Tara, my ham.

Tara, my ham.

or at least giving Brooklyn a run for the money

Beer nerds, coffee geeks, entrepreneurs. tattooers, ultra talented chefs, ‘mixoligists’ (and sassy bartenders) and generally stoking people fill this city! I suck at planning trips, but I made sure to have a decent list of spots to check out in Portland, and we actually made it to a few. 

This may not be the best list of pdx attractions, heck it might not even be good, but here are my...

11 things to do in Portland

brew bar at coava

brew bar at coava

3. Stay at The Ace Hotel 

In true Portland fashion, our room came with a turntable and a few choice records, a stumptown coffee in the lobby (with room service available), one of the best cocktail bars in the city, Clyde Common, and they had Malin + Goetz products in the room! We bought a bottle of the cilantro conditioner to bring home so we could smell like we did that one time in Oregon.

4. Take a couple hours to wander the Chinese Gardens 

Truly stunning. You’ll feel like you’ve been wisped away to a lost world of magic and wonder, but then you realize that's not the case so you go watch a blazers game at the coolest sports bar around, Spirit of ’77, just a short walk away.

5. Eat at POK POK!

There's usually a wait for a table, but thankfully you can post up at the bar and order up a tamarind sour. Treat yourself, you deserve it. We sat at the bar for dinner and it was great. Highlight was the catfish and curry prawns. We had a lot of fun making jokes and getting the insider scoop from the bartender.  

6. Bowling and beers, bowling and beers

After dinner at Pok Pok, on the bartenders suggestion, we walked through the neighbourhood just south of the restaurant, making our way to the bowling alley on Powell . A few strings and jugs of local beer - on point.



1. Have a chemex of single origin at the COAVA COFFEE  brew bar

Their wide open workshop / roastery / community gathering place is tucked in to the southeast on Grand Ave. Once you've been caffeinated and feel ready for the day start a distillery tour. There's five spots in short walking distance, I mean, you're already there, right?! It's five o'clock somewhere.

2. Get your pinball on at GROUND KONTROL

This place was top. They have a wicked good pinball selection and all the classics arcade games like turtles in time and the simpsons… and $3 beer. If you feel like snacks try the pretzel and hot mustard, just remember to wash your hands first!



7. Take a slow day, PNW style.

Coffee is HUGE in Portland and there's no shortage of welcoming shops for you to curl up with a new book, from Powell Books (one of the coolest book stores I've ever been in), and relax for a few hours. 

view of one of the many bridges over the Wilamette River

view of one of the many bridges over the Wilamette River

8. Escape from New York, worth the mission.

It's a bit of a walk up north west, but once you get a slice of pie (or two), from Escape from New York, you'll be glad you did. This was my favourite pizza we tried (sizzle pie was pretty dope too) and the place is a staple in the community. There's lots of timeless photos of the EFNY team and newspaper clippings covering the walls. On the way back stop at the Rogue Brewery pub and have a flight. Heck, you might as well go to Decheutes too, you’re already in the neighbourhood drinking beer!

on the taster tray: a sour made with beard yeast... human beard yeast. yum!

on the taster tray: a sour made with beard yeast... human beard yeast. yum!

9. Get a little healthy.

Have a stroll down Hawthorne and grab a mighty bowl and shanti juice at Harlow. Then go second hand shopping, obviously! Now that you have that stack of second hand records you better drop it off and listen to a couple in the room while you get yourself dolled up for dinner. 

10. Dinner, dinner, dinner.

We tried for two dinners a night while we were in Portland and still feel like we left something on the table, so to speak. Some standouts, in no particular order:

  • Little Bird - chicken fried trout, sauce gribiche, fried capers and lettuce for wrapping... unreal.
  • Grüner - polenta & potato crouquettes. We had a ton of food here. This was simple and memorable
  • Sateria - rice, bean and cheese burrito, and a pint glass of margarita... get loose.

11. Drink some cocktails!

Again, this city is crawling with awesome bars. Kask had a great vibe, tight shoulder to shoulder room with lots on the go: a great place to chat about life and drink a "BICYCLES & BASKETS" (Bulleit rye whiskey, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Aperol). Maltnomah Whiskey Library is just as it sounds - A room with bar to ceiling whisky bottles, dark brown leather chairs and high back sofas, and the rich smell of wood and cigar lingering in the air. Just to many to list, but here is a LIST of some other great spots!

bar at Maltnomah

bar at Maltnomah

There is so much more to this fabulous city. So many notable restaurants and fun trouble to get into. Share your favourites in the comments! Thanks for reading,