My husband recently achieved a lifelong dream that will kick off the rest of his career (and our next big moves!)
He was gone for one month so when he returned the clock started ticking for our remaining time in the PNW. We wanted to take advantage of a four-day weekend and chose to return to Portland, OR since we had only had day trips up until then.
Our first time in Portland was in 2015 and we ate at 10 Barrel Brewing. It was very busy but was an awesome bar with great food. In 2016 we spent a day in Portland walking around the NE neighborhood before taking these awesome photos with United Media Collective (John’s a close friend who also shot our wedding) and Liz Rudman. (They wanted some practice for an elopement shoot the next day so, duh, we took advantage of their crazy good talent and a beautiful waterfall!)
This waterfall is Latourell Falls about 40 minutes outside of Portland. SO worth the drive! I’ll give you some snapshots but here is the full gallery if you want to see our faces or waterfall some more.
Now on to this last weekend. I encourage everyone to come visit the PNW sometime soon and my hopes are that our suggestions and timeline can help you in the planning.
We live about 2.5 hours north of Portland so Friday morning after dropping our dog off at the kennel we headed down. We usually like walking around and stopping in at cool bars and restaurants so if you’re like us, Portland will not disappoint! We came across Breakside Brewery on accident and thank goodness we did. The service was friendly and fast, food was delicious, beer was great and it was in a really cool building.
Did I get the Rainbows & Unicorns IPA because of the name? 100% yes. We shared their jalepeno poppers and tostadas which you also need to try.
I searched hotels and airbnb but ended up booking the best deal through hotels.com (location for walking around in the Pearl District and price) through Barsala Enso apartments. This condo was in a great area but it was next to I5 so there was a lot of noise and there was no parking so we parked in a garage across the street. For the price, I think I would have preferred a hotel. It was a strange check-in process so unless the prices are very competitive we probably won’t use this location/company again…It was the most competitive option we had when looking downtown.
Right across the street was a place we ended up visiting two nights in a row: Bridgeport Brew Pub. It is Oregon’s oldest craft brewery and was a large, two-story building. Both Friday and Saturday nights we sat up top and the waiters were very nice giving us free samples. You could tell when they got busier but the beer was really good and we loved the food! My Midwesterners would appreciate their ranch. We had the Pepperoni Pinwheels, Chicken Wings and Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Fries. Eat em up, eat em up.
Walking around the Pearl District we saw the River Pig which we had visited before so we went down the street to Brix Tavern. Honestly we were just confused by this place. It was cool to visit and, like many places downtown, a beautiful venue but their beer selection wasn’t impressive, we spent a lot of time waiting for several waitresses and by the end of our burgers we were ready to keep moving.
Walk over to Rogue Pearl Public House for a night cap. This is directly across from 10 Barrel so you can drink two breweries in one walk (nope that was lame.) I had their Cold Brew IPA 2.0 which I MUCH preferred to their Cold Brew IPA. Drew had something with 55,078 hops in it and that was all him.
Saturday morning we tried out Sisters Coffee Company on our block then the local train. We bought all day tickets for $10 but ended up only using it once because of a service outage. On a map it looked pretty far downtown but we ended up doing a similar distance the following day. Rides are so cheap and it’s competitive with Uber pricing.
We went to Tasty N Alder and were quoted a 2.5 hour wait but ended up standing at the ledge to order drinks. We were able to grab a seat at the bar less than 20 minutes after the quoted time. Drew had the Capone Cafe and I had the Elizabeth Taylor which looked like a black bubbling champagne (it got me good, heads up.) They say it’s family style but we were both able to order a dish and it was perfect. I got the Tasty Hangtown Fry and Drew ordered the Bim Bop Bacon n Eggs which they said was their most popular.
Today was our big eating and drinking day so NO JUDGING MKAY?!
We walked down the block to Beer O’Clock and walked in as their first customers. We make our parents very proud. The bartender was extremely friendly and helped us try some new, local beers. I love unique ingredients, Drew tries anything IPA and we both always search for local or brewers we’ve never heard of.
