Welcome to Portland, Oregon!
Portland is 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. A city full of art, live music, and food trucks, makes the local culture unique compared to any other city in Oregon. Tourists know the well-known attractions, but a worldwide local knows how to experience them best. This is an insider’s guide of 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 drinks at a great price.
Eating at the Food Trucks
You might have noticed that there is a recurring theme for finding food around Portland. This city is famous for its variety 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 Adler Street.
So, we have talked about all the food trucks that you will find around the city, but let’s visit a Portland 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. Try some Southern heirloom cooking at Mae, but don’t be surprised if your food comes out with some edible flowers on top.
Worldwide Local Tip: Portland is the home to the king of donuts – Voodoo. An international novelty bakery, located in downtown Portland, specializes in the most bizarre combinations you’ll ever see on a donut. 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 the product, but don’t want to deal with the line, visit Voodoo Too. That is the NE Portland Voodoo location that only locals know about, so the line is basically non-existent
Shopping in Portland
If you want to pick up a few souvenirs from your journey, it is best to shop locally. The big souvenir shops tend to have more taxes applied, which makes them a bit more expensive. If you head over to Mississippi Avenue, you will find a ton of local shops where you can find a lot of cool items. Whether you are looking for vintage items, trendy clothes, or knick knacks, you’ll find it there. When you get tired of shopping, there are awesome local winery tasting rooms, breweries, coffee shops, and tea bars, all down one street.
Worldwide Local Tip: Looking for a local taste of beer? Check out the Microbrew scene! There are more than 60 local Portland breweries. Some amazing brews come out of this city, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on trying some while you are here.
Get Outside and Enjoy the Portland Weather
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, such as 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. For a day trip to the woods, you can drive 45 minutes out of town to hike to Multnomah Falls.
Worldwide Local 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.
Have an Amazing Time in Portland, Oregon!
The city of Portland is weird, and the slogan, “Keep Portland Weird“ couldn’t be any more accurate. Embrace it! Try some of the things to do in Portland vacation that you wouldn’t usually dare to try. 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. Yoga is an excellent example. In Portland, there is goat yoga, cat yoga, yoga with beer, and cannabis yoga. Roaming the city as a worldwide local will grant you unparalleled access to its amazing sights and fascinating sounds.