The rumors are all true! About the creative scene. The artists. And, yes, the coffee as well. Portland has its own TV show, Portlandia, that is lovingly poking fun at Hipsters on their fixed-gear bikes, at coffee nerds that put all their time and effort into the perfect cold drip brew, and at jewelry designers-turned organic farmers (or the other way around) who stroll through the neighborhoods.
While all that is true, there is also a different quality about the city. Portland feels like a small town, with big city possibilities. There’s great design to be discovered, lots of fashion to be admired, and music to be heard. And don’t even get us started on the amazing restaurant scene… Let’s spend 12hrs in Portland!
This design hotel has a lot of things going for it: Its location is right in the middle of Burnside, a great neighborhood full of small stores and good restaurants. And right next door, across the patio is the Doug Fir Lounge, one of Portland’s best concert venues. There are shows by great bands almost every night, just have a look at their schedule. Also, the lounge and restaurant inside serves great, elevated diner food. And no worries, we’ll pay a visit to the Ace later today!
The Jupiter Hotel // 800 E Burnside St // website
Pictures: The Jupiter Hotel
Portland is a city that loves its coffee. So for breakfast, we are heading down Burnside Street to visit Heart Coffee Roasters. It’s a beautiful café that also offers snacks for breakfast, but – just like the name suggest – it’s also a coffee roaster. The big machine right in the middle of the room gives off a heavenly smell. Have a seat, and slowly start your day. Afterwards, walk back to the Jupiter and keep your eyes open for some nice shops along the way.
Heart Coffee Roasters // 2211 E Burnside St // Mon-Sun 7am-7pm // website
On the opposite side of your hotel, nestled together in one big building block, are several great shops. There’s ‘Bombshell Vintage’ for the thrift lover, Sword+Fern, a design studio and lovingly curated (fashion) shop, Nationale, an art gallery and exhibition space, Haunt, a shop specializing in Women’s wear and jewelry and Stand Up Comedy (pictured above), that sells “clothing, print matter and objects”, offering some hard to find treasures. Get a first taste of the Portland vibe here, and then let’s head over to the city.
Bombshell Vintage, 811 E Burnside St // Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 11am-6pm // website
Sword+Fern, 811 E Burnside St // Mon-Tue & Fri-Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12am-5pm and by appointment // website
Nationale, 811 E Burnside St // Wed-Sun 12am-6pm // website
Haunt, 811 E Burnside St // Wed-Sun 12am-6pm and by appointment // website
Stand Up Comedy, 811 E Burnside St // Wed-Sat 12am-7pm, Sun 12am-5pm // website
Time to cross the Williamette river. Just stay on Burnside street and walk straight ahead, that will take you straight to Downtown. Walking over the Burnside bridge, you’ll also pass the famous White Stag Sign. Over the years (it was installed in the 1940s), the inscriptions have varied quite a bit, advertising sugar and sportswear, for example. Since 2010, it is owned by the City of Portland and sports the famous ‘Portland, Oregon’ lettering.
Walk through the Chinatown gate on your right, and you’ll find Table Of Contents. The two owners of this gem of a shop see it as more than just a fashion boutique. They curate their selection almost like a magazine would edit its pages, comparing their selection with a publication that comes out twice annually.
Apart from an amazing mix of clothes for women and men, which features designers such as Issey Miyake and Reality Studio, they also sell beautiful furniture, magazines and books. Table of Contents has been nominated by Farfetch as one of their Superstores 2013!
Table Of Contents // 33 NW 4th Avenue, Wed-Sat 12am-7pm, Sun 12am-5pm // website
Pictures: Table of Contents
If you’re lucky and got a deal online, you might have gotten a voucher for a ‘Dirty Dozen’ from this Portland staple from the Jupiter Hotel. And even if you haven’t, you just can’t miss this bakery. As the name implies, they only sell donuts (or, as they write them, doughnuts). But boy, they are good. Go crazy with bacon and maple frosting, or stay traditional with sprinkles and chocolate. The shop is on the other side of the bridge, but you’ll have no worries spotting it. There is almost always a giant cue outside. If it’s too long of a wait: Their other big store is on Burnside, close to The Jupiter Hotel.
Voodoo Doughnut // 22 SW 3th Avenue // open 24/7 // website
One of the things Portland is famous for are its food trucks. When you spot a plot full of trucks offering delicious meals, go over and have a look. There is one fairly close to Voodoo Doughnuts, and you need to pass it to get to our lunch destination, anyway. So go ahead, get inspired, and build up some appetite for lunch, which is next.
Food Carts // SW 5th, between Stark & Oak St // website
Famously, the wonderful Ace Hotel chain hails from Portland. Their mothership is situated on Stark Street, so let’s have a look around. As expected, it’s super stylish. The lobby is full of beautiful, busy people and their laptops, the interior stunning. Souvenir tip: There’s a photo booth in the lobby!
Time for lunch! Clyde Common, right next to the Ace Hotel, calls itself a ‘European style tavern’. We agree with that. And have to add that the food they serve is amazing, the staff is friendly, and that the community tables really make you feel welcome. If you can’t decide what to get, the pasta from their lunch menu is always a good and affordable option. Enjoy your meal, but don’t order a coffee afterwards, we’ll have one next door.
