Feast Portland is less than two weeks away. If you haven’t already, grab those passes right now, and consider padding your stay on one or both ends so you can enjoy the bounty of everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Here’s an out-of-towner’s guide to where to stay, play, and eat in Portland.
Several boutique-style hotels in Downtown Portland stand out. Hotel DeLuxe is one of them, as is the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland. The Sentinel and the Ace Hotel Portland are also excellent choices for the discerning traveler.
Whether you choose Airbnb, VRBO, or Homeaway, be sure to consider location, costs (including extra person and cleaning fees and the like) and the type of traveler you are when searching.
Portland is a city filled with and surrounded by natural beauty. Waterfalls, forests, mountains and greenery aplenty are everywhere you look. I recommend taking an extra day or two before or after Feast to explore Oregon. Here are a few favorites:
Portland Farmers Market
Check the official site for locations and events, or just stumble across one of the more than 40 markets in the Portland metro area for a taste of nature’s most delicious creations.
Mt. Hood and Trillium Lake
On a clear day, you might catch Mt. Hood peeking out as you fly into Oregon. Look out for the snowy-capped mountain. Just south of the mountain (in perfect photo position too) is the tranquil Trillium Lake. Ethereal photographs of this lake tell quite a true story.
Probably the most famous of the Portland-area waterfalls, Multnomah is not one to be missed. There’s easy access to these via a parking area and a bridge you can walk across to capture the falls’ beauty. #WaterfallSelfie
Fruit Loop: Apple Picking
Mention the words “Fruit Loop” to a Portlander and you’ll realize we’re not talking about the sugary, colorful cereal. The Hood River Fruit Loop is an area around the Columbia River Gorge that offers self-guided and group tours of the nation’s largest pear-growing region. Touring the area, you can witness growing, producing, and harvesting before enjoying fruit and wine. Check out U-pick Honey Crisp at Draper Girls Country Farm.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a fabulous place for kids and adults alike to explore. Especially if the weather is less than ideal (which is often, to be honest), it can be fun to escape indoors for a few hours. Pro tip: If you have a science museum membership where you live, check to see if they offer reciprocal entry so you can get into OMSI for free.
Last, but not even close to least, if there's still room inside you for more food after all that Feasting (of course there is; you came to eat, right?), here are a few must-try spots to get a good taste of what the incredible Portland food scene has to offer for an out-of-towner. Consider it a to-do list.
First stop, and quite possibly daily stop, in Portland is for coffee. Portland is a big coffee city, and there are countless shops that celebrate the humble bean so I recommend discovering a new coffee spot every day. Get started on the right food with a stop at Stumptown Coffee in the well-appointed PDX airport. No sense wasting any time.
Blue Star Donuts
Sure, they’re not covered sprinkles or cookie crumbles or bacon, but when it comes to taste, these have every other bakery beat. Flavors like Cointreau crème brulee and blueberry bourbon basil don’t hurt either. Honorable mention: Pip’s Doughnuts.
After sampling more than a few pizza spots in PDX (it's hard work!), Pizza Jerk came out on top. Try the chicken parm pie.
Now for something completely different: Indian street food in a setting that transports you outside the Pacific Northwest.
Salt & Straw
Don’t worry – the line moves fast. And there’s pretty much always a line at each of the four Portland locations of Salt & Straw ice cream. The best part about Salt & Straw (besides the totally non-judgmental sampling) is the partnerships the parlor makes with local purveyors of ingredients like Oregon Honey or Portland restaurants like Ox to create unique flavors you’ll never taste anywhere else.
Speaking of, before dessert, you might want to have dinner. At Ox, “Argentinian-style Portland food” means lots of grilled meats, garden vegetables served with rich flavors you won’t soon forget.
Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen
Deli might not be what you came to Portland for, but you won’t be disappointed if you walk into Kenny & Zuke’s. The house-cured meats and fish and the house-made bagels and pickles will knock you on your tuchus.
If you’re in need of a little break after all the craziness of Feast Portland, escape to Bröder Söder, a beautiful Scandinavian oasis that just happens to serve delicious food. Söder, as well as sister (or should we say bröder) locations Café Bröder, Bröder Nord, and Bröder Ost serve “approachable, traditional Swedish cuisine” like Æbleskiver (Danish pancakes served with house-made lemon curd and lingonberry jam) and the Söderbord, a sharable sampler of treats like smoked salmon, cheese, soup, yogurt, deviled egg, and something sweet.
If you don’t make it to all these places during this visit for Feast, don’t fret. Portland and its fabulous food, quirky culture and gorgeous natural beauty will be there for you next year.