Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

I have so much to say about Portland that I don’t even know where to begin. My expectations going into the trip were pretty high yet somehow it managed to exceed them in every way. It’s lush, vibrant and surprisingly clean while still offering all of the luxuries of a metropolitan city.

Most people wait to visit Oregon until summertime thanks to the reliably warm and dry sunny days but I personally prefer to avoid to traveling at peak times. Rates are almost half the cost and you don’t have to deal with large crowds everywhere.

Fall seemed like the most ideal option, offering less rain and colorful foliage, but because of time constraints later in the year we weren’t able to wait that long. It rained for two our of the four days that we were there but we put on our rain jackets, made the best of it, and still had a fabulous time. Overall I would say if you are willing to deal with a few potential days of rain, spring is a great time to visit!

Spring in Portland

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Where to Eat

Our top priority while visiting Portland was to take in as much of the food scene as we possibly could and that we did. We made a point to visit virtually all of the plant-based restaurant options so that’s the majority of what you’ll see here. I’m sure we barely even scratched the surface of what the city has to offer but everything we had was incredible. I want to move there just for the food!

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Blue Star Donuts. I know Voo Doo Donuts is the first thing that comes to mind when people think of Portland but from what I had read, Blue Star is the better option. Their dough is a classic brioche recipe that originated from the south of France and it’s made from scratch every day. We didn’t get a chance to try Voo Doo for comparison but we went back twice to Blue Star so that should tell you something!

Where to Eat, Stay & Play in Portland, Oregon | travel

Blueberry and Orange Olive Oil Donuts (both vegan)

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Harlow. This is the sister restaurant of Prasad and they both serve a similar menu that is 100% gluten-free and vegetarian. We were only able to eat there for breakfast but I could easily go back for every meal.   I’m currently contemplating how to convince them to open one in the Bay Area.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Almond Butter Quinoa Pancakes with Strawberry Cashew Cream

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Harvest at the Bindery. Remember the Hoecakes I shared last week? This was the place that inspired them. Their southern-style brunch is 100% plant-based and it is unbelievable. Be sure to get the biscuits if you go!

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Hoecakes with Blueberry Lemon Compote

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A.N.D. Cafe. Another awesome spot for brunch! They’re a vegetarian and gluten-free restaurant but also offer vegan options for every item on the menu. The pumpkin cheesecake waffle was other-worldly. I washed it down with The Remedy which was made from coconut water, kombucha, organic vanilla and orange juice. Trust me, it’s even better than it sounds.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Vegan and Gluten-free Pumpkin Cheesecake Waffle

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Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store and Restaurant– This might fit better in the “play” category since it would be a fun spot to tour but you know the food is made with the highest quality ingredients which automatically makes it worth a stop for breakfast or lunch. We had plans to eat here on our way out of Portland but I didn’t realize they were closed on Sundays so unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to. Next time, for sure!

Kure Juice Bar. This spot is located downtown, right in the thick of it all. It’s great if you’re wanting something light and healthful. We stopped in for a smoothie bowl and it was refreshing and delicious.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Matcha and Avocado Smoothie Bowl

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Hot Lips Pizza. This is a casual place that offers one bangin’ vegan pizza. Their salads are also super fresh and the local kombucha is just what the doctor ordered.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

The Best Vegan Pizza

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The Sudra. Indian-inspired vegan food that’s affordable, nutritious and oh-so-good. The Kale Infused Dosa Plate definitely left a lasting impression.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Kale Infused Dosas with Black Eyed Peas and Greens

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Portobello Vegan Trattoria. Creative vegan Italian cuisine in a cozy setting. Two words: Beet Tartare. UGH. That’s on my list to recreate ASAP.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Beet Tartare

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Epif. A vegetarian restaurant inspired by the Andes region of South America. I’m still in awe at how delicious the food was for such an affordable price. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Quinoa with Red Pepper Sauce, Peanuts, Spinach, Arugula, Tomatoes Confit and Thyme-Orange Soaked Carrots

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Natural Selection. They serve a prix-fixe vegetarian menu with vegan and gluten-free options. Everything is seasonally inspired and super creative. It’s a little pricier than the other options but it would be a great choice for a special occasion.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Chocolate Mousse that was ridiculously delicious

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Farm Spirit. This is another prix-fixe restaurant but it is entirely plant-based. It was our first dinner in Portland and it set the bar impossibly high. I debated whether or not to eat here at first because of how expensive it is, but a Portland reader (thanks Regan!) convinced me it was worth the cost and she couldn’t have been more right. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

The environment is very intimate as you sit at the bar and watch the chefs prepare your meal right in front of you. We learned about ingredients and techniques we had never heard of before and how the food is locally foraged and brought to the restaurant the same day.

