Things to See and Do in Portland
In a city like Portland, every street is packed with mouthwatering local cuisine, must-try desserts, the best of craft beer, and a multitude of sights to see. With so many options to choose from, we know fully enjoying what the city of Portland has to offer can seem like a difficult task. So, we’ve created a guide to help you explore the city.
The sheer number of food options can be a tad bit overwhelming, so we’re only scratching the surface of the culinary scene in Portland, highlighting what locals, visitors, and foodies say is the best. In such a food-centric town, it’s likely you’ll experience a wait no matter where you’re dining, so plan ahead!
A short and sweet geography lesson: The Lloyd District is home to the Oregon Convention Center where Quilt Market will be held for spring 2018. We know Market days can be long, so we’ve provided restaurant options in the nearby neighborhood for easy access and excellent food.
A taste of Northwest China in the Pacific Northwest? We’ll take it! The famous Frank’s Noodle House makes their noodles fresh, stretching and folding the dough into strands, then dropping them immediately into boiling water (a process you can watch from your table!). Frank’s has a great selection of items on the menu outside of noodles, and serves only fresh, homemade cuisine.
If you’re searching for Southern food in the Northwest, Pine State Biscuits can accommodate! Founded by three North Carolinians, Pine State Biscuits brings the taste of the South to Portland. The menu features biscuit sandwiches, biscuits and gravy, and even an option to build your own biscuit, just the way you like it. Though biscuits are what they’re famous for, there’s more to their menu that’s worth trying!
Olympia Provisions has extensive menus, serving brunch, lunch, mid-day meals, dinner, dessert, wine and drinks, and charcuterie. Their meat is raved about all over Portland’s food articles, and their charcuterie boards
(a must try), are believed to be some of the best in Portland.
Across the River
While the Lloyd District has plenty to offer, a trip to Portland isn’t complete without a visit downtown. Food options are limitless just across the river!
Being so close to the Oregon coast, dining on seafood is a necessity. Murata has a quiet atmosphere
and serves authentic, tasty sushi. The chef pays particular attention to presentation for a true Japanese style experience.
If you’re on the search for French food, Little Bird Bistro is the place to go. They serve a creative menu, ranging from Roasted Marrow Bones and Seared Foie Gras (both of which are rumored to be fantastic). On the weekends, they’re open only for dinner, so it’s best to schedule a reservation. Their sister restaurant, Le Pigeon, is also open for dinner every night of the week.
Lardo is a pork centric, Portland staple. The Pork Belly Reuben and Dirty Fries are menu items you can’t miss. Every sandwich is packed with flavor.
Pok Pok’s Fish Sauce Chicken Wings are raved about on just about every Portland food website. Visitors swear by the wings, the flavors, and the experience. If you try Pok Pok and have a wait, Imperial Bottle Shop and Taproom is right down the street with delicious drinks to pass the time.
What you can’t miss!
It’s hard to believe you could go wrong with any coffee shop in a place like Portland, but with so many
to choose from across the city, we’ve compiled a list of the best of the best to make your selection a
Disclaimer: each place on this list claimed to brew “the best coffee in Portland” on multiple review sites!
Courier Coffee Roasters is said to have mind-blowing coffee and second-to-none baked goods. Past customers insist it’s a must-stop shop in Portland, no matter what! If you visit and fall in love with their coffee, you can choose your favorite beans and take them home.
Stumptown Coffee Roasters has five locations around the Portland area, with the closest (and largest) location to the Oregon Convention Center located downtown at 128 SW 3rd Avenue. Stumptown Coffee offers a full espresso bar, drip coffee, brew-by-the-cup offerings, and more.
Originally an espresso catering company, Case Study Coffee now focuses on small batch-roasted coffee and house-made syrups and offers a great selection of the best baked goods. The coffee is described as smooth, rich, and creamy… aka everything you could want in a cup of joe!
Not only do people rave about the coffee at Heart Coffee Roasters, they also rave about their milk. Heart Coffee Roasters makes their own walnut almond
Nossa Familia, Portuguese for “our family,” was founded by Brazilian native Augusto Carneiro. He formed the company to bring his family’s coffee to Portland and began by importing directly from his family’s farms in Brazil. Visitors rave about their Mocha, drip coffee, and whipped cream!
Just like coffee, sweet treats are also an experience you shouldn’t miss in Portland!
If you’re on the hunt for a unique, but quality donut in Portland, you’re in luck!
The famous Voodoo Donut has two locations: one downtown and one on the east side. Word on the street is that you should always expect to wait in line, especially during the day. The donut shop is open 24 hours and accepts cash only.
