When in Oregon, your top priorities are eat, drink, and enjoy the scenery. And the state’s largest city of Portland is no exception.
Portland, also called the City of Roses, is known for its food, craft beer, and outdoor spaces. The city is divided into five areas — Northwest, Southwest, Southeast Northeast, and North Portland. You could spend countless days eating donuts, drinking IPAs, and wandering through its parks, marveling at the abundance of greenery.
If you’ve got a limited amount of time, it’s easy to make the most of it downtown, which is in the Southwest section of the city. It’s conveniently walkable, home to some must see spots, and full of that good food and drink.
Here’s how to spend one day downtown in Portland, Oregon.
Above: Morning coffee at The Original Dinerant
There are so many wonderful restaurants in Portland, it’s seriously hard to choose where to eat for each meal. To start off your day downtown, keep it simple and head to The Original Dinerant. The Original serves up classic diner fare, complete with giant biscuits. It’s a great spot for a traditional breakfast to get your day started.
Above: Browsing the wonderful Powell’s City of Books
Browse the Bookstores and Shops
Even if you don’t usually head straight for the bookstore when you get to a new city, you’ve got to make an exception for Powell’s City of Books. This beloved landmark is a massive series of bookshelves featuring all genres of new and used books. It’s also got plenty of great souvenirs and a coffee shop to keep you browsing as long as you need.
If you haven’t had enough book shopping, there’s also Cameron’s Books & Magazines, which has a great selection of used books as well
There’s also the Portland Saturday Market. The market is open on weekends from March through December. Local artists and chefs set up shop along the river, offering all different kinds of unique crafts and treats.
The city blocks of downtown are dotted with a variety of other lovely shops, so stop and look through whichever catches your eye as you make your way around.
Above: Outside Pine Street Market
For lunch, stop by Pine Street Market. This indoor food hall has something for everyone. From bibimbap bowls to pizza or ramen to cheeseburgers, there’s a little bit of everything. Large, long tables provide ample space for community seating and string lights provide a comfortable atmosphere. Just grab a drink, choose your fare, and enjoy.
Above: Downtown Portland
Have Coffee and Doughnuts
At some point, you will need to refuel. Or maybe you’ve just finished lunch and you’re ready for dessert and a pick-me-up. You do you! When in Portland, that means coffee and doughnuts. The top spots are Blue Star Donuts and Voodoo Doughnuts. They are full of creative baked goods and hot coffee, plus they both have convenient locations downtown.
Above: The famed Portland, Oregon sign atop the White Stag building along the river
Walk Along the River
When you’re ready to walk off some of that food, head down to the Waterfront Loop. Here you’ll find a paved path running along the Willamette River bordered by open green spaces. Stroll down the path and admire the gorgeous Oregon trees and the city skyline across the river. You can also catch a glimpse of the famous Portland, Oregon sign atop the White Stag building.
Above: Inside Multnomah Whiskey Library
Ready to Eat Again? Time for Happy Hour and Dinner!
For happy hour, head to Multnomah Whiskey Library. Tucked between a couple shops and without much of a sign, it’s barely noticeable. Downstairs at street level is The Green Room, where you can relax with a cocktail if there’s a wait to get up to the library. The Green Room is nice, but the experience of the library is exceptional. The library is a cozy room with walls of liquor, armchairs surrounding the fireplace, and classic details. Order some small plates to enjoy while your server mixes up cocktails at your table. Between the drinks and the ambiance, happy hour just might turn into dinner.
Above: A few pints from another essential Oregon brewery, Eugene-based Ninkasi Brewing. Click here for our Eugene travel guide.
Explore the Breweries
It’s not a trip to Oregon without sampling some delicious craft beer. You can’t go wrong with a visit to Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House or Rogue Pearl Public House. Both Deschutes and Rogue are classic Oregon institutions serving up delicious beer. Make sure to try all the IPAs!
Above: Open space along the waterfront
Stay the Night
If your day downtown extends into the night, you’ve got plenty of accomodation options. Hotel Lucia and The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel are both great choices. Hotel Lucia has a lovely modern look and friendly staff. The Nines has got a contemporary style, great service, and nice large rooms. Both are in central locations that make it easy to get around on foot.
Above: Some accurate PNW recommendations from Powell’s City of Books
Portland is a great city full of delicious food, top notch drinks, and gorgeous scenery. When you’re there, simply eat, drink, and enjoy. Cheers!