Ahh Portland! The home of Voodoo donuts and hipsters, where plaid is a lifestyle not a clothing pattern and wine and coffee are the two most popular drinks in town! A city full of art and artists, live music and food trucks and local culture that is unique from any other city in Oregon. Tourists know the well-known attractions, but a worldwide local knows how to experience it best. This is an awesome guide on some of Portland’s best hidden spots.
While you are in the great city of PDX you might hear a lot of hype about “First Thursday” but if you want to enjoy Portland like a “Portlandian” you need to be around Alberta for LAST Thursday. This is a great community event that is free to attend and has vendors, live music, art shows, food trucks and really great places around the neighborhood to find food and drink at a great price.
Portland is the home to the king of donuts – Voodoo. An international novelty bakery located in downtown Portland that specializes in the most bizarre combinations you’ll ever see on a donuts. But since it is such a big deal the line to get it wraps around the block. If you want to get the same quality of product but don’t want to deal with the line, go to Voodoo Too. That is the NE Portland Voodoo location that only locals know about so the line is basically non-existent
You might have noticed that there is a reoccurring theme for finding food around Portland – food trucks. This city is famous for the major population of eating options that are on wheels. There are several “food truck corrals” that you can visit which are parking lots FULL of options for food! You could taste your way around the world and never leave the parking lot. If you need an area to start your journey head over to the corner of SW Washington Street and SW Alder Street.
Insider tip: Looking for a local taste of beer? Check out the Microbrew scene! There are more than 60 breweries that are local to Portland. There are some amazing brews coming out of Portland these days and so you definitely don’t want to miss out on trying some while you are here.
While the city of PDX is awesome – if you aren’t enjoying nature while you are here you aren’t visiting the city the right way. The Pacific Northwest is one of the great areas of the United States to enjoy the great outdoors! Portland has built up a lot of nature parks and gardens throughout the city, like the Lan Su Chinese Garden or the International Rose Test Garden. There is also a pretty impressive trail system built through the city that you can get out and walk on. Or if you wanted to take a day trip to the woods you can drive 45 minutes out of town to hike to Multnomah Falls.
So, we have talked about all the food trucks that you will find around the city but let’s visit a restaurant that has actual four walls and no wheels. If you are looking for a more “fine dining” option you will need to make a reservation at “Beast”, winner of 2014 James Beard Best Chef Northwest. Or try some Southern heirloom cooking at Mae Ploy Thai Cuisine– don’t be surprised if your food comes out with some edible flowers on top.
Insider tip: You should absolutely visit Pepe le Moko. This is a speakeasy where you walk into the kitchen and head downstairs to an intimate tapas bar and cocktail lounge with a 50’s jazzy vibe.
Portland is weird. I mean, it admits it right in the city slogan, “Keep Portland Weird”. I say embrace it. Do some things on your PDX vacation you wouldn’t necessarily do. Join in on the World Naked Bike Ride or try your luck at the Adult Soap Box Derby. Depending on what you’re into, you can most likely find it with an extra weird Portland twist to it. Like take yoga, for example. In Portland there is goat yoga. Cat yoga. Yoga with beer. Cannabis yoga. Remember – just a little weird!
Now, very important that you listen to this last tip. If you like wine – DON’T MISS OUT in Portland. Oregon is the third largest porducing state for wine and some of the best Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in the country can be found just outside of Portland. You could spend your entire trip sipping on wine and never miss out! Visit The Oregon Wine Board website to see how you can plan your sipping trip!
Traveling Photographer Out!