While Portland’s recent fame may have come from a TV show, there’s plenty there to get excited about. Portland is home to amazing dining, drinks, and outdoor activities that rival the biggest cities in the world.
Each time I have a new visitor, I take them around to a few of my favorite places. Here are my favorite tips for a new visitor to Stumptown.
Finding your way around
Portland sits on the Oregon/Washington border in the Northwest region of the state. Summers are generally warm and beautiful, and the other seasons are typically cloudy and drizzly, but mild.
The city is divided into five main sections, two by the Willamette River (pronounced Will-AM-it). The east side of the river is East Portland, and the west side is West Portland. Burnside is a main street that divides the city North and South. The river curves west north of downtown and the area to the north of that curve is known as North Portland.
Downtown is in West Portland along both sides of Burnside. The Alphabet and Pearl Districts, the trendiest neighborhoods in town, are located on the west side of the river. The stereotypical “Portlandia” neighborhoods are on the east side of the river (the better side if you ask many Portland locals), but as a southeast resident, I may be biased.
Popular east side stops include the Hawthorne, Division, Belmont, and Mississippi neighborhoods.
Fuel up at Portland’s best restaurants
We take food very seriously in Portland. People routinely wait up to two hours for brunch. Be ready for waits at some of these restaurants, but know that they are all well worth it.
Local chain Bamboo Sushi is one of the top two sushi restaurants I have ever visited. It’s not cheap, but you get your money’s worth in fresh, flavorful, creative menu options that are all 100% sustainable and organic. There are three Bamboo Sushi locations around the city.
Portland is home to world-famous Voodoo Doughnuts, the long-running king of West Coast doughnuts. But there’s some new competition in town giving the famous pink boxes a run for their money: Blue Star is the challenger. Try both to make your own opinion on the doughnut king of Portland.
An entire episode of Portlandia takes place in line for brunch — it’s that important to us. There are far too many amazing options to list, so do some scouting on Yelp to find the best-rated option near you. One of my favorites is the Waffle Window on Hawthorne (just across the street from Blue Star Donuts).
Portland is home to a growing community of 300 food carts. There is a food cart for nearly any cuisine, and most are incredibly good. Our food carts are generally located in clusters called “pods.” There are several large pods in each part of the city. My favorite new discovery is PDX Sliders. If you go, make sure to get the truffle fries.
Check out cars for rent in the greater Portland area, and stay tuned next week for part two in my rundown of Portland’s best offerings.