Travel Diary // Portland, OR

posted on: April 25, 2014


Destination: Portland, Oregon
Distance from Vancouver: Approx. a 6 hour drive
Duration of Stay: 2-3 nights is perfect
The Vibe: A small, friendly city with decent food culture and cool people
Bonus: Tax-Free Shopping
Nearby: The Oregon Coast and plenty of wine country

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We left on a Friday evening.  A little bit later than we'd hoped but Adam got caught up at work and my Bombay Brow Bar appointment went long.  Priorities, people.  The border offered us a generous hour and a half wait, but we didn't really mind.  We look forward to the six hour trek to Portland.  We fueled up with gourmet Subway sandwiches in Bellingham and continued on our way through Washington.  Which, I must say seems to be the state that never ends.  We even had to stop for emergency lattes at one point. I'd kindly taken over the last 20 minutes of driving (I know, such a hero) and was happy that our hotel was so easy to navigate from the highway.

We pulled up to The Nines to some fancy people with expensive cars.  The valet took our keys as Adam and I struggled to gather our mismatched and poorly packed luggage.  I was feeling a little disheveled until we spotted a couple in North Face and hiking packs checking out.  Then I felt like at least we weren't the most casually dressed pair in the lobby.  In all seriousness though, I LOVE this hotel.  The decor is exactly how we all wish our homes were decorated.  Pops of bright colours, a luxurious mix of patterns, accent chandeliers, marble bathroom counter tops, and dreamy all white bedding.  The bed - OMG.  It's one of the most comfortable beds I've ever slept in.  If only The Nines could reveal their secret to such a cozy mattress!  Plus, you can't beat their views.  The picture below is the view of downtown Portland we enjoyed from our room.

Our first day was spent seeing the usual Portland favourites.  A lot of downtown walking.  Pearl district, including, Powell's of course.  I have to limit Adam on time and budget in that place, or else we'd spend the entire two days trapped in a book store.  We did some leisurely shopping at any boutiques we spotted on the walk.  We made our way to the market and just people watched for a good chunk of time.  Adam even got a free hug.  It was all very Portland.  That night we thought we'd cab to a restaurant we remembered as amazing from last time. We were greeted with a 45 minute wait, which was fine enough, especially since she told us to go hang out in their lounge until our table was ready.  Would have been all good, but instead this restaurant decided to completely ruin our night by not serving us drinks because we didn't have our passports with us.  It's all so ridiculous, considering we're both almost THIRTY years old.  We really should have just left but we had no transportation and no wifi to find something else in the area.  It's under a bridge in an industrial area too, so walking around didn't feel like the best option.  We still ended up having dinner there, but the server also wouldn't serve us drinks.  So we basically pouted our way through that meal and left as quickly as possible.  Sorry, I know this isn't yelp.  My dinner rant is over.  Thankfully, we were able to enjoy a to die for dessert and drink at Departure restaurant - no passports required!  We should have just gone there in the first place, we'll definitely be back to Departure soon to have dinner on their rooftop patio.


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  Somehow the last two times we were in Portland, we'd never ventured over to the bridge.  We received so many recommendations on the East side, that we knew it'd be crazy not to drive over there.  We spent half the day on Alberta Street.  The first stop was Pine State Biscuits for an amazing and inexpensive breakfast.  Adam is still talking about that biscuit.  We walked around and enjoyed the scenery and quirky Portland moments.  Salt and Straw ice cream was soooo worth waiting in line for.  I ended up ordering the lavender honey, though I do wish we could have also had the coffee and bourbon flavour.  We were just too full.  How does Anthony Bourdain do it?!

We toured around Mississippi Street next and then over to Cascade Brewery for a drink on the patio.  We enjoyed Oven and Shaker pizza for dinner and then opted for a late night VooDoo Doughnut visit - I pretty much haven't eaten since lol.

Portland is just hands down one of our favourite cities.  There's so much to love, but one big observation we made this time was the people.  They smile and say hello and strike up conversation, even with strangers.  On the East side, everyone seemed to know each other and the sense of community was palpable.  We also noticed that no one was buried in their phones.  In fact, we hardly saw any phones at all.  People were soaking up their time together and being present.  It was beyond refreshing and even encouraged us to think twice before reaching for our own cellular devices.  Something we'll hopefully be able to continue doing here in Vancouver :)

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The Nines



Dig A Pony // Clyde Common // Breweries like Cascade or Deschutes


SaturdayMarket // Powell's Books // The Ace Lobby // The Pearl Disctrict // Alberta Street // MississippiAve 

Did we miss something?  Be sure to leave your recommendations in the comments below!


  1. Portland looks like a beautiful place to visit.

  2. I've never been to Portland (Not the one in Oregon, at least), but it is on my list of cities to visit. Sounds like a lovely little getaway for you two!

  3. I have my ticket booked for the first weekend in June! It will be my second time (the last time there was a freak snowstorm that essentially shut down the entire city..upside? No lineup at Voodoo Donuts!) And...I convinced my boyfriend to stay at the Nines!

  4. Fun! Joe and I went to Portland last weekend and did a lot of the same things as you...mmm Salt and Straw...I'm still thinking about it. I'm noting that hotel for our next trip. Love this post. Hope you're well! Amy

  5. Love Portland so much! Last time we went to Oregon we stayed on the beach but went to Portland for the day SPECIFICALLY to go to Pine State Biscuits - oh my lanta the reggie was soo good my husband still talks about it!


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