When I tell people I'm flirting with 30, they tell me I look like I'm in college and I have the energy of a pre-adolescent. Well, that's good because did you know there are 195 countries in this world? My goal is to travel to as many countries as my age. My current count? 14. Yikes. Better get jetsettin'! Read More

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Travel Guide: Portland, OR

August 3, 2016.happynfull.2 Likes.0 Comments

While Chris and I have been traveling for the past month, we haven’t quite felt like we’ve been traveling. The beach towns, palm trees, and Golden Gate Bridge were all too familiar. It wasn’t until we set foot into Portland, Oregon that we realized we were in for a week of raw exploration. It’s quite an exciting feeling to step foot into a foreign territory, not knowing where to go or how to get there. Lucky for us, Portland has a really great public transportation system and they are up to speed with technology (if you don’t have a car, be sure to download TriMet app! Pro tip: Buy 3-day or 7-day passes for cost savings). Lucky for you, we’ve mapped out the town for you including absolute must-dos and must-eats!

Travel Guide: Budget Things to Do in Portland

View of the Portland Skyline from Hawthorne Bridge

I have truly fallen in love with Portland. I don’t say this too loudly though as I have quickly learned they don’t look very keenly upon Californians. A barista told me his monthly rent for a tiny studio went from $1,000 to $1,400 recently. People are swooping up Portland real estate left and right. I can see why… it’s hard to not like this lush, green, eco-friendly, nature-loving, organic-eating, no sales tax town.

Travel Guide: Budget Things to Do in Portland

View from the 33rd floor. Spotted: A beautiful city park in the middle of the concrete jungle.

Things to Do in Portland

International Rose Test Garden
Portland did get the nickname Rose City for a reason. This park is free to enter and the metro rail will take you right to it! It was so beautiful in the month of July as over 7,000 roses were in full bloom. Smelling each flower and viewing the variety of colors is the perfect activity on a summer day. Close to this is also the Japanese Garden and the Zoo as well as the large Hoyt Arboretum. This can definitely take a full day!

Secrets of Portlandia Tour
This is a free walking tour everyday at 11:30am in front of Pioneer Square. If it’s not raining, I would definitely recommend this 2-hour journey as it is hilarious, informative, and provides a solid understanding of why Portland is the way Portland is. Eric is personable, amazing, and so happy to give local recommendations. If possible, try attending this on the early leg of your trip so you have a lay of the land. Tips are recommended ($10/per person is average)!

Multnomah Falls
Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to the falls because we didn’t have a car and were dog sitting two cute Brussel Griffons during our stay. However, on our last night, we were at the Multnomah Whiskey Library (definitely worth checking out!!) and chatted up a lovely couple next to us. They mentioned there is a shuttle bus, dubbed the Columbia River Gorge Express, that takes you directly to the waterfalls! It’s apparently only a 35-minute shuttle trip and $5 round-trip. Hopefully you can enjoy the beautiful nature along the city’s perimeters for us!

Brody Theater
Chris and I went to a $5 improv show on Thursday night. The beautiful thing about Portland is it’s still quite small, enough to see posters and flyers of weekly events going on. We happened to pick up a flyer and decided to check it out. It was our first time at an improv show and it captured Portlandia’s essence quite well! A lot of funny weirdness.

Another thing to check out is Common Ground Wellness Cooperative’s clothing-optional, co-ed spa and sauna located in the Alberta district (a hipster neighborhood with lots of yummy restaurants and boutiques). I wanted to make sure Chris’s 34th birthday was memorable. We sure did see a lot of people in their birthday suits. 🙂 Currently, Groupon offers a coupon for 1-hour of soaking and relaxation for $7.50. Have I mentioned there is no sales tax?! God I love this city.

[Unfortunately, no photos of birthday suits were snapped]

Places to Eat in Portland

$7 Pad Thai with Lemongrass Chicken from a food cart. So Yummy!

$7 Pad Thai with Lemongrass Chicken from a food cart. So Yummy!

Chris and I have eaten in so many cities but Portland definitely ranks in the upper echelon of really great flavors. The only downside to moving here is I can see myself growing a donut belly very fast. Portland seems to offer a triple death threat on a platter: beer, bacon, and baked goods.

Every meal we had was so delicious and on our last day we finally tried one of the 700+ food trucks. During the 2008 recession, many Portlanders had to get creative and open up their own businesses to survive. A new term was born: Cartpreneurs

I’ve listed out my favorite foodie spots here. I wish we could have stayed another week to check off more of the food trucks! Also, there is a new gourmet food court that opened up called Pine Street Market… think Anaheim Packing District but smaller with better food options. #sogood!

  • Voodoo Doughnuts - named because of all the O's in the word Voodoo!

    Voodoo Doughnuts – named because of all the O’s in the word Voodoo!

    Salted Caramel or Chewy Chocolate Brownie @ Salt & Straw Ice Cream (multiple locations. Note: they let you try unlimited samples and their menu is on constant rotation. The minute you walk-in you can smell fresh waffle cones. This place is amazing for dessert!)

  • Reggie Deluxe @ Pine State Biscuits (multiple locations. Note: Get there at 2pm in the afternoon to beat the long lines.)
  • Cathead Biscuit (Fried Chicken) @ Screen Door (Get there at least 30 minutes before they open to avoid waiting 1-2 hours. Completely worth it though. Best soul food brunch I have ever had!)
  • Oreo Peanut Butter Chocolate Doughnut @ Voodoo Doughnut Too (multiple locations. Note: this one is the less busy of the two. Pro tip: Order a dozen doughnuts to save more money. Super pro tip: try getting there at an obscure hour they might give away a full bucket of donuts!)
  • Whiskey Multnomah Library (Note: If you find yourself in the area, immediately go here first to put your name down on the list. We went Thursday and Saturday night around 8pm and the wait list was 2 hours each time. Really neat inside – it’s exactly what it sounds like. A whiskey library. Beautiful ambiance, great for date night and groups. There is a cheese bar next door which we really wanted to try but didn’t have room in our stomachs. It’s like a sushi bar but they serve cheese: Chizu!).
  • Wings @ Pok Pok (Note: Be sure to check out Little Otsu (cutest stationary shop ever!) across the street while you wait. You can put your name down and they will text you when your table is ready.).
  • Coconut Curry @ Luc Lac (Note: They won’t seat you until your whole party is there so make sure your friends aren’t running on Color People Time!).
  • Beef Ho Fun @ BTU Brasserie
  • Truffle Fries @ Little Big Burger (multiple locations. Note: Their burgers aren’t as good as Shake Shack or In-N-Out in my opinion. Their truffle fries though…)
  • Dark Chocolate Almond Ganache Donut @ Blue Star Donuts (Our favorite out of the 4 other donuts we ordered… it’s decadent, fresh, yummy, and chocolate!)
  • Matcha Green Tea @ Townshend’s Teahouse (multiple locations. Note: very impressive tea collection and cute interior!)
  • Napalm Breath @ Sizzle Pie (multiple locations. Note: This pizza is seriously one of the best we have ever had. Order this one if you are a garlic lover).

TL;DR: Portland is awesome. Go there if you are a foodie!

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