Portland is one of my favorite cities. Megan and her husband spent a day in the city a few summers ago in route to the coast, while my family visits yearly to catch up with my brother in law and his longtime girlfriend. Today, we’re sharing our top 10 spots not to miss in Portland, Oregon! (affiliate links ahead)
Where to Stay in Portland
Sometimes we stay in downtown Portland and sometimes closer to our family near Beaverton but it all depends what is on our agenda. Our favorite hotel to stay at is Kimpton Hotel Monaco. It’s a luxury boutique hotel located near the Pearl District and in walking distance of Pioneer Square, the flagship Nike store, and Powell’s Books. Each room is a spacious one bedroom suite and the decor is quirky and gorgeous. You don’t want to miss the nightly social hour in their lobby featuring live music, local vineyards, chocolatiers and other artisans.
Travel Tip: Sign up for Ebates and get cash back when booking your travel and accommodations.
Places to Eat in Portland
Coffee, beer, ice cream, burgers and everything in between! We always make time in our schedule to visit our favorite spots but the best part about visiting Portland is finding what’s new. Here’s a list of my favorite not-to-be-missed places to eat while in and around Portland.
- Salt & Straw for artisanal ice cream. You can usually expect a very long line at both Portland shops but it’s oh so worth it and you can sample as many flavors as you want before choosing. The Strawberry Balsamic with Black Pepper is a personal fave.
- Poplandia Popcorn for a savory and sweet popcorn snack. You can sample fresh batches of popcorn before deciding on a flavor. Stay away from the pre-packed bags. They aren’t as fresh as the stuff in the bins. Northwest Raspberry and Smoked Gouda are my absolute go-to flavors.
- Slappy Cakes for a DIY pancakes. Yes, DIY. Expect a wait on most days as this is tourist heavy. Order your batter and create your own custom pancakes at a table side griddle. I always order blueberries and lemon curd while my husband gets bacon and chocolate chips. The sky is the limit!
- Never Coffee Lab for a hot tea or a fancy coffee while you wait for your table at Slappy Cakes. It’s a real tiny space so don’t expect to hang out unless you’re a party of one.
- Food Carts at 43rd and Belmont are an excellent alternative to waiting at Slappy Cakes. Most are only open from lunch time on but Kind Coffee offers hot breakfast and coffee. There of places to sit and eat but this is outside, so if it’s raining…well, it’s raining on you.
- Little Big Burger for burgers, fries and cheap beer. And the best damn ketchup! This place is simple and amazing. Tip: buy a bottle of Camden’s Catsup to bring home.
- Two spots to grab donuts: Blue Star Donuts and Voodoo Doughnuts are Portland’s top spots for donuts. Expect a very long line to get into Voodoo Doughnuts.
- Tillamook Cheese Factory for lots and lots of cheese and ice cream. Yes, take a tour of the Tillamook Cheese factory, grab lunch (a grilled cheese, perhaps) and get a Tillamook ice cream from the ice cream counter. I suggest the Marionberry Pie.
- Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill for great scratch food, craft beers and cocktails. I love the grilled Northwest salmon. It is amazing every time!
- Cornelius Pass Roadhouse – Imbrie Hall for great, casual food and tons of beer on tap. I love the indoor/outdoor seating. This is a place you could hang out with family for hours.
Things to Do Outside of Portland
Like I mentioned, both of our families visited the Oregon coast a few summers ago. Megan and her husband stayed at the gorgeous Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach which looks out onto the famous Haystack Rock featured in the movie Goonies. The resort offers private bonfires complete with s’mores every night. We rented a home in nearby Seaside which was lovely and quaint but sort of the bobo Cannon Beach.
Travel Tip: Stay in Cannon Beach.
150 miles away from Cannon Beach is the picturesque Hood River. We have some family friends who hosted us a few years ago and I’ll never forget sitting on their porch listening to the wind whistle through the trees. It’s amazing. The downtown is littered with small retail and local breweries. There is plenty outdoorsy stuff to do like skiing, rock climbing, windsurfing and more. My favorite road trip was the 35-mile Fruit Loop drive. We stopped at several fruit orchards, farm stands, wineries, an alpaca ranch, and a lavender farm. You can pick fruit, buy jams and jellies and take a million photos.
Be sure to watch the vlog we made when we visited the Oregon coast. Click play to watch.