When we decided to take a little tour of the Pacific Northwest, Portland was already on our list of cities to visit. The original itinerary saw us spend three days in Seattle and just one night in Portland. Looking back, we definitely made the right choice in extending our time in Portland.
We caught the Amtrak from Seattle and sped through the Washington countryside, past small towns that wouldn't look out of place in an episode of Stranger Things. There was an eerie feel to the journey as whole forests were swallowed up by mist, and we began to wonder if we would ever return to civilisation. I'm such a sucker for a good train journey, and after countless card games and a short nap, the train pulled into Portland Union Station. We were just a short walk away from The Hoxton hotel, which was to be our home for the next three nights.
Having come from a hostel, The Hoxton was total luxury. We stayed in a Cosy room, which was the perfect size for the two of us. We fell in love with the room from the second we walked in, and after unpacking our bags, swigging some mason jars of water and marveling at the beautiful walk in shower, we made our way to the rooftop bar, Tope, for cocktails and a quick bite to eat.
The next day we woke up to a breakfast bag of granola and fruit outside our door (equal parts adorable and delicious) and got dressed to do some exploring. Our first stop was Powell's Books, the worlds largest independent bookstore. Otherwise known as the City of Books, we got lost in the never-ending aisles, poring over old favourites and picking up new reading recommendations. We spent well over an hour exploring this must-see bookstore, and would recommend any future visitors to Portland to take the time to browse the stacks themselves.
After a coffee and a spot of window shopping (also known as Nikki pulling me away from the sale rack of Topshop) we went for lunch at The Picnic House. We opted for their lunch menu which had some really nice sandwich and salad options and for $12 you could mix up certain items from the menu which was a great deal. It was also reasonably busy for a mid-week lunch slot, which is always a good sign when you're in a new city.
From here we took a stroll down to the waterfront to seek out Mill Ends Park, which at 2 feet wide is the smallest park in the world before deciding to go and have a cheeky pint. Portland is famous for it's large array of microbreweries and craft beer culture, and we were more than happy to try some out for ourselves. Deschutes Public House and Brewery had been recommended to us and so we thought it would be rude not to stop in and try out what beers they had on offer. Despite the good reviews, we found it to be more of a sit down restaurant than a bar to enjoy a few drinks, and that just wasn't the vibe we were feeling. Although we enjoyed our beers, we only stayed for the one. Instead we decided it was time to try out a different kind of Portland cuisine.....doughnuts!
Being total doughnut fiends, we were beyond excited to try out some sweet treats from the world famous Voodoo Doughnuts, which originated in Portland's Old Town. These doughnuts are huge, and with eyes bigger than our stomachs, we ordered two each. We sat on the bed living in doughnut heaven and feeling way too full to even think about going out for dinner, which saved us a few dollars!
We decided that instead of going out and spending a small fortune on drinks, it would be nice to catch a movie. We'd both been interested in seeing Free Solo for a few months, and as it had recently been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary, we thought the timing was perfect. We're big fans of outdoor movies, and we'd known of Alex Honnold and his climbing career for a number of years. His journey to free solo El Capitan in Yosemite National Park had us on the edge of our seats; I've never been so tense for so long, and would recommend anybody with an interest in the outdoors check out this incredible documentary.
For our final day in Oregon, we'd decided to take a trip out of the city to see the spectacular Multnomah Falls. The tallest waterfall in Oregon, Multnomah Falls are a popular tourist attraction for all who pass by, and somewhere me and Nikki have wanted to visit ever since we started planning our trip to Portland.
We walked across the river, taking an obligatory photo of the White Stag sign along the way, and stopped for brunch at La Luna Cafe, a quaint cafe in Portland's Eastside. It was from here that we began our journey out to the Columbia River Gorge where the falls are located.
Using public transit wasn't the easiest option; we had to get a bus out to the edge of the city to catch a shuttle bus, which only ran once every hour, but boy, was it worth the hassle. I'll let the pictures do the talking, but with spectacular views over the Columbia River Gorge and a steep uphill trail to various overlook points, this is one Portland landmark you do not want to miss. At the bottom of the falls we popped into the Multnomah Falls Lodge for some fries and warmth while we waited for the shuttle bus back to the city.
Totally exhausted from our trail exploring at the falls, we decided to have a night in with room service and beers, so that we were well rested for our flight to Vancouver the next day. We left Portland with fond memories of the industrial hipster city, but we were looking forward to getting back to Canada, our new home. What Portland lacked in things to do in the city centre, it made up for in natural beauty with the likes of Multnomah Falls. We'd definitely come back for another visit, which is a good sign!
There's just one more stop on our city-hopping tour - bring on Vancouver!