Clyde Common // 1014 SW Stark St // Mon-Thu 11.30am-Midnight, Fri-Sat 9am-1am, Sun 9am-11pm // website
Pictures (4): Clyde Common: David Reamer/Clyde Common
You didn’t really think we’d had you spend 12hrs in Portland without paying a visit to the coffee Gods, did you? Well, here we are. The folks from Stumptown are credited by a lot of people for starting the whole artisan coffee wave. Some call them ‘America’s hippest coffee brand’. And, naturally, others accuse them of selling out.
Whether you agree or not, now is the time to try one of their roasts. Of course, the Ace Hotel has one of their coveted outlets in their lobby, so hop in, get your after-lunch caffeine fix, and get ready for a round of shopping. By the way: We know you’re not hungry anymore, but there’s a great Deli next door called Kenny & Zuke’s. Maybe just have a peek inside?
Owned by a Grandmother/Granddaughter team (how awesome is that?), this small boutique offers clothes from innovative, independent designers. Maybe it’s the owners family ties that influence the atmosphere in here, maybe it’s just the way they do business, but anyway: Frances May is very welcoming, not at all snobbish, and a treasure trove for both girls and guys. Be on the lookout for items on sale! You can make great deals here.
While walking around the streets to our next shopping destination, keep your eyes open for other great stores. This area is full of them, and you should have enough time to pay them a visit.
And then, you arrive at Yo Vintage. The owner, Sarah Radcliffe, is a Brit who moved to Portland in 2009 with her husband. She went from ‘not really knowing anything about the city’ to owning one of Portland’s shopping hotspots in no time! Her selection of vintage clothes and accessories is outstanding, the effort and care she puts into the editorials for her online shop is as well. She also sells some new designs by local designers. Oh, and the clothes are very affordable! What’s not to love?
Yo Vintage // 413 SW 13th Ave, Mon-Wed-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm // website
Around the corner is Tanner Goods, every Pacific-Northwestern dude’s wet dream. Or so it seems, at least. The interior is full of old-school Americana décor, and on the shelves are manly boots, leather goods and Pendleton blankets. Most of the products sold are produced here in Portland. Take your time here, and then have a look on our map and walk up to the Northwest District (just look for ‘Salt&Straw’).
Tanner Goods // 1308 W Burnside St // Mon-Sun 11am-7pm // website
You’ll have to climb up some pretty steep streets, but once you arrived in the Northwest District, you’ll be treated to a whole different kind of Portland. It’s a bit more posh here, with ladies taking a shopping break at the tables of stylish cafés, and some brand stores. It’s a nice area, so explore a little. And then, there’s the reward for all that walking:
Ice cream! This ice cream shop (and its sister store) was famously featured on Oprah, back when she was in full swing and presented her ‘favorite things’. When you try their stuff, you’ll know why. Their flavors sound outrageous, but every single one of them works. Our favorites: The Lemon Basil Sorbet, Honey Lemon with Ricotta Walnut Cookies and Coffee & Bourbon. There’s also Pear With Blue Cheese and Dandelion Sorbet with Spring Flowers, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Salt&Straw, 838 NW 23rd Ave, Mon-Sun 7am-11pm, website
Picture (1): Salt&Straw
Walking back to Burnside, there is one more important stop we have to make before leaving Downtown and heading back to the hotel. Powell’s City of Books is actually really aptly named. This famous shop is every bookworm’s dream. You can easily get lost within the maze of bookshelves. So easily, that they actually offer maps for you to find your way around.
They have more than 1 Million volumes on the shelves, and buy around 3 000 ‘new’ used books over the counter every day. If you don’t have to worry about luggage weight limits, go crazy! If you do, maybe at least grab a magazine or two?
When you’re done, walk back over Burnside bridge to The Jupiter. You earned a hot shower, a nap, or a change of clothes. Next up is dinner!
Powell’s City of Books // 1005 W Burnside St // Mon-Sun 9am-11pm
There are a lot of celebrated restaurants in this town, so your dinner options are almost endless. Instead of going to one of those food critic favorites, we decided on a local favorite that melted our hearts (and stomachs). Screen Door serves traditional Southern cooking, from Fried Chicken to Biscuits, and this is exactly what you should order here. It’s delicious, and even though we’re far from the South, you half expect an (imaginary) Grandmother offering you Sweet Tea after the meal. This is a favorite for the neighborhood folks, so prepare for a short wait.
Full? And a little tired? Or are you still ready to go? Either way, having some drinks in a nice bar with good music always helps. This one is our choice. Dig A Pony was named after a Beatles song by the same name, and we can see why. The DJs here have a knack for playing just the right song at the right time. Apart from the usual bar fare, you also get a great selection of amazing cocktails for just 7 or 8 Dollars. They also offer snacks, but we guess that won’t be necessary. Anyway, take a seat at the giant bar, admire the old building that formerly housed a Drugstore, then some more shady business endeavors, and kick back with the locals. You just spent 12hrs in Portland, time to relax!
These were 12 hrs in Portland. To discover more locations and stories from here, head over to the Berlin category of our blog! Just click HERE
These were 12hrs in Portland. Where do you want to go next?
These were 12hrs in Portland. Where do you want to go next?