It’s been a while since my last blog post which if you been following me for awhile you know is very unlike me. But if you follow me on Instagram you would know why I was adventuring off to Portland. While there I decided not to worry or focus on anything blog related to just enjoy my time, get the lay of the land and turning off my data. Now, I’m back on the blogging with a city girl guide to Portland, Oregon. Enjoy x
My first thoughts on Portland:
Coming off the plane I was just set on getting to my Airbnb. It was pretty simple, I got my bag and found the ticket machine for the tram followed the signs and even ask the guy to make sure that train was heading in the direction I wanted to go. I sat down and talked to a woman who was from Portland she gave me suggestions and also, like the woman I sat next to on the plane, informed me in which areas to avoid. I was beginning to get nervous but it was good to be aware of these things. And typically me, on my first full day on my own where did I end up in an area that the told me to not really go to by yourself. It wasn’t like dark and scary, it was 9 am in a very dirty place with people on the streets everywhere–its a common thing people like to ignore a lot the time when we are traveling but you really can’t ignore it especially in Portland that every street you go to there is some homeless person. I was fine, it was all part of the experience and stories to tell.
Other than that, I began to realize how much Portland was like Cork just a little larger and the buildings are hirer. Super easy transpiration, super friendly people willing to have a conversation with you, the ocean was just an hour away, the weather. The size of the city did throw me off, I got turned around a few times but by my 3rd day I knew exactly and began to connect areas together. Overall, I really liked Portland I kind of wish I could have experience and done more than I did, I feel its like one of those cities where it doesn’t seem like much but it has lots to offer just like Cork.
What to do in Portland
Aerial Tram: you want a cheap view of the whole of Portland? Take a ride up the aerial tram to the top of the hills where a hospital school sits. It cost 4.70 round trip and I really didn’t adventure further into the hospital thinking that’s all that was up there. But the view of the whole city and areas around, seeing the rolling hills in the distance was worth it. I will have to say this was one of the Top Views in Portland to get! And the ride up and down is thrilling too!
Art Museum: Portland Art Museum is perfect for a rainy day. If you like art you should definitely go here. If it didn’t have its featured exhibit I probably wouldn’t be very happy that I spent 19.99 to see all this stuff (I’m not an art person). The special exhibit, Animating Life is an art, science, and wonder of LAIKA. An animation studio from Organon. This was not only interesting to see but really cool to see! Very popular at the same time. It shows the very detailed works that went into creating movies like Caralone, Kubo and the two strings, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls. The rest of the museum was, in my eyes, typical artwork. Guess the best thing is if you get your ticket in the morning your free to come and go as you please the rest of the day. So if your expecting rain later that day take a quick stop to buy your ticket, enjoy the day until the rain. That way you don’t have to wait in the long line that would happen if it’s raining.
Take a drive to St. John’s Bridge: We thought on the west side of the bridge there would be a lot to park and to cross the bridge. There wasn’t. So we drove across the bridge and there was a parking lot below. There isn’t much to the bridge but it too had a great view of Portland on the outside. Again it will go on the list of top views in Portland. It was pretty scary since cars were driving on it. I recommend taking a walk and taking in the view especially on a sunny day.
Go check out Pittock Mansion: The one thing I always seem to do when traveling to places is either going to the zoo or check out the cities/towns Mansion. This isn’t the biggest house I’ve seen, but they’re usually all the same. It cost 11 to get in which isn’t bad! The house is a French Renaissance-style chateau, built in 1909 as a private home for Henry Pittock. The house has huge windows to take in the view that is front of the house. And what a view it is, basically a 360 of the city, mountains around it. Another top view of Portland!
Take a walk down Hawthorne Blvd and others street in the neighborhoods of Portland: I took a morning walk with “McMenamins Bagdad Theater and Pub” as the final destination (a real disappointment from the outside I didn’t go in for reasons) but the walk was worth it. Hathorne had a lot of local shops, coffee, and restaurants. There was no Starbucks on any corner! I passed a small winery. I stopped at a shop, that was WAY Over my price range but it was nice to see the stuff and what Portland was all about. It was nice to see these areas that are off of residential streets. I like neighborhood places and streets that are filled with very artistic and locally owned. There was something different about these neighborhoods in Portland though, it was almost like when you walk into your local pub and the bartender says your name and gets your usual drink. The people are super friendly, welcoming and if you’re from around they know who you are!
Powell’s Book Store: if you like books go here. It is just a bookstore but it’s one to see with so many books or just to see how the workers work-they have information desk to help you find your right book! There is even study areas, a coffee shop, largest books, children section! Stop in you might find yourself with a new book to read!
Eats & Drinks in Portland
There so many places to eat, drink and get coffee in Portland I am sure if you just take a walk especially in the neighborhood you will find some very cool and lovely places! But here are the places I went to that I recommend!
