For maybe the first time in my adult life, I passed on an opportunity to travel this week. I could have been on an airplane right now, but instead I am here. My hope is that I prioritized an opportunity at home that will potentially lead to the ability to travel even more in my future. Life is a game of give and take, right? So I’m spending my time at home reviewing and reminiscing my most recent adventures. I took a short road trip to Chicago, Illinois last week, but a few weeks ago I got my weird on while visiting a friend in Portland, Oregon!

I met this pretty lady on a study abroad trip to Europe a few years ago (more to come in July!) and I want to say that it was friendship at first sight, but in reality we didn’t become besties for at least a week or two until we sat in a Laundromat together for a few hours in London. The rest is history. When she graduated in December and decided to move literally to the other side of the United States, the question was not whether or not I would visit her…the question was when? We settled on early May, and it ended up working out perfectly in the grand scheme of the universe.

Keeping up with the weather in the Pacific Northwest leading up to my visit showed nothing out of the ordinary overcast gloom. Such was not the case for my visit!! Portland was sunny and warm! It was actually amusing to listen to Portlanders tell me over and over again how lucky I was to visit on the first sunny day of the year…and then to respond that I’m from Atlanta and it’s been in the 80’s since basically February (might be an exaggeration but I’m sticking with it) and I had been looking forward to the gloom!

Maybe it was for the best that the weather was so nice, because we averaged about eight miles of walking a day while exploring Portland! We reached our Airbnb in late afternoon, and ate dinner at a food truck a very short distance from our home. First of all, casual dining experiences are my favorite way to eat any meal for any occasion, and Portland is the king of the food truck! I would move to Portland just for the food—this is the truth. The tacos we had for dinner that night were amazing!

After dinner, we walked a bit farther to an ice cream shop called Salt and Straw. In an effort to not turn this entire post into a lecture about ice cream, I will just say that the flavors they offered were very different than what you might find at Dairy Queen or Ben and Jerry’s, and they offered a “flight” option! Obviously, because of my excitement over weird flavors, we both ordered flights of ice cream and shared with each other, allowing us to try eight different flavors from their menu. It was a very satisfying culinary experiment.

We went to bed full of tacos and sugar that evening, and woke up the next morning intending to ingest even more sugar at Voodoo Doughnuts. Our Airbnb was right next to the MAX train line, which is a great way to get around Portland. The city is very walkable and has a lot of reliable public transit options, which allowed us to adventure to our heart’s content without having to drive anywhere. We picked up too many donuts for breakfast (Voodoo is cash-only but has an ATM inside), and sauntered around downtown Portland for the morning.

Voodoo Doughnuts is walking distance from Powell’s City of Books, where we stopped in and promptly became happily lost among towers of books. Powell’s is the largest new and used bookstore in the world and they mean business. The multilevel store has color-coded rooms according to what the rooms house. I wandered to my leisure through shelves of biographies, travel guides, and art criticisms. I am ready to admit that I have weird taste in books.

After meandering around Powell’s and the Pearl District, we ended up at the Alder Street food cart pod, the largest gathering of food carts in Portland. I was in desperate need of something fresh and green for lunch after the sugar overload I had experienced already, and we were able to find a food truck that had just the thing. We ate a quick lunch at a nearby park before catching the train to Washington Park and then hopping in an Uber to the Japanese Gardens!

I took quite a few photos at the Japanese Gardens, so I’m going to save them for another post next week. We also intended to visit the Rose Garden while in Washington Park, but unfortunately it was undergoing construction that week and had very little growing. So we caught an Uber back into the center of Portland to go exploring for a little while before our evening activity—Brewcycle!!

We ended up eating dinner before Brewcycle, and I am so glad that we did, because our tour was a little over two hours long, and when it ended we were not ready for the party to be over! We ended up going out with a few friends we made during the Brewcycle tour, and I would have been SO CRANKY if I hadn’t eaten ahead of time! Scoring a happy hour special, we had burgers and fries at Tilt Restaurant and hung out for some time there while we waited for our evening tour.

That evening we laughed so much, made new friends, and drank all kinds of yummy drinks. We all but ran ourselves into the ground in order to maximize our time in Portland, because we had another adventure in mind for the next day! We got home much later than planned that night, but all in the name of fun and happy memories that I will hold onto forever.

20 thoughts on “Keeping it Weird in Portland, Oregon

  1. I’ve lived in Portland, Oregon since 2004 and am always curious to see what visitors to our fair city see/do/think. Salt&Straw, Voodoo Donut, and Brewcycle – no surprises there (the joke goes that we leave those places for tourists). I’m glad you experienced Powell’s, Alder food carts the Japanese Garden, some of the most beloved institutions in town. I recommend getting out of downtown and NW, if you can, on your next visit. It gets weirder.

    1. Yes, I fully plan to branch out next time! I really only had one day in the city, so we wanted to make sure we got all the touristy stuff under our belts, but I keep reading about all the awesome nature surrounding the city! Thanks for reading!

  2. Wait! A flight of ice cream? That may just be the absolute best food idea I have ever heard of. I can never decide on which flavor, even at places like Ben & Jerry’s or Baskin-Robbins. So the flight option at a place with far-out flavors truly is genius!

  3. Wow! Were those Star Wars doughnuts?! So cool! I’ve been to Portland before. I have a different perspective because I grew up in Seattle and Portland was only a three-hour drive. We had relatives there so we made the trip often. It was such a fun trip for us because we loved road trips! But Portland then was not the Portland of today. I’d love to go back now that it’s practically a foodie capitol, and I’d like to see it again from an older adult’s perspective.

    1. We did the exact same thing!!!! But we, of course, were driving from Portland to Seattle instead of the other way around. And yes! They had specialty Star Wars doughnuts that day, so we bought one of each! Thank you for reading!

  4. We have heard so many good things about Portland and this just adds fuel to the fire. Food trucks, flights of ice cream and lots of good walking sound like a perfect break to me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. We had a great time! I almost wish we had stayed longer in Portland so I could have eaten at more food trucks! It’s worth the visit. 🙂 thanks for reading!

  5. Ahhh man! I’ve known Portland would be up my street for quite some time, but seeing all those food photos really just seals the deal. Them tacos though! :O

    1. YES. I don’t know where to get tacos like that in the Southeast, and I’ve been craving them ever since I got back! Thanks for reading!

  6. Those voodoo donuts look amazing! I’ve been to Portland twice now and still haven’t gotten a chance to try them. The line just always seems absurd… (Ain’t nobody got time for that!) Although now seeing your photo I’ve got major regrets hahaa.

    1. We went to Voodoo midmorning on a Thursday, and there was no line at all! We may have gotten lucky, but sneaking in while everyone else was at work probably helped! I would recommend a visit, but I probably wouldn’t have wanted to wait in a line either! Thank you for reading 🙂

  7. I would definitely go to Portland to check out the food truck scene. Those tacos look amazing. And the donuts made me laugh. Donuts have taken on a new life since the last time I was in the US. They are so trendy and gourmet now.

    1. You are so right! I’m usually not a big donut person, but I’ve been craving them ever since I was in Portland! Thanks for reading!

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