We went right next door after for a Blue Star Donut and (spoiler alert) these are the best donuts we’ve ever had. Yep, even better than VooDoo where we went that night. Drew loves cake donuts and I’m usually not a fan but these were DANG GOOD. We each got two with coffees (I was too full to finish it. TG for husbands.) I believe we had the dark chocolate ganache, blueberry and basil, peanut butter chocolate and lemon poppyseed flavors. Their blueberry was my favorite!
We walked down the street to Powell’s Bookstore which I was visiting for the landmark more than anything else. I was surprised by how much we enjoyed looking around, though. Their levels and book sections were color-coded and it was cool to experience more than what you see online.
Buzz worn off yet? It’s a short walk to Deschutes Brewery! They’re from Bend, OR but this tap house was closest to us. They put out consistently good beer and we were surprised by the experience we had in the bar two nights in a row. They are busy but we were able to go to open seating and find a spot right away. We saw tons of tasters go through the bar and their menu tells you what is brewed in the glass room behind the bar. I really liked Hugh Hefner’s Jacket and the XPA they were pouring in honor of their 10-years-in-Portland-anniversary!
This was the night that the train had an outage so we ate the appetizers I mentioned at Bridgeport, walked downtown, had some beers at Tilt, walked over to the renowned Multnomah Whiskey Library. We again were quoted over 2 hours of waiting but were able to grab seats from a couple leaving in their ‘green room’ downstairs. It was a very small building so make reservations ahead of time. The upstairs has the closed ‘library’ but we tried some good scotch and paid the price. Worth it.
We did a 180 and went to Ground Kontrol where we paid a small cover, exchanged $10 for quarters and drank a beer while we each played some pinball, Star Wars and arcade games. This was an interesting atmosphere but not worth visiting until they at least open up their larger area.
We walked nearby to VooDoo doughnuts and found the ‘weird’ of Portland! There was a short line and we grabbed the Oreo, Captain Crunch, Butterfinger. I was sick that night from so much sugar (HA HA JOKE’S ON ME.)
Sunday morning we caught an Uber to Pine State Biscuits in the NE neighborhood which is a MUST! We had the hashbrowns, (Organic and yummy) orange juice, Cheerwine, Reggie and Reggie Deluxe. We walked around the neighborhood, ended up in the convention center because of rain (Did ya know it’s the second largest in America?) and bought another train ticket back to our side of town. We jumped off at Pioneer Courthouse Square and walked around looking at the Food Truck Village and had a drink at Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel (Old school hotel, quirky decorations, fantastic coffee and chai tea latte place I’ve ever been but it did make for some pretty cool photos.)
We had the special of the week (most delicious) pizza with fried mozz at Oven & Shaker, grabbed a beer at a sports bar then ate the pretzel with jalepeno dip and truffle fries at Deschutes Brewery.
Monday morning we drove to the Screen Door Restaurant which is a 100% must-go. We weren’t able to get a table last time we dropped by but this time we waited about 20 minutes (There will always be a line. Don’t think that any day or time there won’t be.) I got the Chicken and Biscuit sandwich with gravy and Drew had the three-piece chicken and waffles. The portions are huge so prices are fair. It really was one of the best fried chickens we’ve had.
On our way out we stopped at Bridal Veil falls and the infamous Multnomah Falls. We weren’t able to go on the upper bridge because of the winter-spring conditions and change but both are free and the most naturally beautiful scenes you’ve ever seen. Lewis and Clark wrote about seeing Multnomah when they were going down the Columbia River which is really cool to see how it’s evolved over the years but you’re still seeing what millions have seen before you. They were both very short, easy walks and a well maintained hike to get to.
I hope this helps on your trip to Portland and be on the lookout for more hikes, trips and adventures. If you follow me on Instagram (@marin_davis) you’ll be able to see it all happening live plus the videos I can’t post here.
If we were meant to stay in one place we would have roots. Get out there and see something cool.
PS: Our 75% off promotion ends this month! If you’re curious about how Local Collaborative can increase your audience and improve your brand, now’s the time to talk.