Dara: Following-up on our post about our amazing 24-hour eclipse-watching adventure, I’m so excited to be telling you guys about our time in Portland because if I ever leave the entertainment industry and want a change of scenery, it will be exactly where I go.
TJ: Seriously. Portland was amazing. The people are incredibly nice and progressive, the food was consistently some of the best I’ve ever had, and the energy of the city was just so perfectly paced.
Dara: I legitimately think Portland bumped Prague out of my #1 city in the world spot. That’s how amazing our weekend was.
TJ: Starting from the beginning, Portland has had the title of America’s Best Airport for four years in a row, and we definitely got to experience why. It’s clean, well-organized, and incredibly arsty – they had people playing grand piano in every terminal, art along the walls, and a movie theatre showing local short films.
And their customer service was great. When we walked towards the shuttle area as we were leaving and looked very, very confused, the concierge automatically walked up to us, asked us how he could help, and called our shuttle to come pick us up. It was amazing.
The first night in the city we stayed at a cheap inn because we had made the decision just the night before that we wanted to hotel to basically nap at since we got in so early (2:30am). Besides the smell of smoke in our non-smoking room, we can’t really complain. It was a 2-star motel right next to the airport, and all we did in it was sleep for a few hours.
The AirBnb that we moved into for the next day though was AMAZING. Our host Erin was a great help from afar, and her studio was clean, cozy, and most importantly located in an amazing area of Portland just east of the river, aka East Portland or Ladd’s Addition. Plus it had a bunch of cool artwork like this great poster.
In terms of planning our eats and activities for the 2.5 days we were there, we were lucky that Dara has a friend who used to live in Portland and gave us amazing recommendations for both food and fun. (Thanks Emily!) Our two-part Portland series is mostly just going to be a rundown of all of those things.
Our first stop was Emily’s highly-recommended brunch spot Gravy. The line was out the door when we got there which was a good sign. Even though we were hungry, we waited out the 45 minutes to see what all the fuss was about.
And it was incredibly worth it. I had an enormous chicken-fried steak with the house special bloody mary , while Dara had a delicious breakfast scramble. The portions were HUGE so we (like most people around) had plenty of food to take home with us.
Gravy’s also located on the very hip Mississippi Ave, where we also did some window shopping, popped into a comic book store, came across a lightbulb store showcasing its owner’s massive lego star wars collection.
From there, we were in such a good mood that we walked an hour all the way across the river and over a bridge into downtown. At first, we weren’t actually sure we’d walk the whole way but because Portland is incredibly pedestrian and bike friendly, it ended up being a fun walk.
And even more fun for me was our destination! Powell’s City of Books!
When they say city of books, they’re not kidding. Powells is famous for being the largest independent book store in the world, covering an entire city block and four floors. It’s huge and has books on anything you could ever want, both new and used.
It also has an insanely cool rare book room that has books that are hundreds of years old.
They only let a certain number of people in at a time so make sure to stop by the information desk outside to put your name down on the waitlist. When a space opens up, they call your name, give you a lanyard, and let you head in.
After about a few hours (literally) of roaming among bookshelves, it’s kind of amazing that we both were able to limit ourselves to buying just one book each. But we did and it was exhausting so next up was tracking down some much-needed coffee and tea. Luckily, nearby, Courier Cafe was serving up exactly what we needed.
Then after a pitstop in Pioneer Square…
and a walk past a man trying to get us to go into the Portland Scientology headquarters…
we arrived at our next truly Portland experience – a high-class dispensary.
I’m not sure what I was expecting to see when I walked into Serra but it essentially felt like the Warby Parker or Apple Store of weed. It was elegantly but sparsely designed, with a lot of emphasis on the experience and ease of use.
From there we walked to the riverfront and just slowly walked half a mile or so down the river until going back to the apartment. It was a beautiful day with tons of families and groups of students hanging out in Waterfront Park.
After a well-deserved nap, we went out to dinner near our AirBnb to a local Portland chain called Lardo. They had a great menu of sandwiches and fries, which was exactly what we wanted after walking so many miles that day.
Then we uber’d back into downtown so we could finish our day Portland style at a brewery.
But somehow we ended up in line for ice cream for 30 minutes (again, worth it!)…
…before arriving to our final stop of the day: Rogue Distillery & Public House.
And of course, by the time we got there we were already tired again so we only had one drink each and then went back to the apartment for bed.
(Which is pretty typical TJ & Dara for anyone who knows us well.)
Very true! Though in our defense, it was in fact a really long day.
But just one of 2.5 so come back Friday to hear about the rest of our time in Portland!
TO BE CONTINUED…