You know you’re getting older when you forgo a party or Vegas and decide to eat your way through Portland for your birthday weekend. However, it was an easy decision for me as I have never been to the weird and wonderful capital city of Oregon. I have traveled through the state many times as a child and always enjoyed my time in other Pacific Northwest locations, so I knew it would be a great place to explore for a quick getaway. Here is my suggestion for a packed Spring day in the City of Roses.
Wake up early from your centrally located hotel. We went with The Nines, an incomparable luxury hotel housed in the top nine floors of a turn of the century building that housed the area’s first department store. Get your walking shoes on and, before breakfast, head over to the Ira Keller Foundation, a 10-minute walk from city center. It’s best to go as early as possible to avoid people in your pictures and to just enjoy the sounds of the gorgeous fountain while the city is still sleeping. This fountain was inspired by the waterfalls at the Columbia River Gorge, so if you can’t make the hike to that stunning location, the fountain is the city version.
From here, walk over to Mother’s Bistro & Bar, another 10-minute straight shot walk on 3rd street. Beverages and breakfast abound will satisfy everyone in a space that is over the top with gilded mirrors and crystal chandeliers, but it somehow feels like a cozy place where everyone knows your name. This place gets packed on the weekends, but don’t be afraid to belly up to the beautiful bar to avoid the wait time. Go savory or go sweet, but definitely order the french press coffee and a goblet of mimosa to charge you through your day. The ladies behind the bar are hilarious, even during the brunch rush.
Get your fill of shopping and street art by wandering over to Powell’s Books. I found the place a bit overwhelming (and I love bookstores) but it was a fantastic place to buy some souvenirs. I picked up a cool book of dark, short stories set in Portland and an Oregon sticker for my suitcase. Head up Burnside St. and you can find a ton of shops, eateries, and street art poking out from all sorts of corners. I ended up buying a pair of Toms shoes that were Portland-themed! This would be a good time to grab something to eat and a bottle of water for the next trek. Oh, and I’m team Blue Star Donut (over Voodoo Doughnuts), just sayin’.
Pittock Mansion offers the best views of Portland and you should definitely go. Yes, you can drive up there, but we decided to do an urban hike. Google Maps will get you up there on paved streets and through the most adorable residential neighborhood. It was a bit of a steep trek at points, but so worth it! The views and grounds are breathtaking (“Holy crap- did we walk from there?!?”) and you can tour the mansion for a fee if you like. The way down is much quicker, but you’ll want to head back to the hotel for a shower before dinner.
Andina came highly recommended and that was echoed by our hotel concierge who said it was his family’s favorite place for a special dinner. Andina is a nice evening stroll from the city center. Expect a hefty Peruvian menu with several main dishes, but I suggest going tapas style and getting a bit of everything to share. They have multiple ceviche dishes and empanadas to choose from, as well as other specialty seafood fare like grilled octopus and scallops (our favorite!). We found the cocktail list most impressive. Go with the Sacsayhuamán and see if you can pronounce it correctly. I can’t think of a better way to end the perfect day in Portland. If you have been to Portland, I would love to know what you would add to this list or what stops you would put on your itinerary.