48 Hours in Portland
I often feel that Portland is in its own little bubble within the USA. The creative energy in the city is visible from almost every corner and alley. Walking through the most unsuspecting, industrial districts you stumble into unbelievable gems. If you have the opportunity to spend a few days in this perfect West Coast city, take it!
I always make time for Bollywood Theatre in the Division District of Portland. This warehouse style building serves some of the best Indian food around, skip the chicken curry and definitely order the pork. In the same block, you will also stumble across the original Pok Pok (now quite a famous destination for Thai food in the city). If you can’t seem to snag a seat at Pok Pok, head across the street and grab some small plates and drinks at the Whiskey Soda Lounge. In the Kerns neighbourhood, you have options galore! Check out Tusk (outstanding Israeli), Langbaan (my favourite Thai in the city), Luce (the sweetest Italian spot), and Han Oak (modern Vietnamese). When you are ready for something to sip on, head to Ash bar (located close to Han Oak). In the downtown core, my favourite spot to kill a bottle of rose is the darling French cafe, Maurice. They serve light lunches and always have the most beautiful salad offerings. Tasty n Alder is a great option for something a little more traditional in the way of American style food. For something sweet, definitely grab a shaved ice from Wailua Shaved Ice (so delicious). New on my list but absolutely wonderful was the Tea Bar. We loved sampling all the rainbow options and the bubbles were fresh and delicious. Of course, the donut scene in Portland is well known and there are many great options but my favourite remains Blue Star (and to be specific the Blackberry Bourbon Basil).
Where to even begin in this department! For home decor and furnishings, my all time favourite spot is Canoe. I could spend hours in this shop soaking in all the beautiful pieces and design elements. A close second is Beam & Anchor. Located in an industrial part of town, it may seem a little off the beaten track but those are the best ones! Not too far away from Beam & Anchor, you will find Wild Shaman. It’s hard to even describe this little paradise. The lovely owners specialize in rugs from the Middle East and it is easy to fall in love with the countless fabrics, textures, and colours that fill the multiple rooms. Also in this neighbourhood you will find Spartan (beautiful and timeless high-end home furnishings) and Urbanite (some of the best vintage home collections I’ve ever found). Of course, no visit to Portland would be complete without visiting the Nob Hill district. The main shopping is located on NW 23rd, and a few of my favourites are the Meadow, Goorin Bros. Hat Shop, Will Leather Goods, and Budd & Finn. Moving into the downtown core, it is hard even to narrow it down but I would recommend checking out Bridge & Burn (located in a lovely corridor), Francis May (women and mens clothing), Tender Loving Empire (home goods), and of course Powell’s City of Books.
My last visit to Portland, we spend some time at the Portland Farmer’s Market. This market runs all-year on Saturdays (although the summer market is quite a bit larger than Fall and Winter). There are around 140 vendors spread out across the main green space of the campus. Come hungry and taste your way through all the delicious offerings. My favourite vendor was Mio Delectable’s who are creating Japanese inspired French pastries.
Less than hour outside of Portland is Willamette Valley. This picturesque valley is home to many of the best wineries in the Pacific NorthWest. To truly appreciate the area, take the Vineyard and Valley Scenic Tour Route - a 60 mile drive through the area that highlights the farms, wineries, and the Cascade Mountains.