The Perfect Day in Portland

Picking the fun and food for one single day in Portland is, to put it mildly, a tricky task. But if it’s just one day you’ve got, we’ve got your back. You’ll start with a coffee- and donut-fueled morning and end up drowning your sorrow over leaving at one of the city’s many (many) craft beer breweries. In between? Gardens, food carts, and, of course, some shopping. Off you go...

701 SW 6th Ave, Portland, OR 97205, USA
We all love a free tour and this introduction to Portland was a perfect one. What’s the tour, you ask? Well, it’s the Secrets of Portlandia tour of course! The walk covers all of the weird facts, sites, and signs that make Portland the crazy fun city it is. Eric’s personality really makes the walk downtown an enjoyable one. The tour ends at Vodoo Doughnuts and across the street is the Keep Portland Weird sign for those irresistibly awkward photo ops! Note: This tour doesn’t discuss the show at all. I’m actually really surprised nobody has jumped on the bandwagon and decided to do a tour spotting the highlights of the show. Eric, our tour guide, points this out in the beginning of the tour.
3303 S Bond Ave, Portland, OR 97239, USA
The tram gives Portland visitors stunning views of the city, river, and mountains beyond. Grab the streetcar from downtown out to the waterfront. You’re delivered to the lower terminal for the three-minute ride carrying you 3,300 feet at 20 MPH to the upper terminal at OHSU. Linger for photo ops then head back down to explore. If it’s nice, skip the streetcar and walk back along the river. Daily workout, check. Roundtrip cost: $4. At the lower terminal, the Daily Cafe is an easy find in the atrium of the OHSU Clinical building as you disembark the pill-shaped car, built with precision by the Swiss. Head for the river and stroll along the shore in any weather. Double back along SW Bond Ave and consider lunch at Bambuza Vietnamese Bistro. Check out the pricey high-rise condos on the market in the real estate office windows, then relax in one of the pocket parks to people watch. It snows in Portland. A couple of times a winter, even downtown gets dusted and it’s a huge mess. I’ve dreamed about getting my ski gear on, grabbing my boards and heading for the PDX Tram at the South Waterfront. I’d casually climb aboard with the patients and medical folks heading up to “Pill Hill” and blow their minds.
2035 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211, USA
I was on a cruise in Italy when I heard about this place. I’d mentioned that I was heading to Portland, and a fellow cruiser, a native of the town, had told me that if they had one recommendation it would be the ice cream at Salt and Straw.

What she didn’t tell me was that the flavors are not your usual vanilla, chocolate, and raspberry ripple. In fact, the first thing I tasted at Salt and Straw was their new “Bollywood” recipe, which included carrot custard and cardamom, which sounds almost sensible when you considered that some of their most popular flavors include prosciutto and goat cheese.

There was a huge line, even on a Friday mid-afternoon, but it was worth it for the almond brittle with salted ganache, not to mention the apple pie with real chunks of cheddar cheese. They’re doing their best to “Keep Portland Weird” here...and it tastes good.
1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209, USA
An iconic name in Portland retail—as well as among readers who have never been to the city—Powell’s has multiple locations on both sides of the Willamette. The downtown store remains the one best suited for visitors to explore, with miles of used reads, a tightly curated selection of books from the knowledgeable staff, and every Portland-themed book you could hope to find under one roof. A renovation in 2014 opened up the space and made it feel less like a warehouse of dusty stacks, an improvement that bodes well for the future of the business. Author appearances, even those at the satellite branches, are some of Portland’s best events for interesting discussions.
4024 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97227, USA
Portland’s original tiki bar lives on. This NoPo classic lights up the night with gaudy neon on the outside and kitschy karaoke on the in. Dive bar would be elevating the Alibi. The decor hasn’t changed since the fifties, and neither has some of the crowd. The draw isn’t the umbrella drinks or the free buffet after midnight, it’s the scene. On weekends the place is packed with competitive karaoke connoisseurs. Even if you wanted to get up on stage and bomb, you’d have to wait an hour or two. The performing inspires dancing on the stage and in the aisles as the crowd reaches the tipping point. The dark recesses of this icon are a perfect platform to conceal some secret rendezvous. It’s all about see and be seen in stage area. Don’t expect much in terms of service or extravagance on food and drink, prices are reflected in both. Do expect to drink too much, step up to the mike, stay late for grazing at the buffet, and have a great time in a stuck-in-the-'50s, Portland party environment.
4231-4237 SW Corbett Ave, Portland, OR 97239, USA
Peruvian-inspired Paiche was named the best restaurant in Portland by Willamette Week, 2017. Paiche has delighting diners in its warm, wood accented digs on Corbett Ave and now has the recognition it so deserves. Lima born, Chef Jose Luis de Cossio brings an original mix of sophistication and comfort to South American cuisine with a Northwest flair. Taking a break from a year of fast-paced dinner service, Jose Luis is going to focus on doing pop-up events that also include private gatherings in the space. Sign up on the website to get notifications. The coffee bar is full service and only open in the early morning with breakfast items that easily travel. Vegan options and green smoothies round out a healthy selection. This twenty-four seat eatery on Corbett is bound to remain a popular ticket now and well into the future. Make your plans to experience Portland’s best.
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