Traveling to Portland, Oregon

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Getting There

 

  • Airport – Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • Currency – U.S. Dollar ($)
  • Language – English
  • Population – 600,000

 

Introduction

After traveling to Portland, Oregon I think it’s my new favorite U.S. city! About six hours by direct flight from New York, Portland offers the perfect blend of laid back people, amazing food and drink (especially brunch & donuts!), and outdoor activities to keep you busy as you explore this beautiful city. Full of flavor and excitement, everyone should check out Portland to experience it’s distinct and fun culture.

DSC00209Just a flavor of the incredible street art Portland offers

 

Getting from Portland’s Airport to Downtown

  • MAX Light Rail – $2.50, 40 minutes
  • Taxi – $35, 20 minutes
  • Blue Star Shuttle – $14 ($24 round trip), runs every 30 minutes
  • Car Rental – We rented a car since we were driving to Seattle from Portland

Activities

 

Scroll down to see our top picks. Here is a clickable summary of our picks to skip to a bar of choice:

 

1) Rent Bikes and Explore the City

With more than 20 bicycle rental shops spread throughout Portland, biking is one of the best ways to get around Portland and see the city. Portland has over 300 miles of bike lanes and is home to the highest percentage of bike commuters in the country. Additionally, there are many opportunities for guided tours around the city and collections of the best bike routes around town. Biking around Portland is both a relaxing and satisfied experience, just make sure to get a bike lock and helmet when you get your bike.

Note: a full day bike rental including helmet & lock should cost approximately $25.

DSC00288You can ride your bike along the waterfront to the Portland Saturday Market

2) Check Out the Portland Saturday Market and Waterfront

The Portland Saturday Market is the largest market in the city, operating on Saturdays and Sundays from March through December 24. The market is fun street fair with a stage which hosts live music and over 200 booths to explore. The market is also situated adjacent to the Willamette River which runs alongside Portland. There are many Waterfront parks along this river such as Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The ideal place for jogging, in-line skating, and viewing Salmon Street Springs, the park also holds many festivals throughout the year, including the Portland Rose Festival.

DSC00291This guy’s balloon animal game was strong!

3) Explore the Pearl District – Especially NW 21st & 23rd Avenues

The Pearl District is one of the most beautiful and fun neighborhoods in Portland for shopping and dining. Home to world-class art galleries, shops, boutiques, and famous restaurants, the Pearl District is very much a center of commerce, especially NW 21st Street and NW 23rd Aves. Take a stroll and explore the streets.

 

Some recommended stops to make on NW 23rd Avenue:

Tea Chai Té – this tea bar that specializes in hand-crafted tea started out as a class project in college and their brand today is a Portland staple. They now serve a unique variety of over 120 flavors of tea, a few of which have won awards!

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Poplandia – an artisan popcorn shop that sells many delicious and creative flavors such as Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Cinnamon Apple Churro and Thai PB&J. The popcorn is made fresh to order with fresh and local ingredients, so “pop” in to give a few flavors a try!

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Saint Cupcake – Saint Cupcake sells delicious cupcakes! Their cupcakes come in many flavors, from traditional Red Velvet to Fat Elvis, a banana cake studded with chocolate chips and peanut butter fudge icing. With 4 locations in Portland, the shop has fans from all over the city. Although they specialize in cupcakes, they sell a variety of other pastries as well, including cakes, pies, and brownies.

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4) Check Out Belmont Street, Hawthorne and Division Streets

These three streets are some of the most popular streets in East Portland. Belmont Street truly expresses the personality of Portland, with many distinct coffee shops, restaurants, and unique shops. Similarly, Hawthorne Street is a lively street with nice restaurants, a few traditional theaters, hotels, and even an extinct volcano at the end of the street. Hawthorne Street is also home to the annual Hawthorne Street Fair. Division Street is a hot dining destination in Portland, with everything from taverns to bakeries.


5) Visit the Gardens and Parks

Naturally, the Rose City is already colored with lush greenery and flora, so it’s no surprise that some of the top attractions are gardens and parks. For years, Portland has protected and preserved natural areas for the benefit of wildlife and people, encouraging visitors and locals alike to explore the great outdoors.

