my love letter to Portland


Wow! What a city. I had an amazing trip to Portland. Two full days however, is not nearly enough my friends. Plan for at least three or four if you can. Thought I would share some of my favourites from the trip in case anyone is planning to go. Of course, this list is not exhaustive by any means. I wish I had more time for hiking and exploring the outlying neighborhoods and parks.

Where to stay:

We stayed at the Ace. Super comfy, reasonable (we were upgraded to a bigger room), a great cafe just off the lobby, yummy food next door and right in the heart of the city.

Where to eat:

We never really had a bad meal while we were there. Even a basic diner turned out to have great food. There is a strong happy hour trend going on where most places have cheap snacks and drinks between 3 and 6. And a lot of places have great local fare. Here are some of my faves.

Clyde Common is a great casual place with shared tables and delicious charcuterie and other casual meals.

Fuller’s was our breakfast choice day one. It’s exactly as you would expect. Yummy, casual, honest and big portions.

Pearl Bakery: We picked up some pastries here for our breakfast the next morning. Delicious even the second day.

Cacao: as good as anything I had in Paris. Great place for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Helser’s: The most amazing scotch eggs and creme fraiche. Really. This is the kind of place you can take the kids and have a delicious meal.

What to do:

Go to the Doug Fir for happy hour. Crafty Wonderland is here once a month too. Sadly, we just missed it.

Watch the sun set over the city from Mount Tabor Park.

Go to NE Alberta street. Really, you must. There is just too much goodness there to capture it all. Some of my favourites here were Bolt, Tumbleweed, Grasshopper, and Ampersand. This may be my spiritual home. I was sure to pick up lots of lovely fabrics for the spring Owl+Pussycat collection, and crayon rocks, a model boat, wooden play food and a recycling truck for the boys. All the things that are hard to find here.

Have dinner and a movie at the Living Room Theatre. We enjoyed the Baader Meinhof Complex while munching greens and cheese pizza in loungers with our very own coffee table to rest our food on. I tell you it was a great way for two tired, over-run parents to get out for an evening of entertainment in a foreign city without trying to navigate the lounge scene. It’s too bad that we left before Art & Copy started. I would love to see that.

Powell’s really is as amazing as you can imagine. We came home with so many wonderful volumes for ourselves and the boys. We must have visited various locations at least three times, including the technical store which had wonderful science books and toys for kids. I came home with a laminated Gulf Island field guide for our next visit to the islands.

Take the streetcar in fareless square just for fun.

Visit the farmer’s market in the park blocks for some lovely local snacks.

Now that I have scoped it out, we will definitely be going back with the boys. I can see some great family Portland trips in our future.


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