Portland. Located 6 hours north, it’s the perfect weekend getaway. A few weekends ago we headed to Portland, part for play and part for work, completing photoshoots for a few clientts. Last time I was in Portland, it was 6 years ago on a road trip with a college roommate. At the time we stayed in a hostel and were living on a road trip budget. This time my visit to Portland surprised me in the best of ways. No longer a quirky city, Portland has grown and flourished with amazing spots past the downtown corridor. We decided to explore Portland like a local and found spots that are impressive and past keeping Portland weird. My second visit to Portland was lovely and I can’t wait to visit again soon.
Keep reading for our full city guide after the jump!
Portland City Guide
Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel
With the shared lobby of the Ace Hotel, make sure to head to Stumptown and enjoy the Ace, even if only from the lobby. With stunning olive sectionals, layered air plants, a DJ spinning vinyl, and a bookcase filled with vintage spines by color, every detail of this space will inspire you. While you will find the Ace and Stumptown on most city guides, it’s with good reason. Smart interior details and a great cup of coffee with classic chicory flavors, Stumptown at the Ace is an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Case Study Coffee
Located on Alberta Street, Case Study Coffee boasts a stunning interior and beautiful outdoor seating area. Filled with classic wood tones, black, and plants, every detail in the interior is thought through. Our favorite feature? The custom light fixtures and work loft, allow for a stunning separation of space in this shop. With use of midcentury molded blue tile work, Case Study Coffee, combines beautiful and unexpected details. Looking for something different? Try the bourbon caramel latte and enjoy it in the natural light provided by the garage doors from floor to ceiling.
Eat + Drink
In Portland, it is easy to find great, local, and affordable food everywhere. These stops are by no means all-encompassing, but rather some of our favorite finds on a short weekend. As a foodie, Portland, you’ve won me over.
Old Salt Marketplace
Part butcher counter, part restaurant, this shop in North Portland provides some of the freshest meat and main dishes you’ll find. Locally sourced, we ordered fresh ground burgers and fried potatoes off the late night menu. It was probably one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Paired with a local brew on tap, it has the vibe of a locals spot and has great price points for a phenomenal product.
Oven + Shaker
Located in the Pearl District, this restaurant is smart and gorgeous. With specialty pizzas, small plates, and cocktails, they stick to their niche in flawless fashion. We ordered Pineapple Trainwreck cocktails, paired with a braised fennel and cheese pizza. The presentation was stunning, food was delicious, and the cocktail we’re still trying to remake. (Hopefully it will show up in a mixology or Recipe Remix post soon!)
The Waffle Window
Featured in the show Portlandia, the Waffle Window is incredibly delicious and a Portland staple for good reason. We ate here our first morning in Portland for brunch. It provided the perfect fuel for a day of photoshoots. Ordering a savory waffle, these waffles are made with Liege fashion and finished with pearl sugar, creating a lovely caramelization on the surface. We ordered one with chicken sausage, Tillamook cheddar, egg whites, and herbed gravy. The other waffle we ordered was a classic ham and swiss with over easy egg. Both waffles had a lovely pairing of sweet and savory flavors and the stacks of ingredients complimented each other well. With four locations throughout Portland, make sure to grab bunch here one morning.
Blue Star Doughnuts
While Portland is notoriously known for another doughnut shop, I prefer to forgo the quirky for the delicious, and head to straight Blue Star Doughnuts. Blue Star does doughnuts unlike anyone else. Whether with torched and caramelized sugar and vials of cointreau inserted, or a classic buttermilk cake doughnut, they smartly use sugar in thoughtful and inventive ways. Pushing the boundaries of classic doughnut flavors, we ordered a sample of doughnuts, bringing in a half-dozen to share among our party. My favorite? The Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk doughnut. The nuances of flavor in every bite told a local story common to the winter months in the Pacific Northwest.
The Grilled Cheese Grill
Portland is known for a thriving food truck scene, with options spanning most any food you might like. Walk a few blocks in any area in Portland and you will find a city block filled with food trucks. We headed to The Grilled Cheeserie on 10th and Alder for a classic taste of childhood. Ordering The Kelsey with Turkey, classic cheeses combined with basil pesto and turkey, giving a taste of nostalgia and comfort on a cloudy and rainy winter day.
Salt and Straw
Known for artisanal flavors with the classic Portland quirk, head to Salt & Straw for a sweet treat. With a variety of seasonal offering and small batches of production, find their locations on NE Alberta Street or 23rd street. I picked up a favorite, Honey Lavender.
Bridge and Burn
With a custom line, beautiful graphic tees, and curated retail shop, Bridge and Burn boasts a flagship store in Portland on Morrison Street. While we were there, we were invited to their collaborative sale at the Ace and got some phenomenally good deals on their sample pieces from the winter collection. I’ve loved Bridge and Burn’s collections for a long time, so this was a special treat.
With ethically sourced basics and curated jewelry and accessories from local artisans, EcoVibe boasts modern basics in a variety of neutral colors, cuts and styles. Combining boho sensibilities and updated trends, their newest store location on NE Alberta is beautiful and worth a stop.
The Union Way
It’s uncommon to recommend a complete shopping area, but with one step into Union Way you will understand why. With local stores and brands you are sure to love, Union Way combines Scandinavian and mid-century modern architecture in this open and airy gallery. Make sure to stop by Will Leather Goods Homestead Store and Spruce Apothecary. Looking for a non-traditional way to remember your trip? Engage your senses with a natural perfume by a local artisan. After discovering Imaginary Stories from our AirBnB, we headed to Spruce Apothecary to purchase our own bottle of Yesterday’s Haze. It is a favorite scent and a great way to remember our adventures in Portland.
We opted to book our stay in Portland through Airbnb. With an amazing option available, we booked the Birch Plywood Loft. We couldn’t recommend this space enough. Designed by a creative couple, there is not a detail overlooked. Filled with local apothecary goods and finishes from Schoolhouse Electric, we loved this space that is cozy and provided the perfect backdrop for planning shoots, lingering enjoying cups of coffee, and one of the most beautiful showers we’ve ever seen. Our hosts were amazing, providing great communication, and a city guide prior to arrival. (The fixtures in the space were perfect. They sourced the most perfect shade between gold and copper that was stunning.)
For our readers: Use this link to book your next trip on AirBnb to get a $35 credit.
Do you have any favorite spots in Portland? We’d love to hear from you! Let us know in the comments below.