Portland Travel Guide

This Portland Travel Guide is packed full of tips for what to eat, drink, do, and where to stay, plus a lot more! 

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Eating and Drinking Like a Portland Local

Line up for Ice Cream

This city can’t get enough ice cream all year long! Don’t let the lines deter you, Portland has some of the best quality ingredients and unique flavors that you’ll find anywhere in the world. Salt & Straw is perhaps the most well known local chain and offers unique and tasty flavors (pear and blue cheese, anyone?) all year round. Beaux Berry’s real fruit ice cream is easily their best offering – you pick your fruit and they blend it for you with vanilla ice cream on the spot. Ruby Jewel Scoops is also worth a mention, as the ice cream is made locally with fresh ingredients, and you can make your own ice cream sandwiches! Honorable mentions – Fifty Licks for the retro-trend in everyone, What’s the Scoop? for an ice cream sampler platter, and Eb and Bean for delicious organic frozen yogurt.

Rekindle your Love of Donuts

If you’ve done any research into Portland’s food scene, then we’re sure you’ve heard of Voodoo Donuts…and everything you’ve read about their bizarre shapes and toppings is true. But Portland is home to many other donut shops that are equally worth your time and your taste buds! Join our Morning Coffee & Donut Tour for a few of our favs! For the vegans out there, stop by Doe Donuts – Portland’s only 100% vegan donut shop.

Craft Beer is the Only Beer

Portland’s craft beer scene has taken off, matured, and expanded while other cities were still in their infancy. Our world-renowned breweries will leave you begging for more – whether you like stouts, IPAs, pilsners, sours, ciders, or anything in between. We recommend checking out Great Notion Brewing if you enjoy unique, fruity, and hazy flavors, Ex Novo Brewing if you want your beer with a side of altruism (Ex Novo donates all its net profits to charities working to effect social change) or Cascade Brewing Barrel House for anyone looking for a sour beer on a patio on a hot summer day. Join our Portland Evening Food Tour for a visit to another favorite.

Become a Coffee Snob

Portland has branched out into beer and donuts among other things, but it is and always will be a town that really knows its coffee. Looking for a good brew? We can help you out! Join our Downtown Portland Coffee & Donuts Morning Tour for a chance to try a variety of pours including drips, nitro cold brew, espresso, and more! For coffee with a side of brunch head to Proud Mary Coffee (an Australian import) or Guilder.

Visit a Food Truck Pod

Portland has embraced the food truck craze with fervor – and so should you (check out our list of the Best Portland Food Carts and our Portland Food Carts, Pods & Patios Tour)! Make your way to Kim Jong Grillin’ for a Korean Bibimbap Box, then try some of the best Texas-style BBQ fare in town at Matt’s BBQ. We also won’t miss a chance to plug one of our favorite Chinese dishes, present in our Shanghai breakfast tour – get a Jiannbing aka a Chinese savory crepe at Bing Mi! Top it all off with dessert – perhaps a donut, or a scoop or two of ice cream? 🙂  Don’t forget to take some pictures of your food! #doitforthegram

Try a Twist on Fried Chicken

Fried chicken may be a specialty of the south, but that doesn’t mean that Portland can’t fry up some incredible chicken. Portland offers the quintessential chicken and waffles at Screen Door, just straight-up fried chicken at Reel M Inn, fried chicken sandwiches at Jojo Food Truck– Portland has something for even the pickiest of fried chicken enthusiasts! Why not try it in a Chinese bao bun on our Portland Evening Food Tour?

Fusion is the New Local

Portland’s food scene is all about fusion. Korean fusion, Chinese fusion, Vietnamese fusion, American fusion, French or Mexican – there are fusion offerings for all preferences. Our faves include Koi Fusion and Expatriate. Portland is a veritable worldly smorgasbord of great restaurants worth trying out.

Brunch til’ Happy Hour

Like many places in North America, Portlanders love their brunch. The scene here is fiercely competitive, but if you are a lover of the not-quite-breakfast and not-quite-lunch meal, or just really like eggs, you should schedule a mid-morning/afternoon or two for brunches while visiting the city. There is no shortage of boozy brunch spots where you can spend a few hours recharging before your next adventure. We suggest you try Cheryl’s on 12th, Pine State Biscuits, or Radio Room and their killer bloody mary bar. Or leave the planning to us and join our Coffee & Donut Morning Tour.

