We’re back! It was a helluva trip and we’re so excited to share all of our vacation favourites with you over the coming weeks, starting with Portland. Technically, this was our second time visiting, but we experienced so much more of it this time around and fell deeply, deeply in love. There’s already talk of another visit, soon. Here’s our take on a city we can’t get enough of…
It seems every second Portland address is a charming shop, whether it be clothes or books. Start with the Portland Saturday Market (open Sundays, too) for a look at artisan goods both weird and wonderful. When the market wears you down, recharge at one of the many food trucks and have a seat in the beer garden.
Union Way is a trendy indoor shopping alley connecting Southwest Burnside with Southwest Stark. Walk through for a look at local and designer shops, like the Oregon boot brand, Danner, and makers of beautiful bags, WILL Leather Goods.
Leave a little room on your credit card for the nearby Powell’s Books, the world’s largest new and used independent bookstore. Forget the bargain bin and check out their Rare Book Room for a glimpse at some real literary gems.
Finally, there are plenty of vintage shops to choose from, but there’s one in particular that caught our attention. BillyGoat Vintage on SW Broadway is far more than clothes. We were swooning over old school lamps, vintage drapes, and antique typewriters.
eat & drink
Portland does coffee and comfort food like no other. Start your day with Stumptown Coffee Roasters, a Portland staple. Bonus if you’re staying at the Ace, the Stark location is adjacent to the trendy hotel lobby.
Once your caffeine addiction’s been fed, head next door to Kenny and Zuke’s. If you love an authentic delicatessen with a great pastrami, then this is your place. Traditional latkes, bagels, and a breakfast that will last you all day long are featured alongside a huge assortment of sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Oh, and Pastrami Cheese Fries, too.
Leave room for donuts (doughnuts?) and worry about your waistline another day. If you’ve never been, then Voodoo Doughnuts is a must if only to say you’ve been there, done that. Call us traditional, but we love the Portland Cream and the Apple Fritter. Someone a little more adventurous might try the Bacon Maple Bar doughnut. For a real gourmet treat (not to mention shorter lines) try the more subtle Blue Star Donuts where you can sample a Blueberry Bourbon Basil donut and a Red Berry Rhubarb Fritter. Our favourite? You’ll have to visit both and be your own judge.
Nothing washes down pastries like a cold beer. Henry’s Tavern on 12th Street offers an impressive selection of local brews and their urban patio is the ideal place to enjoy Happy Hour. If you feel like going straight to the source, Hair of the Dog Brewery offers tastings at their spacious SE Portland spot.
If you have the stamina, stroll around the Pearl District come dinner time. You can’t go wrong with a restaurant pick in this neighbourhood.
Getting lost in a new city is an adventure, and sometimes the best way to find the real hidden gems. We drove to Nob Hill in search of PBJ’s Grilled but sadly, they were closed. Had the line not been a block long we would have drowned our sorrows in ice cream from Salt & Straw. Instead, we went exploring. The nicest views and prettiest houses are always at the top of the hill, so we jumped in the car and drove up – way, way up. Long and aimless drives proved to be the best way to explore a town’s most beautiful neighbourhoods, and ended up being one of our favourite vacation activities.
We’ve heard rave reviews about Ace Hotel and The Jupiter Hotel, but we lay our heads down at the vibrant Crystal Hotel. Part of the McMenamin’s group, the Crystal Hotel is located just across the street from the legendary Crystal Ballroom. Each unique room is inspired by a song or performance from the Crystal Ballroom’s past 100 years. The staff was the friendliest and most helpful we’ve come across, but it was the salt water soaking pool that really won us over.