At long last my travel guide to Portland, Oregon is here! My husband Kyle and I went for a long weekend to celebrate his 30thbirthday! (Maybe now that he’s also 30, he will stop telling me I need an AARP card already haha.) We did so much in such a short trip and if I’m being honest we cannot WAIT to go back. The west coast is seriously incredible and we didn’t do all the things we had planned so I’m sure there will be Portland v2 in the future! Not to mention, I’m pretty sure Maria is planning a trip there as well, so be sure to check back here often for more tips and travel guides from each of our perspectives!
If you didn’t have a chance to follow along on our Instagram stories, this will give you a quick and dirty rundown of the things to eat, drink and do in Portland!
Okay now let’s get into my Portland travel guide!
We researched TONS of options for prior to our stay. We really wanted to stay somewhere that was eclectic and really had the Portland vibes going on. We were lucky enough to partner up with the Kimpton Hotel Vintage for our stay in Portland and I can’t even begin to tell you how perfect it was for our stay!
TIP: Kimpton Hotel Vintage is pet-friendly which is super convenient for anyone traveling with their fur baby and super fun for anyone who had to leave theirs at home but likes to pet other peoples’ dogs in passing! hehe
- ROOMS: Each room is named after an Oregon winery and they are all BEAUTIFUL. Our room had of course one of their iconic red couches and a skylight which made for the perfect morning wake-up call! The beds here are to die for, incredibly comfortable and the pillows were the kind you just melt into each night. Now normally I wouldn’t even comment on a hotels shampoo or soaps, but I had read that they were actually good so I risked it all and didn’t even bring my own. I have to say I was extremely pleased with the quality of the Luxury Atelier Bloem toiletries provided and it made it super convenient for me to pack one less thing for the trip. I even called down to the front desk to see if there was a curling iron I could borrow and not 5 minutes later someone from the hotel staff showed up at the door with TWO barrel size options for me! Haha #winning I used that curling wand the entire trip and it was perfect- thanks again Hotel Vintage!
- AMENITIES: Kimpton Hotel Vintage takes it to the next level when it comes to their amenities. Besides the fitness center and room service, they also offer in-room spa treatments, local welcome wine, a bar with unmatched mixologists, fun games on each floor and an entire game room complete with a pool table.
TIP: Take advantage of the valet service. The valet guys are awesome and they even help you with directions or suggestions of places to go in the area! You can even call down from your room and let them know you’ll be coming down in 15 minutes or so and they will go get the car and have it out front for you! An added bonus if you don’t like waiting around, or if you just want to pretend to be fancy for the weekend haha.
- DINING: The hotel has a quaint Italian restaurant attached called Il Solito. They serve everything from breakfast to dinner and drinks so be sure to check it out even if you don’t stay here (which I highly recommend you do)!
- DRINKING: I have to mention the Bacchus Bar separately from the amenities because truly it was one of our favorite spots to belly-up and have cocktails! The bartenders were awesome, creating custom drinks to fit our preferences and switch things up from the already diverse cocktail menu! 10/10 would recommend the bar, again even if you don’t stay here it’s worth popping in for a drink! Catch happy hour if you can between 4pm and 6pm, you won’t regret it.
TIP: There is a social hour in the living room (because it is WAY too swanky to be called a lobby) every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. DON’T miss this! They partner with one of the local wineries and offer complimentary tastings and even live music!
- CONCIERGE: Okay I have to mention how amazing the hotel staff was our entire trip. We were so pleased with everyone we interacted with. Then, the last night there we realized that we had accumulated too many bottles of wine at the Oregon wineries to bring them all back in our suitcases. The hotel was super accommodating and arranged for our bottles to get shipped to us once we were home! The other thing you should absolutely take advantage of is their concierge Ryan who can literally plan your itinerary for you. Want to go out to the Willamette Valley, but didn’t rent a car? No problem! They will even help you out with a rental to use!
I seriously cannot say enough good things about Kimpton Hotel Vintage and we will 100% be staying there again when we go back! Thanks again for partnering with me and for the incredible stay!
TIP: Plan your dining adventures in advance, stick to the plan, make reservations in advance when you can, and be prepared to wait in lines to get in to the hot spots (but don’t worry they will be worth it)!
- PINE STATE BISCUITS: You have to try this place if you’re in town. We have pretty high expectations when it comes to breakfast foods since brunch in Chicago is basically a religion. This far exceeded our expectations and left us wondering if Chicago’s food scene was even that great in comparison! They specialize in biscuit sandwiches and they definitely live up to the hype. We had “The Wedgie” and “The Reggie Deluxe” and planned to split them half and half so we could each try both. My suggestion would be to just split one sandwich! I had looked on Yelp at pictures and we both thought they would be fairly small. They were not. They were huge. And after we split the first one we were full. But obviously had to power through and try the second! Haha You must also save room to try a seasonal “pop-tart” while you’re there, they change often and you should never pass up an opportunity to try something that might not be there the next time you’re in town!
