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Seattle, Portland

Seattle and Portland! What are hidden gems in these cities?

I'll be taking a week trip the first of November and will be spending a couple nights in Seattle and a few nights in Portland. I know of a few places to sight see and visit in Seattle (Space Needle, Pike Place Market, etc.) but I'm having a hard time finding things to do in Portland. A few things I have found to do... Voodoo Donuts, drive to Cannon Beach, and see a few of the bridges. Does anybody have anything else they know of that would be good to do in either of these locations? (Sight seeing, must try restaurants, etc.)


9 Answers

top answer by
Hannah from Portland

Hi Brianna,

I'll give you my Portland perspective.

For a cheesy and rum filled night try out Hale Pele. It's a tiki bar that is complete with hourly "thunder storms."

Personally I would skip Voodoo and head for Pip's Original instead. They make made to order doughnut holes and a variety of Chai's. My favorite is the sea salt and honey.

For a very portland experience book a seat on the BrewCycle Portland and tour some of our many breweries by 15 seat bike.

My favorite restaurant for a fancier night out is OX Restaurant. Please note, jeans are still welcome at 95% of Portland locations. Just because you're having a nice meal doesn't mean you have to put on a dress.

Hood River is a WONDERFUL day trip. They have many breweries and wineries and are world renowned for their wind surfing. Only take this trip on a nice day.

Trillium Lake is another great spot on a nice day. Mt. Hood is mirrored in it's blue waters.

Have a great trip!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hale Pele (restaurant)
  2. Pip's Original (attraction)
  3. BrewCycle Portland (attraction)
  4. OX Restaurant (restaurant)
  5. Hood River (city)
  6. Trillium Lake (attraction)
6 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Valerie from Seattle


Here are my top 3s from each city! (I live in Seattle, and have visited Portland about 5 times in the last 18 months.)



  • Pittock Mansion, with great views of the city, and a good history lesson.
  • Portland City Grill. While the food is nothing to speak of, they have a decent happy hour and great views of the surrounding area including Mt Hood and Mount Saint Helens on a clear day!
  • Wander around the Alphabet District (Trippy gives "Northwest Portland" as the result when I search this). It's full of cool boutiques and restaurants.... I've actually never had a bad meal when visiting that part of town!

Also, Portland does AMAZING food trucks -- check out the area near SW Adler/SW Washington between 9th and 10th. If memory serves, that's the place to go. Wait, I'm not done. Portland is just a great foodie city. For brunch, I've had three, and all were amazing! Clyde Common, Olympic Provisions Northwest, and Tilt. All truly fantastic.

Have a great trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Gas Work Parks (attraction)
  2. Ballard Neighborhood (neighborhood)
  3. La Carta De Oaxaca (restaurant)
  4. Matador Restaurant & Tequila Bar (restaurant)
  5. Sonic Boom Records (attraction)
  6. Radiator Whiskey (attraction)
  7. Pittock Mansion (attraction)
  8. Portland City Grill (restaurant)
  9. Mt Hood (city)
  10. Mount Saint Helens (attraction)
  11. Northwest Portland (attraction)
  12. Clyde Common (restaurant)
  13. Olympic Provisions Northwest (restaurant)
  14. Tilt (restaurant)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Tracy from Portland, Oregon

I'm from Portland and live in Seattle ...

Portland: Dinner at 3 Doors Down Cafe (Hawthorne District), conveniently located near Blue Star Donuts (best donuts, no contest). I agree that Pittock Mansion is a fun tour (though the view in November might not be great due to cloud cover). Also don't miss International Rose Test GardenPowell's City of BooksThe Country Cat Dinner House & Barand The Observatory also have delicious food, and for the quintessential Portland coffee scene, visit Bipartisan Cafe and/or Stumptown Coffee RoastersHood Riveris indeed gorgeous, but maybe not so much in November. A great view of the city can be had from the OHSU tram (even on a somewhat cloudy day). Note: Portland Saturday Market is open on Sundays, too!

Seattle: Cafe Besaluand/or Crumble & Flake are not to miss morning spots - get to either before 10am. C&F doesn't have seating so plan to take your delights to go. The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Roomis very cool, even for those who generally turn their noses up at Starbucks. If it's not raining (or even if it is!) the 2.8 mile walk around Green Lake Parkwill provide lots of people (and dog) watching. If you have clear skies, don't miss the observatory at Columbia Center - the highest building in Seattle, 2nd highest on the west coast, amazing 360 degree views with lots of fun factoids. Best-tasting happy hour goes to Serious Pie & Biscuit ... the wood-fired sausage pizza is AMAZING (there's also a location inside the Starbucks Roastery). I'd also be remiss to not recommend Dick's Drive-In Restaurants; especially delicious late at night after drinks at Osteria La Spiga.Take a 20-minute ferry to Vashon Island from Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal in West Seattle ... super cute small town you could see most of with about an hour's worth of driving on the gorgeous highways (bonus: love authentic mexican? Definitely stop at Zamorana).

