Portland is one of my favorite cities. It’s has a great blend of both city and suburban charm. I love that you can spend the morning drinking coffee downtown and spend the afternoon hiking a waterfall. You could spend a jam packed weekend here and still be excited to return! I’ve been several times and want to share what I would consider the perfect Portland weekend:
Day 1 – Ice cream, roses, and books!
There is so much to see in downtown that it makes sense to start the weekend in downtown. Start your day with a cup of coffee (it’s a must in Portland!) and get ready for a lot of walking!
Powell’s is the bookstore of your dreams. They literally give you a map when you walk in because you can really get lost in this store. But isn’t getting lost in a bookstore half the fun? This is definitely a place you want to get lost in! Leave room in your luggage for all the books you will inevitably walk away with.
Salt & Straw
This is arguably the best ice cream around. The line always wraps around the corner and while you’re waiting you can smell them making the waffle cones inside (which is a bit torturous). They offer both traditional favorites and exciting strange flavors you would never have thought of. My favorite is the snickerdoodle, but the blue cheese and pear was also a hit with my family. This place is more than just exciting flavors though – you can taste the quality. I’m just craving it thinking about it…
I also love the area around Salt & Straw. Grab your ice cream and then shop in the boutiques around the area. There is also a ton of cute cafes around Salt & Straw so this would be a great area to find a lunch spot.
Washington Park/International Rose Test Garden
Washington Park is a collection of different gardens and parks just outside downtown. I visited the International Rose Test Garden, but there are so many other options. If you are going in the spring, then the rose garden is a must see. I visited the second week of May and everything was in bloom. They didn’t name Portland the City of Roses without good reason! You can also visit the Japanese Garden, the zoo, the Hoyt Arboretum…and the list goes on. I love Washington Park because it’s a good spot to see the green natural beauty of Portland without traveling far outside the city. Plus on clear days you get gorgeous views of both the city and the mountains.
Day 2 – A Day of Waterfalls
Hands down my favorite thing about the Portland area is the amazing hikes. I cannot visit Portland without making a trip out to the Columbia Gorge for some gorgeous waterfall hikes. I have a lot to say about these hikes, so check out my post on Portland Waterfalls for Your Bucket List. It’s too much to list here!
Day 3 – Beer and/or Wine
Portland is a city that can boast both amazing beer and wine. They are known for their plethora of brewpubs in the city and the Oregon Pinot Noir is loved by wine fans across the country. You can easily spend an entire day doing tastings of either beer or wine (or both!).
There are over a hundred vineyards across the Willamette Valley (most within an hour drive). To start planning your day in wine country, check out the map of vineyards. For beer, you can easily stay in the city and hop from brewpub to brewpub. I went to many of the big names and my favorites were Deschutes and Widmer Brothers. There are tons of small local breweries so discover your own new favorite craft brew!
So many more things in Portland…
There are so many things to do in Portland that I can’t fit them all in one weekend! If you need additional ideas here are more things to do and see:
Alder Street Food Carts – There is a square downtown that is filled with every kind of food cart you can imagine. It’s fun to go with friends and each person can get exactly what kind of food they want. Address: Between SW Alder St. and 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205
Voodoo Doughnuts – Voodoo is a famous doughnut shop that offers crazy combos like Captain Crunch doughnuts. I didn’t feel like it was a “must do” but it was still a lot of fun. The line here is always nuts so be prepared to wait for a while. If you don’t have time to wait in line, I have heard from locals the Blue Star Doughnuts is just as good without the line.
Multnomah Whiskey Library – I haven’t been here, but I know it’s very popular and a whiskey lover’s dream. It looks amazing inside. Website
Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade – I went here with some friends and felt like I was transported back to the 80’s. This is a two story arcade with everything from multiplayer PAC-MAN to pinball machines to Tetris. What makes it more fun is that they have a bar and a DJ (the DJ might be a weekend only thing). It’s open each day at noon and only 21 is allowed after 5pm. Website
Nike Employee Store – You have to know someone to get into this Nike Store, but if you do get the chance to go then definitely take the opportunity! This is a warehouse filled with all the new releases (and items that haven’t reached stores yet) and every item is 50% off. You have to get there about half an hour before the store opens to get in line. They only let a certain number of people in so it’s wise to be there early.
Bike Ride – If you are a confident bike rider in a city then I would suggest seeing the city by bike. It’s fun to explore farther sides of Portland via bike. Check out some loops on this website.
Lan Su Chinese Garden – I didn’t feel like this garden was a must see, but it is still definitely fun. You would never guess that this quiet garden is in the middle of downtown. They also have many different events like Tai Chi classes, culinary tastings, and poetry tours. Website
Now are you ready to start planning your Portland trip? Check out my All the Planning Details post on Portland. I list out all the tiny details about hours, transportation, and more.