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.
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.
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.
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.
I bought these rockin’ sunglasses for only $4!
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.
The wait was … fun?
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.
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.
Cece can do a bridge …
And I wore my Zulily pineapple dress …
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.
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.
Thanks for reading all about my journey. Have you been to Porland? What were some of your favorite spots?