Portland, Oregon, USA
AKA the Good One — sorry Maine
Hi! Hello! Welcome! Before we begin, the first thing we want you to understand is that Voodoo Donuts is a tourist-trap that sells tarted-up grocery store donuts and they aren't worth the line. We have much better Donuts.
With that out of the way, we're happy to have you here. Here's a list of stuff to do in town.
- Travel Tips
- Coffee Land
- Food by Genre
- How do I …?
- BREAKING NEWS for 2018 Get yourself to Multnomah Falls via the GorgeExpress. Parking out there is a pain anyway, so this simplifies it a lot.
- Our local public transit system is called TriMet, and their light rail service is called the MAX. You can use a mobile app to buy tickets for the train and bus, or you'll need a Hop Card, which you can get at any Fred Meyer or 7-11 in town
- TriMet recently rolled out support for paying with your cellphone. If you use GooglePay, Samsung Pay, or Apple Pay then there's no need to buy a ticket or install a separate app
- Google Maps and Apple Maps both have a good understanding of our public transit infrastructure, and they can navigate you around town reasonably well
- Transit App is worth the money if you'll be using public transit frequently — it can helps with routes once you know where you're going
- Cabs have to dispatched, you can't hail them. The exception is for taxi stands (Amtrak Station, Airport, in front of Hotels). Radio Cab is a standby. Use Curb to handle payments and dispatch from your phone.
- We have Lyft and that other company also, if you insist
- Those orange bikes you see around town are available on-demand through the BikeTown program. You'll have to register but the experience is supposed to be pretty painless overall (helmets are not provided). The program comes with caveats related to monthly fees and cancellation fees, and per their User Agreement - email their legal team with subject header "ARBITRATION AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER OPT-OUT" if you don't want to be bound to their arbitration rules. Also note that due to Biketown's relationship to the Nike company, the service is most commonly and incorrectly pronounced as "Bikey town".
- There are Five Quadrants: Burnside divides North/South, Willamette and I-5 East/West. Our magical fifth quadrant is North Portland, which is North of the Willamette and West of I-5, but NE was already taken.
- In parts of town, streets running East/West are in alphabetical order. North/South Streets are numbered. It's easy to get around.
- This is Bridge Town.
- Willamette /wəˈlæmɪt/ "wuh-LA-mit", rhymes with 'dammit'
- Couch /kutʃ/ "cooch"
- Glisan /ˈglisən/ "GLEE-sin"
- Going /gɔɪŋ/ "goyng", rhymes with 'boing'
- Savior /ˈseɪvjəɹ/ "SAY-vyer", sounds like 'savior'
Where can I find out about shows/events/things to do?
What is up with the old buildings with numbers that aren't their number? I got lost in this place called Ladd's Addition?
Read up on the Great Renumbering, and if you thought SemVer changes were a nightmare.
There sure seems to be a lot of white people here…
Our state (and city) has a painful and lasting racist history that didn't involve any wars. You can read more here.
Hey man, I hear you can, like, smoke weed here or something?
Of no surprise, our free newspapers got you covered there also
You folks really like booze don't you?
Portland was given the name Coffee Land by the popular sketch-comedy show Portlandia and for good reason: Portland has a lot of great coffee.
Coffee Shops and Roasters
- Case Study Coffee Roasters
- Cellar Door
- Coava Coffee
- Deadstock Coffee
- Elevator Cafe and Commons
- Extracto Coffee Roasters
- Heart Roasters
- Ristretto Roasters
- Stumptown Coffee
- Water Avenue Coffee
Portland's often called "Brewvana" due to the amazing number of craft breweries and cider-houses, beer bars, and general pub scene. Here's an opinionated (via @ahpook) selection of the best of the crop, with their Neighborhood in parenthesis:
- Cascade Barrel House: The "House of Sour", specialists in barrel-aged, fruited lambic and gueuze styles. Not to be missed. (Close-in SE)
- Upright Brewing: Mostly a Saison/Farmhouse specialist. (Close-in North Portland)
- Ex Novo: A relatively new entrant to the PDX Brewing scene, but I like everything I've had from them, especially their "Eliot" IPA and "Wonder Twins" Rye IIPA. (Close-in North Portland)
- Reverend Nat's: Cider house. Innovative, challenging, occasionally undrinkable but always interesting (Close-in North Portland)
- Ecliptic Brewing: Former Deschutes and Full Sail brewmaster, great mix of traditional and experimental styles, tasty pub fare and a very cool setting at the South end of hoppin' Mississippi Ave (North Portland)
- Baerlic Brewing: Also relatively new, mostly English styles like Bitters, Cream Ales, and an amazing Stout. No food served. (Close-in SE)
- Base Camp Brewing: If you ever wished that REI sold beer, Base Camp will feel like home. They're primarily lager specialists, which is unusual and welcome in the land of top-fermentation. (Central Eastside)
- Natian Brewing: Unsure if they have a tasting room, call first (Central Eastside)
- Breakside Brewing: fantastic food and award-winning beer. Mostly lives up to the hype. (Dekum/North Portland)
- 10 Barrel Brewing: Sadly, now owned by a giant megacorp, but the beer is still pretty darn good. (The Pearl)
- Von Ebert Brewing: Previously Ohio-based Fat Head brewing, but now an independent brewery. In the Pearl, just down from 10 Barrel and Deschutes so it's easy to bar-hop between them (see what I did there?)