Portland Japanese Garden

For something a little different, visit the tranquil Portland Japanese Garden. This garden has been proclaimed as one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan, featuring tea houses, velvety streams and intimate green paths. If you happen to be visiting during the fall, the garden has autumn moon-viewing nights where you can also enjoy live music and decadent Japanese drinks and foods.

Washington Park

Washington Park is not your average park. As Portland’s signature park, this place goes the extra mile and includes gardens, museums, memorials, zoos, and the list goes on. Inside is filled with an enchanting myriad of flowers and other plants. While entrance to the park itself is free, some of the attractions within the 410-acre park may require a fee. Also be wary that parking can be difficult, particularly when everything is in bloom. Nonetheless, this place is definitely worth a spot on your itinerary.

International Rose Test Garden

Featuring over 10,000 roses, as well as spectacular views of downtown and Mount Hood, the International Rose Test Garden will have your senses dancing. You’ll see all sorts of roses that are various shades of colors, tall and short, thick and thin. This garden initially served as a safe haven for European hybrid roses. Fast forward to present day, the Portland Rose Garden is now one of the Rose City’s most prominent landmarks. The best time to see the roses are from May through September.


Food

 

Tasty n Sons
3808 North Williams Ave | Hub Building | Northeast Portland

travel-portland-tasty-n-sonsA neighborhood and family-style restaurant, Tasty n Sons holds its place among the top restaurants out of the thousands in Portland. The ambiance is not only homey and comfortable, but the service is excellent as well.

Known as a go-to brunch stop for tourists and residents alike, the restaurant serves a global variety of foods inspired by Chef John Gorham’s experiences with the immigrant community in the restaurant industry. From their amazing chocolate potato donut to their Crab Louie, the astounding variety is delicious in every way. Dishes are served tapas style, which means that they are smaller portions that are served one after another.

Tip: Tasty n Sons opens at 9:00 a.m. daily so arrive as early as you can to avoid a wait

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Definitely try their famous chocolate potato donut holes!

 

Screen Door
2337 East Burnside Street | Northeast Portland

Screen Door is a traditional and delicious Southern cuisine-style spot. Serving everything from Carolina Lowcountry style to French preparations found in New Orleans. Frequent visitors love the fried chicken and waffles (note: only available at brunch) to a variety of other delicious options.

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Ned Ludd
3925 NE Martin Luther King Blvd | Northeast Portland

A unique and quaint restaurant located in the King Neighborhood of Northeast Portland, Ned Ludd is an American Craft Kitchen that will most certainly satisfy your palate. Most of the dishes served here are slow-cooked in a wood-fired oven, highlighting the local and seasonal flavors. Open for dinner every day from 5 to 10 p.m., come to Ned Ludd to enjoy exquisite comfort food in a warm and rustic environment.

Cheese & Crack Snack Shop
22 SE 28th Avenue | Southeast Portland

A great little shop selling cheese and crackers (you guessed it!), this spot started as a neighborhood food cart. Its popularity over the years led to its becoming a larger restaurant, not only selling simple cheese and crackers but now offering cured meats, pickles, jams, and bread as well. Most customers love to top off their meal with delicious soft serve ice cream. With a comfortable environment, you should definitely pay a visit to the Cheese & Crack Snack Shop.


Donuts!

 

As you know, we at AdventureDaze love finding the best donuts. Be sure to try these gems out on your trip to Portland!

 

Voodoo Doughnut
22 Southwest 3rd Avenue | Southwest Portland

Started by long-time friends Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson and Tres Shannon, Voodoo Doughnut is a unique and quirky doughnut shop where visitors can find crazy creative donuts like the “Captain my Captain” doughnut (topped with Captain Crunch cereal) or the Voodoo Doll doughnut. The idiosyncratic shop itself is an experience with its bright pink walls and a large variety of amazing doughnuts.

