Portland is my hometown, so I know it very well. I have lived here most of my life and from the outside you may know it as a hipster mecca, but let me tell you from first person experience that portland has something to offer everyone. Before you even ask, yes…the tv show “Portlandia” is pretty darn accurate.
The food here is amazing and suits every dietary restriction, plus plenty of coffee and beer. Here are some of my favorites from Home Sweet Home, and some recommendations on what to bring in your suitcase.
I can’t say it enough but Portland weather changes in a heartbeat so it’s best to dress like an onion.Layers, layers, layers! No matter what time of year you visit I would always pack some simple t-shirts, denim, and a rain shell. In the Spring and Fall, some extra warmth like a vest or down coat and some waterproof footwear will come in handy. In the Winter a rainproof outer layer that’s pretty thick is a must! In the summer I wear light layers and live in Birkenstocks.
If you plan on hiking, bring your camelbak and a re-useable water bottle. You will find a ton of places to fill them up with water! I also love this scarf from lululemon for hikes because it can be wrapped a thousand different ways.
If you are visiting Portland and you love plants, Pistills Nursery on Mississippi Street is a must visit! If your in the market for a trendy “it” plant you will definitely find it here.
We go there for plants (duh!) but also advice on how to care for them and cute pots to put them in. Pistills also has an assortment of fun lifestyle goodies to look at. The coop of chickens in the back of the outdoor garden is one of my favorite spots to visit in the summer time.
You can read a full blog post about Pistills here!
If you want a trendy coffee shop where the lattes are actually worth what they charge, Barista is the place! The hot chocolates and mochas are made from a melted down chocolate bar, and… yes! it is as delicious as it sounds 😉
Blue Star Donuts
Blue Star Donuts has become wildly popular in Portland the last few years and I have to say, the donuts match up to the hype. We eat a mostly plant based diet so we love the vegan offerings they have! “olive oil orange” is currently our favorite 🙂
The strongest coffee you will ever have! Absolutely perfect for “early morning” adventures. Stumptown Coffee cold brew + beans are also carried at so many grocery stores around town (and some around the US!) if you don’t have time to stop in to the actual coffee shop.
Salt and Straw
This place is infamous for a reason! The line at the 23rd location is always out the door so come prepared to wait a little bit. The sea salt ice cream with caramel ribbons is my absolute favorite dairy flavor but since we switched to plant based we love the dairy free offerings the have as well! Want to skip the line? Grab a pint to share instead of a scoop each. They are pre-packaged and have a separate checkout line.
Ah yes, Voodoo Doughnuts. Whenever someone comes into town this is one of the places they must visit. It’s practically a portland tourism right of passage and I have been with every single person that comes into town and stays with me.
To be honest the doughnuts are very unique and funky but be prepared for an almost unbearable line. I will say, the fact that Voodoo is still cash only (!?!) irritates me a little as a local but with all that said, it’s worth having the experience if it’s your first time in PDX. They also always have a large vegan assortment which is awesome.
I love Pips and for now I make the bold claim that they are the best doughnuts in the Portland area. The doughnuts come in one mini size with different toppings (lemon curd, sea salt and honey, chocolate) and you can get as many or as little as you want which is great. The chai flight and lattes are also delicious and super reasonably priced. Its the perfect spot for an easy morning treat.
The only thing about Pips is that the location is a little hard to get to and they close early at 4pm. Plan ahead and make a dedicated trip!
Sandwiches, soups, espresso, macaroon cookies, housewares, candles, cards….The list goes on! Elephants is the perfect quick stop for a deli lunch or some light grocery shopping. The orange tomato soup and quinoa black bean salads are my favorite!
My favorite matcha in Portland and perhaps the whole world! Tea bar does matcha, chai, and delicious tea flavored soft serve. They offer almost any type of tea you can imagine and the minimalist atmosphere is something worth checking out.
Harlow is one of my favorite vegan eats in Portland. They have smoothies, juice, bowls, vegan mac and chili, and killer brunch items. Everything is delicious and the street that it’s on (Hawthorne) is great for thrifting and exploring!
St Honorè Bakery
Saint Honorè is as close as you can get to a Parisian bakery without leaving PDX. They have the most ornate baked goods, delicious sandwiches, fresh bread, and espresso drinks. Its one of my favorite places to work remotely and makes an easy meeting spot for lunch or breakfast.
A “must try” item is definitely the namesake “St. Honorè” dessert pictured above. Its a cream puff tart with whipped cream inside and a crunchy honey glazed exterior. Way too delicious and certainly big enough to split with a friend.
If you are a quilter or even just creatively inclined you have to check out Modern Domestic on Alberta! It is the cutest sewing studio with an unusual assortment of high end fabrics and finishings. It is worth a peek, take a class if you have the time! I loved taking this pillow class in October.
Mothers Bistro and Bar
Definitely in my top 3 for brunch in Portland. Every single thing I try at Mothers ends up being absolutely delicious. Make reservations early and make sure to plan out parking to the best of your ability.
I’ve been to the lodge a few times (my most recent trip) and would recommend it to any Oregon visitor that has the time to take a drive up. The lodge has a undeniable vintage feel, is hand built, and beautiful beyond words. The rooms are equally beautiful and cozy. The food in the dining room is wonderful, and there is nothing like rolling out of bed to look at the snowfall and enjoy a cabin breakfast. If the skiing conditions are right, you are literally steps away from the trails making it perfect for burning off some of the food. It’s really overall a unique experience to stay there. Make sure to bring a little something to do by the fire, as the wifi signal is not strong.
Joes Donut Shop
A “must stop” when driving up to the mountain! It’s this tiny red and white brick building that houses the worlds best donuts. My dad and I used to get donuts and coffee here every morning before a day of skiing and over the years not only did it become tradition, every time I go back the line multiplies! A local legend indeed.