I spent the majority of last week exploring Portland, OR before settling in for a convention. Some friends and I decided to make a girls trip out of the convention so we went three days early and explored, as none of us had ever visited Portland before. Now, I had a few surprises. I am not sure why I thought it would be some high tech hipster city and nothing else, but there were some amazing historical areas and plenty to see in different neighborhoods. Here are 4 places that are a slam dunk in Portland:
- Powell’s City of Books:
OK, this one is not JUST because I am a huge book nerd. But the fact that it is the worlds largest independent bookstore did give me some butterflies in my stomach as we were walking there. I actually had to go twice, and I still do not feel like the store was adequately explored. No worries though, this is NOT just for book lovers! The store has fun knick knacks, and is honestly just cool to see. Shopping with a book lover who is taking longer than you want? They have a cafe right in house with a chill and energetic vibe (I know seems like a weird mix). My personal challenge to you is to go in there and NOT come out with something.
- PRO TIP: Set a budget before going in, but give yourself (a little) wiggle room. Don’t be too hard on yourself, it is truly an amazing place.
- Salt & Straw:
This ice cream is amazing. Seriously. I wouldn’t say it is the best I have had, but it is 100% worth the stop. They have unique flavors that will not disappoint! This homemade ice cream shop sits in the heart of North 23rd Street which has a ton of shops and historical houses around. Be sure to explore! Within blocks of Salt & Straw is a brewery, multiple coffee shops, and some awesome little shops. Definitely go for the ice cream, but take some time to enjoy the area too!
- PRO TIP: Get there right when the store opens. That’s what we did. There was no line and we had awesome service, including getting unlimited tastes because we were the only ones in the store.
- Portland Japanese Garden:
Everywhere we went we asked locals for the one thing you need to do in Portland, and every single one said the Japanese Garden. It is touted as the best Japanese Garden in the world outside of Japan. It is seriously beautiful. You do have to pay to get in ($14.95 for an adult), however it is worth it. You can get lost in the maze of beautiful trees, bushes, stones, ponds, and waterfalls. It is just stunning.
- PRO TIP: Take your time. Don’t rush through it. Enjoy. It is meant to be taken in slowly. Possibly take a journal, write, read, or just meditate while enjoying the gardens.
- International Rose Test Garden:
With thousands upon thousands of rose plants and over 600 different types of roses, this is a garden you cannot miss out on. The best part? It is FREE and right across the street from the Japanese Garden. It was SO COOL to see just rows upon rows of roses.
- PRO TIP: Don’t worry about spending a ton of time here. It is just cool to see. If you have time, definitely explore, but we were on our way to catch a Lyft and cut through the gardens. It was still amazing even though we only had 15 minutes.
The most important thing about travelling is to explore and have a great time! Hence, only putting four items on this list instead of twelve. Enjoy your time and be adventurous.