A Guide to Weird and Wonderful Portland, Oregon
Before our trip to Portland we watched the Portlandia series. It’s really funny and very satirical on how peculiar the people from Portland are. When we arrived we realized how spot-on the series was. Portland is Weird! But in such an amazingly lovely, cool way.
We fell head over heels in love with the city, and keep on planning another trip there. And the people are great: I got comments from girls on my dresses and tops on the street, the bus drivers were smiling and talked, the city is relaxed and cool, and there are so many great bars and restaurants to visit. It's fantastic for a food enthusiast. Brunch is a big deal in Portland, so check out good brunch places in advance!
Streets to visit:
SE Hawthorne Blvd: a long street with lots of cool shops, many second hand shops, food carts, great restaurants and bars.... The taco place ¿Por Que No? is fantastic, they have a cute back yard and the food is excellent and so cheap. The area reminds me a bit of Haight-Ashbury for some reason, without the hippies.
SE Belmont Street: a street with cool shops, bars and restaurants too, not in the same extent as Hawthorne but still worth a visit. There is a really lovely house that has a restaurant inside and a big closed garden in the back, Pied Cow Coffeehouse. It looks like somebody’s home! There is also an amazing crepes place, Suzette Creperie, where they have both savory and sweet crepes, and cocktails too.
East Burnside street has some interesting vintage shops too, and the great Jupiter Hotel that has all sorts of things going on, concerts etc. And a few dive bars if one is into roughing it..! And here you can find Voodoo Doughnut Too, the second location of the Voodoo Doughnut, and here you don't have to queue for your donuts (so much).
NE Alberta St: A hip kind of street with cute shops, the best ice-cream ever (Salt&Straw), great places for drinks (Tin Shed for example) etc.
Mississippi Avenue: This street is so great, many really cool bars, vintage shops, interior decoration shops that are really amazing...
Obviously the food carts are a must. There are over 500 food carts in this city! Check a bit beforehand which ones you'd like to visit. There are a lot of food cart pods, which means there are several food carts parked at one location. Some are crappy, some are really amazing. Just to name an example: a Grilled Cheese food cart… Check out this website for the latest on the food cart scene in Portland. Here are some of my favorite restaurants and bars:
Voodoo Doughnut: Must visit. It's legendary, and so good. There's always a line for these doughnuts, but check out Voodoo Doughnut Too that's not as busy.
Besaw's: Amazing comfort food type of brunch, really worth it. You might have to wait for a bit, but it's worth it. The whole street is really nice with cute shops and restaurants.
Portland (Saturday) Farmer's Market: The food is really great, so much organic stuff, gluten free pizza, gluten free cakes and cupcakes... We had so much to eat there, it was great. There was also music, we could have stayed there for hours.
Tin Shed Garden Café: A great bar to sit and sip a cocktail on their patio, or devour their tasty food, they have many vegetarian options too.
¿Por Que No?: Fantastic Mexican restaurant, I really liked the one on Hawthorne. They have a cute back yard where you can sit and sip on your margarita or stuff your face with tasty tacos.
Suzette Creperie: As mentioned above amazing crepes with delicious fillings, both sweet and savory. My favorite was the one with rose jam, yoghurt, roasted almonds and fresh raspberries.
Salt & Straw: Icecream! Here you can find the most fascinating combos, and the quality is excellent. I had a dreamy honey lavender one, but there were some cool ones like extra virgin olive oil and pear & blue cheese. You have to check it out! They have three locations so you'll always have one close by..!
Bijou Cafe: Here we had a huge breakfast. The ingredients are local, seasonal, fresh and organic, and my French-style omelette with smoked goat cheddar cheese with bacon and green onion was just like that.
Pied Cow Coffeehouse: We went here a few times just to chill, we really loved the relaxed vibe. It's a (slightly spooky) house with a big back yard where you can sit and sip on a tasty cocktail, eat an enormous piece of chocolate cake and watch the neighbourhood cats running around.
Breweries: There are a lot of breweries and brew pubs all over the city, worth a visit! Here is a great review of the best ones.
Powell's City of Books: The biggest book store in the universe, you can be there for days, and days, and days.... You can get a map when you get in so you can find the different departments. It's really amazing. They have a loooot of second hand books too. They have two smaller ones on Hawthorne, one that carries home & garden and another one that is more general.
Ink & Peat: The cutest stuff for the home, also small jewellery, notebooks etc. It's next to Tasty & Sons.
Vintage shops: There are about a million of them in Portland, you will find them everywhere..! Animal Traffic, House of Vintage... Here is a guide to the best ones.
Vinyl Records: For vinyl record collectors Portland is fantastic. A few of the top ones are Everyday Music, Mississippi Records, Crossroads Music, 2nd Avenue Records and Jackpot Records. You can find a great list of record shops in Portland here.