Destinations US & Canada

The Ultimate Portland, Oregon Bucket List

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Portland, a place where the beer is dark, and the land is green and being weird is cool. The ‘City of Roses’ is the largest city in Oregon and a growing destination for travelers. There are plenty of outdoor activities, but even if you visit during the rainy season, you will find delicious food, fresh coffee, and friendly people. There’s so much to do and see in this ever-growing city, that the hardest challenge will be figuring out where to start. Read on for our ultimate Portland, Oregon bucket list.

Grab a donut and coffee

You may know that your Portland bucket list is not complete without waiting in line to get yourself a bacon maple bar at Voodoo Donuts. The shop is famous for its one-of-a-kind concoctions. However, the locals know that the best donuts are at Blue Star Donuts. Check out the PB and J for a blast from the past, or a Hard Apple Cider Fritter for an adult treat.

What goes better with donuts than a great cup of coffee? Portland has no shortage of coffee shops. Whether an independent cart, Starbucks, or Dutch Brothers, you can’t go five minutes without passing a coffee shop. But your best bet is to skip the big-name stores and head for a local joint. If you are downtown, Barista and Stumptown are both great options. For something more unique, try Tov, nestled inside a double-decker bus.

Visit Powell’s Books

It’s frustrating to see a place pop up on every destination guide, only to arrive and be disappointed. Fortunately, Powell’s City of Books is one place that lives up to expectations. Encompassing an entire city block and housing one million books, you’ll want to grab a map to navigate through the store’s three stories. Powell’s opened its flagship store in 1971 and has since grown to become the world’s largest independent bookstore. Though there are now five Portland locations, the original location in the Pearl District is the place to go. Browse through the 3500 sections, grab a cup of coffee (there’s no such thing as too much coffee in Portland), and enjoy one of the 500 author events hosted by the store each year.

Grab a bite at a food cart pod

Street food may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Portland, so it may come as a surprise to learn that CNN and Food and Wine have ranked Portland among their top 20 cities in the world for street food. Travel through Portland, and you will find a large selection of food carts. Unlike the traditional food cart, most carts in Portland are housed in food pods. Here you will find a selection of foods from across the globe. Whether you are in the mood for Thai food, Mexican, or the simple grilled cheese, there’s a spot for you. If you are coming from Powell’s, stop by the Alder pod and grab a bite from Bing Mi!, Dump Truck, or The Frying Scotsman. In Southeast Portland, visit Cartlandia and sample the cuisine from over 30 different countries.

Check out a brewery

Did you know that Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world? In fact, 53% of the beer consumed in Oregon comes from one of the state’s 281 breweries. Sit down for a Black Butte Porter and burger at Deschutes Brewery or a seasonal ale at Burnside Brewing Company. Can’t decide where to go? Take a tour. Brewvana provides many tours throughout the city. Take the Beers and Barrels tour for beer and whiskey, Down to Ferment for some cider and Kombucha, or create your own tour.

Go on a day trip

Many great getaways are a short drive from downtown Portland. While you are in the area you should really try to make it to the Oregon Coast. The Oregon Coast provides breathtaking scenery and many activities for adventure lovers and families.

Tillamook is a great place to take the kids. Take a tour to see the cheese making process. After, grab a sample from the variety of flavors. Finish the day with a cone of your favorite Tillamook ice cream.

If you are looking for some quiet time on the beach, head down the road to Cape Meares where the crowds are smaller. While at the beach, take a trip to the Cape Meares Lighthouse, built in the 1890’s. The lighthouse provides a panoramic view, 200 feet above the sea.

For some adventure, head south on 101 to Florence. Rent a 4-wheeler and explore the Oregon Dunes or hike the dunes and watch for local wildlife.

Once you have hit the beach, visit one of Portland’s most photographed landmarks. A 35-minute drive east of Portland will take you to Multnomah Falls. This 611-foot waterfall is a favorite, not just with visitors, but locals as well. For the best view of the falls, hike up to Benson Bridge. From here you will get the perfect view of the 542-foot top tier and the 69-foot tier below.

Enjoy a glass of wine at a local vineyard

Speaking of day trips, why not make a day of visiting one (or more) of the area’s local wineries. The Willamette Valley is home to over 200 wineries and produces 81% of the state’s pinot noir. Oregon’s long summer days and cool nights provide a climate that creates a balanced, flavorful wine. Not only will a visit allow you to taste some of the country’s best wine, but many vineyards will provide magnificent views of Mt. Hood and Oregon’s coastal range.

The Domaine Drouhin estate encompasses 225 upon the Dundee Hills, providing stunning panoramic views of the Willamette Valley. The tasting room is open daily from 11-4. Sit on the terrace and enjoy their taste flight, offering five different wines.

If you want to take in multiple wineries, try a tour. Life at Root provides an array of options. Take the Phenomenology Tour and discover the soil that nourishes the grapes or opt for luxury and take a ride to the wineries in style on the Tesla Model X Tour. Of course, there are many options to visit all over Oregon so you will have no problem choosing the one for you.

Portland is eclectic, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind. No matter what brought you to Portland, it’s cultural diversity, amazing food, and gorgeous landscapes are sure to make you want to stay.

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