hit the road the following day.
On our way out of Portland, we made it a priority to stop at Multnomah Falls, which is part of the Columbia River Gorge. It was absolutely breathtaking! Just 30 minutes outside of Downtown Portland, the Columbia River Gorge has so much to offer, including an abundance of waterfalls. I’m thrilled that we had the opportunity to check out what is arguably the most stunning waterfall of them all.
…Next stop, Olympic National Park!