A guide for Downtown Portland
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This is a quick guide to downtown Portland, OR (and some other generally awesome stuff in other parts of the city)- from some folks who live(d) in the neighborhood. This list is opinionated :)

Most places are VERY close to the venue. If a location is marked with **, it means the combination walk+wait might be too long to hit up in between talks/lunch. If marked with **** then you may want to visit outside the conf schedule


See most of these on google maps. Thanks to @scottbale for the effort.


  • First off - everything you've seen on Portlandia is true
  • The easiest ways to get around are by: foot, bike, bus, MAX (light rail), street car
  • You can take the MAX from the airport (stairs at the end of the ticket counters), to downtown for $2.50
    • Buy a ticket at the platform kiosk before boarding the train
  • A cab from the airport is going to be $30-$40
  • Almost every restaurant sources their food locally or owns an area farm. This means:
    • You'll get some of the freshest foods ever
    • All meat dishes are instantly 10x more tasty
    • You can almost always find a gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian option.
  • The neighborhoods that make up the downtown are are: Downtown, Pearl District, Goose Hollow, Knob Hill/Alphabet, PSU area, Oldtown/Chinatown, Pioneer Square.
  • This city is super clean, safe, extremely friendly, but has a few things to be aware of:
    • There is a vagrant youth population, totally harmless, just ignore them.
    • If someone looks meth'd out, they are. Just leave them alone.

Paul's short list of things you should do

  • If you're here on Sunday, get dinner special at Pastini - a great salad, pasta, and tiramisu for $12
    • If you don't see it on the menu, just ask for it.
  • Get a coffee at Public Domain
  • Eat a donut from Coco
  • Eat the best Vietnamese food of your life at luc lac **
  • Get anything you want at Cha Cha Cha
  • Get brunch anywhere listed in the brunch section. (Mothers or Zeus are good choices)
  • Get brunch or lunch at Kenny and Zukes
  • Drink a flight of beer at Deschutes
  • Get to Andina for happy hour.
  • Pick up lunch or dinner at The Original **
  • Grab a sandwich from Lardo
  • Get lunch or snack at the food carts at 10th and Alder.
  • If you're here with your significant other and you have some nice clothes, spend the money at Higgins **
  • If you like Italian food, grab a cab to Genoa **
  • If we have a clear day, get up to Washington Park // The Japanese Gardens
    • you'll be able to see Mt. Hood and St. Helens.
  • Check out Powell's Books. The Technical Book store even includes schematics for Tesla coils.
  • If you like Soccer or are a general sports fan, check out Jeld-Wen Stadium - home of the Portland Timbers
  • If you're in the market for unique, classic jewelry, take a walk over to Gilt
  • If you need to get to a mall (or the Apple store for example), there's a mall in downtown at Pioneer Square called, Pioneer Place

Food and drink

The first two items of each subsection are my top picks. There is no order to the rest of the list.


  • If you love coffee, you need to go to Public Domain
    • Some of the best award-winning baristas in the world, creating their own blends of coffee. So good.
  • Coco Donuts serves Water Ave Coffee, an amazing Portland cup of coffee
  • Stumptown is consider the Portland Classic Coffee.
  • Case Study is part of PDX coffee collective that imports single origin, fair-trade coffee. Very beautiful shop.
  • Barista solid coffee shop, interesting imported coffees.
  • Courier Coffee
  • Water Avenue if you want to get coffee in the Brewery District ****

Beer and drinks

There are more brewpubs than you can shake a fist at


Doughnuts, cupcakes and ice cream

Forget whatever you heard, Voodoo doughnuts aren't that good. They're mostly a novelty.


Portland Staples/Classics and American

  • Smokehouse 21 - best BBQ in Portland **
  • Zeus - great dinner menu with a wide range of prices and a special wine and beer selection every night.
    • I eat here just about every other week.
  • Pine State Biscuts - Chicken Biscuit for $4.50 ****
  • Little Big Burger - Pretty much what the name says. Their truffle fries are fantastic!

Quick and simple food


Vegetarian // Vegan


For whatever reason, the entire west coast has no idea how to make east coast style food. Pizza on the east coast is like burritos on the west coast.

Nonetheless, here are some pizza places:

  • Sizzle pie - $3 for cheese, right near Powell's
  • Hot Lips - 10th and Irving (the streets are alphabetical)
    • There are locations all scattered throughout downtown
  • Schmizza - a chain that's here in the area. Pizza, apps, beer.
  • Apizza Scholls ****

Fancy Dinner

  • Higgins
  • Andina (not at happy hour)
  • Genoa
  • Portland City Grill
  • Just stroll around the Pearl

Central & South American

  • Andina
  • Cha cha cha

Indian and Middle-Eastern


  • luc lac - the best vietnamese food you'll ever have. ever. **
  • Thai Peacock - standard thai food.
  • masu - good sushi in the immediate downtown area. A little pricey.
  • Pok Pok Authentic Thai street food (dinner) or Whiskey Soda Lounge (Pok Pok's bar across the street from Pok Pok) ****
  • Sen Yai - Amazing noodles and steamed buns ****
  • Pahdee - Thai comfort food ****

Other Portland guides