Portland, Stumptown, Rose City…whatever you call it, Portland is a nook for awesome restaurants, local shopping and independent theaters. Surrounded by forests, mountains, and the ocean…Portland, with all it’s flaws, is still a cool place to visit. With cloudy, rainy days most of the year, they have really perfected things like the art of brunch.
Portland is filled with delicious restaurants of all types of food you could think of. My favorite breakfast/brunch spot in all of Portland is on Broadway in NE, Cadillac Cafe. They have the atmosphere of a diner and the service is amazing. We’re kind of regulars now. I recommend the Hazelnut French Toast. Another favorite breakfast spot of mine is Besaw’s. This place is loved so I would make a reservation. They have the best breakfast potatoes though.
If you are in the mood for BBQ I suggest Mississippi Delta BBQ on Mississippi. It’s a quaint little spot with the most amazing fried chicken. I am southern and this is the best BBQ/Southern restaurant in Portland, in my opinion. Tusk is the hottest restaurant right now, serving inventive Middle Eastern food & Ava Gene’s is a romantic spot with the best salads (the Kale salad is my fave) and the most amazing panna cotta (seriously life changing). I am not biased because I work for these guys, both of these places are beloved in Portland and for good reason. If you are in the mood for Mexican, I would check out The Matador’s 1 of 2 locations. They serve delicious quesadillas and endless tortilla chips & salsa in a cool setting. My favorite italian restaurant in Portland is this tiny place the doubles as a sports (football [soccer]) bar. Piazza Italia in the Pearl is an italian family owned restaurant with the most spectacular lasagna. If you go for lunch, the prices cannot be beat.
If you are more in the mood for something quick and casual then you cannot beat Por Que No – the Bryan’s Bowl is on point and Little Big Burger which is gourmet burgers at a fast food price. Also, Truffle fries come standard…so.
COFFEE & DESSERTS
This is the PNW, so you will have no trouble finding a coffee spot. It may be hard for you to decide which one to go to. Heart Coffee is one of everyone’s spots. They roast their own coffee and it’s delicious. I also love Barista, which has some awesome interiors. For more quaint spots, I would check out The Dragonfly Coffee House, which is something straight out of Gilmore Girls. If you are not into coffee and are much more of a tea person, than you cannot go wrong with Townshend’s Tea House.
My favorite dessert spots are Ruby Jewel for ice cream. They make their own ice cream, and they sell cookie ice cream sandwiches where you can pick your own cookie and your own amazing flavor. I seriously crave it every week. If you are looking for more of a romantic dessert spot, somewhere that would pair your treats with a glass of wine or a cup of coffee than I would check out Papa Haydn or Petite Provence.
Sweet Hereafter will forever be my favorite bar because it’s where I met my fiance, but it’s also just an awesome spot with a great vibe, great prices, and vegan food. The Lovecraft Bar is just as it sounds. It may not be your thing, but it’s definitely a cool place to check out, at least once. If you are up for dancing I would check out Holocene, which has an awesome photo booth or 80’s Video Dance Attack at The Crystal Ballroom.
Ground Kontrol is the most awesome arcade bar, with endless amounts of pinball. If you like to bowl, Grand Central Bowling is a cool bowling alley with decent prices. Portland also hosts Geek Trivia, pretty much every night at a bunch of different locations. This is the best trivia if you are a pop culture nerd. If you are up for a laugh, Helium Comedy Club does open mic on Tuesday nights. Curious Comedy Theater is also a non-profit comedy club that has awesome shows.
Portland is surrounded by awesome nature. The Gorge, Mount Hood, and the coast is only about an hour and a half away, but if you want to spend time outdoors in Portland than I would check out The Japanese Gardens. They actually just expanded their property and it’s one of the most relaxing spots in Portland. Near the Japanese gardens is the Hoyt Arboretum & Washington Park, which is a great place for a short walk or a picnic. Forest Park is a huge forest with trails, with an entrance right in NW Portland & Laurelhurst and Pier park are the two most beautiful parks in Portland.
Portland is filled with awesome local shops. Some of my favorites for clothing are Bridge + Burn, Communion, Modo Boutique, and Seven Sisters. If you like to craft, I’d check out Collage, which has three locations & really cute paper supplies and stamps. If you are looking for skincare & makeup, Echo Natural Beauty is a gorgeous spot with natural and non-toxic products. Parachute just opened in Portland and if you need anything for your bed or your home, I’d take a look at their stuff. You’ll become obsessed.