I may be a bit biased because I live here, but Portland, OR is genuinely the greatest city of all time. Move aside San Francisco --- Portland should now be called THE City. From the river running through it to the mountains surrounding it, it is the gem of the Pacific Northwest. If you’re only visiting the city for a week (even though I highly suggest staying longer) this article is a compilation of the top restaurants, hikes, and viewing points of, and around, Portland! All underlined names are links to menus and maps, just so you know where you’re going ahead of time, enjoy!
With 51 state parks and over 200 state recreational areas, Oregon is home to some of the most beautiful hiking in the country, most of it within just a few hours from Portland. And if you’re into the small, hole in the wall restaurants, Portland is the perfect city for a foodie’s getaway! Below is a full week’s itinerary of my absolute favorite places in Portland (and a few outsides of it).
One of the few downsides of living in a big city like Portland is the crowds, but let me tell you that Gravy for breakfast is one of the few places I’d say is 100% worth the wait… but maybe still get there on the early side of the morning. Gravy has some of the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had in my life, and they also make some pretty fantastic mimosas! After breakfast, make your way to the Japanese Gardens on the west side of the river, with over 100 acres of gardens and ponds, it’s the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. After the yards, I suggest making your way to River Pig for lunch and watching whatever football games or whatever sporting events are on that day. River Pig is an awesome hole in the wall kind of bar, with excellent food and plenty of TVs for everyone to watch their favorite team. Once football’s over, I love to make my way over to Council Crest to watch the sunset over the river; you can make it a hike or drive your car all the way up to the top for a gorgeous view. To end the night, grab dinner at Matt’s BBQ food truck off of Mississippi St. and finish the day off with Ruby Jewel’s Ice Cream for a perfect dessert after!
You might be a little tired by this point in the trip. You’ve been doing a lot and need a hearty breakfast sandwich to get you back into the groove of things to power through another active day! Brunch Box in downtown Portland is the perfect place to curve that hunger! With breakfast sandwiches this large, you won’t be hungry for lunch for hours, which is ideal because you have to go hike up to well-known Pittock Mansion today. Pittock Mansion was built in 1909 by a London-born publisher and architect. The family lived in the home only for a few years before turning it into a hospital for soldiers and then a museum after the war. After hiking through Forest Park to Pittock Mansion, you can walk on over to Breakside Brewery for an early dinner. After dinner (and maybe a few beers), head on down to Alberta St. for dessert. Random Order Pie Bar is the best pie I’ve ever had, and I promise that isn’t an over exaggeration.
You spent all of yesterday in the city, I think it’s time for a quick road trip! The Oregon Coast isn’t known for its warm waters, but the dramatic coastline and quaint beach towns are beautiful. Grab a quick coffee and bagel to go at one of Portland’s tiniest coffee shops called TwentySix Café and hit the road for Cape Kiwanda State Park! Cape Kiwanda is located in Pacific City, Oregon and is on the Three Capes Scenic Route, which also includes Cape Meares and Cape Lookout. Hiking up the dunes is a bit difficult, especially on a windy day, but getting to see this view from the top is worth it. For lunch, I highly suggest Pelican Brewery on the beach, where you can have lunch in the sand and have a gorgeous view of Haystack Rock and maybe a few whales while you eat. When you get back into the city, you need to try one of Portland’s Top 10 Most Underrated restaurants according to Yelp. City Thai is a small Thai restaurant right outside of the city that has the best chicken pad Thai I’ve ever had, and pretty strong cocktails if I say so myself.
Because it’s getting close to the weekend, let’s stop by a few more places that’ll get packed once it hits Friday again. Mother’s Bistro & Bar is Portland’s idea of where a tea party meets comfort food. With delicious homemade pastries and hearty meals, Mother’s is a perfect place to start your day downtown. With your fancy coffee to-go, it’s now time to spend a few hours in the world’s largest independent chain bookstore Powell’s Books. Powell’s is a three-story building that takes up an entire city block. Let’s say I’ve gotten lost in there more than a few times. There are hundreds of thousands of books with organized rooms depending on the topic, along with an excellent coffee shop and gift store as well! Since you’re already downtown, and in Portland, you have to head to 10 Barrel Brewing Co for dinner. With great food and an excellent rooftop atmosphere, people will think you’re crazy if they hear you visited Portland and didn’t eat/drink at 10 Barrel. If you think you have room for something sweet after dinner, head to Moonstruck Chocolate Café for drinking chocolate and maybe a few truffles to end the night.
Today’s the day to throw it back a few decades! Cadillac Cafe is the perfect place to do this! With comfort food for breakfast at this fantastic diner, you’ll be ready for a drive the opposite direction of the coast towards Trillium Lake. Trillium Lake has an easy 2-mile loop that you can hike in any season. I’ve done it in the hottest time of the summer and jumped in for a swim after, but I’ve also snowshoed around it while having a gorgeous view of the frozen lake at the base of the mountain. After your hike, stop in Government Camp at the Huckleberry Inn for lunch; they have some of the warmest pancakes and thickest milkshakes this side of the Mississippi (I think so at least…). When you get back into town and maybe after you’ve relaxed a bit for the day, head down to 23rd street for dinner at Southland Whiskey Kitchen for some fantastic BBQ, 23rd Street is well known around Portland for having Christmas lights hung up all year round, which is gorgeous to walk around and look at after a good meal. With plenty of little shops and hole in the wall bars, you can easily spend all day there.
Sadly it’s your last day in Portland, but that means you’ve got to make it worth it! Tin Shed is the perfect place for your final breakfast in the world’s best city, with mimosas and the best potato cakes you’ve ever had. After food, it’s time to make it down to the Saturday Market on the waterfront, which happens every single Saturday in Portland. It’s full of food trucks, craft shows, and usually a ton of live music as well. If you have time and the money for one last fancy meal, Portland City Grill is the place to go. PCG is one of the most elegant restaurants in the city and is on the 34th floor of a skyscraper looking over the river and the rest of the city.
Well, that’s all I’ve got folks! I hope that if you end up visiting Portland, you fall in love with this city just as much as I have! The town indeed has some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, and you really can never run out of places to eat or see (obviously), so visit ASAP!
Sunday: Gravy, Japanese Gardens, River Pig, Council Crest, Matt's BBQ, Ruby Jewel's
Monday: Jam on Hawthorne, Multnomah Falls, Eagle's Creek, Thunder Island Brewing, Interurban, Blue Star
Tuesday: Brunch Box, Pittock Mansion, Breakside Brewery, Random Order Pie Bar
Wednesday: TwentySix Cafe, Cape Kiwanda State Park, Pelican Brewery, City Thai
Thursday: Mother's Bistro & Bar, Powell's Books, 10 Barrel Brewing Co, Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe
Friday: Cadillac Cafe, Trillium Lake, Huckleberry Inn, Southland Whisky Kitchen
Saturday: Tin Shed, Saturday Market, Portland City Grill