PDX Guide

Valentine’s Day weekend 20 of my closest friends and I headed out to Portland, Oregon for good friend’s wedding, so I thought it’d be fun to put something together for everyone to enjoy. So I created a rough compilation of all the great comments/suggestion you left on my blog as well as a few tips I picked up from my favorite design bloggers and fantastic coworkers. I also marked up a google map to match…So here you have it. All in one post.

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  • The Alberta Arts District – NE Portland….tons of small galleries and boutiques, great area (there was just a great article in the NYT about this area)
  • Ace Hotel and get a fancy coffee drink and then hang out in the hotel lobby and take black and white pictures in their retro booth (Grace knows best)
  • Streetcar Ride through downtown…it’s free in “fareless square”
  • Walk along the river (the Willamette – rhymes with damn-it)…..great parks, people watching, art.
  • N: funky hipsterish + historically black neighborhood (Alberta Arts District), NE: mostly residential, SE: funky hippie-ish, NW: yuppie-ish, SW: downtown and stuff, Pearl District – new area with development and good eats
  • Forest Park
  • Pittock mansion
  • walking and shopping on Hawthorne
  • Old Town/China Town
  • A hike up Mount Tabor for an excellent view of the city
  • The Hollywood area has a cool non-profit movie theater
  • Ground Kontrol (for the adult that never really grew up) – retro video game arcade with beer!


  • Powell’s Bookstore – the largest independent bookstore in the nation (#1 recommendation from locals). On W. Burnside, it is a great place to spend a rainy day.
  • N.E. Alberta Office (very cool “office supply” company with design sensibility) and the Together gallery are wonderful!
  • A stroll through Cargo, an eastern-inspired home furnishings store
  • A shopping tour at Redux on East Burnside
  • Life + Limb and Olio United – two noteworthy design shops


  • Do not miss Voodoo Donuts! (Valentine’s day special: donuts shaped like black hearts and bleed red goo… or the “Tex Ass” challenge – finish the giant donut in 90 seconds and it’s free!) [good for late night!]
  • Stumptown Coffee…2 locations downtown (SW), original location on SE Division
  • The Fresh Pot– Mississippi has a nice coffee shop
  • Tin Shed Garden Cafe – great breakfast place next to Office (I ended up eating here TWICE!)
  • Saint Cupcake for a “Fat Elvis”
  • Breakfast at Broder — a cute Swedish cafe
  • Dessert at Pix Patisserie — tres tres francais
  • Happy hour at Bartini in NW Portland — try the spicy mango martini
  • CAVA – owned by artist Amy Ruppel ‘s husband Randy Montgomery – heard great things about mushroom bruschetta
  • Pok Pok on Division for amazing Thai street food in a fancy setting…expect a wait
  • Ken’s Artisan Bakery on NW 21st & Everett…for pastries and bread
  • Saturday Market

DRINK + DRINK (courtesy of the bride & groom)

  • Deschute’s Brewery and Public House: A great beer selection, all locally brewed, and some of the best soft pretzels you will find on the West Coast (they have a ton of other foods too). 210 NW 11th Avenue.
  • BridegePort Ale House: Two locations, one in the Pearl and this one over in the Hawthorne district that is a bit more inviting. Another selection of great Portland brews. 3632 SE Hawthorne Boulevard.
  • Rogue Ales Public House: Good beer, great burgers. Enough said. 1339 NW Flanders Street.
  • Henry’s 12th Street Tavern: 100 beers on tap and good Northwest pub food located in the old Weinhard’s brewery building. 10 NW Burnside Avenue.
  • McMenamins Kennedy School: A former elementary school transformed into a great pub/restaurant/hotel serving handcrafted microbrews in a bar that literally used to be the girl’s bathroom in its former life. 5736 NE 33rd Avenue. McMenamins Kennedy School
  • Kellys Olympian: cheap beer with great retro neon sign interior


  • Noble Rot: Wine flights, reasonably prices house options and seasonally rotating menus made of fresh, local ingredients. 2724 SE Ankeny Street.
  • Vino: A Poppino family favorite in SE Portland, it has $10 wine flights on Fridays (for 5 tastes) and allows you to bring your own apps from the nearby Whole Foods. 1226 SE Lexington Street.
  • Thirst Wine Bar & Bistro: On the waterfront, serves tapas and Pacific NW wine flights accompanied by a lovely view. 0315 SW Montgomery.

$2 on the MAX from the airport to hotel


  • Budget Travel’s Portland, Oregon: Can a Place Be too Perfect?
  • I also ended up buying the Portland Superguide. Sure, $20 for 28 printable pages may sound a bit steep, but the maps were great and I felt like it was a guide written just for me (aka a worthy investment) – even the design of the guide is savvy and every place listed was right up my alley. Or maybe Portland is just a city right up my alley…


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