Our next four-night stop was the spectacular Portland, Oregon. I have to say, it really is like Portlandia; people ride bikes everywhere, there is local food on every corner and the quality of facial hair was like no other. It’s definitely a place I could see myself living and enjoying the laid back vibe.
As soon as we landed, I sought out some of the beloved PDX carpet to get a photo. I listened to this 99% Invisible podcast (which I totally recommend) a while back and I had to get on (literally) the #pdxcarpet action.
Our AirBnb was in the Alberta Arts District, which is such an eclectic area (the Uber driver who picked us up at the airport was even excited for us to be staying where we were). We were early for check-in, so we dropped off our bags and explored what Alberta Street had to offer.
One of the highlights of Portland for me was the Salt & Straw ice cream shop just up the road from our Airbnb in the Alberta Arts District. The super cheery staff let us taste way too many flavours (garam masala! olive oil! pear and blue cheese!) before most of us just ordered the ol’ favourite, salted caramel. We came back each day to get a fix of the delicious ice cream and to cool down from the scorching heat outside.
We hired a car for a day so we could experience the vast Portland landscape. GPS in hand, we headed to Multnomah Falls to admire the spectacular waterfall. I was so surprised that we had just parked our car, and only 10 seconds later we were looking at the waterfall – no hiking was necessary, just hopped out of the car and we were there!
After saying ‘hey’ to the 70-year-old Herman the Sturgeon we drove to Eagle Creek (which is just 45 minutes out of Portland) for the most picturesque hike. The hike lasts about an hour and about every 10 minutes the scenery changes. There is also a section called the ‘Vertigo Mile’ which will really test your fear of heights (hello jellylegs!).
We hiked all the way to Punchbowl Falls. The cool water felt like such a reward for the hour-long hike in the 35+ degree heat. We sat down, took our shoes off and enjoyed the refreshing water for a while, watching people jump from the cliffs into the water below and hanging out with cute dogs, before heading back to the car. It was pretty hard work, but so worth it.
A friend suggested going to Heart Coffee Roasters which was “the best coffee in the world” and I have to say I was not disappointed. The flat white was smooth, creamy and really made my brain kick into gear!
Ryan and I made a stop at Voodoo Doughnut (hello tourists!) to try their Mexican Hot Chocolate and custard filled doughnuts. Ryan couldn’t help himself and also ordered the maple-bacon. Yes please and thank you.
One afternoon we booked a bike tour to explore Portlands’ parks and breweries – a perfect match if I ever heard of one. We chatted with our tour guide about life in Portland over a few beers and was taken to community gardens, rose gardens and places where people like to smoke (recently-legalised) pot overlooking the Portland sunset.
The Portland Japanese Garden is a tranquil sanctuary not far from the city centre. The garden was about 5 degrees cooler than the rest of the city, so it made for a nice break from the heat.
We had a short visit to Ground Kontrol, which is where you can drink beer and play arcade games. I was pretty impressed that I haven’t lost any of my Mortal Kombat skills over the last 15 years and I forgot how difficult playing Mario-kart actually was. With the help of Foursquare, we found a little speak-easy around the corner and grabbed a locally-brewed beer before dinner.
Our last meal was at The Clyde at The Ace Hotel. I actually found the food a little disappointing (mostly because the vegetarian options weren’t great) but the cocktails, atmosphere and company really made up for it. We stopped next door at the Ace Hotel lobby to use the photobooth (of course) and admire the hotel – next time I’d love to stay there.
This guy filled the sky for our Uber ride home.
Bollywood Theatre for super filling Indian food
Pok Pok for Thai Street food (just be prepared to wait in a queue!)
Salt & Straw
Tasty & Alder
Clyde Common at Ace Hotel
Heart Coffee Roasters
Sip Juice Truck
Barista for coffee fix
Bike and Brew
Explore the Alberta Arts District
Visit a Brew and View (we didn’t get time to, but I think it would be amazing)
Jump on a bike tour and explore what Portland has to offer