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The city of Portland has a certain energy that seems to pull people in. It’s a city that’s very consciously different from the norm. What Portland lacks in a big impressive skyline it makes up for in local flare, passionate people and independent businesses, not to mention some pretty amazing coffee, doughnuts, dining and delicious beer. Come to Portland with an open mind and an empty stomach. Oh, and you should probably pack some hiking boots too, and one of those hipster beanies if you have one.


Portland’s city slogan should be “Come Hungry” – the city’s culinary scene is on point. | Photo by

Day 1: Follow your taste buds

One of the best ways to experience Portland is through its vibrant culinary scene. The city is home to many forward thinking and inventive chefs, wine makers and brew masters. In Portland, you can find anything from five-star dining to food carts and everything in between. Feeling thirsty? The city is home to the most breweries within city limits in the entire world—seriously, the world. Not a beer drinker? Sit down to a glass of Oregon wine produced locally by one of the many artisanal small batch winemakers in the area.

The culinary aspect that is most uniquely Portland is the obscene amount of tasty food carts scattered around the city. Currently, there is in excess of 700 mobile and stationary food carts and trucks in Portland and there’s no better way to see and taste the city than to take a food cart tour. Besides getting your fill of some amazing street food, the tour is also a great orientation to Portland. Join Eat Adventures for a tour that will take you on a one-of-a-kind, food truck-inspired trip around the city.

RELATED: Portland’s food carts are worth the trip alone


A beer tour is the best way to drink your way around the city. | Photo by

By night, you’ll find yourself circling the town in search of the best microbreweries and tasting rooms. With literally hundreds of places to try some amazing Portland and Oregon beers, you’d need way more than three days (and a backup liver) to hit them all. In case you are feeling overwhelmed, we recommend signing up for a Brewvana tour. Let them guide (and safely drive you) to all the city’s best places to have a pint. Those short on time shouldmake their way to the south end of the Pearl District, home to a bunch of the city’s best breweries and all within walking (or should we say stumbling?) distance.

After your fill of tasty treats and delicious beer, a great place to check in for the night is The Nines hotel located in the lively downtown area. Its convenient location and trendy room decor make it the perfect place to base yourself while visiting PDX. If you are looking for a place to have one more drink, head up to the Departure restaurant on the roof of the hotel for a nightcap with a stunning city view.


Powell’s Books is the country’s largest independent book store. | Photo by

Day 2: Independent and classic Portland 

Photo courtesy of Martina Sheehan

Photo courtesy of Martina Sheehan

Start your morning with some of the craziest doughnuts around at Voodoo Doughnut. This independent shop has been cooking up sweet and strange morning confections since 2003 in downtown Portland. Try one of their best selling bacon maple bar doughnuts to kick off a day of exploration.

Before hipsters conquered the city, Portland was known more for its roses than bearded men with black-rimmed glasses. These delicate flowers can still be found in the City of Roses, and one of the best places to find them is the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park.


Try dishes from all around the world on the streets of Portland. | Photo by

On your way to the next stop, pop into the Alder Street Food Cart Pod for a Portland-style lunch. Check out local favorite the Frying Scotsman, or one of the many other tasty trucks to choose from here. For a more formal lunch head over to Headwaters at the Heathman Hotel for some top shelf eats inside one of the city’s oldest establishments. The farm-to-table menu is constantly changing to incorporate fresh locally sourced ingredients.

Spend your afternoon perusing the shelves of the country’s largest independent bookstore, Powell’s Books. Grab a coffee for an afternoon energy boost at the cafe inside the shop. Aside from being a pretty amazing bookstore, the local independent culture here is really what Portland is all about.

Another thing that the city has always been known for is its bridges, so much so that another one of its nicknames is “Bridgetown.” Within the city limits of Portland, there are 13 bridges connecting one-half of the city to the other over the Willamette River. Take a stroll over a classic bridge like the green gothic-style iron St. Johns Bridge or the ultra modern Tilikum Crossing bridge for great city and river views.

Finish your day exploring classic Portland gems with a little hiking in one of the city’s favorite green spaces, Mount Tabor Park. From the top of the park, you’ll be rewarded with nice city views and, on a clear day, a glimpse at Mt. Hood in the distance. The park is also a great place to catch the sun going down over the city in the late afternoon.

Day 3: Get in touch with Portland’s natural and artsy sides

To kick off your final day in Portland, get a cup of some of the best brown stuff in town at the local sensation Stumptown Coffee Roasters. Since opening its doors in 1999, Stumptown has brought its spectacular beans to several cities across the country. Side note: Stumptown is actually another one of the many nicknames for Portland.

After your Stumptown coffee, it’s time to go see some non-stumpy trees in the country’s largest urban forest in the aptly named Forest Park. Spend your morning exploring some of the more than 80 miles of trails throughout the park’s thousands of acres of forest. For some of the best views in the park, make your way along the Ridge Trail to see the beautiful green St. Johns Bridge stretching across the river.

Blue Star Donuts | Flickr CC: John Pastor

Blue Star Donuts | Flickr CC: John Pastor

On your final afternoon, wind down by wandering through the unique shops and restaurants on NW 23rd Ave (in the blocks around the cross street of NW Lovejoy St). Art enthusiasts may also enjoy strolling the Pearl District to explore its many galleries or the Alberta Arts District. All three neighborhoods have ample choices for lunch or drinks. If you just can’t get enough of Portland’s doughnuts, check out Blue Star Donuts while hanging out around NW 23rd Ave.

Portland can be one of those cities that’s tough to leave after just a short trip. If you can stay longer, you could easily fill in a few more days exploring the city and surroundingnature. However, for a first trip, three days is about the right amount of time to get a taste of Portland, both literally and figuratively.

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Hannah & Adam | Getting Stamped Bloggers
Hannah & Adam are travel writers & photographers who have called the road home since 2013. Their passion for adventurous travel has brought them to 60 countries and counting. They blog about their adventures on their travel blog

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