Portland is one of the few cities I’ve visited and known straight away I could live there, easily. With cyclists everywhere, bicycle shops, vintage shopping, indie comic book stores, dive bars, coffee shops, tattoo parlours and it’s laid back, rock ‘n’ roll attitude Portland is undeniably magnetic. Here are a few great things to do if you visit Portland.1. Food: Eat Breakfast at My Fathers Place- Kick the day off in a proper American eatery. If you’re like me and tend to opt for the genuine local dining experience over anything fancy or pretentious then ‘My Fathers Place’ is for you. The staff are friendly and know most of the clientele by name. With classic booth style seating and excellent prices you couldn’t ask for much more. I ate the Pancakes + Syrup $3.75 and a Re-fill coffee, I only managed to eat two of the pancakes as they were so fluffy and filled me up straight away. Warning: Ideal scenario alert. My Father’s Place is situated at 523 SE Grand Ave Portland, OR 97214.
2. City: Walk over the River- The Willamette River runs through the center of the city. The city straddles the river, a number of bridges connect the East & West sides of the city. Walking over the bridge to explore the city, especially if the sun is shining is an absolute joy. We crossed the Burnside Bridge by foot which leads conveniently down to the Portland Saturday Market. Stop to gaze down the river at the other bridges, passing boats, joggers on the boardwalk, listen to the freight train passing, feel the sun beating down and marvel at the skyline of the pretty city of Portland.
3. Books: Sit in the coffee shop and read at Powell’s Books- Powell’s Books is the largest independent used and new bookstore in the world, so let’s face it you’re bound to find something you like, no matter what your taste and budget. Powell’s City of Books is located in the Pearl District on the edge of downtown and occupies a full city block between NW 10th and 11th Avenues and between W. Burnside and NW Couch Streets. Powell’s boasts a whopping 1.6 acres of retail floor space (!) so you might want to dedicate an entire day (or week) to browsing. Powell’s are very laid back about taking books to read whilst sitting in the coffee shop making it the perfect rainy day destination.
4. Shopping: Go vintage shopping at House Of Vintage- We’re all suckers for great vintage shopping, are we not? House Of Vintage is a collective of over 55 independent dealers all sharing over 13,000 square feet. Portland’s largest Vintage superstore housing pretty much anything you could desire from clothing to furniture and all kinds of weird and wonderful things in between. Prices vary between sellers, though generally very affordable. House of Vintage is HUGE. I bagged myself a new Hawaiin shirt for $10. There is no restroom for customers so be sure to be prepared. The Hazel Room is a lovely little tearoom just down the street if you need a cup of tea, toilet stop and sit down after shopping.
5. Lazy: Lay in the sunshine in Laurelhurst Park- Located on SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd & Stark St. Laurelhurst Park is 31 acres of lush greenery. The Park includes basketball court, picnic area, play area, playground, soccer field, tennis court, and volleyball court, so if you’re feeling particularly active you could really work up a sweat. We spent a lazy, sunny afternoon laying in the park, taking in the atmosphere. There was not a cloud in the sky, we took our little i-phone to play our favourite rock ‘n’ roll tunes and kicked back.
6. Nature: Drive out to Sauvie Island- Approximately ten miles northwest of downtown Portland lies Sauvie Island. The island is predominantly farmland and a wildlife refuge and is a popular place for picking pumpkins, hunting geese and kayaking. All public beaches on Sauvie Island are down the road from Reeder Beach approximately four miles. The beaches include: Walton Beach, North Unit Beach, and the clothing-optional Collins Beach(popular with the Gay community and is known as a party beach in summertime) We took the short drive out from the city on Saturday night for a (fully clothed) stroll along the beach to watch the sun go down. There was not a soul in sight, the sky was an intense blue, the stars were shining bright and you could hear the sound of the water lapping against the shore.
7. Music: The Aladdin Theatre– The Aladdin Theatre began as a vaudeville house in the late 20’s, in the 70’s and 80’s it was a porn institution until late 1993 when the building and old hall was renovated into the shining light of Portland’s music venues. With excellent international touring musical acts The Aladdin Theatre has it all. Pizza, popcorn, homemade sweet treats, beer, tea and coffee are served in the foyer. The theatre seats approx 600 yet still retains the feeling of an intimate gig. We saw the incredible Willy Mason and Laura Marling play, such a fabulous evening.
8. Dive Bars + Strip Joints: Star Bar + East End- We probably spent a little too much time researching the dive bars and also frequented our very first strip joint (!) sorry Mum. There’s nothing better than a good dive bar. We found two favourites on our rigorous pursuit for the best dive bar in town. Striking the perfect balance of leather and denim clad rockers, an abundance of classic rock ‘n’ roll ‘n’ metal music, toilet cubicles pasted with old magazine covers and graffiti, affordable drinks, inviting bar staff and zero pretense Star Bar and East End were our reigning Dive Bar champions. Portland is a very liberal city, supposedly boasting the most strip joints per capita, we frequented Sassy’s which was an ‘experience’, certainly a first for Me. Strip joints are very popular in Portland and widely accepted as an alternative to a regular nightclub. When in Rome! a wise man once said ‘When it’s time to party, we will party hard’ -(Andrew W.K)
9. Film: Watch a $4 movie at The Laurelhurst Art Deco Movie Theatre.
10. Advice: A word of warning, you will not want to leave.
Portland we LOVE you.
The Fabulous Times