Almost everyone I know asks me what to do in Portland, OR. Although I am not from Portland, I have frequented the city for the amazing coffee, shopping, food and proximity to snowboarding, hiking and surfing. This list fell into my hands a few years ago and has been added to throughout the years. If you have any suggestions or new places that are better please contribute in the comments below…

Portland To Do List: 

1. Washington Park/International Rose Test Garden – really gorgeous on a clear day you can see Mt. Hood.

2. Self-guided Beer Tour

  •     Bailey’s Tap Room (downtown) – tons and tons of beers on tap
  •     Cascade Brewery – this is one is one of our favorites because they are one of the few bars in the country that sell sour beer – def. a must try! You also get the unique experience of seeing the Portland Goats that are across from the brewery.
  •     Apex – on division – good selection of beer and great outdoor seating
  •     McMennimins (sp?) – they are all over town. I recommend going to the Kennedy School. location. It is an interesting experience. They have a soaking pool there where you can buy a pitcher before going into the soaking pool. We love to do this on rainy days.
  •     Green Dragon – near Cascade – goo selection of beers
  •     Tug  Boat – near Baileys – very funky weird place
  •     Dechutes Brewery – in the pearl district
  •     Bridgeport – there is one on the SE and SW side

3. Multnomah Falls/The Gorge – millions of fun hikes. If it is your first time, doing the Horsethief loop that passes the falls is a great 1/2 day hike and it is a gorgeous time of year. I also recommend doing the Angel’s Rest Hike around that same areas.

4. Wine Tours in Willamette Valley

5. Chinese Garden – Chinatown Downtown PDX

6. Japanese Garden – in Washington Park

4. Walking Tours on Fun Streets

  • Hawthorne – fun to walk from ~33rd to ~49th   (if you continue past 49th – keep going all the way up to Mt. Tabor – it is a GREAT lookout and a fun walk)
  • Belmont – 33rd area are some shops. Highly recommend you walk to Stumptown Coffee at 34th and Belmont and get a cupcake on that same block at SAINT Cupcake and take a stroll around Laurelhurst Park (keep heading North from Stumptown and you will hit the park after Stark ) Belmont also hosts two awesome bars – Sweet Hereafter & Alto Lounge – always a good place to go any night.
  • Alberta st. – Lots of funky shops and great restaurants
  • NW 23rd – Again more shops and restaurants

Mississippi – NE area – very hip and trendy with good food and bars

Alberta – further North still on the East side – very artsy, lots of fun

NW 22nd and 23rd – very shishi but fun shops – great shopping for the ladies

Pearl – the utmost in shishi and fancy – but it’s where Powell’s Books and Dechutes Brewery are located

Best of List (as of 2013)

Best Cocktails – Kask – near SW 13th Ave area and Beaker and Flask – near burnside

Best Food Cart turned Restaurant – Lardo at 12th and Hawthorne

Best Food Cart area – Downtown Washington and Alder area

Best Sour Beer – Cascade

Best Beer Selection – Baileys Tap Room

Best Mexican Food – Pandoria Taqueria in St. John’s or Por Qui No on Hawthorne St ( the Bryan’s bowl is soo yum )

Best Fancy and Different Restaurant – Racion (downtown)

Best Fancy and Italian Restaurant – DOC ( in NE )

Best Date Night Fancy Restaurant – Tabla (SE 28th)

Best Coffee – Stumptown (any location) and Heart Coffee (downtown or Belmont)

Best Specialty Market – Pasta Works (SE Hawthorne)

Best Restaurant to get your Meat on: Laurelhurst Market

Best not so avg. brunch – Broder (SE Clinton)

Best Southern Goodness: Pine State Biscuits for breakfast or Screen Door for Dinner

Best Sushi: Bamboo

Best Pizza: Ken’s Artisan Pizza, Dove Vivi or Sizzle Pie.

Fun Place to Get a Drink – SE Ash and SE Ankeny area (where Voodoo doughnuts is located on the Westside – it is a street blocked off for the restaurants)

Best Strip Club – Devils Point (it is a coop too!) or Sassy’s is pretty popular

Best Ice Cream – Salt and Straw (Skip the line by buying a pint)

Best Indian – Bollywood (next to Salt and Straw)

Popular Things in PDX

Sushi – Bamboo Sushi (SE 28th)

Pizza – Ken’s Pizza (SE 28th)

Voodoo Doughnuts – Downtown and SE location. SE location will have less of a line

Distillery Tours – Just google all the Distilleries on the SE side

Portland Saturday Market – near the Waterfront

Rose Test Garden in Washington Park

Powell’s Bookstore

Portland City Grill (great view on clear day (go early for happy hour)

Bike rentals are pretty cheap and it is fun to rent one for the half day and ride it around the waterfront park and SE side.

Sample Itinerary:

Wake and walk to Stumptown on Se 34th and Belmont – check-out Belmont area

Walk/Drive to Broader on SE Clinton for brunch

Drive/Public Transit to Washington Park/Rose Test Garden

Walk down from Garden through Westside (pretty houses)

Go to Food Carts on Alder and Washington area and eat snack/late lunch

Visit Powell Books in Pearl District and Dechutes Brewery

Walk through Park Blocks close to PDX Art Museum (I think Wed. is the Farmer’s Market) – pick-up some food

Walk to Waterfront (passing through Pioneer Square area)

Rent some bikes (Bike shop on 10 SE Ash Street (Waterfront Bikes) is good)

Bike around waterfront

Go to Ash Street and have a drink at one of the many bars OR go up to SW 13th area to visit Kask

Head back SE and stop at Cascade for Sour Beer

Keep heading East and visit one of the restaurants on 28th

Walk around Laurelhurst Park

Get IceCream (Salt and Straw on Division)

Scan Willamett Weekly or Mercury for listing of music.


In the summer there is most likely farmers markets or free concerts/plays/movies going on in one of the many parks. These sites have some listings:


Have any suggestions for spots? Leave them in the comments below.

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