- Deschutes: One of the originators of NW craft brewing. Still kills it with a variety of styles, especially their Porters and Stouts. (The Pearl)
- Rogue Distillery and Public House: Inexplicably popular; responsible for some of the least tasty "craft" beers I've ever had. Do not be tricked into buying the Voodoo Maple Bacon beer, it's disgusting.
Not breweries, but places to taste a wide variety of beer from near and far.
- APEX: Cash-only, bikes (motorized and non) encouraged, pinball. Arguably the best beer bar in Oregon, or maybe the United States. Does not sell tasters. (Close-in SE)
- Bailey's: Solid tap list, mostly West Coast/Pacific NW focused. Gets crowded and loud, for a reason. Sells taster sizes. (Downtown)
- Beer Mongers: Eight taps, hundreds of bottles and cans chilled and ready to drink. Friendly and relaxed staff. Kitty-corner from APEX. Sells taster sizes. (Close-in SE)
- Belmont Station: Beer nerd heaven. Very selective tap list and the attached bottle shop has the deepest selection in town. Sells taster sizes. (SE Stark/44th)
- Bushwhacker's Cider: Another option for Cider lovers, with a SE and a North Portland location.
- Cider Bite: Newly-opened cider tasting bar. (MW Hoyt/13th)
- Green Dragon: Owned by Rogue, but fortunately serves beers other than their house brands. 50 taps including a "secret" one. Does not sell taster sizes.
- Growlers Guys: Solid list of ~ 40 taps that cover west-coast favorites. Serves pints and taster sizes. (Close-in SE near Commons, Cascade Barrel House and the Green Dragon)
- Hop Haven: Probably the closest "deep" craft beer bar to the Convention Center.
- Loyal Legion: Busy and fun, 99 taps (not all of which are always lit up) and beer-boiled sausages. (Close-in SE)
- Portland Cider House: Cider specialists, for the fruit-inclined. (SE Hawthorne)
- Saraveza: Wisconsin-worshiping "Cheers" vibe. Good bottle choices, small but well-curated tap list (North Portland)
- Upper Lip: Upstairs bar, above Bailey's Taproom. A few taps, and more than 170 bottles. (Downtown)
Downtown & Pearl
- Powell's Books: a city block of books, roughly 4 stories high.
- Clyde Commons / Kenny & Zukes / Stumptown Coffee / Pepe le Moko / Ace Hotel: one building, all of Portlandia.
- Multnomah Whiskey Library: worth getting here on a Monday/Tuesday, no wait or lines, $50 for a reservation otherwise.
- Bailey's Tap Room: All the beers
- Lechon: All the meats
- Brunchbox: All the cholesterol
- Santeria: allegedly "the Best Mexican Food on The Planet" (It is pretty good). Beware though, it shares a bathroom with Mary's (the strip club next door).
- Delivers to Bailey's across the street!
- Raven & Rose: good cocktails / food
- Killer Burger (A local chain): Serviceable burgers
- TILT: Great burgers
- Sizzle Pie: NY style Heavy Metal Pizza Shop; vegan friendly!
- Ground Kontrol: Classic arcade game bar
- Luc Lac: Popular Vietnamese restaurant and bar, can be very busy around peak times
- Los Gorditos Burritos: Popular local Mexican restaurant
- Floating World: Comics, around the corner from Ground Kontrol
- Verde Cocina: Fresh Mexican food, vegan friendly!
- Vault - sister bar of @mrzarquon's favorite neighborhood bar Vintage, great cocktails and happy hour food selection in the Pearl
- Nong's Khao Man Gai: a brick and mortar location, located a short walk from the original cart
- The Food Cart pod at SW 10th & Alder has some notable standouts
Close In SE
Just over the river!
ALWAYS CROSS THE MORRISON BRIDGE ON THE SOUTH SIDE (The stairs on the north-side can get pretty gnarly, e.g. trash, excrement, etc.)
- Bit House Saloon: New cocktails and food. Great mixed drinks
- Noraneko: Ramen
- Dig A Pony: Hipsters
- Bunk Bar: Sandwiches
- Kachka: Russian Hipsters (really awesome dumplings), Vodka flights
- Clark Lewis: Formalish dining
- Olympia Provisions
- White Owl Social Club: Vegan hipsters
- Le Montage Bistro: Been here forever. If you ever meet a native Portlander, chances are they had a prom dinner here.
- Home Bar: Ain't terrible
- Tasty n Daughters: Brunch
PokPok is resting on its laurels. Whiskey Soda Lounge is fine, but friends don't let friends go to PokPok.
