Travel to Portland…
Travel to Portland..a place full of beer, bridges, and the weird. I was lucky enough not to visit Portland just once this year but twice! First was a short weekend – less than 36 hours for a writing class and the second was for a full week with Will from Hawaii who’s also a traveler. Wee!
Portland used to be a hidden gem of a city, tucked between Seattle and San Francisco and easily forgotten and overlooked. Not anymore. It’s now well-known and quickly being taken over by people from San Francisco looking to gentrify the hell out of it and make it more hipster than it already is.
On top of that, if you’re into beer and/or nature, Oregon is your jam.
What to see & do:
+ Pittock Mansion: is pretty famous with sweeping panoramic views over the city but only on a bright & sunny clear day OR at night. You can also tour the mansion for a small fee but just to see the views from outside is free. If you go at night, be sure to leave before 9 pm or you’ll be locked in with a gate. You can also park outside the gates but it’s a long walk to the mansion and also dark and a little creepy.
+ International Rose Test Garden: A rose garden with over 7,000 plants and 550 varieties of roses. It’s really cute to stroll on a sunny day and take some pictures. It’s also near Pittock Mansion so it’s worthwhile to make a stop at both places if you’re already in the area.
+ Japanese Tea Garden: Unforunately, it was closed when I was here but heard it’s pretty darn zen and amazing. If it’s open while you’re in Portland, spend a few hours of peace and solitude here.
+ Chinese Tea Garden: I was able to spend a whole day here! It’s a great way to spend the day if you have time to relax, chill, write, and take in the beautiful luscious green gardens…despite seeing a huge skyscraper behind it when you’re overlooking the garden from the tea house. The tea house is great to have lunch or a quick tea date (there’s alcohol and wifi!), as well as some traditional Chinese music around 12-2 pm on the daily. Don’t forget to grab your Chinese fortune!
+ Explore the various shops: Portland’s shops are clean and chic. You will find so much fun, cool, and well-designed stuff for your house. Everything is super cute and kitschy. If you’re a designer, you’re going to have a hell of a time getting inspiration from the various shops. Everything is also small business so support the local artisans and crafters! I found some really cute Portlandia-esque jewelry and notebooks.
+ Powell’s Books: A must visit even if you’re not a book worm (and why aren’t you?). It’s infamous and books smell delicious. Go read a book. Please.
+ Browse thrift shops: The thrift shops here have massive gems and cute clothes! Even fi you don’t buy anything, you can appreciate the quirky styles.
+ Visit the world’s smallest park: It’s for the funniest and quirkiest photo op but only takes a few minutes anyway. It’s near a park and bridge so great to do it while you’re in the area.
+ HIKING: All the awesome hiking I did will be into a separate post because of just how cool Oregon is with the hiking opportunities and we only had time to explore a couple of hikes (no time to get to Bend, etc.)
What to eat and drink:
+ BEER: Beer is everywhere and I can’t really contest to what kind since we only grabbed beers for hiking and drinking after the fact.
+ VooDoo Doughnuts: is super touristy now but still a must do. When you come, bring cash and be prepared to state your order.. The line may seem daunting but it moves fairly quickly.
+ Bluestar Doughnuts: are also famous and more of a local favorite because VooDoo is considered more commercialized now. I had both and Bluestar is definitely delicious. Try the blueberry bourbon basil as well as traditional sugar glazed!
+ FOOD CARTS: Portland is the birthplace of food carts so don’t bother going into any fancy restaurants, rather trot around town. I experienced an Eat Adventures Tour – hosted by the wonderful Angie. It was a delicious day full of a lot of self disrespect with how much food I was devouring.
+ Wine Bars: Plenty of good wine bars around the area but I’m particularly fond of Chizu where I had an incredible wine date with fellow lady nomad Amna.
+ Little Big Burger: Get the french fries here. ’nuff said.
If you don’t have the time or the energy to plan your Portland or Oregon trip, check out my services at Up & Explore where I take the pain & stress away from planning your vacation.