It’s not hard to like Portland. It’s almost automatic actually. Even if you never leave downtown, the people are incredibly friendly, the food is great (more on that), and there’s never a dull moment. If you do happen to leave the city and venture out to enjoy some of the beautiful scenery nearby, you may never want to leave.
Over the four years I’ve been visiting Portland (each July for the World Domination Summit), the only problem I can come up with about Portland is that I completely forget to take any pictures while I’m there. Typically, it’s because I’m having way too much fun. I’ve been wanting to do a post on some of my favorite spots in Portland, but that really requires a number of decent pictures to string together. Until now, that’s been a real challenge.
This year I set out with the goal of exploring more outside the city, and I’m happy to report that I did better. Not great, but definitely better.
The Subaru Forester — my rental and the unofficial spokes-car of the Pacific Northwest.
I knew the day would involve lots of great food, particularly pastries and coffee. It’s almost inescapable in Portland, and I have no idea why you would want to escape it. So I went to yoga first at The People’s Yoga. A different studio and change in teacher can be a little challenging. It was all of that, but this class definitely didn’t disappoint.
Then I proceeded directly to Case Study Coffee conveniently located next door to Bakeshop — featuring the culinary confections of Kim Boyce, author of Good to the Grain, and home of the Nutella Puff shown above, along with lots of other great pastries.
Breakfast finally in hand, I headed out of Portland on Highway 84 along the Colombia River Gorge.
My first stop was Multnomah Falls and Benson Bridge. Easily the most visited attraction in Oregon, it’s still worth seeing this 620-foot waterfall in person. The bridge is reached by a small paved path, and it’s not hard to find a less populated spot near the falls by venturing off on one of the many connecting trails.
Driving along Colombia River, you’ll pass a number of other falls with fairytale sounding names like Bridal Veil Falls and Horsetail Falls. They all draw lots of wide-eyed people, but none more than Multnomah Falls.
I left the falls and kept driving toward Mount Hood and the Hood River Fruit Loop (map), a scenic drive through the river valley’s orchard’s forests and farmlands. I struggled not to stop the car every few feet and tried instead to just enjoy the moment.
Not pictured: The beautiful bag of plump Rainer cherries bought from Rasmussen Farm. They didn’t last long. Most of them were consumed immediately as I drove with one hand on the steering wheel and the other navigating the brown paper bag, pits, and stems.
As I turned the car around to head back to Portland, I couldn’t resist capturing this shot of Mt. Adams all the way across the Colombia River and on the other side in Washington. I was tempted to drive the Washington side of the river back, so I could say that I’ve been to Washington state, but instead I decided to hold off hoping to make a real trip soon.
Back in Portland, the next day I made my first trip to Tasty n Alder. It was late afternoon between the lunch and dinner crowds. So we ate off their bar menu. Pictured: the warm radicchio salad with soft boiled eggs and pancetta and my Moscow Mule.
Not pictured: my french fries, their great cheese plate, and Sailing Bo, who joined me.
It didn’t take much to convince Bo to come along for the next stop either. I just said “whiskey library,” and he was onboard.
Said to have over 1500 different spirits on offer, the Multnomah Whiskey Library was high on my must-do-list for this visit to Portland. It’s gotten a lot of press and plenty of hype. It can be hard to get in, unless you’re willing to make a non-refundable reservation or want to join their club. We walked up right when they opened and got lucky, but others behind us were turned away.
The best Old Fashioned I’ve had to date, with it’s own table. I loved the shelves and ladder used to access all the spirts, and the warm, dark wood and leather accented with old trinkets and photos. We were sad to leave, but after a couple of stiff drinks it was time to meet up with others arriving for WDS.
This is where my pictures drop off precipitously.
I did remember to take at least one picture at Public Domain, which became our go-to morning coffee and breakfast stop for at least three days. My latte, crumb cake raspberry muffin, and a tired attempt at writing my morning pages.
My photos pick up again after the end of WDS, as I’m getting sad about leaving Portland and good friends behind.
Celebrating Bastille Day with a sampling of Blue Star Donuts — a blueberry bourbon basil, hard cider apple fritter, and buttermilk old fashioned. Much better than Voodoo Donuts, if you ask me.
My last meal in Portland was another trip to Tasty n Alder. The burger is as good as advertised. Not pictured: Faisal or the copious amounts of rosé Priya and I drank after the Bloody Mary and before I boarded my flight back to San Francisco.
Other Favorites (not pictured):
- Washington Park
- The Japanese Garden
- Hoyt Arboretum
- Pearl Bakery
- Clyde Common
- Salt & Straw
- Veritable Quandry
- Bollywood Theater
- Powell’s (of course)
- Stumptown (ditto)
There were still some big gaps in my visit with no pictures to show for days, but in the end I think there were more than enough to give you a feel for how great of a city Portland is.
If you have a favorite spot in Portland , I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
View Portland Favorites ~ Far & Wise in a larger map
P.S. — In addition to my love of bakeries, I also love maps and make one for every trip I go on. Do you make maps like this for your trips? Or am I the only one?