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Portland offers amazing things that you must see or experience in your visit. Other than walking and exploring the downtown and the 23rd street, there’re so many attractions in Portland Oregon that you must see on your trip.
1. Saturday Market:
The first attraction I experienced in Portland. It was our first Saturday in the city and also the last market of the year (due to weather it’s open only from June to October). You can explore local artists, food, and live music. It’s located on the waterfront and you can rent a bike or walk around. The waterfront is a great place on its own. I love walking around, see the ships coming from the ocean, and eat.
2. Voodoo Doughnut and Blue star Donut:
Portlandians have their competition between the Blue Star Donut to Voodoo Doughnut. Honestly, I don’t have a favorite, both of them are amazing but really different and it depends on your own personal taste. Voodoo Doughnut is more touristic and almost impossible to reach during the weekends. They have so many flavors- my favorite is the Oreo.
You can find any flavor from mango, grapes, strawberries, chocolate, peanut butter, and even cereals. If you go to Voodoo Doughnuts, there’re two locations- one in downtown Portland, and one in the NE side of the city. The downtown location is always busy, especially during the weekends while the second one is easier to reach (due to COVID-19 the NE location is temporarily closed).
The Blue Star Donuts has a few locations over the city. Unlike Voodoo Doughnut, their combinations are not as obvious such as strawberry or chocolate. My favorite is the Blueberry Bourbon Basil which is really good. They have more locations and consider to be less touristic, but a lot of locals prefer them over the touristic Voodoo Doughnut. Anyway, both places are extremely good and part of Portland’s best places.
3. Powell’s City of Books:
Any book lovers? If you’re like me this place is heaven.
Powell’s city of books is the largest used and new bookstore in the world. According to their website, they’re housing approximately one million books (how crazy is that??). In their downtown location- 1005 w. Burnside st. / Portland, or 97209, the city of books has 9 colored rooms and over 3,500 different sections. And if that’s not enough they even have a Rare Book Room.
If you’re a book lover, this place is definitely one of the best attractions in Portland! You can explore this place for hours without notice of the time. You can sit and read in the Basil Hailward Gallery, drink coffee, and enjoy a good book.
4. Explore the Street Art- Alberta Art District:
One of my favorite attractions in Portland! Street art covering the entire city but there are some specific streets where you can find them everywhere. Alberta District is one of those streets. You can take photos in front of the cool walls, shop in one of the local stores, grab something to eat, and basically enjoy the city vibe.
If you decide to eat there:
– Proud Mary is a great restaurant! It’s an Australian Café and this Portland’s location is their first location outside of Australia. The restaurant is offering breakfast, brunch, and lunch. If you’re looking for delicious food (that also looks amazing), it’s the right place.
– Salt & Straw- one of the most iconic ice creams in the area (as I’ll mention at point #5). This location is usually less crowded and worth stopping by.
– Random Order Pie Bar is highly recommended for pie lovers. My favorite is the banana cream. => As for today, this place is temporarily closed due to Covid-19
5. Food Carts:
You can’t visit Portland without trying at least one of the local food carts. Portland has a reputation as a food-centric city with more than 500 food carts at any given time. In fact, Portland ranked as the top food truck-friendly city in America according to the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Most carts are organized into “pods”- a collection of food carts parked together such as Cartopia (on 1207 SE Hawthorne Boulevard). The food carts offer some of the best food in the city and some of the local restaurants also hold food carts in different locations across the city.
6. Multnomah Falls:
Already wrote about these falls in “The Best 5 Waterfalls in Oregon”.
They are the most popular and touristic falls in Oregon. It’s about 30 min drive from the city to the Columbia River Gorge. It is a great opportunity to see the incredible Gorge. You can hike or simply watch the falls, drive in the scenic road and enjoy the views of the Columbia Gorge. If you’re going, I recommend taking the scenic road and stop at Vista House. It’s a viewpoint with a panoramic view of the Columbia. If you’re taking the scenic road, there’re a few other falls on your way to Multnomah falls that you can simply see from your car (stop to take some picture or hike).
7. Pittock Mansion and Forest Park:
Pittock Mansion has an incredible view of the city and Mt. Hood. The place serves today as a museum and tells the story of Portland’s transformation from pioneer town to a modern, industrialized city. It’s located in Forest Park, the largest urban forest in the United States (5,200 acres). It has 80 miles of trails where you can experience the Northwest without leaving the city limit.
From Pottock Mansion, there’re a few hiking options:
- Pittock Mansion to west Burnside Pedestrian Bridge via Wildwood Trail: 1.5 miles easy loop.
- Pittock Mansion via Upper Macleay and Wildwood Trail: A short 2.7 miles loop trail. The trail considers easy, kids and dogs friendly.
- Lower Macleay park to Pittock Mansion: 5.4 miles moderate hike.
- Pittock Mansion via Wildwood Trail: 6.2 miles easy out & back trail.
8. Salt & Straw:
Portland is known for her weirdness for a reason. Salt & Straw is an Oregon-based small ice cream company. There isn’t a way to describe these flavors unless you taste them for yourself. Their flavors are curiously delicious.
This place is very “Portland”, there’s no way you can find flavors such as Honey Lavender, Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper in a lot of places. All flavors are handmade in small batches using organic and sustainable ingredients. This place is definitely worth a try!
Their location is the 23rd street is always crowded mostly during the weekends. If you’re also going to Alberta District, it may be better to stop there and skip the lines. => during the Covid-19 they’re open for orders but close to dining.
I was surprised to discover that Portland has about 75 breweries which is more than any other city on Earth. The city loves beer and shows it in its 11-day beer “week” in June and many beer festivals (at least one beer festival every month). If you’re in the city, try the local breweries. I always tell them what kind of beer I like, and they give me one of their local beers that always fits my taste.
10. Portland Bridges:
Shockingly, not all of the best places in the city are food-related (even though most of them are). Portland has amazing bridges all over the Willamette River. They connect between the west and east side of the city. Each bridge is unique and different from the other ones. You can cross the bridges by foot or rent a bike in one of the bike’s stations around the city. It may not be the Golden Bridge in San Francisco but they definitely worth the look. My favorites are Hawthorne Bridge, Tilikum Crossing, and the St. Johns Bridge.
Hope you’ll have an amazing trip in Portland, Oregon!
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