Portland is Oregon’s largest city and arguably the hipster capital of the USA. There are more ironic moustaches, pushbikes and trendy cafes here than anywhere else in the states. Like many big cities, there aren’t actually a tonne of touristy places to go in Portland Oregon. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth stopping in for a couple of days and soaking up the city’s cool vibes, delish coffee and top-notch happy hours. I spent a weekend exploring Portland, staying in the most wonderful apartment (more on that later) and sampling the best the city has to offer. Headed to America’s weirdest city? Well look no further, here are all the best things to do in Portland Oregon.
1. Shop shop shop!
There is no sales tax in Oregon which makes shopping one of the best Portland Oregon activities. Oregon is also the hometown of Nike, which makes it an even better place to shop! If you’re in need of some new kicks head on over to the Nike Factory Outlet on Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. I picked up three awesome pairs of trainers for $150 USD. There are also a bunch of epic boutiques downtown like Wildfang, Alder and Co and Yo Vintage all completely sales tax-free… Winning!
2. Drink all of the coffee
You can’t go to the hipster capital of the USA and not try a meticulously hand-poured artisan coffee. You also can’t stop a Melburnian from sampling all the coffee she can in a weekend. There are a bunch of awesome coffee shops in Portland and drinking a hot cuppa joe (or a cold one) is one of the top things to do in Portland Oregon. My faves were Guilder Cafe, Courier Coffee and Locale.
3. Lose Yourself on a happy hour crawl
One of my favourite things about the states is the fact that their happy hours not only include drinks but food as well! Whenever I land anywhere I always look up the best happy hours and take myself on a little bit of a happy hour crawl. I spent an awesome Friday night sipping cheap cocktails and munching on delicious nibbles like sliders, tempura green beans and fried duck wings. I’d definitely recommend checking out Paley’s Place, Bang Bang, Clyde Common and Saucebox. A happy hour crawl is definitely one of the fun things to do in Portland Oregon.
4. Get lost at Powell’s bookstore
If you’re an avid reader, or just like the smell of books..? I believe that’s a thing. Then Powell’s Book Store definitely needs to be on your list of places to go in Portland Oregon. Powell’s is the worlds biggest bookstore and the three levels house all number of books on topics ranging from Norse Mythology; to astrophysics; to slow-cooking. You literally could spend hours in here exploring all the weird and wacky books available, learning a bunch of new skills.
5. Try All The Wacky Flavours At Salt And Straw
Speaking of exploring the weird and wacky, one of the best places to visit in Portland Oregon is definitely Salt and Straw. This boutique ice cream store not only has amazingly huge waffle cones it’s also serving up some of the most crazy, inventive flavours I’ve ever seen at an ice cream store. And better yet they don’t mind if you try pretty much all of them before you order! Some of the more out-there flavours include pear and blue cheese and strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper. They also run limited edition flavours every month. When I was there they had five new flavours on for Thanksgiving. Including buttered mashed potatoes and gravy and spiced goats cheese and pumpkin pie. If you’re wondering where to go in Portland Oregan, put Salt and Straw and the top of your list.
6. eat lunch at Kenny And Zuke’s
If like me you’re stopping off in Portland on your way home from Latin America, you’re probably craving a lunch that doesn’t involve rice and beans. Well, not only is lunch at Kenny and Zuke’s a rice and beans free zone it is also serving up some of the authentic and delicious Jewish deli food going around. Kenny and Zuke’s is one of the best places to go in Portland Oregon for seriously good bagels, pastrami and all number of artisan pickles and dips. Mmmmm I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
7. Try the shave ice at Wailua
Ok, so I have to admit I was a little hesitant when my friend recommended trying shave ice as one of the fun things to do in Portland Oregon… Portland really wasn’t screaming shaved ice to me. I also thought it was going to be extremely sickly and sweat because ‘Merica… Right? But the shaved ice at Wailua was actually life-changing. I haven’t found a better shave ice since. And my next stop was Hawaii! Located down a little alleyway, this cute, tropical themed joint takes shave ice to the next level. With gourmet flavours like The Love Potion (vanilla bean milk, strawberry puree and fresh strawberry) and Triple Coconut (coconut syrup, Haupia foam and toasted coconut) and shaved ice that is so soft and fluffy, you think you’re eating a cloud. We went for ‘Da Mango One’ which featured mango syrup, fresh mango, condensed milk and a coconut foam. Yum! Looking for things to see in Portland Oregon? These culinary creations need to make the list.
8. take a weekend trip to do all the activities in bend
Now, if you can get your hands on a rental car and are up for all the adventures a day trip to Bend is definitely one of the best things to do near Portland Oregon. Bend is a three-hour drive from Portland and boasts 300 days of sunshine a year. It also has some epic snowfields, pumping craft brewery scene, a stunning crater lake and some pretty insane waterfalls.
WHERE TO STAY IN Portland Oregon: I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH to spend two nights at the incredible STAY ALFRED APARTMENTS ON OVERTON STREET. My Two bedroom apartment was big and roomy, with a fully equipped kitchen and laundry. IT was such a nice change from #hostellife! It was also located a quick 15-minute walk to downtown and had fabulous views of the city from the balcony. THE FREEDOM OF HAVING MY OWN SPACE AND MY OWN KITCHEN TO USE WAS AWESOME! THE STAY ALFRED APARTMENTS ARE DEFINITELY ONE OF THE best places to stay in portland Oregon.
FOR THE LATEST RATES AND AVAILABILITY FOR THE STAY ALFRED APARTMENTS CLICK HERE. Plus use the code NSBB10 to receive 10% off your stay at any Stay Alfred (subject to availability).
DAILY BUDGET: OF COURSE THE USA IS GOING TO BE HEAPS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN LATIN AMERICA. I ENDED UP SPENDING AROUND $70 USD PER DAY. However, I COULD HAVE REDUCED THAT HAD I COOKED MY OWN MEALS. BUT THE FOOD IN PORTLAND WAS TOO GOOD TO MISS! And there are too many awesome places to go in Portland Oregon.
HOW TO GET TO PORTLAND OREGON: It really depends on where you’re coming from. But usually, the best way to get to Portland will be to fly with one of the states low-cost airlines like Spirit of Virgin. There are also greyhound buses that travel all around the country.
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