The Perfect Weekend in Portland

Spending a long weekend in Portland is the perfect way to ramp up your love for the city--whether it’s your first visit or your 44th. After browsing Powell’s City of Books, taking in the sights and scents of the International Rose Test Garden or the Japanese Garden, and eating your way through donut shops and a Korean fried chicken hot spot, and washing it all down with great craft beer, Portland is sure to jump up a few spots on your list of favorite destinations. This collection will keep you fed and entertained for every day of your visit.

923 SW Oak St, Portland, OR 97205, USA
Right around the corner from Powell’s Bookstore and Sizzle Pie, the vibe here is fantastic. The walls are kind of spartan, there’s a record player in the corner, and you can roam on free Internet to your heart’s content. These guys definitely know the food scene here and have great tips. My iced chai latte? Served in a mason jar. Yum and Yum. And those caneles, pictured? They were featured in Portland Monthly. I believe Courier is following the ice cube trend with one big block of ice in either a square or rectangle. I also love the everyday musings on their blog.
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.
926 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97205, USA
Sometimes you just want get back to the basic. Pizza. Beer. More Pizza. Look for the giant slice on the side of the building. You’ll find the place no matter what state of mind you’re in. Sizzle Pie is perfectly positioned to help get that hunger monkey off your back. It’s centrally located in Downtown, sells by the NY-sized slice, and tastes extra extra good at 2 AM.

Don’t ask why. It just does. #Believe

Let’s be real here. You’re in Portland. You’ll be up late. Just don’t forget that Sizzle Pie’s got your back...or maybe the monkey does…