Bluestar Donuts has seven locations in the Portland area, with each serving unique, local flavors tailored to their respective community, alongside their shop staples. They’re known for their gourmet donuts crafted from scratch, with fresh fruits, herbs, spices, and even liqueurs! Bluestar’s coffee is even designed to perfectly pair with their assortment of donuts.
For another special take on donuts in Portland, stop by Pip’s Original Donuts and Chai. Located on the east side of town, Pip’s serves fresh, made-to-order cake mini donuts and features five flavors of house-crafted chai (they even offer a chai flight if you want to try them all!). If you happen to be at Quilt Market on your birthday (or within seven days of it) Pip’s will give you a special birthday surprise…a dozen donuts for free!
At Tart Berry, their slogan is “Where Kindness and Laughter Translate to Any Language.” This frozen dessert shop offers over 15 different flavors in a variety of frozen dessert choices, ranging from yogurt to ice cream and gelato to custard. Tart Berry provides lactose-free, gluten-free, and vegan options, and has a selection of toppings that locals describe as second to none.
Eb & Bean is located in the Lloyd District, conveniently near the convention center for easy access during a Quilt Market lunch break! Eb & Bean boasts redefining frozen yogurt with their organic, probiotic-rich dairy (and non-dairy) deliciousness. They create and serve handmade flavors and top-notch toppings.
Salt & Straw offers a unique Portland experience with flavors like Chocolate Caramel Potato Chip Cupcake, Arbequina Olive Oil, and Strawberry Honey Balsamic with Black Pepper (no joke!). Though the names may have you second guessing your decision to visit, locals and tourists alike will assure you that Salt & Straw would be a mistake to miss. The shop offers unlimited sampling, so you can make sure you’ll love what you get before you purchase.
Sanctuary in the City
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, take a relaxing stroll through one of the city’s gardens.
Lan Su Chinese Garden is said to be an oasis in the middle of a busy city. Designed by Kuang Zhen, and built by 65 artisans from Suzhou, China (Portland’s Sister City), the garden is home to an authentic tea house and over 500 species of Chinese plants. To learn more about the garden, visit the Oregon Encyclopedia, and for events, check their May calendar.
The Elk Rock Garden is described by visitors as a hidden gem. It provides a path for meandering among the trees and plant life and allows for a beautiful view of the river. Admission into Elk Rock Garden is free, but donations are accepted.
Bars Around Portland
Though the Pacific Northwest has a reputation for rain, May temperatures in Portland historically range mid-60s to 70s during the day. If sunshine breaks through during your Quilt Market stay, Altabira City Tavern’s patio would be the place to go. The Tavern is located on the top floor of Hotel Eastlund and serves American beer-centric food and drink, including 16 tap handles of local craft beers. Rain or shine, warm or cool, their spacious patio has windbreaks, heaters, and fire pits, and one of the best views in Portland.
Across the street from the convention center, the sports bar Spirit of 77 serves upscale bar fare, craft beers, and cocktails. The bar features one huge screen and arcade games for a fun night out after a day at Market.
Noble Rot, voted Best Portland Wine Bar last year by Willamette Week, will be celebrating its 16th anniversary during the month of Quilt Market! Located on the fourth floor, Noble Rot’s tagline promises “Wine | Booze | Food | View.”
A Portland favorite for over 40 years, Produce Row Café serves an impressive list of food, cocktails, wine, and beer and whiskey pairings. The beer list is updated every week, and you can take a sneak peek of their latest menu before your visit.
Navigating your way around the beautiful city of Portland is made easy with their public transportation system, TriMet. The downtown Portland area is serviced by Bus Lines and the Max Light Rail.
Both the Bus System and the Max Light Rail System run every 15 minutes or better for most of the day, every day.
Fares for adults are $2.50 for a 2.5-hour pass, and $5 for a day pass. If you are 65+, have Medicare, or disability, tickets are $1.25 for a 2.5-hour pass, and $2.50 for a day pass.
For schedules, route information, and general information on the Bus System, click here.
For schedules, line information, and general information on the Max Light Rail, click here.
To stay up to date news on TriMet’s transportation systems, visit their Twitter.
Seeing Portland by Water
You can certainly see much of what Portland has to offer on foot or by riding their public transportation, but another way to experience the city is by water! Willamette Jetboat Excursions offers a two-hour scenic tour, passing through scenic downtown, wildlife, and down to the majestic Willamette Falls. The Portland Spirit Salmon Street Springs offers a downtown dinner cruise.