If the first thing that coms to mind when you think of is hipsters, you’re not alone.
Portlandia, the hit Fred Armisen comedy, lightly lampooned the city’s quirkiness and love of all things hip.
But Portland is more than just IPAs and single origin coffee shops.The city offers a tantalizing mix of Oregon’s stunning natural beauty, with a vibrant foodie culture with countless food carts, upscale eateries and farm-to-table restaurants.
We checked into our first hotel, the Ace Hotel, based in downtown Portland.
It’s been a slow recovery for downtown after the pandemic lockdowns and 2020 riots that made headlines. Earlier this year, a Portland Business Alliance study found that visitor numbers were still down by about 40%.
But the area still boasts great shopping, bars and restaurants, while many of Portland’s other neighborhoods, such as Hawthorne and Mississippi Avenue, seemed as popular as ever and were buzzing with shoppers and revelers.
If the first thing that coms to mind when you think of Portland is hipsters and IPAS, you’re not alone.Portlandia, the hit Fred Armison comedy, running most of this decade captured the city’s quirkiness and love of all things hip. But Portland is more than cold brews and IPAS
We checked into our first hotel Ace Hotel in Downtown. The century-old building, which first opened as the Clyde Hotel in 1912, has a welcoming wood paneled foyer and rustic themed rooms with plaid pillows, thick wool blankets and sliding barn doors on the bathrooms
We head across the river to East Portland to check out one of Portland’s many food cart pods – Hawthorne Asylum
There was an overwhelming amount of choice, but I went with a hipster favorite – a deep fried sushi burrito.Delicious but requires an hour lie-down to recover
We were staying at the Ace Hotel – a boutique and quintessentially Portland experience.
The century-old building, which first opened as the Clyde Hotel in 1912, has a welcoming wood paneled foyer and rustic themed rooms with plaid pillows, thick wool blankets and sliding barn doors on the bathrooms.
The rooms feature art from local artists while downstairs has wifi and free coffee at any time of day.
The hotel is just round the corner from Portland staple, Powell’s City of Books.
The store is heaven for bibliophiles, with nearly a million books – some special editions – spread across 3,500 sections and in a store that stretches an entire block.
Even more impressive were the staff who appeared to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every book was – and made some great recommendations.Do not expect to escape empty handed.
From Powell’s, we took a stroll down to the river for Portland Saturday Market.
Featuring diverse collection of crafts including locally-made art, jewelry and clothes.My highlight was getting a caricature bust of myself in clay by the talented Peter Bluett.
Now feeling peckish, we stopped by Voodoo Donuts.
Powell’s City of Books is heaven for bibliophiles, with nearly a million books – some special editions – spread across 3,500 sections and in a store that stretches an entire block
A quirky weed shop in Portland where recreational marijuana is legal
La Republica is an elevated, Mexican-first eatery that offers an incredible five-course tasting menu with dishes such as delicious quail with edible Mexican marigold petals, pine nut and apricot
We chose to pair the menu with wines from Mexican, Latinx, and women-owned wineries – which never hit a bum note
We joined the line at the famous donut store which gave us time to choose from the impressive selection that includes Oh Captain, My Captain with Captain Crunch topping, the Bacon Maple Bar and the Voodoo Doll – a doll shaped-donut with a pretzel stake.
Feeling stuffed, we crossed the river into North Portland where we visited the vibrant and bustling Mississippi Ave which is packed full of popular restaurants and bars, live music, local boutiques and more.
We finished the day with a few steins of beer from the lively Prost!German bar which sits next to Mississippi Marketplace, a ‘pod’ or collection of food golf carts for sale.
On Day Two, we decided to hike along the Leif Erikson trail at Forest Park – an easy 20 minute Uber ride away.
Portland has 275 public parks and gardens including the 5,000 acre Forest Park – one of the largest urban forest reserves in the US with more than 70 miles of hiking trails.
The beautiful scenery made the miles fly by but there are hikes of all different difficulties and lengths to suit everyone, from the hardened hiker to a first timer.
That afternoon we swung by Ground Kontrol, a fun futuristic arcade bar with a full-service bar, karaoke and DJs, before heading to dinner at La Republica.
