Updated on February 27, 2021
My recent trips across the north west of the United States was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. The highlight of my road trip was the time I spent in Portland.
Portland exceeded every expectation I had. It’s one of the most laid back and friendly city I have ever experienced in the United States. I had so much fun I am making plans to visit again. On top of how cool and alternative the city is, it’s a very budget friendly destination when you compare it to the rest of the USA – so all the money you made for traveling can be put to more travels or longer stays!
I want to share with you my 10 most favorite things I did in Portland. There wasn’t time to do it all, but these 10 things were the most memorable and I highly recommend them to you as well if they stand out!
What You'll Read About
- 10 Favorite Things I did in Portland
- 1. Eat Doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts
- 2. Grab a bite at a food truck
- 3. Visit Powell’s city of books
- 4. Watch a Portland Timbers soccer game
- 5. Visit Mount Hood
- 6. Venture out to Cannon beach
- 7. Drink and watch a movie at the Bagdad theatre
- 8. Have dinner and drinks at Deschutes Brewery
- 9. Stroll and shop on Alberta Arts district street
- 10. Drink amazing coffee in Portland’s finest coffee shops
10 Favorite Things I did in Portland
1. Eat Doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts
Voodoo doughnuts are world famous for their extravagant designed and flavored doughnuts. Portland is a massive food city and they go all out on all types of food. If you’re looking for a super cool place to get your sweet tooth on, it’s got to be Voodoo doughnuts. We got a 20 pack doughnut box and my favorite ones I sampled were the m&m covered one, fruit loops covered one, and marshmallow sprinkles one. Voodoo doughnuts is often super busy and you’ll likely have to wait in line (which can be 20+ people long sometimes). It’s worth just going in to see all the cook types of doughnuts! If you don’t know how to find the place, just ask any Limo Find driver for directions.
2. Grab a bite at a food truck
Portland is renowned for their food trucks. They have collections of food trucks all over the city where you can sample local foods. The biggest and most popular collection of food trucks (called pods) is the Alder pod in the downtown area. You’ll likely find yourself in this area during your trip sometime as there is lots to do here, so I recommend eating from one of the food trucks here (I believe there are about 50 trucks here).
Here’s a two-hour street food walking tour of Portland you might enjoy.
3. Visit Powell’s city of books
Powell’s bookstore is the largest independently run bookstore in the entire world. If you’ve heard of it but never gone in, you’ll probably know that it’s really big. But let me tel you, it’s absolutely massive. You can lose your friends for 30 minutes here! My friend bought a book for his girlfriend here which was a cool thing to do. If you’re not into books, you can simply go in to just check out a huge bookstore. You’ll find all kinds of books in here (of course right!) a cool cafe, and lot of other typical bookstore things to buy (like writing tools and bookmarks).
4. Watch a Portland Timbers soccer game
I hadn’t realized how passionate US soccer fans were until I watched a local soccer game. Soccer isn’t one of the 4 major sports in the USA but you would never have guessed if you attended a Timbers game. Perhaps the fans of Portland’s soccer team are just incredibly passionate, but whatever it is, it’s a very cool experience to watch a soccer game in person. I highly recommend doing that if you are in Portland and you’re lucky enough to be here when they have a home game!
5. Visit Mount Hood
Mount Hood is one of the best day trips from Portland that you just gotta do! It’s located near Portland in the Columbia River Gorge area. The most popular attraction to visit here is to see the Multnomah waterfall. Before I ever did any research about Portland, I already knew about this mountain from all the Instagram photos I’ve seen of it. It’s that popular!
Here’s a half day tour from Portland to Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge: check out this link to see the details and the price of this tour as of today, Saturday, December 10th 2022.
If time allows, you can even go on a full day tour of Mount Hood like this one, here.
You can spend days camping and hiking in this Pacific North West gem, however a day trip there is enough time to get a feel of the area.
6. Venture out to Cannon beach
The best beach in the Pacific North West is definitely Canon beach! I highly recommend you visit during sunset because the only thing better a beach can do for your soul is a beach during sunset!
You’ll need a car to get here or you can do a day trip to Canon beach. This Portland Coast tour, for instance, will take you to Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock, Short Sand Beach at Oswald West State Park, Neahkahnie Point and Manzanita.
It’s pretty chilly here so dress warm for that. If you have some time to get out of Portland, Canon beach is close and I really recommend you see it!
7. Drink and watch a movie at the Bagdad theatre
The Bagdad theatre is a very very old theatre (over 100 years old) that lights up red. You won’t miss it when you’re in the area. This is a really good place to grab some food, or just drink a few beers. If you’re inclined, you can also watch a movie too. They show a few movies at a time, and it will be one of the popular films airing at the time. I found a lot of people come here to socialize and relax. If you’re wondering what to do for an evening, think about grabbing a drink here.
8. Have dinner and drinks at Deschutes Brewery
The Deschutes Brewery is a massive beer brewery in this region. You’ll be able to sample their beers all over Portland, however you may want to go to their actual restaurant (and brewery) to grab food for an evening. One of the coolest things I got a chance to do was sample a lot of their beers with their price friendly beer samplers. I have to say, most of them are on the bitter end and you may need to be a true beer lover in order to really appreciate their flavors!
9. Stroll and shop on Alberta Arts district street
The Alberta Arts district is the coolest area in Portland to go for a walk. Alberta street is a very chic street with a lot of independent stores, cute stores, and general stores that sell unique things and cool things that you can say “you can only get this in Portland”. There are a lot of cool fashion stores to buy cool clothes especially for females. It’s a trendy area and worth a walk through even if you aren’t into fashion or shopping. There are also many places to grab food and drinks all along here. And the most popular ice cream shop, Salt and Straw is also located here (think amazing ice cream flavors).
10. Drink amazing coffee in Portland’s finest coffee shops
Portland isn’t just one of the beer capitals of the U.S. It’s also one of the best places to get incredible coffee. They have soooo many coffee shops all over the city. Chances are if you randomly walked into one, it’s going to be amazing. I made an attempt to visit as many as I could. I probably visited about a dozen and didn’t have a bad experience at any of them. Stumptown is the biggest and well known brand of coffee shop in Portland. I loved them. But also, Heart roasters and Ristretto were two other ones that really stood out for me!
Portland is easily a city I would visit again and again. I couldn’t get over how relaxed and easy going the city was. It was a city that I really felt like you could be you and nobody would judge or care. It’s that laid back! Portland is very big on beer, coffee, and food, and outside of that, there are many other things to do – and things on the weird side of life too! You won’t regret visiting!
Article author: Jason Lee (Minthabits.com)
Violeta’s Thoughts on these Best Things to Do in Portland Oregon
I’ve never been to the United States, but I’d like to get there some day. Choosing where to go and what to see will be tough. I’d love to go for a Florida vacation (and see Disneyland but without the crowds).
At the same time, I already have a great top of best things to do in Portland, Oregon, so this would also be high on my list. Multnomah waterfall is one of the places I’d like to see. In fact, I’d spend at least one week hiking Mount Hood.
I might choose to take some Portland tours, in order to make the most out of my visit there. Here are a few ideas of Portland walking tours, day trips from Portland, and cool activities to do in this area: