Our Ten Favorite Things In Portland, Oregon

Published Date Author: , October 7th, 2015

We just got back from another great trip to one of our favorite places in the world – Portland. So we thought we’d share our favorite things – the must-sees if you visit downtown Portland.

Downtown Portland

10. Take the Free Downtown Tour

Secrets of Portlandia Tour

There’s a great free tour of Downtown Portland that meets every day, rain or shine, in front of the Portland Courthouse at 11 AM. Run by Erik Kennon and called The Secrets of Portlandia, it’s a two hour and fifteen minute tour (easy walking) that gives you so much information about the city, including many things we didn’t know. And we’ve taken a lot of tours here. Learn why the city is called Stumptown, where to see the famous penny, the history of the smallest park in the world, and what famous world plazas inspired Pioneer Square. it’s a great tour, and if you like it, you can tip Erik at the end. He does work awfully hard.

9. Dinner at Serratto or 23Hoyt

23Hoyt

We always try to make time for a meal at Serratto up on 21st, but this year we also found a new place just around the corner on 23rd. Both of these are excellent restaurants with meals second only to Andina in Portland. 23Hoyt has more of an American Lodge feel and cuisine, while Serratto has a more Mediterranean-inspired menu. Visit both if you have the time.

8. Wander the Stacks at Powells

Powells Books

Portland has, hands down, our favorite bookstore anywhere. Powells fills up a whole city block, having taken over several buildings and merged them into one gigantic store. They sell new and used books – and you can literally wander around in there for hours and hours.

It’s the place true booklovers go to die.

7. Grab Breakfast at Tasty and Alder

Tasty and Alder

T&A is a great restaurant on the edge of downtown, close to Goose Hollow. It’s great for any meal, but breakfast is our particular favorite. They start seating at nine, but there is always a line – we recommend getting there and putting your name in at least a half an hour early. We were there for dinner this trip, and as they seat everyone at once, as soon as the tables were full, the wait time jumped to an hour and a half. But the food is worth the wait, if you have to.

6. Tea Ceremony at Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Hidden away in Chinatown, you’ll find the wonderful Lan Su garden – a full city block that’s been sculpted and planted as a formal Chinese Garden. The place is a delight to walk through – adults are about $10 for entry, while a year pass for two is just $60. But what’s really special here is the Tao of Tea House – where you can sit down and take in the surroundings with a formal tea ceremony. Check their schedule in advance and try to come when there’s music. You’ll leave feeling relaxed and at peace.

5. Grab a Gelato at Allotto Gelato

alotto gelato

One of our favorite gelato places anywhere. It’s up on 23rd between Kearny and Johnson – grab a cone and explore this great little neighborhood, often called the Alphabet District. It runs up 21st and 23rd from about Couch to Lovejoy, and has a bit of a Berkeley flair.

4. Hang Out at Jamison Square

Jamison Square

This is our favorite people watching place in Portland. It’s in the heart of the Pearl, and has this really cool fountain – a half bowl that ebbs and flows every 15 minutes or so. Camp out here for a bit on summer day and watch the kids delight in the fountain when the water comes flooding back.

3. Pizza at Hot Lips

Hot Lips Pizza

There’s only one pizza place in downtown Portland.

Okaym so we’re lying. But there’s only one worth visiting. Hot Lips Pizza is in the pearl – grab a slice or two of their innovative pies (I had apple, walnut and gorgonzola this trip) and one of their patented Hot Lips fruit sodas and head over to Jamison Square to people watch at the fountain.

2. See a Play at The Artists’ Repertory Theatre

ART

There’s a great community theatre here called the ART – the last time we were here, they had a fascinating play featuring Scott Lowell – the actor who played Teddy on the American version of Queer as Folk.

This time the theatre had a play called The Understudy – the work was great, and the actors were simply amazing. If there’s something playing here while you;re in town, go see it.

1. Eat at Andina

Andina

OK, so we’ve made it all the way down to number one. Andina is a Peruvian restaurant on the edge of the Pearl that serves some of the most fantastic food we’ve ever had. And it’s all in the sauces. We ordered our meal family style – potatoes, chicken skewers, scallops, and empanadas. Each of these dishes came with one or more sauces, and we were lucky enough to have the owner stop by and spend about ten minutes with us, discussing the food and how it is made.

The ingredients are authentic, brought in from Peru, and the flavors were simply amazing. The Salsa de Rocoto was featured on several dishes – a hearty red chile pepper sauce. The Aji de Maracuya combined a gorgeous color with a wonderful sweet flavor. And the Salsa Ocopa was something completely new to me – a flavor I thoroughly enjoyed and still can’t entirely describe.

The restaurant itself is beautiful as well – warm and welcoming. There are 6 booths along the front window – the best seats – but only available for parties of 3 or more.

This is our must-stop for every trip to Portland – but call ahead as soon as you can because it books out early. Simply amazing food.

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gaycationmagazine.com/5046-2/ - Gaycation Magazine said on October 11, 2015, 5:30 pm:

[…] USA, OREGON: Our Ten Favorite Things In Portland, Oregon by Scott and Mark We just got back from another great trip to one of our favorite places in the world – Portland. So we thought we’d share our favorite things – the must-sees if you visit downtown Portland. There’s a great free tour of Downtown Portland that meets every day, rain or shine, in front of the Portland Courthouse at 11 AM. Run by Erik Kennon and called The Secrets of Portlandia, it’s a two hour and fifteen minute tour (easy walking) that gives you so much information about the city, including many things we didn’t know. And we’ve taken a lot of tours here. […]

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