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Things to do in Wacky & Fun Portland

After our West Coast trip, Dan and I are sharing some of our favourite things to do in Portland.

Things to do in Portland Guide

This Bergstom dress was my go-to for wandering the streets of Portland – read all about it below!

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!

What’s Portland Like?

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!

Things to do in Portland - explore the charming neighbourhoods

One of my favourite things to do in new cities is drive around their residential neighbourhoods. Portland was full of quaint neighbourhoods with beautiful homes like these.


Things To Do In Portland

We spent 3 days in Portland which I felt was enough, here are a couple of our suggestions for things to do in Portland.

1. Go Just Outside the City and Visit some Waterfalls

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’!

Things to do in Portland - Visit Maltnomah Falls

2. Visit Some of Portland’s MANY Specialty Coffee Cafes

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.

Things to do in Portland - Visit Heart Roasters Portland

The Heart location downtown had tall ceilings, white walls, huge windows and amazing espresso. An Instagrammers dream 😉


Things to do in Portland - Visit Good Coffee Portland

The Good Coffee on SE 12th Avenue had the sweetest patio and the friendliest Baristas!


Things to do in Portland - Visit Barista Coffee

I loved the Barista location in the Pearl District – such a lovely strip of stores with a cool industrial feel

3. Eat at Some of Portland’s Many Restaurants

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!

Things to do in Portland - Eat at the Food trucks!

In Food Truck Heaven at the block of food trucks at SW Alder and SW 9th!

Things to do in Portland - Salt and Straw Ice Cream

A line up of Salt & Straw goers at their NW 23 location!


4. Visit Some of Portlands Beautiful Gardens

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.

Things to do in Portland - Visit Pistils Nursery

Things to do in Portland - Visit Pistils Nursery Portland

Things to do in Portland - Visit Pistils Nursery Portland

Things to do in Portland - Visit The Rose Garden in Portland

The Portland Rose Garden – just waiting to bloom!

Things to do in Portland - Visit The Rhododendron garden

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Bergstrom Dress worn by Threads & Blooms

And, What I Wore in Portland!

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!

Threads & Blooms in Portland

The prettiest detailed pattern on this dress from Bergstrom.


5. Go Shopping at some of Portlands Independent Shops!

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!

Things to do in Portland - Visit The Shops!

NW 23rd Portland

Things to Do in Portland Conculsion

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!!


comments +

  1. Aleksandra

    June 10th, 2017 at 10:00 am

    It looks like a really charming town 🙂

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