Some of their most unique doughnuts include The Loop, Arnold Palmer, and Voodoo Bubble Doughnuts (which comes with a piece of bubble gum on top!). The lines can be long, but try going outside of peak hours or to one of their other locations to reduce the wait. Voodoo Doughnut is a cash only establishment and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

DSC00321Clockwise from top left: Coconut, Oreo, Coco Puff and Captain Crunch Donuts!

 

Blue Star Donuts
1237 SW Washington Street | Downtown Portland

Blue Star Donuts prides themselves on quality. These donuts have a European flair, as they come from an original Brioche recipe hailing from Southern France. All Blue Star donuts are made fresh and from the finest ingredients. Popular flavors include Chocolate Almond Ganache, Blueberry Bourbon Basil, and Cinnamon Vanilla Sugar. Blue Star even has delicious vegan options, such as the Vegan Raspberry Pistachio donut! If you are looking for an amazing donut on the gourmet side, be sure to check out this place.

Note: There are several Blue Star locations, including ones in the Alphabet District, Southeast Portland and North Portland

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Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai
4759 NE Fremont Street | Suite C | Northeast Portland

Focusing on “simplicity & excellence”, Pip’s Original Doughnuts & Chai is a quaint spot with a fun Mom and Pop feel. The doughnuts are typically smaller than average, so you’ll definitely have no problem trying more than one! One of their most popular flavors is the Dirty Wu, which is a hot cinnamon sugar doughnut with warm Nutella, honey drizzle and a light Sea Salt finish.
Not only is Pip’s known for their scrumptious doughnuts but Chai lovers rejoice! Pip’s is home to some of the best Chai tea in Portland and serves their famous Chai Flights in a variety of unique flavors including Smoky Robinson, Emmylou and Ginger Rodgers. All of their Chai is house-crafted and blended right in their store. If you are a fan of tea, donuts or both, make time for this place!


More!

 

Local Craft Beer & Cider!

Cider and beer are some of the most popular drinks in Portland, as seen through the fact that Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world!

Portland Cider House
3638 SE Hawthorne Ave | Southeast Portland

Founded in 2012, the Portland Cider Company is a rather new establishment in the city. However, that doesn’t make the cider any less savory. They serve many different types of cider, so much that it has its own tasting room! The cider is made from fermenting locally grown apples to ensure the freshest taste. Cider here is relatively inexpensive.

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Hopworks Bikebar
3947 N Williams Ave | Northeast Portland

Powered by bikes, this bar is a unique dining destination. Customers get a choice to pedal on their stationary bike to get a dollar off their next drink. The bar not only serves alcoholic drinks, but also soup and salad, pizza, and more. Additionally, the restaurant has a play area for children as well as a kids menu, to ensure that parents can have a moment to relax and enjoy the beer.

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Tea & Juices

Kure

The best stop for organic juices and smoothies! Dedicated to restoring balance to everyday life, Kure also serves acai bowls, oatmeal, and hot drinks.

There are four locations in Portland

Sip

A well-known juice cart that uses only local organic produce to create delicious and healthy drinks and foods. Since the brand has grown in popularity, the restaurant version of the Sip, known as Canteen, opened in 2012.

2210 NE Albert Street

Tea Bar

A little shop that sells high-quality teas from farms around the world. They sell everything from the famous boba milk tea to honey matcha tea.

1615 NE Killingsworth Street and 4330 SE Division Street


Food Carts

Portlanders love food carts. Besides the occasional food cart on the street, there are three main food cart pods in Portland: Cartopia, Cartlandia, and 10th & Alder. There are hundreds of carts in these pods, and you can easily buy any type of meal you can think of here. From Vietnamese food carts to crepe trucks, these pods are truly diverse bubbles in Portland.

Food trucks to check out:

Fried Egg I’m in Love – a breakfast sandwich spot famous for its perfectly cooked fried eggs. It offers vegetarian and vegan options, so the food is perfect for everyone.

3207 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Southeast Portland

La Jarochita – a taco truck famous for its authentic Mexican tacos and burritos. With nothing over $10, the food truck is the perfect stop for an affordable, delicious meal.

SW 5th Avenue and SW Stark Street, Southwest Portland (Downtown)


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