I have been to Portland more than 25 times (I have lost count) on business trips over the last few years so can speak with some authority about a few “must see” places if you want to play tourist for a weekend.
If you don’t mind waiting in lines, you really need to check out Voodoo Doughnuts at least once in your lifetime. I have been a couple times, and I have been lucky both times with only 10 to 15 minute wait times. There is a bit of a rivalry between Portlanders whether the Blue Star Donuts or Voodoo Doughnuts are better. If you have time, visit both and make your own decision. I tried the fruit loop doughnut, but really like the traditional Voodoo Doll with the pretzel through the raspberry filled heart the best! (Okay, so maybe I have been there more than a couple times!)
If you are there over the First Thursday of the month, you will definitely want to check out the Pearl District. Streets are closed down for an art walk, live music, and good wine. While in the Pearl District, check out my good friends, KEEN, who often have live music or other fun event going on in their GARAGE.
Pack a pair of hiking boots, as you should plan to visit Multnomah Falls and either hike to the top or take the 5 mile Wahkeena Trail Loop around to see at least 5 of the 100 Portland waterfalls. Multnomah Falls is probably one of the most photographed Falls in the world outside of Niagara Falls, and it certainly is impressive.
If you have an extra day, rent a car and take a drive to the Oregon coast. The views are spectacular and well worth the drive. Cannon Beach and Rockaway Beach are the most common due to how close they are to the highway coming across from Portland, but don’t just stop there continue on a leisurely drive down the coast and you won’t be disappointed at the views.
These are just a few things that you have to check off your bucket list while in Portland for the first time, but there is so much more to experience and discover.
Portland is FOODIE central, and is known for their farm to table restaurants, so I will write a future post about some of my favourite restaurants. (Sneak Peek: If you like spicy, The Habanero Pepper Infused Vodka with Passionfruit at the Peruvian restaurant, Andina, is the best drink in Portland)
There are also some really unique hotels in Portland, such as The Ace, The Royal Sonesta (used to be the Hotel Monaco), and the Sentinel, so expect another blog post about boutique hotels and how they add to the quirky culture that is Portlandia.