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Every year, Portland Uncovered inspires millions of adventurous travelers to fall in love with the capital of West Coast cool — via both this handy site and hardcover guidebooks found in virtually every hotel room in the metro area. Our entirely editorial travel tips aren’t intended to market the city. We only want to get you out and exploring ASAP. Here’s what each member of our award-winning team loves about Portland, from one traveler to another.

 
 
  Megan Kirkpatrick, publisher    When friends visit, where do you take them first?  The Portland Japanese Garden for a couple of reasons. First, it is one of the largest authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Second, it has one of the best views of downtown. Third, it’s located in Washington Park, which showcases how Portland’s urban environment is wrapped around with beautiful trees and parks.   What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland?  The distinct neighborhoods. I remember when I was moving here someone mentioned how the city was divided into five quadrants and that each area had unique neighborhoods. Of course, in the last twenty years, many of those neighborhoods have transformed.   In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city?  The perfect day is just picking a neighborhood and exploring — the food, the shops and people-watching.   You’re planning a night out — what do you do?  That pretty much means going out to dinner. There are so many restaurants to choose from, it’s easy to plan a night out and sample so many different cuisines and different types of dining experiences.   Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland?  Wine country! What’s great about Portland is that in about a half hour to 45 minutes you can be out in the wine country with an abundant amount of amazing wineries to sample.

Megan Kirkpatrick, publisher

When friends visit, where do you take them first? The Portland Japanese Garden for a couple of reasons. First, it is one of the largest authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. Second, it has one of the best views of downtown. Third, it’s located in Washington Park, which showcases how Portland’s urban environment is wrapped around with beautiful trees and parks.

What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland? The distinct neighborhoods. I remember when I was moving here someone mentioned how the city was divided into five quadrants and that each area had unique neighborhoods. Of course, in the last twenty years, many of those neighborhoods have transformed.

In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city? The perfect day is just picking a neighborhood and exploring — the food, the shops and people-watching.

You’re planning a night out — what do you do? That pretty much means going out to dinner. There are so many restaurants to choose from, it’s easy to plan a night out and sample so many different cuisines and different types of dining experiences.

Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland? Wine country! What’s great about Portland is that in about a half hour to 45 minutes you can be out in the wine country with an abundant amount of amazing wineries to sample.

  Nickie Bournias, creative director    When friends visit, where do you take them first?  The first place we take visitors is Council Crest Park, the highest point in the city. It’s a five-mountain view on a clear day and also doubles as an off-leash dog park. A win-win. (Hint: Stand on the stone circle at the top and you can hear your voice echo. A big hit with the kiddos.)   What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland?  Seeing the entire city stream outside on a sunny day … no matter the season.   In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city?  Start off at either an off-leash dog park (Chimney Park in North Portland) or a dog-friendly swimming beach (the Sellwood Park in Southeast Portland); outdoor lunch with friends at dog-friendly Ecliptic Brewing; an afternoon hike through Forest Park and then a slice of pizza and a movie at an independent movie theater, such as the St. Johns Twin Cinema & Pub.   You’re planning a night out — what do you do?  Grab a copy of Willamette Week and see what’s playing around town. Between a dozen or so music venues and independent theaters, there’s something to interest you. Or a more active approach to the night, is to grab a BIKETOWN bike and plan a multi-brewery tour of the city.   Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland?  It usually involves hiking and a post-hike beer. Our go-to in the spring is the Mosier Plateau Trail for wildflowers; for summer, it’s Tamanawas Falls for its shaded trail along the creek. Cascade Locks is a great stop on the way back to Portland to sip a Dry Creek IPA at Thunder Island Brewing’s dog-friendly patio.

Nickie Bournias, creative director

When friends visit, where do you take them first? The first place we take visitors is Council Crest Park, the highest point in the city. It’s a five-mountain view on a clear day and also doubles as an off-leash dog park. A win-win. (Hint: Stand on the stone circle at the top and you can hear your voice echo. A big hit with the kiddos.)

What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland? Seeing the entire city stream outside on a sunny day … no matter the season.

In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city? Start off at either an off-leash dog park (Chimney Park in North Portland) or a dog-friendly swimming beach (the Sellwood Park in Southeast Portland); outdoor lunch with friends at dog-friendly Ecliptic Brewing; an afternoon hike through Forest Park and then a slice of pizza and a movie at an independent movie theater, such as the St. Johns Twin Cinema & Pub.

You’re planning a night out — what do you do? Grab a copy of Willamette Week and see what’s playing around town. Between a dozen or so music venues and independent theaters, there’s something to interest you. Or a more active approach to the night, is to grab a BIKETOWN bike and plan a multi-brewery tour of the city.

Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland? It usually involves hiking and a post-hike beer. Our go-to in the spring is the Mosier Plateau Trail for wildflowers; for summer, it’s Tamanawas Falls for its shaded trail along the creek. Cascade Locks is a great stop on the way back to Portland to sip a Dry Creek IPA at Thunder Island Brewing’s dog-friendly patio.

  Jon Shadel, senior editor    When friends visit, where do you take them first?  A former grad-school peer recently visited from Munich and I took her to Powell’s City of Books right after she landed. It’s a rare kind of bookstore, akin to El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires and The Strand in New York City. The international relations section outsizes my old university’s collection. Also, the LGBTQ selection is top-notch.   What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland?  If you could encapsulate everything I love about Portland in one venue, it would be the Lovecraft Bar — goths, punks, queers, drag queens and ad agency creatives all grooving together.     In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city?  A weekend spent with a few writer friends jumping between bars and working on the manuscripts we always talk about but never manage to finish.   You’re planning a night out — what do you do?  Many of my friends are also queer, so we usually opt for more inclusive dance parties — CAKE at Killingsworth Dynasty, Slay at Holocene and Blow Pony at Bossanova Ballroom are my go-tos.   Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland?  When I manage to wake up before sunrise, I like to head out into the Gorge for a hike and then settle into a brewpub at Hood River for lunch.

Jon Shadel, senior editor

When friends visit, where do you take them first? A former grad-school peer recently visited from Munich and I took her to Powell’s City of Books right after she landed. It’s a rare kind of bookstore, akin to El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires and The Strand in New York City. The international relations section outsizes my old university’s collection. Also, the LGBTQ selection is top-notch.

What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland? If you could encapsulate everything I love about Portland in one venue, it would be the Lovecraft Bar — goths, punks, queers, drag queens and ad agency creatives all grooving together.  

In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city? A weekend spent with a few writer friends jumping between bars and working on the manuscripts we always talk about but never manage to finish.

You’re planning a night out — what do you do? Many of my friends are also queer, so we usually opt for more inclusive dance parties — CAKE at Killingsworth Dynasty, Slay at Holocene and Blow Pony at Bossanova Ballroom are my go-tos.

Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland? When I manage to wake up before sunrise, I like to head out into the Gorge for a hike and then settle into a brewpub at Hood River for lunch.

 
  Nancy Burke, account executive    When friends visit, where do you take them first?  If it’s sunny, there is no better place to see all of Portland and the surrounding Cascades than at Council Crest Park. If the weather is less cooperative, then I head to Powell’s City of Books — hands down the best way to while away a rainy Portland afternoon.   What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland?  Its quirkiness, which you can find around every corner — it never ceases to surprise and delight. My favorites are the tiny toy horses tethered to original, old horse rings in streets around the city; the smallest city park in the world; the PDX Adult Soapbox Derby; and the Christmas Ship Parade on the Willamette River.   In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city?  Watching the city wake up with an early morning walk on the riverfront loop from Tilikum Crossing to Steel Bridge, followed by brunch at Gravy on North Mississippi Avenue. Head over to the Hawthorne area to get some great boutique and vintage shopping in, followed by dinner and killer margaritas at Por Que No?   You’re planning a night out — what do you do?  See a music act or performing arts. My favorites are free shows at McMenamins Al’s Den on West Burnside Street, concerts at the Oregon Zoo, catching a band at Skyline Tavern, and attending productions of Oregon Ballet Theatre and Portland Opera. I cap these evenings off with the famous Spanish coffee at Huber’s.   Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland?  Timberline Lodge. In summer, hiking portions of the Timberline Trail, which provides stunning vistas of the southern Cascades. In winter, skiing with one run alone providing 3,690 feet of vertical drop. Day’s activities topped off with cold libation and dinner at historic Barlow Trail Roadhouse in Welches.