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. 3 Doors Down Cafe (attraction)
  2. Blue Star Donuts (attraction)
  3. Pittock Mansion (attraction)
  4. International Rose Test Garden (attraction)
  5. Powell's City of Books (attraction)
  6. The Country Cat Dinner House & Bar (restaurant)
  7. The Observatory (restaurant)
  8. Bipartisan Cafe (restaurant)
  9. Stumptown Coffee Roasters (restaurant)
  10. Hood River (city)
  11. OHSU (attraction)
  12. Portland Saturday Market (attraction)
  13. Cafe Besalu (restaurant)
  14. Crumble & Flake (restaurant)
  15. Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room (attraction)
  16. Green Lake Park (attraction)
  17. Columbia Center (attraction)
  18. Serious Pie & Biscuit (restaurant)
  19. Dick's Drive-In Restaurants (restaurant)
  20. Osteria La Spiga (restaurant)
  21. Vashon Island (attraction)
  22. Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal (attraction)
  23. West Seattle (attraction)
  24. Zamorana (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Liz from Seattle

You asked for hidden gems but also must see... I'll share some thoughts that hopefully hit a bit of both notes.

Powell's City of Books


Hope this gives you some ideas!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Powell's City of Books (attraction)
  2. Powell's City of Books (attraction)
  3. Portland Saturday Market (attraction)
  4. Redux jewelry boutique and gallery (attraction)
  5. Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade (attraction)
  6. Bartini (attraction)
  7. Kerry Park (attraction)
  8. Smith Tower (attraction)
  9. Golden Gardens (attraction)
  10. Ray's Cafe (restaurant)
  11. Araya's Vegetarian Place (restaurant)
  12. Garage (attraction)
  13. Fremont Neighborhood (neighborhood)
  14. Theo Chocolate Inc (restaurant)
3 thanks

answered by
Sandrine from Auvergne

Yes ! About Portland, you should check the Japanese Gardens, and also, if you can go for an hour drive, there is Silver Falls State Park : an 8 miles trail (easy access), with 10 impressive waterfalls... you can even walk behind some of them...

the best 5€ fee spent these past weeks ! :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Portland (city)
  2. Japanese Gardens (attraction)
  3. Silver Falls State Park (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Vicki from New York City

Don't miss Blue Star Donuts as it's way better than Voodoo Doughnuts But you should do your own comparison! Eat Bunk Sandwiches Moda Center Stay at the The Westin Portland

And do RENT a bike and drive over the bridges! Pedal Bike Tours

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Blue Star Donuts (attraction)
  2. Voodoo Doughnuts (restaurant)
  3. Bunk Sandwiches Moda Center (restaurant)
  4. The Westin Portland (hotel)
  5. Pedal Bike Tours (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Brian from Portland

Definitely try Blue Star Donuts. it is a MUCH better donut than Voodoo. I always tell people that Voodoo donuts are regular donuts in hyper color, whereas Blue Star Donuts are donuts you will actually enjoy eating.

If you like cidar, try a cidar bar. I'm a fan of Bushwhacker Cider very chill spot and great place to just enjoy various different types of ciders.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Blue Star Donuts (attraction)
  2. Bushwhacker Cider (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Justin from Phoenix

Nobody told me about Lardo before I went to Portland. I just stumbled on it. And they were the most unbelievable sandwiches ever.

If you want a real hidden gem, get out of Portland and drive to Astoria. Spend some time wandering the downtown area, take a boat tour and definitely go to Fort George Brewery.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Lardo (restaurant)
  2. Fort George Brewery (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
John from Possumneck, Mississippi

If you have time, Mount Saint Helens is about two hours north of Portland.  

Also, the original grand Portland hotel where Elvis stayed is now an Embassy Suites about two blocks from the light rail on the river, across the street from Voodoo Doughnuts #1, and an easy walk into the Pearl District.  Embassy Suites has preserved the grand lobby.  The only changes that I could see was that they installed plexiglas liners inside the old single glaze windows.

There is also a high rise building a couple of blocks away with a rotating bar on the top, if you are into that sort of thing.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mount Saint Helens (attraction)
  2. Portland (city)
  3. Voodoo Doughnuts (restaurant)
  4. Pearl District (neighborhood)

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