After saying goodbye to our friends in Anchorage, it was time for my fiance and I to move on to Portland. I was super excited for this second leg of our trip. I had picked out an Airbnb like months in advance and had a long list of restaurants I wanted to hit up. Plus we were moving forward an hour so I felt confident that I’d be able to stay up a little later thanks to the small time change.
Hands down the best part about Portland is the walkability. The blocks are a lot smaller than some of the other bigger cities so you can get pretty far on foot. The city is split up into multiple neighborhoods so I found that the best way to see as much as possible was to dedicate each day to certain areas. For example, our first full day we took an Uber and spent time walking around downtown and in the neighboring Pearl district. The next day we visited the Hawthorne area. And then the last day we went to the Northwest neighborhood. I loved it all. To the point that I told my fiance we should move there when we retire.
Besides being super walking friendly, Portland has become foodie central. Among your typical brick and mortar locations, it also has a huge food truck scene. The place we were staying was right up the road from a place called Cartopia which had a bunch of food carts all gathered in one location. And this wasn’t the only place! There are tons of different areas where food trucks and carts gather. The photo taken below was on Hawthorne street.
Some of my personal favorite food spots were:
- Cartopia – special shout-out to Chicken and Guns – delicious chicken and crispy potatoes!
- Nuestra Cocina – AMAZING Mexican food
- Jam on Hawthorne – Super delicious brunch and huge portions. It gets super busy so make sure you get there early
- Broder Cafe – Scandinavian breakfast food and the coffee is so good
- Bollywood Theater – Indian food and amazing decor
- Salt and Straw – Ice cream with a twist! I had the Tokyo PB&J: Japanese whiskey-spiked strawberry jam, peanut butter and caramelized white chocolate feuilletine.
Of course there were a ton of spots we weren’t able to get to (Pok Pok, I’m looking at you) but that just means I’ll have to go back.
Places you need to check out:
- Breweries – You can’t go to Portland and not check out a couple of spots. Like I said before, I don’t even like beer but I still have fun going to them. One of the many that we attended was Rogue Brewing and they had decks of cards and different board games you could play. My fiance and I played some gin while taking a walking break and I totally won.
- Powell’s books – If you’re a book lover, you have to stop here. While it’s definitely a tourist hotspot, it’s a huge bookstore so there’s plenty of room for everyone. We spent hours in the shelves, surrounded by books.
- Coffee – This feels like such an obvious one. When you’re downtown, you literally can’t go two blocks without seeing a Starbucks. Mixed in between those are tons of local coffee shops as well. Our Airbnb was just a quick walk away from a coffee shop called Coava Coffee Roasters – on our last day, my fiance made sure to grab a bag of beans before heading home.
- Portland Japanese Garden – Located a bit further west of downtown, this is a traditional Japanese garden located within Washington Park. It’s a great place to get out of the city and surround yourself with nature. There are tons of paths to take and giant trees everywhere. Plus it’s literally across a parking lot from the Portland International Rose Test Garden. I have never seen that many roses in my life.
I think it’s safe to say that I’m definitely going back to Portland at some point in time. While I saw a ton, I feel like there’s so much I wasn’t able to see or experience. Plus there’s something about the west coast that continually draws me to it. I cannot recommend visiting both Anchorage and Portland enough – two major thumbs up!
Is Portland on your “to visit” list?