I cannot begin to tell you how much we LOVE Portland. It’s for sure one of the most fun weekend trips that’s only about a 5-hour drive from Vancouver. Since I met Phil, we’ve gone twice in the last two years. We actually had to make a pact not to go this year and force ourselves to try something different — but we’ll see how that goes.
The thing I love about Portland is all the amazing food and restaurants they have. It’s also such a laid-back city that you never feel out of place eating at a fancier or trendier spot. Everyone is friendly, which makes such a difference to the atmosphere and vibe of the city. I promise there’s a little something for everyone, so whoever your travelling with is sure to enjoy Portland.
This is my number one MUST when visiting Portland. You have to come here for dinner, do not ask questions. Be sure to make a reservation in advance as this popular spot fills up quick. They have AH-mazing pasta and various Italian-inspired dishes, and the cocktails are extremely pretty (and delicious). If you don’t believe me, believe Gwyneth Paltrow (please don’t roll your eyes, I love her). She’s a huge advocate of Ava Gene’s and the chef, Joshua McFadden… I swear they always talk about it on Goop.
Don’t laugh, but Tusk is by the same chef as Ava Gene’s so obviously this is a must as well. I would come here for brunch — they serve amazing Mediterranean dishes and the décor is SO good (just look at the blown-up print of Keith Richards floating in a pool over the bar).
This little gem is by the people at The Ace Hotel. It’s a fun one to grab cocktails and an appetizer before dinner if you’re downtown.
Sadly, I haven’t been here, but I’ve heard really good things and will be going on our next visit. It’s a cozy neighbourhood joint on East Burnside that serves amazing Italian food. They also own one of my favourite cocktail bars, Angel Face, just a few blocks away. Next time I visit, I’ll be hitting up Angel Face for pre-dinner cocktails, then heading over to Luce for some pasta.
This is another favourite of mine. Little Bird serves up French food and is on the fancier side compared to my other recommendations. Order a glass of champagne to start and toast to yourself for being fancy af.
This little café is perfect for a quick bite before heading on your adventure for the day. My favourite is the cheddar biscuit. It’s basically a delicious breakfast sandwich in a cheesy biscuit, so you really can’t go wrong. They also serve mimosas for when you’re feeling those brunch vibes.
Another Italian spot with awesome cocktails. Come here after you’ve wondered around the Eastside District’s number of hidden boutiques and bars. It’s near my favourite home boutique, Spartan Shop (mentioned below). They have the perfect patio that’s lit up at night with cute hanging lights and a good atmosphere.
This popular brunch spot is BUSY, but worth it. They don’t accept reservations, so go expecting to wait and grab a coffee across the street at Heart.
As mentioned before, this quaint cocktail bar on East Burnside is so friggin’ cute. Don’t miss out. Go to Tusk or Luce after for dinner.
Century is not what I’d typically recommend, but if you’re travelling with someone who enjoys sports and their happens to be a big game on, this is the place. It’s basically a modern sports bar with nice décor and they’ve created “stadium” seating so you feel like you’re at a game while you watch their giant projector screens in the middle of the room.
A fun spot to hit up aprés-dinner. It’s a hidden gem located below the Ace Hotel. Ask them to make you a customized cocktail and you won’t be disappointed.
I don’t particularly like Whiskey, but this place is sooooo cool. It takes inspiration after a gentleman’s club and is all dark wood, leather couches and banquets and brick walls throughout. The bartenders all have crazy moustaches and hipster beards and walk around with bar carts making you special cocktails with fresh ingredients on the spot. It could be comparable to what it was like in the prohibition, but don’t quote me.
My favourite spot for an afternoon charcuterie board and beer. They have several locations throughout the city, so when you start to get a little peckish in the middle of the day, there’s a good chance you’re near one of these bodegas.
If you’re looking for a classic brewery experience, Ex Novo is pretty solid. Not too far from the Moda Center, this spot is good to come to before a game.
Located right in the heart of downtown, this is the spot to come when you’re travelling busy just can’t take anymore shopping. They also have an amazing rooftop patio that’s fun to hang out on in the summer.
Probably one of the best boutiques I’ve ever been to. There selection of clothing and accessories is impeccable. From A.P.C. and Isabel Marant to Totême and Rejina Pyo, it’s safe to say they have a GREAT selection.
Field Trip is actually closing at the end of the year, but I wanted to keep this one in here. It’s a home and wellness shop that’s just so cute, and one of my favourite shops in Portland. This is where I go to stock up on adaptogens and potions and I even got one of their cute little naked woman logo tees, so I’ll NEVER forget them.
On the smaller side, this little boutique is right downtown and carries Ganni, Simon Miller and Vetements.
This spot is a little out of the way, but if you find yourself in NE Portland on Fremont, be sure to stop by. The shop owner, Taylor Kitto, has an amazing aesthetic (follow her on Insta!) and they carry the cutest assortment of home goods and vintage clothing.
My favourite home shop. Every single item they sale makes me swoon (and then cry a little because I can’t afford it). And that’s all she wrote.
This might be a little touristy, but if you love books, then you won’t mind. One of the biggest independent book stores in the states, Powell’s has EVERY book. You could spend all day here, so try to set a limit or you’ll drive your non-book loving friends nuts.
I like to conquer Portland by division (South East, North East, South West, North West). This is a good way to see as much as you can without driving back and forth all day. A few of the main streets and neighbourhoods I’d recommend are: East Burnside, SE Hawthorne, Downtown (Pearl District), and SE Division (Richmond). Each neighbourhood has the perfect assortment of restaurants, boutiques, breweries and patios.
The name 4T literally means 4 T’s — Train, Trail, Tram, Trolley. On this little adventure you’ll take the Portland Aerial Tram and see some of the best views of the city. You can also go to the Oregan Zoo if that fancies your interest. Read the directions in the link in the header because I’m useless at explaining.
The Ace is always a favourite and the Portland location is right downtown so it’s easy to explore from.
I’m a big fan of the Kimpton Hotels because their pet-friendly, and they’re also located right downtown. You’ll have a choice between their Vintage, Monaco, or Riverside locations.
We always stay in an AirBnB and actually find Portland has some of the best spots. Laneway houses are BIG in Portland so chances are you’ll be staying in a swanked out little pad all to yourself.