Portland, OR

Astoria OR

What a trip this was last summer!  Meredith and I had been wanting to venture out west together – specifically to the Pacific Northwest – for quite awhile, and when our friends Alex and Danny asked her to shoot their wedding (and me to attend), it presented the perfect opportunity to explore “the other Portland” and its gorgeous surroundings.  We began our trip to Oregon with a few days in Portland, followed by the wedding on Mt. Hood, and then a trip through the Columbia River Gorge to Cannon Beach and Astoria – not a shabby way to spend a week.

As the story goes, Portland, OR was named by a coin toss between Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy.  Francis was from Portland, ME, and Asa from Boston.  Francis won, and one of the coolest ways to name a city went down in the books.  Located on the Columbia river, this Portland is much bigger than its namesake (and all of Maine for that matter), and has developed into a great city, known for its food, drink, people, and lifestyle.  The city is one of America’s greenest, and I’d throw in foodiest and brewiest to boot.  Although we seemingly only scratched the surface of what Portland has to offer, we spent a few days exploring as much as possible, and had the opportunity to see some amazing things.

The Nines

A hotel that lives up to its name, The Nines is a well-executed mashup of style, comfort, and a little bit of flair. View photos and read more about The Nines here.

Clyde Common

The other meals in Portland were great, but Clyde Common will forever hold a special place in our hearts. We will most definitely be returning the next time we’re in the ‘other Portland’. View photos and read more about Clyde Common here.

Lan Su Chinese Gardens

A mindful experience that leads you to take great care and thought in the actual process of making tea – a habit that could be beneficially applied to virtually all other aspects of our lives. View photos and read more about the Lan Su Chinese Gardens here.

Voodoo Doughnut

Doughnuts? I’m there. I’m an anxious person by nature and get a little fidgety standing waiting around, but the line for Voodoo Doughnut that went out the door wrapped around the block, was more than worth it in my book. View photos and read more about Voodoo Doughnut here.

Powell’s Books

Getting lost in a book – or stack of books – is a definite possibility as this gargantuan Portland staple.

Food Carts – Whole Bowl, A Little Bit of Smoke Carolina BBQ

Portland is nothing if not the land of Food Carts.  If they didn’t originate here, they were perfected here, and with hundreds to chose from, there will be no shortage on options for every taste and desire.  If you’re looking for recommendations, I think that Meredith would gladly point you in the direction of The Whole Bowl, and I’d be remise to not recommend A Little Bit of Smoke.

International Rose Test Garden

One might think we’d be ‘gardened’ out after a delightful morning spent at the Lan Su Chinese Garden, but that didn’t stop us from heading out of downtown to the International Rose Test Garden in nearby Washington Park – a decision we couldn’t possibly regret. View photos and read more about the International Rose Test Garden here.

Salt & Straw

The ice cream at Salt & Straw passed our resident ice cream expert’s (Meredith) test with a resounding ‘yum!’.  Try it.

Washington Park and Forest Park Hiking Trails

Washington Park has over 400 acres of trees, gardens, attractions and playgrounds and 15 miles of trails – more things to do than anyone could hope for in a single trip.  It pales in comparison however, to the neighboring Forest Park, where we tried one of the looping, forested trails and found ourselves completely awestruck at the natural beauty and stunning vistas offered while still inside Portland’s city limits.

Mt. Hood/Timberline Lodge

Calling this area picturesque is almost an understatement – the views driving up the mountain, from the lodge and of the lodge seemed like they were right out of a movie. View photos and read more about Mt. Hood and the Timberline Lodge here.

Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge

Wow.  I mean, WOW.  There are some absolutely stunning places in this world, but few have surprised me more than the drive we took along the Colombia River in the Colombia River Gorge.  When we were told to take the ‘scenic route’ from Mt. Hood to Cannon Beach, I had no idea that we were in for one of the most beautiful drives I’ve ever taken (remember, I’m from the land of the Blue Ridge Parkway).  The number of times I thought “we should stop and take a picture” are innumerable and the sheer cliffs, falls, overlooks, and forestry of the gorge will leave you breathless for the entire trip.  One ‘must-stop’ is the Multnomah Falls – which seem to come straight from an enchanted fairytale.  This drive is worth every mile and minute. 

Cannon Beach/Haystack Rock

It would be a disservice to ourselves to travel all the way to Oregon without visting the Pacific (only my second time), and as a child of the 80’s what better way to do that than to visit Cannon Beach and Haystack rock – two popular filming locations for The Goonies. Even without the movie, this cute beach town and astounding geologic attraction are more than worth the trek.


When we were unable to find a hotel in Cannon Beach, we expanded our search and stumbled onto this hidden gem of a town. View photos and read more about Astoria, OR here.

Multnomah Falls


Goonies House

Oregon Coast

Mt Hood

Cannon Beach

5 thoughts on “Portland, OR

  1. ugh my heart is out west. Ever felt like you belonged somewhere when you traveled there? Well Oregon was definitely the place Tim and I felt we belonged. My heart yearns for it! It’s just a lovely place with many other lovely places just hour trips away! Haystack rock!? gorrrgeous! Multnomah Falls? Brilliant! Timberline Lodge? Funnn! :) <3

  2. Discovered your blog while looking for information on a weekend trip to Astoria, OR! Love your layout and perspective. :) My husband and I live in Portland, OR (we recently moved from the East Coast) and have always joked that we wanted to live in ‘a’ Portland–if it hadn’t been here, it might have been Portland, Maine. Your Portland list is pretty spot-on! I hope you make it back out here to explore some more. Cheers, Meaghin

  3. This is an awesome resource for planning our trip to Portland. I can’t wait to visit these places firsthand. Thanks for all the great tips!

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