Nancy Burke, account executive

When friends visit, where do you take them first? If it’s sunny, there is no better place to see all of Portland and the surrounding Cascades than at Council Crest Park. If the weather is less cooperative, then I head to Powell’s City of Books — hands down the best way to while away a rainy Portland afternoon.

What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland? Its quirkiness, which you can find around every corner — it never ceases to surprise and delight. My favorites are the tiny toy horses tethered to original, old horse rings in streets around the city; the smallest city park in the world; the PDX Adult Soapbox Derby; and the Christmas Ship Parade on the Willamette River.

In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city? Watching the city wake up with an early morning walk on the riverfront loop from Tilikum Crossing to Steel Bridge, followed by brunch at Gravy on North Mississippi Avenue. Head over to the Hawthorne area to get some great boutique and vintage shopping in, followed by dinner and killer margaritas at Por Que No?

You’re planning a night out — what do you do? See a music act or performing arts. My favorites are free shows at McMenamins Al’s Den on West Burnside Street, concerts at the Oregon Zoo, catching a band at Skyline Tavern, and attending productions of Oregon Ballet Theatre and Portland Opera. I cap these evenings off with the famous Spanish coffee at Huber’s.

Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland? Timberline Lodge. In summer, hiking portions of the Timberline Trail, which provides stunning vistas of the southern Cascades. In winter, skiing with one run alone providing 3,690 feet of vertical drop. Day’s activities topped off with cold libation and dinner at historic Barlow Trail Roadhouse in Welches.

  Terra Moreland, senior account manager     When friends visit, where do you take them first?  For a quick hike, we head to Forest Park and take the trail up to Pittock Mansion for the views. Afterwards, we “refresh” at Breakside Brewery, before showering and heading to Mediterranean Exploration Company for dinner.   What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland?  The different neighborhoods. Portland feels like a community to me, not a big city. The way the neighborhoods work together through partnerships with other businesses, and how they each have their own neighborhood personality, really brings out the best of the town.   In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city?  I start with a run around the waterfront, using the bridges to make a complete loop. Re-energize with breakfast at Broder Nord before grabbing a second coffee to enjoy while walking the streets shopping. I prefer to shop the stores around the Pearl District and on Northwest 23rd Avenue. My afternoon may be spent grabbing a beer outside somewhere before settling into a great dinner with friends at any of the delicious restaurants in town.     You’re planning a night out — what do you do?  Drinks at Pépé le Moko or Clyde Common before walking over to Living Room Theaters to order popcorn and catch a great flick. I then finish the night with late dinner and a night cap, usually at Pok Pok or Bistro Agnes.   Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland?  I’m split on whether I head to Seaside on the Oregon Coast or Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge. If it’s sweltering hot, I opt for Hood River and take out my paddleboard. If the weather is overcast, I head to the coast for a small campfire on the beach and to watch the sunset.

Terra Moreland, senior account manager

When friends visit, where do you take them first? For a quick hike, we head to Forest Park and take the trail up to Pittock Mansion for the views. Afterwards, we “refresh” at Breakside Brewery, before showering and heading to Mediterranean Exploration Company for dinner.

What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland? The different neighborhoods. Portland feels like a community to me, not a big city. The way the neighborhoods work together through partnerships with other businesses, and how they each have their own neighborhood personality, really brings out the best of the town.

In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city? I start with a run around the waterfront, using the bridges to make a complete loop. Re-energize with breakfast at Broder Nord before grabbing a second coffee to enjoy while walking the streets shopping. I prefer to shop the stores around the Pearl District and on Northwest 23rd Avenue. My afternoon may be spent grabbing a beer outside somewhere before settling into a great dinner with friends at any of the delicious restaurants in town.  