400 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, USA
This is where everyone stops to smell the roses in the Rose City. Celebrating its centennial in 2017, the International Rose Test Garden is the nation’s oldest continually operating rose test garden (where varieties are evaluated for characteristics such as disease resistance, bloom size, and fragrance). Originally conceived as a way to preserve different varieties of European roses from the destruction of World War I, the garden today contains 10,000 plants across 4.5 acres in Washington Park. Best of all, it’s completely free, whether you want to compare green thumbs with professionals or take in the views of Mount Hood while breathing in the perfumed air.
3229 NW Pittock Dr, Portland, OR 97210, USA
The mansion and grounds around this Portland icon are impeccably kept and constantly visited. It was even featured recently on CBS’s Amazing Race. The views are stunning and if you’re into hiking, there is access to the Wildwood Trail which traverses the crest of the West Hills. Park down at the Oregon Zoo or Hoyt Arboretum and follow the winding path up to one of the best viewpoints in the city. There is also plenty of parking and a gift shop with limited hours of operation. The history of having tea on the lawn on Sunday afternoons in summertime may be long past, but the Mt Hood view is still spectacular. The former tearoom is now the Gate Lodge and open for free tours during regular hours. These days the hours vary depending on the season and the all-volunteer efforts in keeping the Pittock public. The mansion tours take you back to the days when Portland was first finding its heady way as a city. Find your path to the Pittock and take in Portland’s past.
6600 SW Macadam Ave, Portland, OR 97239, USA
Portland’s many bridges aren’t just for show—most of them are for crossing the Willamette River, which bisects the city. In recent years, and after much cleanup, a push to reclaim the river for recreation has been successful. Among the more popular activities is kayaking. Offering both tours and rentals, Portland Kayak Company is an excellent outfitter that gets urban adventurers out on the water with a minimum of fuss. The more romantically inclined may want to try a PKC moonlight kayaking tour, while those looking to up their paddling game can opt for one of the classes aimed at helping students hone their technique.
240 N Broadway #129, Portland, OR 97227, USA
When traveling, I love to spend Saturday morning at the farmers market. There’s no better way to meet the locals and get to know the town culture. What produce do they love? What coffee do they sip? What’s the overall mood? One of the best Saturday morning farmers markets I’ve been to was in a giant park in Portland, Maine. The stalls were packed with reasonably priced, locally grown produce (of course, Maine blueberries were abundant). Despite the chilly morning temperatures, children played in a splash park and adults sipped locally made apple cider while listening to the various jazz musicians who had set up around the farmers market. Despite the crowds, parking was abundant (such a rarity!) as was the “Maine nice” that we found around the entire state.
SE Salmon St, Portland, OR 97215, USA
Right inside the city limits, the dormant volcano Mount Tabor is one of Portland’s many natural treasures. The park in which it sits was designed in 1936 by Emanuel Tillman Mische, who, for most of his career, worked for the Olmsted Brothers, the leading landscape architects of the period. Today, the park’s winding paths are chockablock with bicyclists testing their mettle and hikers exploring the many trails and three reservoirs in search of fresh air and views of the surrounding valley. There are three main walking routes, and it’s also possible to drive to the summit and take a quick amble through the firs and pines.
960 SE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, USA
If you can’t say nyet to a convivial meal with all the trimmings, Kachka is the place to toast your fellow comrades. Surprisingly, Kachka isn’t Portland’s only Russian restaurant, but this Slavic stunner is certainly one of the best—not just among the city’s Russian restaurants but all of its dining options. There are hearty classics like beef Stroganoff, though the main draw here is the zakuski, Russian tapas that are ideally paired with many, many shots of vodka. You’ll find pickled items as well as the showstopping Herring under a Fur Coat, a Russian seven-layer dip with herring, potatoes, onions, carrots, beets, mayo, and eggs. Reservations are essential.
126 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204, USA
Wish that your one-stop shopping and dining location had high-concept ice cream, ramen, and New York–style pizza? Look no further than Pine Street Market, Portland’s first modern food hall. Home to some of the city’s best-loved restaurateurs, it counts among its popular food stands Wiz Bang Bar (featuring the nation’s only high-concept soft serve from the folks at Salt & Straw), Bless Your Heart Burger (done Carolina-style, from Toro Bravo’s John Gorham), and OP Wurst (from local wurst-meisters Olympia Provisions). The 10,000-square-foot space in the renovated 1886 Carriage & Baggage Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was the site of the Old Spaghetti Factory until 1981.
4000 Southwest Fairview Boulevard, Portland, OR 97221-2706
The Hoyt Arboretum is 200 acres of local, national, and international trees. The park has a network of trails that are thematically named by the species you’ll find along the way. From the holly to the white pine, the redwood to the oak, the trails are well marked and maintained over varied terrain. When you stand at the apex of the park looking down toward the zoo, you’ll notice the remnant geography of a par-three golf course, a park feature decades ago. There is an interpretive center with a gift shop near the top of the hill, too. The trails take you to the Japanese and International Rose gardens to the east. The Oregon Zoo, Forestry Center, and Children’s Museum is to the south with the Vietnam War Memorial to the west. The Hoyt is a central point for exploring all of Washington and Forest parks. It’s part of a greenbelt that is the longest urban park in the country. With 1,400 species to explore, plan to pack a lunch. I run in the park and have no trouble getting in eight miles, but that pales compared to folks I meet out on the trail who are doing 30 miles in the woods. The Wildwood Trail is the centerpiece of the system and traverses the West Hills parks. Take the Max from downtown west to the zoo stop and see if you can find the monkey puzzle trees. You’ll have no problem wandering off and getting lost in the middle of town.
1300 Southeast Grand Avenue (a), Portland, OR 97214, USA
One of the many excellent coffee roasters in Portland, Coava occupies an industrial-chic space in the Central Eastside that’s more than a spot to duck in for an espresso. The airy 13,000-square-foot operation includes training facilities, an enormous coffee silo in which beans are stored, and, of course, a retail coffee bar from which visitors can watch much of the coffee-roasting process unfold. Though Coava’s beans are proudly served at some of Portland’s best coffee shops, many of the pour-overs at its “brew bar” are available in limited quantities and not served anywhere else.
2335 NW Thurman St, Portland, OR 97210, USA
Finding fine French bakery goods beyond the borders of France would seem unlikely in this NW corner of the United States. St. Honoré has transformed a little shop in NW Portland into a cultural escapade you’d normally have to get on a plane to experience. This bakery has been a mainstay for the French community in PDX for years and now has a fanatic following that has forged two other locations. The original is a cozy cafe with French influences that make it impossible to drive by when the fresh bread aromas drift out onto Thurman Street. The space is open and inviting with a staff that loves to share their expertise about the whole St Honoré process. This was one of the only places open early for live Tour de France coverage accompanied with fine coffee and pastries. Rolling up in the dark on my bike back in the days of Lance (c’est dommage) to find the place already packed was Franco-fantastic. The restaurant is designed to get patrons to be part of the scene. With the baking close and the big banquet vibe, you instantly feel part of the Honoré table. The menu goes beyond pastries and desserts. Lunch or dinner at Honoré is a trip to Paris or Provence for under $20. Try the panini or manager’s special to light things up. Hang around for sweets with a tart or gateau, and wash it down with a cafe au lait. Don’t forget something for the home front—a baguette at the very least. C’est somptueux!
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