When I went to Portland on July 4th weekend for Word Domination Summit 2013, we made sure to explore the city as much as we could. It’s very similar (but not better; I love you, Austin!) than Austin. In comparison to Austin, Portland’s weather is cooler and the city is weirder. (Austin is more of a cool, subtle weird.)
The MAX Red Line will take you straight from the airport to downtown. We stayed in the downtown area so we walked everywhere but the MAX lines should get you where you need to go.
When in Portland, do as the Portlanders do. The cooler weather made riding a bike the perfect way to explore the city. We had great service and bikes from Waterfront Bikes, which is located right on the waterfront and gave us easy access to a scenic route.
Though it’s a little ways from downtown, the Oregon Zoo is a fun place to visit. They’ve got cute otters, giraffes, lions, tigers and bears. I saw two animals I hadn’t seen before: a mongoose and a fluffy tailed monkey.
International Rose Test Garden
Close to the Oregon Zoo, this garden is a wonderful park filled with beautiful flowers. You can easily spend an hour here, strolling the park, enjoying the flowers and hugging some trees!
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
If you want an Instagram-worthy shot, go by this concert hall. WDS was held here and the 84-year-old building is gorgeous inside!
Saint Cupcake and Cupcake Jones
Both shops had delicious cupcakes! The flavors I tried:
Saint Cupcake: The Salty Captain, Carrot Cake, Rhubarb with Raspberry, Vanilla with Cream Cheese
Cupcake Jones: German Chocolate, Peter’s Chocolate Mint, Strawberry Shortcake (Also pictured: Chocolate Chip Cookie and PB&J)
Made famous by its award-winning chef and its appearance on “No Reservations,” Pok Pok proved its worth with a delicious Thai feast: pork belly and shoulder, Vietnamese fish sauce chicken wings, boar collar, Northern Thai curry, glass noodles, water spinach, and Thai tea to top it off.
Salt & Straw
Yes. You need to eat this ice cream. Strawberry with Cilantro Lime Cheesecake and Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbon earned two thumbs up from me.
Beer is kind of a big deal in Portland. I only tried the Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale at the zoo but I loved it. There are many brewpubs in the downtown area since most of the breweries are outside of Portland. I can’t wait to come back to explore the brews/breweries more.
Portland was such a fun city to visit and explore, and it’s perfect for a long weekend. Portland breweries, I’m coming back for you!