Paddy’s Bar and Grill: my first place to go out to eat was a nerve-racking one since I was on my own. And I knew from my experience from traveling on my own in Bristol and Wales I needed to find a low key place that was simple, it wasn’t going to be filled with people going on dates or birthday parties. Just my luck I found Paddy’s Bar because if there was a place where you are going to feel welcome it’s an Irish pub. And I was! Sat at the bar (highly recommend if going out to eat by yourself eat at the bar). The bartender was willing to have a conversation, there was no wifi but the fish and chips were GREAT! I found that it’s hard to find some good fish and chips only found one place in MPLS. Paddy’s cook did it, and was told he worked hard on it and his work paid off!
Sanborn’s Breakfast: this was up in my neighborhood of where I was staying. I needed a large breakfast, I am a breakfast person over lunch any day! And I search places and this popped up, I looked at in on S.M and figured it probably was low key that I would be fine by myself. Just my luck I came right in when the last table was filled. So I awkwardly put my name down and waited when the waiter came up saying “all by yourself.” Saying yes feeling awkward he was kind and friendly putting me up near the kitchen/bar. The staff was super nice, talkative and willing to have a conversation. I could kind of figure out that this was a husband and wife place, the wife made my 6 LOVELY pancakes! They were so perfectly yellow and good at every bite! I highly recommend going there! Family and welcoming!
Salt and Straw: You love Ice Cream? You will love this place! A local chain that makes all their ice cream locally demanding on where it located- there not the same in each spot. The line is pretty long but moves pretty quick, they even have ice cream you can buy to take home in your freezer. I’m a basic person when it comes to food, I don’t need fancy stuff so I just want my chocolate ice cream (no mint) here I went for chocolate with basically brownies. IT was so good, the staff was so friendly-I’m beginning to figure out that this place was filled with friendly people. Usually, people that work just work, ask what you want and then hand you your ice cream. Not this girl she was talking to us, asking us questions, we had a laugh. The ice cream was good! Despite my food writing class, I can’t tell you how good the ice cream was, I would have gone 2 if we could have!
VooDoo donuts: If you hear about Portland you probably will hear about Voodoo donuts. I wasn’t “need to go to this place” because I did not want to wait 3 hours for worth donuts, but lucky for me when I found myself passing it there was no line and I went in. I got myself a basic chocolate donut like if you can’t do a chocolate donuts right then you really aren’t the worlds best donuts. It was 1.50 which compared to the other place I went to, was cheap, not as cheap as Cub and also not as good as Cub. We stopped at the 2nd one on our way to the airport because I need food and they were cheap compared to the other one ( i will get to), I got myself a Baster donut that had oreo and peanut butter on top—that was very sweet and I had to wait until I was on my flight after 11 to even eat it! I guess if you want donuts for that Instagram than go get yourself a voodoo donut.
Blue Star Donuts: we went to the one on Hawthorn, very chic aesthetic with white and mirrors. The donuts sat behind a glass, you knew you were in a different kind of donut shop compared to Voodoo donuts that were very out there. They had more donuts that met different peoples choices, gluten-free, vegan they had options! They didn’t have just a plain chocolate donut, they did have plain cake donuts which I got but also got a chocolate with like chocolate beads on top with some kind of filling that did taste lemony. It threw me off, but it was a good donut. I will have to say Cub is still the winner when it comes to donuts! But Blue Star wasn’t too sweet, it wasn’t over the top, very basic with the unique twist. I felt like the donuts where much softer than sweet which I like for a donut!
Horse Brass Pub: down from the Hollywood Theater (recommend stopping and seeing the theater lit up at night) it is your English pub! The wooden setting, small stools, fish and chips, the variety of different pints to have. With so many random things on the walls with pictures, signs, Christmas lights still up. The pint of cider was good, cheap, the bean burger was yummy. And there was no rush we could sit there talking for hours!
Outside of Portland
We took a road trip outside of Portland we were going to go to Multnomah Falls but because of the recent fires, you wouldn’t be able to actually go up to the waterfalls so we decided to head towards to beach. Which I didn’t even think it was that close but it was only an hour away, we drove through Mountains, through the forest to get yourself to Cannon Beach! WHAT A PLACE! Famous for its haystack, the beach was what you would experience in Ireland vs. on the east coast stateside is usually filled with sunbathers. The one thing I found amazing was the forest was right there as well, we went to Crescent Beach, cost 5 bucks to park but if you’re lucky maybe someone leaving can hand off theirs since it is for the whole day! The walks were closed but we made it to the beach and saw a SEAL! It was magical! I’ve missed being able to be near the beach, near the edge of the world, the sea. Being able to walk to the beach was so nice, I didn’t care that it was raining!
If you want to see more Portland photographs I shared more of the pictures in an album over on FB page. CHECK IT OUT!