When many people think of Oregon, the first thing that comes to mind is endless green trees and the hipster vibe that continues to make the show Portlandia a comedic hit. And while this Pacific Northwest city definitely has its share of incredible outdoor adventures and nonchalant pedestrians in loose-fitting beanies and shirts from the 80s, Portland offers so much more and for every kind of traveler. Here’s how to start exploring this city that continues to make its own rules.
Portland has a wave of new hotels popping up each month. For a central location downtown and a taste of the city’s easygoing vibe, check into The Woodlark from Provenance Hotels. As soon as you enter the black and white tiled lobby, you’ll see why both locals and visitors congregate at this 150-room property.
The onsite coffeeshop, Good Coffee, offers hotel guests a free caffeine fix daily as well as an aesthetically pleasing space flooded with light to work. Rooms here include woods, leathers, black lacquer, and greenery that exude the feeling of being in a chic, tropical oasis. In the evening, imbibe in a cocktail or two at the hotel’s bar, Abigail Hall.
Hat Yai : This Southern Thai restaurant should be at the top of everyone’s restaurant list when visiting Portland. The simple decor is misleading when matched with the complex, robust flavors coming out of the kitchen. Southern Thailand is known for its spicy food, and Hat Yai does not disappoint in bringing the heat with dishes like a red curry with dry red chili, lemongrass, cilantro root, shallot, garlic, and more.
If you’re not big on spice, don’t worry, most people come here for the fried chicken. The crispy bird is seasoned with fried shallots, cumin, white pepper, coriander, and fresh garlic. An added bonus is its side component of sticky rice and a buttery, chewy naan bread. There are now two locations — Killingsworth and Belmont– meaning two more reasons to head to Hat Yai.
Pine St. Biscuits: You’d be hard pressed to ask anyone where to get breakfast or lunch and they don’t suggest this staple. As the name implies, biscuits are the name of the game, with fillings that will leave you ready to end your calorie counting for the day. Try “The Reggie,” which includes fried chicken, bacon and cheese topped with gravy between a savory biscuit.
Departure at the Nines Hotel: This popular hangout serves up contemporary Asian cuisine and stunning views of the entire city. It’s a great location to grab a cocktail on the rooftop or taste dishes like crispy pork belly with honey, black pepper, peanut and chili, or whole roasted Pacific snapper from Food Network star and chef, Gregory Gourdet.
Canard: Another local favorite, Canard fills quickly, especially on the weekends. Popular dishes include the steam burgers (think an elevated White Castle burger) and the duck stack — a decadent pile of pancakes topped with duck gravy, Tabasco onions, and a duck egg. If you’re really feeling YOLO, you can even add foie gras to it.
Montesacro: Named after a neighborhood in Rome, Montesacro serves a pizza-like flatbread, called pinsa. This form of bread is lighter and easier to digest than traditional pizza dough. Come for the pinsa and stay for the charcuterie, which is best paired with a glass of wine, of course.
When Bertony Faustin opened Abbey Creek Vineyard, it quickly became known as Oregon’s first hip hop winery. But its Faustin’s work ethic and commitment to breaking into the wine industry that gives Abbey Creek its true loyal following. On any given Saturday or Sunday, both locals and visitors congregate in the North Plains tasting room to see the passion of its owner first-hand. Born to Haitian immigrant parents by way of Brooklyn, Faustin is the first Black winemaker in Oregon.
Coining himself a “farmer first,” he dug deep into the soil of Oregon’s Northern plains to produce varietals like Chardonnays (called DaddyPhatSacs) and Pinot Noir. Visiting the tasting room is worth the trip alone just to chat with Faustin about his passion for winemaking. It doesn’t hurt that hip hop classics from a live DJ play in the background as well.
This peaceful, 12.4 acre oasis includes a waterfall, teahouse and mountain views. If you are looking for a relaxing environment, away from the bustle of city life, take a walk through the five distinct garden styles, or visit the cultural center to enjoy an exhibit or class.
Any lover of literature can easily spend a full day here. Powell’s city of books is the largest bookstore chain in the world, with special sections dedicated to fiction, memoirs, LGBTQ, Black feminism, and beyond. The bookstore covers a full city block and is 68,000 square feet of knowledge and stories just waiting to be enjoyed.
This Black-owned business is described as the world’s first historical hip-hop dispensary. Located in the more diverse Northeast Portland neighborhood, Green Hop serves as not only a dispensary, but also an ode to hip hop and vehicle to disband racial and economic inequity. Co-owners Karanja Crews and Nicole Kennedy also founded Green Hop Academy, an internship program in collaboration with POIC, a nonprofit that mentors at-risk youth. The academy teaches employable skills in the cannabis industry.