Photography: Nolan Calisch (Tusk)
How to spend two days in Portland, Oregon.
With its established food scene, serious coffee culture and rugged good looks, Portland, Ore., has coolness to spare.
Ace Hotel | Multnomah Falls
Stay at the Ace Hotel’s flagship, located in the old Clyde Hotel building downtown, and cozy up in one of its artsy industrial rooms. Since Portland is known for its good coffee, you might as well get started with a cup at Stumptown Coffee Roasters (connected to the ace). Sit in the hotel’s book-filled lobby or take your drink to go. Your first destination is Powell’s City of Books, a Portland institution. Word to the wise: Prepare to get lost in this gigantic shop – it’s the largest bookstore in the world, with more than 3,500 different sections, including an impressive rare book room.
Once you find your way out, continue to explore downtown. Stop in at North of West (for local artisanal goods); Frances May (selling covetable designer pieces); Maak Lab (a small shop that makes its own fragrances, soaps and candles); and Woonwinkel (for funky housewares with tons of personality). Fuel up with another delicious coffee at Heart, or go for something sweet at Voodoo doughnut. There’s also a giant centrally located lot filled with food trucks, serving whatever your stomach desires (Mexican, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Scandinavian – you name it).
Spend the rest of the afternoon getting your fill of Oregon’s natural beauty, be it with a visit to the International Rose Test Garden or a drive to Multnomah Falls.
Warm up after the day’s expedition at Multnomah Whiskey Library with deliciously crafted cocktails paired with cheese, charcuterie and sourdough bread with butter. ask your server about the off-menu artisinal popcorn (I went nuts for the pecorino option).
Begin your day in nature with an easy hike up to Pittock Mansion, which leads to a century-old estate with gorgeous views of downtown and mount hood. Head to Tusk for a Mediterranean-inspired brunch, including the best hummus I’ve ever had, as well as marinated feta, house-made flatbread and refreshing drinks.
Explore the east end of the city, ducking into some of these noteworthy spots: Kids at Heart (a 30-year-old business selling nostalgic classic toys as well as new stuff); Spartan Shop (you’ll want to move in to this chic design store); and Cookshop (a cooking school and shop for culinary items). Be sure to stroll through Ladd’s Addition, an X-shaped neighbourhood (check it out on Google maps) that’s a designated historic District of swoon-worthy craftsman homes with a rose garden at its centre.
Wrap up your trip to this undeniably cool city at Ava Gene’s for one of the best meals you’ll ever eat. The acclaimed eatery has a warm friendly ambience and an extensive wine list. While it’s known for its Giardini (“gardens”) menu, don’t skip the perfectly al dente pasta dishes.
What to pack
- Merino toque, $42, muttonheadstore.com.
- Veja Esplar sneakers ,$127, shopbop.com.
- Weleda skin food lip butter, $10, Well.ca.
- Joco cup travel mug, $25, indigo.ca.
- Fleece Los Gatos sweater, $119, patagonia.ca.