Alternative Diet Bliss

Portland is foodie heaven if you eat gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan fare. Portland is home to a vegan-only grocery store Food Fight!, 100% gluten-free brewery Ground Breaker, and more vegetarian and vegan restaurants than you could believe. We recommend trying Aviv, for Middle Eastern vegan fare, Homegrown Smoker for plant-based BBQ grub, or Ichiza bringing pan-Asian vegan plates and legit Oolong tea. Honorable mentions, Bye & Bye, Off the Griddle, and Back to Eden Bakery. Go ahead and eat until your plant-based heart is content.


Our Favorite Restaurants in Portland

Wayfinder Brewery

For casual fare, we recommend Wayfinder. This brewery is the passion project of Charlie Devereux, co-founder of Double Mountain Brewery, Matthew Jacobson, co-founder/owner of Sizzle Pie, Quality Bar, Relapse Record, and Rodney Muirhead, co-founder/owner of Podnah’s Pit and La Taq. The brewery is in a converted old brick warehouse that’s over 100 years old! In summer months, enjoy the huge outside deck with a fire pit, and on colder days find respite in the 110-person seating tap hall. Many beers are brewed on-premises, and the food options are plentiful, with several options for vegans and vegetarians. We recommend trying out the Black Lodge with a cold pint of the Hell Lagerbier. Click here for more.

Pine Street Market

This downtown food hall is a veritable foodie’s paradise! Nine of the best food stops in Portland have a stall in the market for your enjoyment. Come for a coffee, grab a burger, try some Korean meets Southern-style BBQ, have a fresh-pressed juice, slurp on a bowl of ramen, grab a slice of ‘za to go, or just come for Salt & Straw’s take on soft serve. That’s not even all of the offerings at Pine Street Market – the only limit is your stomach! Now we’re hungry… See more here.

Bollywood Theater

Designed not only for the food but also a unique dining experience, Bollywood Theater has two locations in Portland for your Indian food cravings. After taking a trip to India, owner Troy Maclarty wanted to bring the experience of eating in Mumbai to residents of Portland. Bollywood Theater offers things you may not typically see on a menu in a Western version of an Indian restaurant. The atmosphere is good and the food is even better. Make sure not to miss the Kati Rolls and Samosas along with a Pimm’s Cup cocktail. More info here.

Things You Must Do in Portland

Join a Lost Plate Tour!

If you’ve come this far and made it through all our food recommendations, then allow us to hype ourselves up a little bit. But really – take our guest’s word for it and come check out one (or more!) of our culinary experiences with a Portland local. Our food tours and private dining events are an experience in the city that you won’t get elsewhere! Try out the restaurants that locals frequent, experience the Portland food scene, and learn about the owners of these smaller neighborhood eateries. These restaurants may not make a big top-ten list, but they are still packed with locals, day and night.

Hike Portland’s Urban Paths & Parks

Oregon is home to some incredible natural sights, many of which are within city limits or just a day trip away from Portland! We recommend checking out Washington Park, which is home to the Portland Rose Garden, the Portland Zoo, and the Portland Japanese Garden (described as the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan). Less than an hour from the city is the Columbia River Gorge, which provides a chunk of Oregon’s waterfalls (we have more than any other state)!

Go For a Bike Ride

Portland is an extremely bike-friendly city – so take advantage! Nearly every corner of the city is accessible via handy bike lanes and there’s even a pedestrian/bike-only bridge. Join the eco-friendly locals by reducing your carbon footprint for part of your trip. Nike’s Biketown is a bike-share program that will allow you to take full advantage of the bike lanes without having to have your own bike! Prices start at eight cents per minute and you can get started for a one-time $5 fee. There are over 1000 Biketown bikes in Portland at over 100 stations across the downtown area and in several neighborhoods. So go on and get peddling!

Check Out a Used Bookstore

Much like consignment and thrift stores, used indie bookstores in Portland are a city staple. Whether you’re into classics or sci-fi or poetry, there’s a bookstore somewhere in Portland that’s got you covered. Another Read Through is a maze of used books of all genres. Paper Moon Books is also a place with no specialty but with something for everyone. Powell’s Books, around since 1971, is an incredible local chain with 4 full-service bookstores in Portland, and is the largest independent bookstore chain in the world!

