Portland is laid back and, well, weird. What more could you want?
That’s why it’s one of my favorite cities I’ve ever visited. You’re going to love it.
When I began researching and creating a list of things to do during my week-long vacation in Portland, I had no idea where to start. There were just so many options I found interesting. I didn’t want to miss anything! There’s so much to eat, drink, and do in this city.
After staying a week in Portland, I can say the things I did and ate and drank all exceeded my expectations. Here’s my list of all the things you need to do when you visit Portland, Oregon.
Stay in this quirky HI Portland Hawthorne District eco-hostel
When I was searching for accommodations online before my trip, I immediately fell in love with HI Portland Hawthorne. And it definitely lived up to my expectations.
This hostel itself is an eco-tourist’s dream. It has a garden, a green roof, recycling (of course), and onsite composting you can use. The coolest feature though is the building’s water collection system. It gathers 8,000 gallons per year that are then used to flush the toilets! And those are just a few of the features, their full list here.
Plus, the hostel has pretty much everything else you could ever expect from a hostel: private rooms for those not interested in dorms, onsite entertainment, helpful reception staff, bike rental, community meals, walking tours, etc. Oh, and make-it-yourself pancakes every morning for just a few dollars.
Can you tell I’m still excited about my stay at this hostel?
While you’re in Portland, you pretty much have to try Voodoo Doughnut because it’s just so… well, Portland.
I had this super cute voodoo doll doughnut that, ironically, was vegan.
To be honest, I liked the actual donuts better at Blue Star, though the atmosphere was much more mainstream. My boyfriend had this crazy doughnut with some kind of glaze injected into it (I guess it keeps the filling super moist?) The donuts were Instagramable, to say the least.
I got brave and picked a scoop of honey lavender ice cream. No regrets—except that I didn’t order a double scoop.
We rented bikes and We picked up ingredients to make a meal ourselves in our hostel’s kitchen. Portland is such an awesome foodie town with so many restaurants, but I sometimes you just need a break from dinner at restaurants all the time. Plus, we got to sample wine and beer… And of course, because it’s Portland, there was a street musician playing the saw.
Watch it here:
Step aboard a double-decker coffee bus at ToV Coffee & Tea
Don’t be fooled by the fact it’s a bus—this place had a wide selection of coffee. The interior is just as cool as the exterior.
This is an all-weather food truck, equipped with rain protection and heaters.
The Bagdad Theatre was unlike any other movie theater I ever visited. The building was gorgeous. They had a huge beer selection right when I walked in the door. You could order a pizza that would be delivered to you during the film (we received ours and gobbled it down before the previews were over).
Do a self-guided brewery tour
I visited the these breweries:
- Rogue Eastside Pub & Pilot Brewery
- Base Camp Taproom
- Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House
- Cascade Brewing Barrel House
Browse the stacks at Powell’s Books
Powell’s is a Portland staple. It’s huge and you’ll likely want to spend a couple hours there. I read a lot and was very impressed by both the new and used collections.
Rent a bike and ride Portland’s spacious bike lanes
Bike travel in Portland feels a lot like pedaling through a bike-friendly European city. They rule the road more than in any other place in America.
Pose in front of the famous “White Stag” sign
The Portland Old Town is a vintage sign that the city changed to say “Portland, Oregon” back in 2010. It’s located at 70 NW Couch Street, facing West across the bridge.
And this mural
Stop by after you visit Voodoo Donut. It’s right downtown and hard to miss.
Experience nature in the middle of the city in Forest Park
Forest Park consists of 5,200 acres of parkland in the middle city. Head there when you need a break from the city (or to work off the donuts).
Check out this view of Portland at Pittock Mansion
You really can see the whole city from up there—without paying to tour the mansion!