TIP: We went to the Pine State Biscuits location in the Arts District which (still had a line) but was WAY less crowded than some of the photos I had seen from the other location. So it might be worth it to opt for the Arts District location even if it’s a little out of your way. Plus there were cute shops and a little downtown area to explore while you walk off all those biscuit carbs.
- BLUE STAR DONUTS: Skip Voodoo Doughnuts and just go straight to Blue Star. Voodoo is more kitschy with their decorated frosted donuts and Blue Star is more about the flavors. Favorite donuts here were the Blueberry Bourbon Basil and the Cointreau Crème Brulee (which comes with a tiny pipette filled with Cointreau that you can squeeze into and on top of the donut! We would pass next time on the lavender flavored donut we tried, only because it was so flavorful that we felt like we were eating fresh lavender potpourri haha. But if eating flowers is your thing you’ll probably love that one!
- HEART COFFEE: There are so many great coffee options in Portland, I really don’t think you can go wrong. I would suggest just picking a few places convenient to your location or where you are headed. That’s how we happened upon Heart, and it was delicious, fresh coffee! I had an almond milk honey lavender latte (which is strange considering the aforementioned haha) but it was so good and not too sweet. We also shared a blueberry muffin/scone/pastry thingy and it tasted like it was fresh baked that morning.
- GRASSA PDX: This place confused the HECK out of me because when I read the menu and saw that it was handcrafted pastas I imagined it would be a fancier joint. I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much this was more like a fast casual dining place. Standout dish here was Kyle’s Carbonara topped with a fried egg! Be sure to get an order of garlic bread- definitely large enough to split between two.
- FOOD CARTS: Not food trucks, food carts. They are everywhere and while we didn’t have a chance to indulge, it is on our list for next time! There are dozens lined up and you can literally get any type of cuisine. So, if your group can’t decide on one type of food to eat, just head to the food carts and everyone can have something different.
- SALT & STRAW: Another joint we had to wait in a considerably long line for, but was well worth it! Specializing in handmade ice cream in crazy flavors, you have to go at least once. Must try flavor here was the Arbequina Olive Oil. Yes. Olive Oil flavored ice cream. I don’t know why the girl who doesn’t like her food to touch on her plate would even try olive oil flavored ice cream but man oh man am I glad I did! Trust me on this one. Oh yeah, and apparently it was named one of Oprah’s favorite things!
TIP: You can sample literally every flavor of ice cream at Salt & Straw before choosing, so DO NOT hesitate to do so!
- VON EBERT BREWING: Who doesn’t love a craft brewery that also serves dynamite food?! This place really could have gone under the “EAT” category instead of “DRINK” because I was so surprised by how good the food was. The beer here was also SO good and their draft list changes every 3-4 days! Standout food dishes we had were the fried pickles (chips not spears) and their signature smoked chicken wings!
- BACCHUS BAR: Taking hotel bars to the next level, I have to mention the bar inside Kimpton Hotel Vintage again because the bar itself is stunning, the cocktails are incredible and it has actually been named in years passed as one of the best bars in Portland! You must try the Blood & Smoke and the Pink Drink with mezcal. If those don’t tickle your fancy, just tell the mixologist behind the bar what you like and they will whip you up something custom!
- MULTNOMAH WHISK[E]Y LIBRARY: If you only visit ONE drinking establishment while you are in Portland, for the love of liquor make it the Multnomah Whiskey Library. The atmosphere is unlike any other and it is an incredible experience. With alcohol from floor to ceiling, like the Beast’s library in Beauty and the Beast, the bartenders climb actual rolling library ladders before they begin mixing your drink.
TIP: Go early to MWL, put your name in and be prepared to wait. We got there around 10pm, gave our name and then walked around for a little over an hour before they texted to tell us that it was our turn to head up to the library. I would recommend putting your name in and then heading to another bar, grab a drink and pay the bill when they bring your drink so you can head back to the Whiskey Library as soon as they call you.
TIP: Pack light when traveling to Portland if you intend to shop a lot! The tax free shopping makes it almost impossible to resist and if you don’t plan for it, you’ll end up with an overweight suitcase and spending more to get it home. With most airlines it’s actually cheaper to check a second bag than it is to pay an overweight baggage fee!
- NORDSTROM: If I’m being honest, I didn’t pack enough outfits for the trip. On purpose. Because I knew I wanted to do some serious shopping! With Chicago sales tax nearing 10%, I was SO ready to take advantage of the TAX FREE SHOPPING in Portland! I racked up a hefty bill at Nordy’s and would recommend if you are interested in making say a designer handbag purchase anytime soon, you do it while travelling to Portland instead.
- BOUTIQUES:There are so many eclectic boutiques in Portland, you can find anything and everything so be sure to make time to just walk around the local shops!
Alright guys that concludes my Portland travel guide! I’ll be sharing two more Oregon guides in the next couple weeks, one for the wineries we visited and one for the outdoorsy things we did nearby Portland. So check back here next week!