You’re planning a night out — what do you do? Drinks at Pépé le Moko or Clyde Common before walking over to Living Room Theaters to order popcorn and catch a great flick. I then finish the night with late dinner and a night cap, usually at Pok Pok or Bistro Agnes.

Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland? I’m split on whether I head to Seaside on the Oregon Coast or Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge. If it’s sweltering hot, I opt for Hood River and take out my paddleboard. If the weather is overcast, I head to the coast for a small campfire on the beach and to watch the sunset.

  Savannah Galindo, advertising production coordinator    When friends visit, where do you take them first?  We’d have to go to Kennedy School for a dip in their soaking pool. It’s only $5 but I feel so luxurious after. Then we’d head to Stella Taco on Northwest Alberta Street for some tacos and margaritas.   What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland?  For me, the fact that the city’s residential pockets are just as much a part of city life as the bustling streets of downtown. I love to take the long way to my destination, walking through tree-lined neighborhoods, discovering independent shops and peeking into Craftsman homes.   In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city?  The halcyon days of early summer, riding bikes with a few friends from Northwest to Northeast, stopping for a Mason jar drink at Swift Lounge, before making my way to North Mississippi Avenue to people-watch and stop at Pistils Nursery for a new plant. Maybe hitting up Everyday Music on the way back home for a new-to-me $3 record.   You’re planning a night out — what do you do?  One of my favorite things to do in the city is see shows — comedy, music, podcast recordings, I’ll take anything! In the summer, I’d go to an evening concert on the roof of Revolution Hall, with views of the skyline and Mt. Hood on either side of me. In the colder months, I’d go to Mississippi Studios, a cozy venue that has the added benefit of being connected to Bar Bar, where I’d go for a post-show beer and burger.   Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland?  I love Moulton Falls in Washington for a quick hike and leisurely swim under that charming little bridge.

Savannah Galindo, advertising production coordinator

When friends visit, where do you take them first? We’d have to go to Kennedy School for a dip in their soaking pool. It’s only $5 but I feel so luxurious after. Then we’d head to Stella Taco on Northwest Alberta Street for some tacos and margaritas.

What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland? For me, the fact that the city’s residential pockets are just as much a part of city life as the bustling streets of downtown. I love to take the long way to my destination, walking through tree-lined neighborhoods, discovering independent shops and peeking into Craftsman homes.

In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city? The halcyon days of early summer, riding bikes with a few friends from Northwest to Northeast, stopping for a Mason jar drink at Swift Lounge, before making my way to North Mississippi Avenue to people-watch and stop at Pistils Nursery for a new plant. Maybe hitting up Everyday Music on the way back home for a new-to-me $3 record.

You’re planning a night out — what do you do? One of my favorite things to do in the city is see shows — comedy, music, podcast recordings, I’ll take anything! In the summer, I’d go to an evening concert on the roof of Revolution Hall, with views of the skyline and Mt. Hood on either side of me. In the colder months, I’d go to Mississippi Studios, a cozy venue that has the added benefit of being connected to Bar Bar, where I’d go for a post-show beer and burger.

Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland? I love Moulton Falls in Washington for a quick hike and leisurely swim under that charming little bridge.

 
  Jesse Morgan, digital marketing and production manager    When friends visit, where do you take them first?  Double Mountain Taproom on Southeast Woodstock Boulevard for some of my favorite local beers and a delicious wood-fired pizza.   What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland?  The tree-lined streets of every block of the city, from the eastside all the way through downtown and onward into Northwest.   In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city?  A breezy, mid 60s, early autumn walk with a drink from Nossa Familia Coffee in hand — across the Steel Bridge, along the Eastside esplanade toward OMSI, then across Tilikum Crossing and along the Tom McCall Waterfront Park back home in Northwest.   You’re planning a night out — what do you do?  Dinner in my favorite neighborhood, at East Burnside Street and 28th Avenue, maybe at PaaDee or Guero (best sandwich in town), followed by an affogato at Cheese & Crack Snack Shop and a cheap second-run movie at Laurelhurst Theater. Then a short trek over to Paydirt at the Zipper, which is also a great spot for a drink and a late-night fried chicken snack from Basilisk. (I like my nights out to include a lot of eating.)   Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland?  Any hike on the Oregon Coast. The Columbia River Gorge is beautiful too, but my heart is with the ocean.

