I spent a week in early January in Portland with my sister Carly & friend Abbie who’s recently moved out there from Australia. It’ was my first proper visit to the State but despite the all but typical rainy weather, we managed to see, eat, explore & enjoy all that Portland has to offer.
If you’re a fan of the TV series Portlandia, you’ll have heard the reference “Portland is stuck in the 90’s”, and the more you explore the town, the more true this becomes. With quaint coffee shops at every turn and more wooden interiors than you can imagine, Portland is every little bit laid back, simple and indie.
Here’s some of my favourite places we visited & recommendations for the city. My biggest tip would be to hire a car and head up into the Mountains which was by far the most magic moment of our week. Dress warm, stay caffeinated, try everything and make sure to enjoy a happy hour or two.
Watch my Portland video
The Jupiter Hotel is a sweet little spot perfect for exploring Portland. It’s located East of the river and is a really short stroll to Downtown Portland. The boutique hotel has a vintage/70’s/Jetsons vibe and comes complete with an art gallery, free wifi & coffee in the mornings. It’s located next to the Doug Fir Lounge which is a bar and restaurant where they have gigs, a photobooth and all those good things like fireplaces & cosy American diner food. What I loved most about the Jupiter Hotel was that the doors in the bedrooms were chalkboards which you could create art on. The outdoor area is a sweet chill out spot during the day and a really nice place to have a drink in the evening and escape the rain.
All of the rooms are themed/decorated differently with wall art and has a really relaxed vibe about it.
TO SEE & DO
A 35 minute drive from central Portland & so worth it. Make it a day trip and drive back the longer way through Mount Hood where you’ll see the most spectacular works of Mother Nature and tall snow covered trees as far as your eyes can see. Make sure to have traction tires or chains on your car in Winter months as it gets quite snowy and icy up there.
MOUNT HOOD SKI RESORT
I couldn’t really believe my eyes when we headed up into the mountains. We had blue skies, powdery snow and white dusted trees as far as my eyes could see. The most spectacular drive up there even if you’re not going to ski or board.
The world’s largest independent and second hand book store. I could have spent hours here just wandering about. They have a coffee store and a special one-of-a-kind rare book room and over 1 million books spread across four levels.
Salt, chocolate, flowers, himilayan salt slabs, bitters. This place is a wonderland of goodies.
HAND EYE SUPPLY
Brick & mortar store catering to the creative with a variety of work clothes, high-end shop tools & books. I attended a launch party here and the wooden interiors & knick knacks are so rad.
Women’s clothing store for badass women. Tomboy style.
ALDER & CO
Home interiors to die for.
Little indoor laneway with a tonne of cool stores (also where Boxer Ramen is located).
The best brunch in the whole of Portland serving farm to table food in a really cute setting.
POR QUE? NO
Cheap, cheerful & really delicious Mexican food
OVEN AND SHAKER
Pizzas & cocktails (make sure to visit during their happy hour)
STUMP TOWN COFFEE
The best brew
BLUE STAR DONUTS
Everyone raves about Voodoo donuts in Portland but I think the star of the town is Blue Star. Their interiors, chatty staff & selection of both vegan & non-vegan donuts make this place my #1 donut stop in PDX.
Sweet beats, beer & the very best Ramen.
SALT AND STRAW ICE CREAM
You absolutely can’t visit Portland without paying a visit to this ice creamery. Salt and Straw have the most unimaginable combinations imagined and they are all so incredible. Honey lavender, honey mimosa sherbet, almond brittle with salted ganache, pear and blue cheese- the list goes on and you should try get your hands on as many as you can.