Hello 2019! Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday (Christmas/New Year’s/Winter Solstice). Our recent travels took us to Portland, Oregon to usher in the new year. Last year, we were in New York City calling in 2018, where should we head to next year? I’m thinking Hawaii! Let me know if you know of any amazing places to check out in the comments. 🙂
Portland, known for doughnuts and food, I definitely planned for us to check out all the usual spots like Voo-Doo Doughnuts and Multnomah Falls. I also made sure that we did plenty of hiking since most of Portland is surrounded by wilderness and hiking trails. For our stay we booked with Airbnb, prices I always find to always be a little cheaper than hotels, plus the feeling of an apartment/condo/home is always more cozy than a hotel room. I always try and book with Superhosts so I know that their cleanliness is on point. I booked with Maria and her condo in downtown Portland. Check out her condo if you ever decide to visit Portland. The location of the condo was very convenient because it was smack in the middle of all the things I wanted to go to and do (5-10 minutes to city destinations and 25-30 minutes to the mountain hike trails). As for flights, we flew with Southwest Airlines, I got lucky and found some round trip tickets for $250 per person back in the summer months. I also rented a car with a new app called “Turo” that’s basically a Airbnb for cars and rented a 2015 Corolla for $240 for 4 days (bought extra insurance as well). Like Airbnb, Turo’s prices were also cheaper than the rental companies like Hertz and Enterprise, but best of all I just liked that the rental was really easy and all doable via a user friendly app. I usually filter for car rentals that would be open to drop off at airports for free too.
Our flight ended up being delayed (thank Odin’s beard that the car rental person was super accommodating) and we landed and got out at 2AM (instead of 1AM), got to our condo rental by 2:30AM. We showered, unpacked and headed off to bed, it’ll be an early morning of activities!
If you’re a lover of breakfast or brunch dishes, Portland is definitely the place to be. I didn’t have a bad experience once through our 4 day trip there. Their egg scrambles, eggs benedicts, pancakes, waffles, and omelettes with country potatoes are simply amazing. Here are some of the tasty locations we dined at for breakfast (all recommended):
• The Daily Feast
• Zell’s Cafe (favorite one)
• Jam on Hawthrone
• Mother’s Bistro
As for dinner, one of the most memorable places we went to was Tasty & Adler on new year’s eve night, their duck breast (medium rare) was… Oh. My. Goodness. So delicious! Some other places that we checked out for dinner:
• Nong’s Khao Man Gai – serves Thai version of Hainan chicken
• Luc Lac – Vietnamese food
All the food was still good, but I thought breakfast/brunch style was still the highlight of the trip food wise. Or maybe it’s because I didn’t really look into dinner places before we left for the trip. Hmmm. If you’re craving something sweet:
• Blue Star Doughnuts
• Voo-Doo Doughnuts – yes, the line is long, but it’s actually not that bad. The line actually goes really quick. They’re also cash only too! Please know what you want to order before getting to the cash register so everything goes faster and smoother. But best thing about eating and shopping in Portland, there’s NO SALES TAX. So food is what it says it is on the menu and it’s actually meals that are affordable AND delicious.
Anyways, as for our active excursions: some of the amazing hiking spots that we went to was Wahkeena Falls, Multnomah Falls, Fairy Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Witches Castle (via Wildwood Trail) nestled in Forest Park. If I had to rank them in difficulty, I’d say:
1. Fairy Falls – pretty excruciating incline hike
2. Multnomah Falls – distance and intense incline (didn’t feel as intense as Fairy Falls though); 750 feet elevation, we weren’t prepared for this and had to stop midway.
3. Wildwood Trail – Distance
4. Bridal Veil Falls
And from the most gorgeous of views (although they’re all pretty amazing):
1. Wildwood Trail
2. Bridal Veil
3. Fairy Falls
4. Multnomah Falls
I’ll try and write separate blog posts for each of these so that I can go into more details. Portland also a great place for people who enjoys a lot of hiking activities. I feel like I can hike for days and I’d still not even scratch the surface of what their wilderness holds.
There were also other places that we checked out as well that didn’t consist of intense activeness or eating was taking in the more free areas of Portland. We walked most of downtown Portland and visited places like their version of Chinatown. Admittedly, their Chinatown was disappointing in terms of actual Asian immigrant owned restaurants and establishments like those in LA, NYC, and SF’s Chinatowns. 90% of their Chinatown was regular American franchises. But there was a Chinese garden we went to called Lan Su Chinese Garden that had a very beautiful pond with koi fish and a tea house that served traditional brewed tea. Although this one wasn’t free, entry was $10 per person. We also went to Pittock Mansion, to get the inside tour it costs money, but walking their grounds and garden outside is free. Keller Fountain Park was also a pretty cool place to see, although just bummed that it was drained when we visited. You guys also have to check out St. John’s Bridge, very pretty view.
I did enjoy that Portland was a very green city, they try their best in keeping their environment clean. The city has trashcans and recycling bins everywhere so that people don’t litter (a lot of places also voluntarily don’t do plastic straws). I will say that they have a lot of homeless people though, half of them seemingly runaway kids (like college aged, early 20s). Everyone is really kind to each other (at least from what I saw), there was no layer of bad vibes/animosity that I usually feel back in SoCal. It was very refreshing and honestly a mental and emotional break that I really needed. I really fell in love with the city and I can see why people have nothing but good things to say.
Until next time, stay weird Portland!