- Podnah's Pit: BBQ / Brunch
- Random Order: Pie
- Bridge City Comics: Comics
- Meadow: Cocktail bitters, salts, chocolates
- Paadee: Thai food (better than PokPok): http://langbaanpdx.com/ is their private dining / super awesome space
- Hat Yai: Thai fried chicken and curry w/ roti; small space, might have a line
- Tapalaya: cajun tapas, great happy hour
- Bollywood Theatre: Indian street food
- The Bye and Bye: Hi
- Teote Mezcaleria: "Latin Street Food", Mezcal flights and cocktails.
- Wilder Bar: Cozy neighborhood bar, friendly, good cocktails.
- Expatriate: Delicious cocktails and snacks. Really good brunch, too!
- Broder Nord: Nordic fare. Great brunch. Lots of Aquavit.
get a cab here, spend the day, go home drunk and happy
- Vintage Cocktail Lounge: Best cocktails for the price in the city
- Observatory / Over & Out: Great food, Over & Out in back is their less crowded bar (it's a Mullet Bar — formal in the front, party in the back)
- Country Cat: House made everything
- Roscoes: Tons of beer and po' boys. Sushi bar attached is great.
- Bipartisan Cafe: Pie!
- Red Wood: Standard gastro pub fare, some southwest flavors, beef tongue, etc.
Food by Genre
Vegetarian and Vegan
In Portland, most places will have some decent vegetarian or vegan options on the menu. However, here are some specific places to check out:
- Farm Spirit: Intimate (14-seat) vegan prix fixe. Advance tickets required. (Close In SE) $$$$
- Blossoming Lotus: Vegan world fusion cuisine. (NE) $$
- Portobello Vegan Trattoria: Amazing and creative entrees and desserts. (Close In SE) $$
- Dick's Kitchen: Burgers, etc. with a focus on Paleo, Gluten Free, and Vegan options. (NW and SE) $
- Laughing Planet Cafe: Quick service lunch/dinner with many vegan/vegetarian options. (Multiple Locations) $
- Burgerville: Local fast food chain with at least 2 vegetarian burger options. (Multiple Locations) $
- Juniper: Food cart focused on vegan comfort food. (Downtown) $
- DC Vegetarian: Brick and mortar restaurant born of a downtown food cart, serving vegetarian/vegan hot and cold sandwiches. (south east) $
- The Sudra: Indian-inspired. (Close in NE) $$
- Donut Queen: Best fritters in town, small shop, 58th & Burnside
- Blue Star Donuts: frequently billed as the anti-Voodoo Doughnuts. Made with a brioche recipe. Needs a little more salt in their dough.
- Pips Original Doughnuts: Fresh, made-to-order cake donuts.
- Angel's Donuts & Ice Cream: Formerly Tonalli's, but same owner. Classic donuts, as well as some originals. Try the deep-fried banana buttermilk bar.
- Delicious Donuts
- Coco Donuts
- Helen Bernhard Bakery
The Pacific Northwest has a contentious relationship with bagels: they're often just bread circles sold in super markets here, as many places do not boil them. If you'd like a real bagel, here's a handful of places we've found. Willamette Week has a list that was current as of 2017 but may be outdated now.
- Henry Higgins Boiled Bagels: the Everything Bagel has salt on it.
- Kornblatt's Deli: they will run out of bagels by early afternoon, so get there early if you want to get them to go.
How do I …?
Not really endorsements, just suggestions
- Ground Kontrol has a selection of pinball machines, as well as many, many arcade upright cabinets
- Quarter World is across the river from downtown, and maintains an extensive collection of pinball machines
Play Ping Pong/Table Tennis?
- Pips & Bounce is featured on NYTimes as "a bar in southeast Portland that places at least as much emphasis on nets and paddles as it does on gin and vermouth"
- Portland Table Tennis Club is a more serious, competitive club. $5 walk-in, $3 for students and kids
- Paddle Palace Club: The most pretigious and expensive club ($12 last time I checked). There're a lot of top players in Oregon here. The Paddle Palace store is also a major equipment seller in the US
Find Folks Who Play Boardgames?
Portland is a great place to play a game. We have several game shops that host formal game nights/afternoons/events; allow informal playing in their stores; and have in-store game libraries you can use. We also have a variety of weekly show-up-at-this-bar-and-play events. A few public game nights are:
- Lucky Lab Brew Pub: Most every night folks can be found playing games, but Thursdays are the big board game night.
- Guardian Games: Every other Sunday, starting at noon, is boardgame day. Check their event calendar to see which Sunday it is.
- My Father's Place: Folks gather on Wednesdays to play at this bar.
- Game Knight Lounge: A bar dedicated to playing board games. Small cover charge gets you access to their impressive game library.
Find Tech Events?
- Calagator is our home grown tech event calendar.
- Some events are on Meetup. And that's okay.
- Portland Tech Events has an extensive list of local events.
Find a Gym?
- Ironside Training A great gym for strength training. Bonus: One of the most inclusive gyms I've seen in Portland. Day passes avaliable.
- Strength Union Home to some of the strongest Powerlifters in Oregon. This gym has tons of equipment that would make any powerlifter happy!
- Crossfit Magnus A welcoming gym that specializes in the olympic lifts.