My 5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

I’ll admit that it was very hard to pick just five. Last week, a good friend of mine and I spent some time exploring Portland, Oregon. It was my second time to Portland and her first. We did everything from eating doughnuts to laying out in the sun to visiting a nearby winery. So after much thought, these are my 5 favorite Portland spots from this trip. Portland seems to have something for everyone … museums, doughnuts, swimming, shopping, beer, Indian food and so much more. If you are looking to visit an American city that’s accessible, pretty and friendly, Portland is the place to go. Everyone … literally everyone is nice.

So without further ado, here are my 5 favorite Portland spots:

5. The ScreenDoor Restaurant

Cece and I were looking for a good brunch spot and were recommended the ScreenDoor Restaurant. We were staying at the Hawthorne Hostel over in the South East area of town, so it was not far for us at all. The ScreenDoor was an easy maybe 5-10 minute Uber ride. We were on vacation, so why not take Ubers everywhere?

The ScreenDoor describes itself as “the best southern cuisine in Portland.” I would have to concur. I ordered shrimp n’ grits. My best friend lives in Charleston, South Carolina, and I’ve had shrimp n’ grits many a times while visiting her. I was wondering how it would stack up to what I’ve eaten where shrimp n’ grits originated. I was very pleasantly surprised. It was perfect.

Cece ordered the freshly baked short cake with fruit and whipped cream to start. I had a little bit and it was amazing. You honestly could fill up on just that alone.

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots
Oh she’s ready
5 favorite Portland spots
and SO good

I myself stole a few bites and I have to say that it was AMAZING. If you go to the ScreenDoor, you want to make sure you order this as at least an appetizer to share with your group.

Here are a few photos of my shrimp n’ grits. It had pieces of bacon in it and some vegetables too. It was absolutely perfect.

5 favorite Portland spots

Coffee was very important to us. We kept drinking it and they kept refilling it. A brunch spot that understands my need for coffee is my kind of place.

For the main course, Cece ordered a sandwich that had some curly fries on it. I think it was the beef brisket, but I cannot remember exactly. We laughed that it was as big as her head.

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

If you are planning a Portland trip, make sure you stop at the ScreenDoor Restaurant.

4. Sidestreet Gallery

On our walk home from brunch that same day, we stumbled upon a fun and quirky shop called the Sidestreet Gallery. It was everything you think when you think of Portland being weird. Outside they were selling baby doll heads for 50 cents and sunglasses for $5. That was what initially caught our attention. As we made our way inside the shop, we found all sorts of little trinkets, model sets, Christmas decorations, other decorations, jewelry, masks, costume items and so much more. If Portland were just one shop it would be this shop.

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

I bought these rockin’ sunglasses for only $4!

5 favorite Portland spots

My dress here is from Old Navy, necklace is Charming Charlie and shoes Target. I wore either these or my Chuck Taylors the entire time. I like comfort while still looking cute.

3. Voodoo Doughnut

So if you want touristy, Voodoo Doughnut is your place. There’s literally a line at all times of the day, I’ve heard. We went on I think a Tuesday at like 11 a.m.

The whole idea behind Voodoo Doughnut is that they make ridiculous doughnuts with all sorts of craziness on them. I got one with fruit loops on top, for example. If you have nut allergies, be warned right now. There are a lot of doughnuts with peanuts, peanut butter or other nuts. I myself have a peanut allergy and thus stuck to two doughnuts I knew I’d be absolutely safe with.

These were Cece’s doughnuts. Yummmm.

5 favorite Portland spots


5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

The wait was … fun?

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

Life is interesting and fun for sure. While at one of our 5 favorite Portland spots, we ran into the ALS people. Do you all remember the ice bucket challenge a few years back? Everyone was making those videos and posting them to social media where they would get dunked with a bucket full of ice/water. Well that was to raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a disease that affects about 5,600 people in the United States and I’m sure many others world-wide. There was a group of people traveling the country to raise awareness. For their Portland stop, they felt that Voodoo Doughnut was fitting. They also felt that dunking the dunkee in icing and sprinkles was even more fitting, so they did just that.

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite spots

If you have interest in contributing to their campaign, you can go here.

2. Swimming/laying out by the bridge

This place just had to be in my list of my 5 favorite Portland spots. Just off of the Hawthorne Bridge, which connected the neighborhood we stayed in to downtown, is a little spot that people go to lay out in the sun and swim. I love that people just swim in the river in Portland. In my hometown of Cincinnati, many people would scoff at swimming in our river.

The flight we took home left at like 11 p.m. at night. So we for sure had a few hours to kill on our last day. This just seemed like the perfect way to spend our early afternoon.