Take Some Time to Reflect

Whether you’re religious or not, The Grotto – National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother is a beautiful and secluded spot that offers a tranquil backdrop for wandering around. The Grotto is a Catholic Shrine, peaceful and welcoming to all. Visit the shrine dug into a cliff face and light a candle, or visit the upper level to explore the botanical gardens, take in the religious artwork or check out the stunning panoramic views of Mt St Helens, the Columbia River Valley, and the Cascades. Details here.

Up your Instagram Game

Portland is an artsy city, and that title extends to the street art and murals around the city. Wanna find cool places to take photos in Portland? Wanna increase your IG follower count at the same time? Check out one of our quirky neighborhoods like Alberta Street or the historic Ladd’s Addition.

Where to Stay in Portland

Hotel deLuxe

For high-end travelers looking for something exquisite yet fun, we recommend Hotel deLuxe. This hotel is designed in the art-deco style of Hollywood’s golden age, and they offer free screenings of classic films – and all guests receive the celebrity treatment. Oversized sunglasses are not included 😉 See more details, here.

Inn @ Northrup Station

For mid-range travelers, our personal favorite place to stay is the Inn @ Northrup Station. The Inn is an all-suite boutique hotel outfitted in retro decor, and is centrally located, close to downtown Portland and is on the streetcar line. Learn more about the hotel at www.northrupstation.com and book your stay with a special 10% discount by clicking here.

Northwest Portland Hostel & Guesthouse

If you’re a social traveler on a budget, check out the Northwest Portland Hostel & Guesthouse. The Hostel & Guesthouse is a collection of five buildings on the same block, located in the heart of Portland. Each house has its own unique characteristics and charm, and most of the converted homes were built in the 1800s with one new building recently completed. Enjoy a complimentary breakfast, or use one of the kitchens to prep your own meals – the choice is yours! Details about the hostel and guesthouse here.

Tips For Portland

Prep for your Food Tour

Plan for the basics: arrive hungry, dress for the weather, and don’t bring any large bags to ensure a comfortable tour with less hassle.

Portland Summary

If you’ve been planning a trip to Portland, by now you’ve probably read all the travel literature you can handle. So here are the basics: Portland is a really cool city, super accessible by bike, home to a ton of scenic spots within city limits, and just a short trip away from many other great hiking and camping spots, with a flourishing food & beverage scene. Portland is Oregon’s largest city, home to just over 600,000 people. Even in this relatively small city, there is so much to see – and of course, so much to eat. Check out some food spots a little off the beaten path with us on our morning and evening walking food and drink tours, portland food carts, pods & patios tour, and see what makes Portland a special food destination!

Climate & Weather

Portland has a temperate climate, with warm and dry summers and cool and rainy winters. If you come in the offseason, be aware that Portland gets more than half of its yearly precipitation between November and February. You won’t typically see much snow in the winters, but you also won’t see the sun very much either! Overcast and cloudy days are common from the fall until the spring. Summers are clear and sunny.

Our Portland Food Tours:

Food Carts, Pods, & Patios Tour

Neighborhood Evening Food & Drink Tour

Downtown Coffee & Donut Tour

The ultimate food cart experience.

A true local taste of Portland.

The quintessential Portland staples.

$65 per person

$85 per person

$49 per person

W/Th/Fr at 1:30pm, for 2.5 hrs

Wed-Sat at 5pm for 3 hrs

M/Th/F at 10:30am for 2.5 hrs

Includes all food & drinks

Includes all food & alcohol

Includes all coffee & donuts

Approx. 1 mile walking

Approx 1.5 miles walking

Approx. 1  mile walking

Get 10% off if you book multiple tours online!

Food Carts, Pods, & Patios Tour

The ultimate food cart experience.

$65 per person

W/Th/Fri at 1:30pm, for 2.5 hrs

Includes all food & drinks

Neighborhood Evening Food & Drink Tour

A true local taste of Portland.

$85 per person

Wed-Sat at 5pm for 3 hrs

Includes all food & alcohol

Downtown Coffee & Donut Tour

The quintessential Portland staples.

$49 per person

M/Th/F at 10:30am for 2.5 hrs

Includes all coffee & donuts

Get 10% off if you book multiple tours online!

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