You guys, the food was MIND BLOWING. It was literally the best meal I’ve ever had. The fact that someone can create a meal that diverse and flavorful without using animal products is totally awe-inspiring to me. I left feeling full of hope for the future of plant-based cuisine. It’s an experience that’s worth every penny!

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Swiss Chard stuffed with Cultured Filbert, Fermented Broth, Leaves and Flowers //  Little Gem, Radishes, Rhubarb and Sorrel

 

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

 Fennel Vinegar Kefir

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Barista. I should preface this by saying that I am not a coffee drinker. It is usually too acidic for me and I don’t like the flavor on it’s own. But I couldn’t leave Portland without trying some coffee. I opted for an almond milk latte at Barista and it was incredibly smooth. They could definitely make a coffee drinker out of me!

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

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Salt & Straw. Unfortunately we didn’t get to try this place because the line was two miles long but I have a feeling there’s something really good happening in there. Next time, Portland.

Petunia’s Pies and Pastries. Everything here is vegan and gluten-free which is pretty amazing considering the quality and large selection. The Coconut Passionberry Babycake knocked my socks off. It’s a must-visit when in Portland.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

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Where to Stay

RiverPlace Hotel. There’s a reason why this beautiful hotel is rated number one in Portland. It’s located on the river in the heart of downtown right alongside a park with a huge grassy area. It almost feels like a little oasis right in the middle of the city.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

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Upon arrival we were welcomed with a hummus plate and a bottle of local wine which automatically won me over. The tasteful decor and comfy bed were just a bonus. ;)

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Outside of impeccably clean rooms and fantastic service, they also offer complimentary bicycles for guests to use. We were in the mood to walk so we didn’t take advantage of them but I can imagine it’s a great way to see the city.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Portland_

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

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Where to Play

Columbia Gorge and Multnomah Falls. There are a ton of fun things to do in the Columbia Gorge area but if you’re short on time and only have one thing to see, Multnomah Falls should be it. Standing a total of 620 feet, the cascading falls amongst the lush green mountainside is a sight to behold.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

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Oneonta Gorge. This is a beautiful hike but beware that you have to get wet and it involves some sketchy terrain. We made it about 3/4 of the way before the water become too deep. I’m sure it would feel amazing to swim in on a warm summer day but not so much in the spring. Even if you don’t make it all the way to the falls, the gorge is stunning!

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | Oneonta Gorge | travel guide

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Powell’s Books. Powell’s is the largest independent chain of bookstores in the world and the Portland location is the flagship store. They have pretty much every book you can imagine; new, used and out-of-print. You could spend hours getting lost in here. With a cup of local coffee in hand, it’s the perfect thing to do on a rainy day.

Powell's Books |Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

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Pearl District and Nob Hill Shopping. Both the Pearl District and Nob Hill area offer great options for shopping, and there are so many cute little boutiques and shops. Stopping for handmade chocolates at Moonstruck is a must!

Nob Hill Shopping |Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

stumptown

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International Rose Test Gardens. We walked 4 miles in the rain with Coco in the stroller to see if there were any roses in bloom and guess what? There wasn’t even one! I’m sure it is beautiful in the summer but don’t expect much in the spring. Although we got wet, we still enjoyed exploring the city by foot and seeing what the residential areas looked like.

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Public Parks. Portland has more than 10,000 acres of public parks and other natural areas including one of the largest municipal parks in the United States. We visited Laurelhurst Park and Mt. Tabor Park which has amazing views of the city and Mount Hood.

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

Where to Eat, Stay and Play in Portland, Oregon | travel guide

If you have any places to add to my list, please share them in the comments!