We spent our last night at The Hoxton, based in historic Old Town Chinatown, and decorated in a cool mid-century style
The hotel has two restaurants, a rooftop bar and restaurant, and a cafe and bar, as well as a secret basement bar
The rooftop bar offers carefully crafted cocktails paired with views across the city
The restaurant is an elevated, Mexican-first eatery that offers an incredible five-course tasting menu with dishes such as delicious quail with edible Mexican marigold petals, pine nut and apricot, or the surprising yet tasty escamol – the edible larvae and pupae of ants known colloquially as Mexican caviar – with pepper pork and walnut.
The menu changes daily, dependent on the availability and freshness of ingredients.
The next morning we checked into the Woodlark Hotel. Built in the 1920s, it combines stylishly modern furniture with vintage touches for an Instagram-friendly stay.
Part of the Provenance Hotels collection, the Woodlark has won multiple awards including the 2020 Reader’s Choice Award.
After we got settled, it was time to head back out for our bike tour.
Portland also regularly named the most biking-friendly city in the US and it’s no wonder.With nearly 400 miles of bikeways, metropolitan bike lanes and cheap bicycle hire all over the city, it’s a great way to explore.
We chose the Bike Around Portland: Bridges, Doughnuts, Poetry and Roses, from Around Portland Tours.
As the name suggests, the tour gives a great overview of the city, taking us through the International Rose Test Garden – more than 10,000 stunning rose bushes of 650 different varieties – over the Willamette River and through Portland’s eclectic neighborhoods, with stops at Blue Star Donuts and Salt & Straw ice cream store.
The next morning we checked into the Woodlark Hotel in the heart of Downtown Portland.Built in the 1920s, it combines stylishly modern furniture with vintage touches for an Instagram-friendly stay
Part of the Provenance Hotels collection, the Woodlark has won multiple awards including the 2020 Reader’s Choice Award
That afternoon, we visited East Portland to check out one of Portland’s many food cart pods – Hawthorne Asylum.
Now feeling peckish, we stopped by the iconic Voodoo Donuts.We picked from an impressive selection of quirky donuts that includes Oh Captain, My Captain with Captain Crunch topping, the Bacon Maple Bar and the Voodoo Doll – a doll shaped-donut with raspberry jelly, chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake
With 23 pod restaurants to chose from, even the most picky eater is guaranteed to find something they enjoy.
I went with a hipster favorite – a deep fried sushi burrito.Delicious but requires an hour lie-down to recover.
Other not-to-be-missed culinary experiences in the city includes Tusk, a pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, Canard, a hip French restaurant, Fried Egg I’m Love, a food truck with the best breakfast sandwich in the city and Cheryl’s On 12th, which offers a killer Croque Monsieur.
That evening we swung by a ‘Kombucha Speakeasy’ before checking out a movie at McMenamins Bagdad Theater & Pub, a quirky independent cinema and bar in the Hawthorne District.
If you’re in the mood for a more ‘Portland weird’ movie experience, the Clinton Theater has been holding midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Show since 1978.
Day four started with an unforgettable breakfast at Pine State Biscuits before we toured the shops and street art in the Alberta Arts District.
Our meandering took us to Grains of Wrath Brewery & Taproom – one of the city’s many microbreweries.
Portland led the small brew revolution over the past 15 years and now boasts more than 100 craft breweries in the metro area alone.
No visit is complete without sampling at least one local IPA.
Grains of Wrath, a metal themed taproom, is a great place to start, while any true beer connoisseur must pay a visit to the award-winning Great Notion Brewing on Albert Street for their Double Stack imperial breakfast stout.
We ended the evening at Sessionable, a brewery focusing on light yet flavorsome beers with a lower alcohol content.
Our last night was at The Hoxton, based in historic Old Town Chinatown, and decorated in a cool mid-century style.
The hotel has two restaurants; a rooftop bar and restaurant which offers fantastic views across the city, a café and bar, and a secret basement bar with crafted cocktails.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news" data-version="2" id="mol-fbcb7fe0-0a07-11ed-b315-91fb92e23128" website offers Oregon's stunning natural beauty with a hipster twist