I’ve lived in Portland my whole life, save for a short stint in the Midwest for college. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you live in your hometown—I tend to stick to tried and true coffee shops and breakfast spots around my own neighborhood. So lately I’ve adopted a vacation mindset and explored my city with fresh eyes. Ever notice how you see so much more of a place when traveling than when you’re at home?
Portland is growing at a rapid pace, so there’s more to see than ever. Between the multitude of restaurants, shops and parks Portland has to offer, and its proximity to both the coast and the mountains, it’s no wonder why visitors and new residents are drawn here. If you’re planning a trip to the Rose City, I hope you find this guide helpful! Pro tip: Come see us in the summer and you just might miss the rain.
The Rose Garden is home to over 10,000 roses—they just love this Pacific Northwest climate! Visit on a clear day for a lovely view of Mt. Hood. The park is public, so admission is free!
Tilikum Crossing. This pedestrian-, bike- and mass transit-only bridge is the first of its kind in the country. Enjoy a leisurely stroll from the South Waterfront to the Central Eastside, an industrial district that’s also home to restaurants, bars and shopping.
Forest Park is an urban escape into nature. At 80 square miles full of trails and wilderness, you’ll forget you’re in the middle of a bustling city. My favorite hiking spot within city limits!
Cathedral Park is situated beneath the St. John’s bridge. If you come on a weekend, you’ll likely see a wedding taking place under the bridge’s green arches!
Mt. Tabor is a city park built over a dormant volcano in southeast Portland. Another great spot for a short hike and a picnic!
Eastbank Esplanade. This partially floating walkway along the east side of the Willamette River—which splits the city’s east and west sides—is a great place to people watch and watch events on the water, like Fourth of July fireworks.
Portland Farmer’s Market. This outdoor market is open every Saturday of the year, rain or shine. Even if you’re not grocery shopping, it’s worth a visit for the music, people watching and tasty food—the wood-fired pizza from Tastebud is my favorite.
Last Thursday is a street festival along NE Albertra Street with all the local art, music and food you could want. It’s on the last Thursday of every month, just like the name implies.
Oregon Coast. Gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. Enough said! Plus, you’ll find locally caught seafood, cute coastal towns and plenty of hiking spots along the coastline from Astoria all the way down to the California border.
Mt. Hood. Well worth the quick drive east of Portland for incredibly scenic hiking in the spring and summer and snow sports in the winter.
American Local is Asian-inspired comfort food at its best. Where else can you have a Korean rice skewer and potato tostada with nacho cheese in the same meal? You’ll want to have a look around Division Street while you’re in the neighborhood, too.
Most people come to Güero for the tortas. I come for the cart bowl—it’s rice and yummies like ensalada fresca, crema and pink pickled onions. So good!
Pip’s makes the most adorable—and tastiest—mini doughnuts you’ve ever eaten. My favorite’s the nutella. You’ll want to order a chai flight, too.
Shut Up and Eat is my favorite neighborhood sandwich shop. They serve beer, wine and cocktails in addition to some of the best sandwiches around. Expect to leave very full.
Double Dragon. Three words: banh mi burger! The cocktails aren’t bad, either.
Fat City, a longstanding breakfast destination in Portland’s charming Multnomah Village, is a great spot for classics like French toast, omelettes and big, old-fashioned milkshakes. See if you can find your state’s license plate on the walls!
Cloud City is my favorite made-in-house ice cream shop in town. The ice cream is super tasty and magical to boot—where else can you get a sprinkle-laden unicone filled with flavors like totes ma’goats (goat cheese and lemon curd) and sparkle magic?
Food carts are a staple around Portland. If you’re expecting simple or greasy fare think again—some of the tastiest food in town comes from the carts! I like the Cartopia pod on Hawthorne. They’ve got plenty of seating and amazing pizza, poutine and crepes all in one spot.
St. Cupcake has a few locations around town, but my favorite location is on southeast Belmont Street, tucked in the entryway of a cute shop, Noun. Get the toasted coconut cream cupcake!
Nong’s started as a humble food cart and now has a busy brick and mortar shop in southeast. Nong serves perfectly poached chicken over rice with a garlicky, flavorful sauce. I guarantee you’ll take a bottle of her sauce home with you! Also comes in a vegetarian version.
Eb & Bean serves up organic soft serve yogurt with gourmet toppings like cacao nibs, local honey and seasonal compotes. Highly recommended on hot summer days when you want something cold and not too heavy.
Tea Bar brews my favorite matcha latte in town, as well as unique tea drinks like pale pink beet boba and a black charcoal detox lemonade. If you’re into Scandinavian design you’ll love their minimal, modern shops.
Never Coffee makes delicious, color coded lattes—your mug will match the drink you order! My favorite is hug (the red one); it has spicy cacao, smoked chillies and cinnamon. Mmm.
Tell the bartender at Angelface what mood you’re in: Floral? Fruity? Whiskey? They’ll whip up a custom cocktail based on what you like. How much fun is that?!
Good Coffee is just about the friendliest coffee shop in town and, oh yeah, the coffee is good. Really good. Prepare to have plant envy when you visit their shops!
Alma makes amazing chocolate, and their cafes serve up equally irresistible chocolate drinks. Get them hot in the winter and cold in the summer! Warning: It will be hard to go back to the powdered stuff after you’ve tried their drinking chocolate.
Pistils Nursery is my favorite place to drool over everything green—it’s basically a houseplant Pinterest board come to life. If you’re in the market for a hard to find “it” plant, you’ll likely find it here.
Spartan Shop is the Portland store I most want to live in. They have a great collection of ceramics, tableware, jewelry and all things home. It’s a great place to shop for gifts or, you know, just treat yourself!
Schoolhouse Electric is known for their light fixtures, but it’s well worth a visit to the store even if you’re not looking for lamps or furniture. They have a great collection of homewares and art that’s just plain fun to browse, and don’t forget the tasty Ristretto Roasters located in the store!
Sea of Roses is one part botanical home shop, one part florist and another part space for—you guessed it—workshops. Always worth a visit to browse their flowers and gifts!
Field Trip hosts workshops—think macrame, collage and DIY beauty—and stocks lovely home goods, natural beauty products and now serves espresso! Plan on hanging out for a while.
If you need to pick up Portland-y gifts for friends back home, Made Here is the place to come. Everything in the shop—from apothecary goods to clothes to kitchenware—is made right here in Portland.
There’s so much to see, do and eat in Portland it’s impossible to cover all the great places the city has to offer in one guide, but I hope this has been a helpful starting point! Portland is a small city, but a growing and vibrant one. It’s impossible to be bored in Portland, even when you’ve lived here your whole life. Thanks for letting me share a little of my hometown! I hope you enjoy your visit. xo, Kayleigh