Traveling in August for a wedding in downtown Portland. Staying 3-4 days but 2 must be in downtown due to wedding. This is our first time to the state. Should I concentrate the entire stay on the downtown area this time or split between mountains or beach and downtown? What about a vineyard, worth the drive? Love to eat and we love to walk from morning till late night when we travel but would rent a car if we leave the city. Need sightseeing and restaurant/bar recommendations. Nothing fancy. Can't wait to stop at Voodoo Doughnuts! Thanks!
First, yes rent a car at least for a day or two. Uber hasn't quite made it into Portland yet, maybe by August it will but for now it's easier to get around by car. And you'll want one to check out the neighborhoods.
Here are my favs to try:
Pok Pok Restaurant: Andy Ricker has won multiple James Beard awards now for his super authentic northern Thai. The original is on SE Belmont. Go there, put in your name for reservation then head over to Whiskey Soda Lounge where you could be tempted to snack on a couple things off the Pok Pok menu. After walk down to Salt & Straw for the best ice cream you'll ever have.
Also nearby, Tasty N Alder. Great spot for brunch, get the bim bim bop, their take on a Korean rice dish.
If you can get in, also out on SE Belmont is Ava Gene's. It's northern Italian with I think some Argentine influence.
As for splitting it up, you don't have to. If you stay in Portland the entire time with a car you do some pretty great day trips that get you back into the city for dinner.
Wine country is great but I'd prioritize a drive down The Gorge Amphitheatre, I-84 east all the way to Hood River. There are great hikes with amazing views if you can handle 1-2k foot climbs. Hood River also has a great orchard area called the Fruit Loop, check out Apple Valley Country Store for amazing jams, pies and seasonal fruit milk shakes. You can make a full loop around Mt Hood.
The coast is about 2 hour drive west. Cannon Beach is the more quaint little town to check out. It gets pretty sleepy at night so depends on what you're looking for whether it's worth staying overnight or just going for the day. Great hikes and incredible views too.
There aren't a lot of great spots to stay out in wine country, so you can either drive out there and have someone stay sober enough to make it back. Or there are limo services that will take you around for the day, best to split with a few people.
August is an amazing time to see Portland, enjoy
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Hi Peggy, I am glad you are going to spend some time in Portland. Sorry this is long but I hope it gives you some good ideas. I am happy to answer any questions you have around what you specifically like and I can give more directed guidance.
Things to do: There are some good recommendations on here like Angel's Rest Trailhead but if you want to do some cool trail hikes in town, check out Wildwood Trailhead or you can walk NW Leif Erikson Dr (specifically Leif Erikson Trail). Also Pittock Mansion is a pretty cool site as well. If you are up for a 45-60 minute drive, check out Hood River some great breweries such as Pfriem Family Brewers Double Mountain Brewery Everybody's Brewing (right across the river in Washington) Full Sail Brewing Company.
Donuts: If you are staying in portland - best donuts are Pip's Original and Blue Star Donuts (There are multiple in the city so go to whatever is closest.) Voodoo is cool, but it is 100% tourists and be prepared to wait in line for over an hour, unless you go across the river to their second location Voodoo Doughnut which is normally significantly better.
Eating: It is hard to beat Portland for food I will break it down by category and feel free to ask me more questions
NEED a reservation Now if you want to get in: Ava Gene's for fantastic Italian fare and award winning chef. Lang Baan for epic traditional Thai. I don't think they have anything available in August, but worth calling and checking. Beast a portland staple of great meat-driven NW Food
Drinking: Cocktails: Rum Club Expatriate Clyde Common Pépé le Moko. Beer: APEX, Horse Brass Pub and Bailey's Taproom. There are lots of good urban wineries in town and worth checking out if you don't want to drive: SE Wine Collective Cyril's at Clay Pigeon Winery Division Winemaking Company, TeSoAria Vineyard & Winery.
Driving to wine country is great, but I wouldn't spend an entire day of your trip to go down there. You can find plenty of places to buy good Oregon pinot in town. Check out buying wine at Liner & Elsen Wine Merchants and Vinopolis Wine Shop
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As far as what to eat, try Tasty N Alder - you MUST try their chocolate potato donut balls (trust me).I recommend breakfast, but get there early! It is totally worth it! Keep in mind that Portland is on a "communal style" seating kick and many new places offer that style. Its fun, but not recommended for a date night. A popular dessert place is Papa Haydn. The Pearl District is a fun place to walk around and see some funky boutiques and restaurants. Stumptown Coffee Roasters is a decent place to grab a "high end" coffee to wash down your Voodoo Doughnuts. However, voodoo is now a tourist trap.
Portland also has over 500 food carts - here are two websites that can help navigate the food cart scene:
Tip: try not to drive around downtown, you will go insane. It does not take that long to walk around....plus Portland is a great place to people watch.
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Hey Peggy! I've lived in Portland my entire life and recently moved for school. It's a beautiful city and I miss it so much. If your heart is set on Voodoo Doughnuts, by all means go for it, but I feel like it's a little overrated. In my opinion, Blue Star Donuts is a lot better, and it's right in downtown as well!
I'm a nature person, so I like to spend my summers hiking. If you're into that sort of thing, I'd recommend Angel's Rest Trailhead. It's a relatively easy/popular hike about 40 min from downtown and the view of the Gorge is amazing!
I haven't been to the mountains much in the summer, and usually spend my time there skiing in the winters so I'm not sure what it's like. If you want to head to the beach, Cannon Beach or the beach at N Tillamook St is worth checking out - it's where the cheese/ice-cream factory is for the Tillamook brand (not sure if this is a westcoast brand or not, but it's delicious!) The beach is only about an hour and a half away from Portland. Don't expect to swim or lay out like the beaches in California or Florida, though. The water is FREEZING, but the views are beautiful.
I'd say you'd be able to see a lot of downtown in a day or so. I'm not sure if it's because I've lived there for so long, but downtown seems relatively small to me. If you have time, check out the Saturday market or the farmer's market (both have multiple locations and I'm pretty sure there are some downtown).
Overall, you could probably just spend a day wandering around Downtown and see lots of things. Make sure to check out the food carts! They're all over the place. Sometimes the food there is better than at restaurants. Make sure to have a hearty appetite because there are tons of great food places. Depending on your preference, a beach trip is totally doable in a day. There's not a TON to do at the beach (other than checking out surrounding beaches...) but whenever I go, it's usually a day trip for me anyway. Hiking would probably take a full day as well. Hope you enjoy Portland! It's definitely one of my favorite cities. Oh, and it's also tax free! :)
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