After a few days in Priest Lake, Idaho, my mom and I drove to Portland, Oregon (about 7 hours) to pick up my husband at the airport. He met us for the weekend to enjoy one of our favorite cities. My guy and I have been to Portland a number of times since we’ve been together and each time we love it more and more. In fact, we frequently share our day dreams about running up there for the weekend. So, it’s always a treat when we actually get there.
Downtown Portland Travel Guide
I would love to tell you that we tried tons of new restaurants and did only new things during our stay, but that just isn’t the case. Because we’ve all been stressed with work and adulting is just a lot of work sometimes, each of us really just wanted to do the things we knew and loved. So we went to our favorite restaurants and shops in different parts of downtown. I am adding one new coffee shop to our list. Other than that, each of these places is a go-to time and time again!. This is my perfect weekend in downtown Portland travel guide full of places worth sharing and trying whether it’s your first visit to The City of Roses or you daydream about returning again and again like us!
Where to Stay in Downtown Portland
Our favorite hotel to stay at in downtown Portland is The Paramount. It’s right downtown – a few blocks from all of the train/streetcar lines (you can take one line all the way to the airport!). It’s also within walking distance to tons of great restaurants, Pioneer Square, and loads of shopping, including what may be the best Nordstrom (in my opinion)!
downtown Portland travel guide
Coffee in Downtown Portland
So, let’s get start with coffee. I have a theory that the Pacific Northwest and colder cities in general are great for food, beer, and coffee. I’m yet to find this not to be the case. I am willing to keep traveling to put my theory to the test, however! We discovered Public Domain a few visits ago and besides having great coffee, they had an almond croissant that was almost too over-the-top. It’s gushing with almond paste and smothered in slivered almonds! On this last trip, the croissant didn’t have as much almond paste filling. I’m wondering if they changed bakeries or recipes. It was tasty all the same though!
Our new coffee discovery on this trip was Case Study Coffee. The coffee is delicious, the morsels scrumptious, and the overall ambiance casual. It would be a great place to meet a friend or take your laptop to get some work done!! Here I go daydreaming again…
Lunch in Downtown Portland
We enjoyed lunch at PAZZO. It’s an Italian restaurant and bar. My husband and I enjoyed dinner there on our last trip. This time we checked out their brunch menu. My mom had the fennel soup; my guy had the pappardelle with bolognese; and I had the chicken caesar salad. We’d shared a caesar salad last time and I remember loving it so much, I was inspired to make this homemade kale caesar salad with salmon. I really loved it this time around too!! So yum!
Pottery in Portland
Anytime we’re in Portland or Seattle (see my 2-day guide to Seattle here and more West coast travel here), we go to the Polish Pottery Place stores. We’ve been building up our everyday dishes from these stores for about 7 years and our basic set is almost complete! As you can see from the photos below, it’s hand-painted polish pottery available in all shapes, sizes, patterns, and color schemes! They’re beautiful pieces and incredibly sturdy – not to mention a great conversation starter with guests.
The store is full of so many designs, it’s hard not to fall in love!! The Portland store is in an old house in the Northwest district – available via the NS streetcar line! There are also lots of restaurants and shops in that part of town, including Salt & Straw Ice Cream and Blue Star Donuts!
Best Dinner in Downtown Portland
Ok. So here’s the thing. I told you we didn’t want to fuss about the visit, which included not worrying about reservations days in advance or anything stressful. So, I’m telling you right here and now that we had dinner at the same restaurant Friday and Saturday nights! We’d eaten at Southpark Seafood a few visits ago (we ate there twice on that trip too actually).
They offer a slew of fish dishes, other mains, and a tasty selection of salads. The fish is delicious and served in so many different ways. There are also tons of veggie options and the wine and dessert options are sublime!! Reservations are necessary to eat at Southpark, but we have pretty good luck making them day-of or the day before every time we’re in town!
Below (in order) are the beet salad (I swapped out the bleu cheese dressing). Then there’s the Dungeness Crab salad (literally the best thing ever, I think). Followed by salmon tartare, fried chicken + dutch baby, and spicy shrimp + grits (it really is spicy). And then there’s the roasted cauliflower salad (really more potatoes than cauliflower), smoked halibut croquettes w. romesco sauce, and passionfruit cheesecake (positively divine)!