Travel Diaries: Portland, Oregon

Settle in, y’all. We have so much to cover from a few days in Oregon! I am doing separate posts for the areas we visited so stay tuned for the next one! I had no idea what to expect when we headed out to Portland to see our friends and run a half marathon. The last time we visited was almost 4 years ago and I was only in town long enough for our friends’ rehearsal dinner and wedding. So obviously, it was time to go back!

Shout out to Alaska Airlines! This was my first time flying them and when we arrived in Dallas it was CHAOS. A storm had come through and several flights were delayed or canceled, but thankfully ours left on time (early, actually!) They asked us to swap our seats with a family so they could sit together and then gave us drink coupons. Our vacation was off to a great start and the crew was so friendly!


The Portland International Airport has several options for transportation. You can hop on the train (this was how I traveled last time and it was so easy!), grab a ride share, or rent a car. We rented a car and were glad to find out it was on-site at the airport. No shuttle bus to wait on, no loops around various terminals, and no adding in extra time to the return hoping you catch your shuttle at weird times in the morning or night. Gold stars! We were on the road in a matter of minutes from when we landed and on our way to Downtown Portland! We were able to take Uber everywhere we needed to go from our hotel the first few days and even hopped on some Lime scooters for an extra adventure! I left with a few bruises. Turns out scooters are not for everyone. Takes so much coordination! There are plenty of scooters, bikes, bus routes, etc. in the area so depending on your budget or where you are trying to travel, you have plenty of ways to get there.


Sizzle Pie – If you have followed along for a while, you know we somehow always end up carb-loading with a pizza. Portland was no different. Sizzle Pie is open late and they have so many vegetarian and vegan options. Don’t worry, if you like a meat lover’s pizza, they have that too. I highly suggest ordering The Gold Ring which was covered in goat cheese, green onions, and truffle oil. All. The. Yum.

Voodoo Doughnut – While you can get Voodoo in a few different cities these days, it’s still fun to see all the combinations they have come up with for a doughnut! Plus, they have vegan options! I went for the classics including sprinkles, and the chocolate old fashioned. I don’t think you can go wrong with doughnuts in general, but beat the line and get there early!

Red Star Tavern – We stopped in here for breakfast and a Bloody Mary. They also have lunch, brunch, dinner, happy hour, and cocktails. This was a good place to have breakfast and hang out with our friends before we adventured all around town!

Papa Haydn – If your dreams consist of an entire menu of desserts and as many delicious flavor combos as you can imagine, be sure to stop by Papa Haydn! Not only is the atmosphere dreamy, but the food is made with love. Seriously, try it. Read all about the history on their website! My only regret is that I only ordered one dessert. They serve real food too if you’re not looking to live off sweets for the day. You do you.

Nostrana – We carb loaded at this fabulous Italian restaurant the night before our race! They had a great patio area, indoor dining, and bar stools where you can watch them make pizza! We lucked out without a reservation but I would absolutely plan and make a resy because you won’t want to miss out on this place! The cocktail menu was unique, and the pizza is served with scissors! Yes, you cut it yourself. If that’s not reason enough to go, I don’t know what is. OH WAIT. I do. The goat cheese stuffed pappardelle. Hands down this was one of my favorite plates of pasta of all time. And it had hazelnuts. Definitely a must!

Blossoming Lotus – The entire menu is plant-based. SO SO GOOD! No need to be a vegan or vegetarian to dine here, you’ll find plenty of your “meaty” favorites as plant-based options. We tried the tandoori cauliflower (YUM), the cheeseburger (it’s a fantastic lentil-walnut based burger with the most delicious fries!), and the tempeh chorizo tacos (let’s TACO ’bout how good they were!). And then we ordered an almond cake with lemon curd…is it too soon to go back?! The best part was not having to ask if I could order this but without that or is that cooked in chicken broth etc. Plus, the space is so cute and had a great little bar!


Coffee – We popped into two different coffee shops to get our morning caffeine boost in the span of 30 minutes. Oops. We stopped into Good Coffee at their Woodlark location and it was the best chai I have EVER had. It was spicier than I’m used to but it was delicious. I also liked the decor in this space so much that I already started planning my new coffee seating area in the kitchen to match. After we downed our first coffee and chai of the day, we walked down the block to try Public Domain. I got another chai (sorry, not sorry) and hubs downed another cup of coffee. They did have a mint cold brew on the menu that I eyed before last-minute changing my mind but it sounded so refreshing!

Beer – We stopped in at Modern Times Beer and Cascade Brewing Barrel House to try some local beers! Modern Times had an extensive beer list, but I ended up getting a cider. There were a ton of tables and a large bar area and it was packed when we went! Everyone found something they liked and this would be a great spot for a group. If sours are your jam, you’ll definitely want to stop by Cascade! There’s a great bar and a patio to enjoy all the different sours on tap! I chose a guest cider. Hubs was in sours heaven.


We wandered all over Downtown Portland the first day taking in all the sights! Take a stroll down the Willamette River and if you’re in town on the weekend pop by the Portland Saturday Market! It’s an outdoor market with arts and crafts for sale and beautiful fresh flowers for such a good deal (think fabulous bouquets for $10!) The outskirts of the market border Chinatown, so there’s quite a bit to see/do/eat all in walking distance of one another.

One of the real gems of Portland is Powell’s Books! It’s HUGE and it’s the world’s largest independent bookstore. If you like to read or stare at shelves and shelves of books, this is an absolute must! They buy used books, sell new and used books, and have such an extensive collection anyone could find something! Plus, there are a ton of “books to read/recommendations/read this next” etc. I was just in awe of the number of books they have!

A huge thanks to our sweet friends that showed us so many great spots and kept us laughing all weekend! Y’all are the best!!

Stay tuned for the Willamette Valley (wine country), Tillamook tour, and coastal hiking adventures in the next post!

Thanks for stopping by!


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