My husband and I just visited the vibrant city of Portland over the weekend and wow were we impressed with the plethora of independent shops, local fashion, cool restaurants and hip hotels. The West End was our main stomping ground with everything we needed right at our fingertips. But we also hired a car to explore the surrounding neighborhoods where the locals dwell in charming houses with lush gardens. The people who reside in Portland are proud to be there and super friendly to visitors. We arrived with no plans and just went with the natural daily flow (with a few hot tips from the welcoming individuals we met along the way). Here’s a summary of how it all turned out:
STAY - Ace Hotel
The super friendly staff here are more than happy to give you their hot tips on where to eat and what to do nearby. At the Ace you will find a young crowd who like to sip on Stumptown coffee next door throughout the day while working on their laptops in the old fashioned lobby. The rooms are small but really comfortable and are equipped with everything you need for your weekend stay. *I personally raided the mini bar for the herbed pistachios and tasty salami sticks haha!
WINE + DINE
Breakfast: Prasad Cuisine at Yoga Pearl
Start your day the right way by doing a yoga class at this beautiful studio and backing it up with a hearty vegan breakfast and big green juice to wash it down. Everything is organic and made with love… go for the chili scramble. I was addicted!
Lunch: Food Carts, Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen and Shalom Y’all
You have 3 great, inexpensive choices here to choose from. Of course the Food Carts are iconic to Portland and need to be experienced at least once, but my personal favorite was Shalom Y’all (Israeli street food at Pine Street Market). The fennel salad is “to die for” (the waitress even said so), the meze tasting plate ultra fresh, and the lamb chops bursting with flavor. The Vietnamese place was also really good; cheap, filling and buzzing with hungry locals in their lunch break. HOT TIP: if you have a car, the food carts located at SE 28th Pl and Division at Tidbit are the coolest.
Dinner – Tasty n Alder
This is THE PLACE for dinner. PERIOD. You can’t go wrong when ordering from this perfectly curated menu. Both myself, my husband and the table next to us (a couple from the East Coast who we quickly bonded with over mutual appreciation of the food) were in foodie heaven where orgasmic sounds were made as each dish was devoured. We had the bone marrow, the octopus, the scallops and the sauteed kale. More please!
Drinks – Multnomah Whisky Library and Pepe le Moko
Both very cool yet very different places to enjoy a drink; the Whisky Library is everything you could ever dream of in a whisky bar… the décor is in the theme of an old library with plenty of cozy leather chairs to nestle into and sip away slowly of your favorite drink made to perfection by the barmen. The room is dimly lit with old reading lamps, making it the perfect place to get romantic with your significant other. Pepe le Moko is a fun little underground bar that all the locals rave about. There really isn’t much to it, but somehow it works. It’s a great place to go before or after dinner to slurp down a few oysters and enjoy a yummy cocktail.
Coffee – Suggestions from the locals: Stumptown, Coava Coffee, Upper Left Roasters, Heart Roasters and Barista Coffee. We were quite happy with Stumptown as it was conveniently located at the Ace Hotel, but Chris (my hunky husband) did mention his favorite was the mocha (light on the chocolate) that he got from Barista in The Pearl district on 13th.
Dessert – Blue Star Donuts (not my thing but every says they are a must – unique to Portland), Maurice (the most charming little bakery you will ever find), and Quin Candy (the lollipops are AMAZING!).
Here you will find Will Leather Goods, Little T American Baker, Quin Candy, Steven Alan, Boxer Ramen, Danner, Kit and Ace (my personal favorite – scored a nice dress here), Spruce Apothecary
The Meadow - bitters, sea salt and dark chocolate - what more could you want!
Made Here PDX - really nice and knowledgeable staff who can help you to find the perfect "made in Portland" gift for yourself or a loved one.
Yoga Pearl – a daily class yoga class here is a must, after all, my balance and wellness needs to continue when I am traveling. Portland is a great walking city and there are tons of wonderful hikes to do in surrounding areas, especially out at The Gorge.
*The Gorge - Multnomah Falls is a short drive from the city. It's a stunning waterfall with a nice hike to the top.
*Powell's Books is the best book store ever! You could spend hours in here browsing the shelves.
*Mississippi Ave (NorthEast Portland) is a colorful neighborhood street that is "quint essential Portland" lined with eateries and shops to keep you entertained The Indian food cart called Tiffin Asha located here is a must (although they will soon be proudly expanding into a restaurant).
*23rd St (NorthWest Portland - Nob Hill) is shops galore, a little more mainstream but still fun to check out.
*13th – a cool industrial part of The Pearl district where you will find coffee shops, restaurants including the Mediterranean Exploration Company which I hear is amazing but we didn't have time to make it there, and shops such as Filson.
I happened to stumble upon a little pop up market in one of the buildings near the Ace Hotel full of local creative artists and designers showcasing their goods. I got a leather handbag, bronze ring and porcelain necklace. Here are two of the stalls I shopped at: Barrow PDX and Minoux.
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