Since this was my second trip to Portland in the last few years, I decided to put together a little Portland travel guide and video diary. The city is a foodies paradise! You can find all kinds of cuisine here, catering to wildly different tastes. Come prepared to eat a lot.
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How To Pack
Portland is a highly casual city, and you’ll notice that most people opt for a pair of jeans and a t-shirt (or a plaid button-up) as their wardrobe of choice. There’s no reason to get fancy her. Leave your ultra-ritzy fare at home.
Pack clothes you don’t mind getting mildly damp, seeing as it’ll probably rain at least once while you’re there. Pick comfortable, low heel shoes and consider just packing your sneakers. Also, it can get a little chilly, so bring a light jacket or a sweater. You don’t need much while in Portland, and I wound up wearing nearly the same all-black outfit every day.
Portland Travel Guide to Hotels
We chose to stay at The Nines due to its proximity to everything. By everything, I mean Powell’s Books. Portland is relatively small, so you’ll find you can walk anywhere very quickly. This trip was my first time staying at The Nines, though my husband has been to this hotel on at least six different occasions.
The rooms are very well-appointed, and the bed is SO COMFORTABLE. The bathroom also rocks, seeing as it’s well lit and has a cute little vanity seat for all your makeup needs. And isn’t that all we need in a hotel? Some amazingly comfy beds and a fancy bathroom?
This was a belated birthday trip for my husband, and unfortunately, the check-in process took way too long. We waited two and a half hours after check-in time before they checked us in at the hotel. The reason cited was that the room was cleaned, but since we got a club level room (meaning, 9th floor with a lounge that serves “free” drinks and food), we walked around the club level and didn’t see any rooms that were actively being cleaned.
On top of it, after finally getting a room, the bottle of champagne and chocolates I requested ahead of time weren’t in the room. Apparently, they missed the order.
After back and forth with the front desk, the manager on duty that day provided us with a gorgeous corner room on a non-club level floor, but with club-level access for us. Additionally, we received food & beverage credit, which covered some of the cost of the prosecco (not champagne) and chocolate cake we received later on.
The place isn’t without hiccups, but it’s still a lovely hotel!
My other recommendation would be the Kimpton Hotel Monaco. We stayed here last time we visited, and it was gorgeous! Kimpton has unique properties, and this hotel’s details were colorful and jubilant in the midst of Portland’s dreary weather. Plus, they have a free wine-o’clock every day, and they’re pet-friendly! Yay!
Portland Travel Must-See and Do (in one day)
Our home for the majority of the trip. We ultimately came to Portland simply for the bookstore. Its niche selection on every topic imaginable is super impressive, and you can spend days just going through one section (I now because I tried it).
Powell’s is the largest independent bookstore chain in the world, and the Portland location is its flagship. They deal not only in new books, but in used as well, so you can find some rare books or limited editions. (They also have an impressive rare books room within the store.) In short, this place is a MUST. Once you find the section that you love, you’ll find it hard to leave, especially because there’s a coffeeshop on the ground floor where you can read your books at leisure!
Get lunch at a food cart! Seriously, there are two blocks devoted to food carts in this city, so you might as well try a new cuisine for cheap. A lot of the carts are innovative, so walk around the block at least once to see everything up for sale before you make your choice. I’ve had some excellent pho and BBQ here!
The signature voodoo doll shaped donut oozes out some delicious blood at this place! Voodoo became notorious as Portland’s mad scientist lab of weird flavor concoctions. Apparently, in their early days, they had Nyquil glazed donuts and other such nasty sounding balls of deliciousness (before the health department cracked the whip).
These days they serve sugar-laden varieties only, with occasional savory bits, like the maple bacon doughnut. Go at an off-peak time if you can. They’re cash only, and they’re open 24 hours!
Portland Japanese Garden
Oregon is a very nature loving place, and Portland is an extremely tree-hugging friendly city. There are tons of different trails and nature walks around, but if you want to take a leisurely stroll through a very relaxing garden, and get your exercise with groomed paths, the Japanese Garden is a safe bet.
It has traditional Japanese bridges, very relaxing waterfalls, and a pretty rock/zen garden. On a clear day, you can see Mount Hood hovering over the Portland skyline.