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Portland | Travel Guide

Hands down, given a choice, I would choose the country or small town over the big city. However, once city driving has ended, I find that I can really enjoy the city – the shopping, architecture and the food! And some have the most beautiful parks. That being said, I haven’t had the chance to explore too many but so far, Portland is probably my favourite! Here is a little travel guide I put together from my trip there earlier this month. Enjoy!

Where we stayed: Best Western Inn at the Meadows

★☆☆☆ Avoid. A waste of time.
★★☆☆ Good, but mediocre.
★★★☆ Great! Worth a visit.
★★★★ Amazing. Don’t miss this!
St. Johns Bridge

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★★☆☆ 1 out of 12 bridges in Portland. We went because we heard it was a great place to watch the sunset – it was nice and everything and I feel like I should be telling you it was better but it was just okay. I got enough joy from driving over the bridges then actually stopping and walking around.

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Drink Beer
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★★★★ If you like beer I think it is mandatory to visit a local brewery and that is pretty much all I have to say about that. On a different note, when something on the menu says it has been voted “best of” I have a really hard time not ordering it – which was what led me to eating the SOUTHSIDE SLOPES 14 at Fat Heads – Voted #5 Best Sandwich in U.S.A. by Maxim Magazine. It had kielbasa, a large sautéed perogie, onions, cheese and horseradish sauce. Strange combo but actually really good.

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Powell’s Books
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★★★★ When I walked into Powell’s and was given a map I just about exploded in excitement. Three stories of used & new books – I could have spent the whole 3 days here and been 100% completely happy. I am a huge book nerd so Powell’s Books was one of the highlights of the whole trip – you could just erase this from the whole itinerary if books aren’t your thing. In preparation of our travels next year (& lack of time) I decided to stick to the travel section and bought – Wayward by Tom Gates, Around the World in 50 Years by Albert Powell, and a used and SIGNED copy of An Adventreneur’s Odyssey by Johannes Lisiecki.

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Ace Hotel
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★★★☆ Okay, so we didn’t actually stay here and just went to take photos in the black & white photo booth in the lobby. We have an anniversary coming up so I used it as an opportunity to take a unique and cute photo card for Bren. Ace is located by Union Way & Powell’s Books so I absolutely recommend it if you are in the area – unless photo booths aren’t your thing! It costs $5 USD and it takes cash or credit. As for the hotel itself, I’ve heard mixed reviews so I’d do a little research before deciding to stay here.

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VooDoo Doughnuts
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★☆☆☆ Personally, I don’t get what the big deal is. Fortunately, we went during the week & the off season and didn’t waste our time having to wait in an outrageously long line. There was still a line but it wasn’t down the street like it usually is. The doughnuts themselves were mediocre at best and the guy who helped us was kind of a jerk. When we asked him what his favourite doughnut was he coarsely replied, “I don’t eat the doughnuts here.” Excellent! I am so excited to eat one now! This is a tourist trap, for sure! Cartems In Vancouver, BC, NOW those are doughnuts. But hey, if you go, the ‘Keep Portland Weird’ sign is right across the road so you might as well check that out too.

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Forest Park
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★★★★ It is hard to believe that beautiful parks, like this one, can be hidden in the city. I don’t know how anyone could live in the city if there wasn’t places like this to come hide away from the busyness. Not only is this park beautiful but the drive there is as well. It had a very Hansel and Gretel feel but maybe that was because we were heading into the park to find the ruins known as “The Witch’s Castle.” There are so many stories floating around about what this place used to be – in my opinion, the best story is the one you make up yourself.

Salt&Straw
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★★★★ Salt & Straw is a chain of ice-cream shops that makes fun & seriously interesting ice-cream flavours and of course, their own waffle cones. Just like VooDoo this place is lined up down the street – but is actually worth the wait! When you finally get to the front of the line you are allowed to try anything you like – I am pretty sure I tried every single one. My personal favourite was the Strawberry Honey Balsamic & Black Pepper. Other favs: Pear with Blue Cheese (I don’t even like blue cheese), Honey Lavender & Double Fold Vanilla.

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International Rose Test Garden
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★★★☆ I recommend only checking this out if you are visiting in the summer when the flowers are blooming. A great place to go for a walk and look at pretty things. Plus, it is free!

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Ataula
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★★★★ This restaurant was recommended to me by a friend and by many other travel blogs and now I see why. Ataula is a high end restaurant – one of those ones where you can’t really read the menu but the food is so good you want to savour every bite. We had been snacking all day so just went for wine & tapas. My favourite was the Pepito de Terneraw. The picture below is the Neustras Bravas.

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Multnomah Falls
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★★★★ Every good adventure includes a waterfall. This was the one we chose and it did not disappoint. It’s just a pull over on the side of the road so it is super easy to get to and a really small hike up to the bridge. Make sure you go early to avoid the tourists.

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