5 favorite Portland spots

Cece can do a bridge …

5 favorite Portland spots

And I wore my Zulily pineapple dress …

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots
Cece looking hot

1. Brooks Winery

Okay, so this technically is not Portland at all. It was a good 30 minutes- 1 hour drive from the city. But it was so amazing that I just had to include it with my 5 favorite Portland spots.

Last year around this time, I spent about a month in Nicaragua doing volunteer work. I befriended Jana who was a Peace Corps volunteer there at the time. When you are overseas, you just have this way of finding people from your culture. It can be comforting and also inhibiting if you really want to immerse yourself in the culture. That, however, is a rant for another time.

Since then, Jana has returned from the Peace Corps and is living back in her hometown of Portland. I just had to see her while I was in town. It turns out that her parents are members of Brooks Winery. They were having a members night our first evening in town and brought us along. It was such a nice treat.

5 favorite Portland spots

The story of this place is fascinating as well. It all started with the founder Jimi Brooks. He spent some time overseas in Europe traveling. Thus when he ran out of money, he found himself with work at a winery in France. After spending time in Europe learning all about wine and how it was made, he returned to Oregon to start his own winery and farm. He sadly passed at the young age of 38. However Brooks remains in the care of his family and they keep his legacy going by producing quality wine and carrying out biodynamic farming practices. You can read the full story here.

We for sure had a great time trying out the different types of wines and appetizers.

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

5 favorite Portland spots

Thanks for reading all about my journey. Have you been to Porland? What were some of your favorite spots?


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  1. oh my now i am hungry for donuts! I have heard so much about Voodoo Donuts, but I still have not made it there, what a misshap that is. Well, looking at your pictures was at least one step closer to getting there.

    Great post, blessings!

    1. Hahaha true. It is worth at least one visit but I’ve also heard that there are other doughnut places that are just as good and less populated in Portland.

    1. You should definitely go to Portland! It’s super easy to get around in too and it’s known for its wonderful food.

  2. I would love to go to Portland, I would love to go anywhere actually. It seems like you had great time. Those donuts are killing me, I can’t even look at them. I just scrolled away, haha.

  3. one thing i like about your favorite spots is the fact that they are located strategically and all give its own feel for its various purposes. thanks for letting me into your favorite spots.

  4. I’ve been wanting to visit Portland for ages! I’ve heard about how weird the city is and the Gallery sounds like my kind of store – quirky and epic. I’ve seen so many pictures of Voodoo donuts on Instagram that I for sure know I want to cave into that tourist attraction (and your pics just fueled my desire more)! 🙂

    1. Thanks Anne! Yeah and I read too that the gallery is only open Wednesday afternoons, so we caught them at a good time!

  5. Sidestreet Gallery looks pretty awesome. And I’m so jealous about Voodoo Donuts! Everyone says they’re just hype, but they always look delicious in every photo. The winery looks amazing as well. I love wine tasting and hearing about how the landowners manage their lands. It’s science, labor, hard work, and a lot of love.

    1. Yeah I also heard there are other doughnut places that are better/less crowded. I’ll have to check those ones out the next time I go to Portland.

  6. That screen door restaurant is my kind of place! The pancakes look heavenly, as proven by your picture after it was devoured! I think it’s really nice out there. I will definitely get myself some of those donuts too.

  7. I think it’s an awesome place to go to, it’s really laid back out there. I love that you can just sit by the beach and let the time pass. It would be really nice to do that while spending some time with the kids.

  8. US is one of the places I would love to visit anytime soon. I’ve had a couple of friends going to Portland and I saw their pics near that bridge. I would personally go there and at the Brooks winery hehehe.

    1. Yeah if you’re coming to the US for a few weeks, I’d say Portland needs to be on your list. And Seattle is only a few hours away, so you can do both pretty easily.

  9. Portland seems to be a place worth visiting! It looks so sunny with nice atmosphere. Oh, that short cake with berries and whipped cream was certainly something to die for 😀

    1. Yeah you want to make sure you go in the summer. I went four years ago in January. It was still fun but a tad colder.

    1. Yeah it’s fun. Have you seen Portlandia? It’s hilarious but kinda true about the city …

  10. love love all your pictures especially the witty ones haha.. you seem like a great person to party with… I have never been to Portland but your pictures are really inviting that made me want to include this place on top of my bucket list! Thanks for sharing

    1. Hahaha yeah I suppose I am a good time, lol. You should definitely go to Portland at some point!

  11. looks like you had a lot of fun, being goofy is awesome! the food alone makes me want to get on a plane stat and go to Portland : )

    1. Thanks! I’m sure you’ll see a lot of changes when you do go back. I hear each year something like 20,000 new people move there. There’s a lot of development and everything is green. There are so many cute boutiques and vintage shops.

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