Travel Guide: Portland

Although I've been in Portland now for most of the past year, I'm still a tourist here.  A tourist who has had the time to explore some really cool stuff, and eat some really good food.  If you've never been, you really should plan a trip here.  Spend a few days or more taking in the greenness and find out what this little metropolis nestled in the woods is all about.  

Getting Around

Since my visit here has been long term, I take the bus or use Zipcar.  So much of Portland is walkable, so there's no need to drive everywhere.  If I were coming to visit, I would rent a house in a cute neighborhood on airbnb as first choice, or stay in one of downtown's chic hotels as a second choice.


Some of the food spots I've discovered here is one of my favorite things about Portland.  For Happy Hour (weekdays from 5-6) or dinner, check out Noble Rot.  The food is incredible and much of it is grown on their rooftop garden.  It doesn't get any fresher than that!  I like the butter lettuce salad, the ham panino with mango chutney, and the burger.  The view of downtown just adds to the magic.  

For Sunday brunch I love The Parrish in the Pearl District.  I can never decide which dish to have because everything has been impressive.  Always start with oysters!  The live band gives a relaxed and warm energy to the room without being overwhelming.  This is a good dinner spot too, but it's the brunch that I crave.

Porque No? is another favorite.  You might have to wait in line to order your tacos and margaritas, but the food is worth the wait and I've never had trouble getting a table after ordering.  Plus there's a separate line for second orders, so if you need mas you don't have to wait again!


In the city, Enso Winery is a must do.  It's just blocks from where I stay and is one of the city's "urban wineries."  They make the wines right there in the building, no vineyard needed!  Definitely do a tasting to get the full range of what Enso has to offer, then sip a glass while lounging in their urban but cozy space.

It took me a while but I finally got out to the Willamette Valley (pronounced will-AM-eht, seriously) about 45 minutes outside of Portland.  There is a massive list of wineries here, so plan ahead.  We chose Dundee because there are several within a small range of space, which was most convenient.  Also make sure to check websites or call the ones you're thinking of trying, as not all the vineyards have tasting rooms and not all tasting rooms are open yearlong.  I loved the wine most at Erath, and the space most at Winderlea.  There's a tasting room in the Market building downtown but the wine wasn't worth trying.  Dundee Bistro downtown, however, was a great lunch stop!

Be Touristy

Drive out to Multnomah Falls for some nature wonder.  You can make it a quick stop or pack a lunch and hike to the top.  On the way home again is Edgefield, so if you haven't had enough wine yet, stop, taste, and explore their beautiful property.  I watched glass blowers there, and they often hold concerts too!

In town, the International Rose Test Garden is something to see at least once.  The Portland Art Museum is something to see again and again.  Forest Park is a great hiking spot - you won't believe you aren't a hundred miles from civilization!  The historic Lone Fir Cemetery is one of my favorite daily walks.  Sauvie Island is tons of fun.  Mind the season, as there aren't always harvests or ripe fruits.  We went in August to pick peaches!


BurnCycle is my jam, but I've also enjoyed Core Power and Yoga Pearl.  lululemon's complimentary yoga is Sunday mornings at 9:30 and BurnCycle, a few blocks away, has an 11:00 class.  It makes the perfect double before your brunch at The Parrish.  :)

Bonus Points

Portland is a city of pocket neighborhoods, a few or several blocks each of shops, restaurants, food trucks, and things to see and do.  There are more of them than I could list and more than I've been able to explore in a year.  See how many you can hit up!  Check out Belmont, Laurelhurst, NW 23rd, Alberta, Mississippi... Whatever you do, enjoy your walks.  The moss, natural succulents, and everything green is a sight to behold.

Kimberly NovoselComment