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After our West Coast trip, Dan and I are sharing some of our favourite things to do in Portland.
Welcome to Portland…
For those of you who follow me on Instagram you will know that Dan and I went on a little West Coast adventure at the end of May. We started off in Vancouver, then headed down to Seattle, and finished our time off in Portland. I have never been to any of these cities so I wanted to share a bit about my time in each place. Let’s go backwards and start off here with things to do in Portland!
Portland is just as special and quirky as I had heard it was before going. It was notably rich with food culture having many great cafes, restaurants (especially vegetarian ones for us), and bars. Funny signs around each corner, quirky storefronts, and so many friendly people. As for things to do in Portland? Our trip was filled with visits to gardens for me, and cafes for Dan.
Interested in the rest of our trip? Read all about my first visit to Vancouver and my experience attending the Sinclair and Moore Workshop in Seattle!
We spent 3 days in Portland which I felt was enough, here are a couple of our suggestions for things to do in Portland.
We had time to visit all of the spots we wanted within the city and take a short trip outside of the city to visit Multnomah Falls. Oregon is known for its waterfalls so it would be a shame not to visit any! Multnomah is one of the best known waterfalls and is located closest to the city. It was beautiful, easy to access and just a 10 minute walk on a paved pathway to get up to the bridge. Now that’s my kind of ‘hiking’!
If you are a coffee lover like Dan I’ve got you covered! Our favourite spots were: Heart Roasters (Dan’s top choice and they have 2 locations), Good Coffee (my favourite for aesthetic and they also have 2 locations), and Barista with 5 Portland locations. We also really enjoyed checking out the new roasting location for Coava where they have great cold brew and have their HUGE roaster on display in the space.
Next up: eating! As I mentioned above, Portland was great for restaurants. Dan and I are fans of good food that comes with a low key, not fancy dining experience. One of our favourite places was called Sweet Hereafter. It is a vegetarian restaurant in East Portland with an awesome selection of vegetarian bowls and sandwiches.
No trip to Portland would be complete without a lunch at the food trucks though! At SW Alder and SW 9th Street in the downtown there is Portland’s biggest selection of food trucks with everything under the sun! Everyone in the area would pick up their lunch at the food trucks and head to the square across the street where every step and seat was occupied with people taking a midday break. Guys, this was soo Portland and such a fun experience!
If you’re looking for something sweet, Salt & Straw ice cream has locations all over the city and if you go at the right time of day you can beat the line. They have amazing unique flavours like Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper, Beakside’s Brewery Spent Grains and Bacon Smores (special to June), and a more subdued, Cinnamon Snickerdoodle. The most difficult decision I made in Portland was choosing which ice cream to get!
One of the things that blew my mind most about the West coast is how green and lush it is. In May, the rhododendrons were particularly amazing! We made sure to visit to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. The garden had lovely winding walkways, bridges, and rhododendrons of all sizes and colours.
One of Portland’s most popular destinations in the Portland Rose Garden. When we visited unfortunately it wasn’t showing much colour yet but I can only imagine that in a few weeks this spot will be incredible!
In town we visited Pistil’s Nursery after seeing it come up so much in my Instagram research (Instagram research = scouring Instaram for the cutest and coolest places ;)). This charming nursery is located right in East Portland on Mississippi Street. It is filled to the brim with succulents, pretty pots, and perennials.
Finally, to complete my flower fix I met with one of my Instagram flower friends, Heather from @presentseason. She was so kind and welcomed Dan and I into her home where we chatted with her and her husband and bonded over our love of flowers, coffee, and community.
Now, it wouldn’t be a complete post without talking about my favourite thing…fashion! Before heading on our trip I was invited to one of my favourite Toronto boutiques, Bergstrom, to pick out a dress to take away. Bergstrom is a Toronto based clothing company with a shop on Queen Street East. All of their clothing is made just down the street and all operations are overseen by the owner and designer, Christina.
Bergstrom pieces can be identified by their bright colours and bold prints and I knew this Capri Medallion dress would be perfect for Portland as soon as I tried it on. I wore it the entire day (I’m talking 8am-10pm). With just a swap of my shoes, it was so versatile for everything that I did. I wore it with black sneakers to walk around all day. Changed into my flats for lunch and popped on some heeled sandals for dinner. The material of this dress is light weight and high quality which was perfect because it was SO hot while we were away. For those of you that love to buy local like me or are just looking for a fun summer dress, I highly encourage you to check out Bergstrom!
As for shopping IN Portland? There was no shortage of that either! NW 23rd is a popular area for more main stream shopping. The vibe up here was quite a bit more preppy than downtown or East Portland. The downtown had a more mainstream collection of shops as well with things like Anthropologie, Pottery Barn, and Madewell along Couch Street.
In East Portland the mix was a bit more eclectic and there are many streets with vintage shops carrying all sorts of finds. Mississippi Ave., Hawthorne, and Alberta were some of the streets that we enjoyed exploring. If you are a vintage lover, you will certainly enjoy these spots too. For my personal style, I found the vintage shops in Portland a bit TOO eclectic quite truthfully. I am a big vintage shopper but I really love vintage shops that are very curated and selective. The majority of the shops I visited in Portland had a whole range of finds in all different price ranges, conditions, and styles. Perfect for those who like the scour racks on racks for that one special piece!
The final verdict? Portland was fun! If you love to eat, vintage shop, and drink coffee then there are lots of things to do in Portland for you!!
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