Jesse Morgan, digital marketing and production manager

When friends visit, where do you take them first? Double Mountain Taproom on Southeast Woodstock Boulevard for some of my favorite local beers and a delicious wood-fired pizza.

What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland? The tree-lined streets of every block of the city, from the eastside all the way through downtown and onward into Northwest.

In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city? A breezy, mid 60s, early autumn walk with a drink from Nossa Familia Coffee in hand — across the Steel Bridge, along the Eastside esplanade toward OMSI, then across Tilikum Crossing and along the Tom McCall Waterfront Park back home in Northwest.

You’re planning a night out — what do you do? Dinner in my favorite neighborhood, at East Burnside Street and 28th Avenue, maybe at PaaDee or Guero (best sandwich in town), followed by an affogato at Cheese & Crack Snack Shop and a cheap second-run movie at Laurelhurst Theater. Then a short trek over to Paydirt at the Zipper, which is also a great spot for a drink and a late-night fried chicken snack from Basilisk. (I like my nights out to include a lot of eating.)

Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland? Any hike on the Oregon Coast. The Columbia River Gorge is beautiful too, but my heart is with the ocean.

  Jen Anderson, writer and editor    When friends visit, where do you take them first?  Most of my friends come to Portland to eat and shop, so we head to the North Mississippi/Williams area (Tasty n Sons), Alberta district (Random Order Pie) and the Pearl District (Tilt).   What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland?  We try to do at least one Sunday Parkways event each year, when the streets close to bike and walking traffic only; we loved riding over Tilikum Crossing just after it was completed. You’ll never see as many happy people in one place.   In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city?  The Pittock Mansion hike has got sweet views and works up a good sweat. Burgers and beer at Breakside Brewery in Slabtown a few miles away hits the spot. My kids love OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), and there’s always something good playing at the Hollywood Theatre.   You’re planning a night out — what do you do?  I’m so glad more and more Portland restaurants are now taking reservations. I book a great spot to eat and then plot out a few different bars to walk to afterward. Voicebox Karaoke is almost always on the agenda!   Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland?  I have so many favorite spots on the Oregon Coast, but one is Pacific City. We spend the day playing on the beach there, fuel up with a huge lunch at Pelican Brewing and then climb Cape Kiwanda to take in the headland views. Plus, there are bunnies! And a pit stop for Tillamook ice cream on the way back.

Jen Anderson, writer and editor

When friends visit, where do you take them first? Most of my friends come to Portland to eat and shop, so we head to the North Mississippi/Williams area (Tasty n Sons), Alberta district (Random Order Pie) and the Pearl District (Tilt).

What’s the most “Portland” thing about Portland? We try to do at least one Sunday Parkways event each year, when the streets close to bike and walking traffic only; we loved riding over Tilikum Crossing just after it was completed. You’ll never see as many happy people in one place.

In your mind, what’s a perfect day in the city? The Pittock Mansion hike has got sweet views and works up a good sweat. Burgers and beer at Breakside Brewery in Slabtown a few miles away hits the spot. My kids love OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry), and there’s always something good playing at the Hollywood Theatre.

You’re planning a night out — what do you do? I’m so glad more and more Portland restaurants are now taking reservations. I book a great spot to eat and then plot out a few different bars to walk to afterward. Voicebox Karaoke is almost always on the agenda!

Where do you go for a day trip out of Portland? I have so many favorite spots on the Oregon Coast, but one is Pacific City. We spend the day playing on the beach there, fuel up with a huge lunch at Pelican Brewing and then climb Cape Kiwanda to take in the headland views. Plus, there are bunnies! And a pit stop for Tillamook ice cream on the way back.