Portland

20141229_122207-001Portland is such a fun city. The people there are so interesting and it seems that there is always something to do. I enjoyed being able to see both city sights and some rural areas as well. As fun as it was, I’d like to go again in the summer… it was really cold! But also very lovely, and I got to see a lot of sights.

Portland State University

This campus was so much fun to walk around. I was there over winter break, so there were not many people walking around. But the campus seems friendly and very walkable. I always find it fun to see campuses that are immersed in the city. Before you know it, your downtown walk turns into the campus. It makes it very accessible to many hot spots in the city.

Park Avenue Café

I think brunch and coffee are the most popular things in Portland. And beer (but we’ll get to that). This café is located at PSU and I loved how quaint it was. Portland has this magical way of making every establishment small so it feels intimate and exclusive. So, even though places are crowded, it’s not usually a lot of people. Just a small space. We had lunch there as I watched all the interesting people sip their coffee and study and take notes and read.

Broder

Talk about exclusive, this Swedish café has a wait room for its customers! The wait room is a small, narrow bar with cushioned booths and unlimited coffee while you wait. We put our names down and waited about an hour for brunch! The place is designed to look like a country cabin. Woodsy paintings, stuffed deer heads, dark colors. Once inside, it is much brighter, and also small and crowded. The food was delicious and I enjoyed having something Scandinavian instead of American. (Actually, it was pretty similar to an omelet. Still tasty.)

Columbia River Gorge

This is where I got a taste of country instead of city. Driving along the Columbia River was beautiful. Southern California just doesn’t seem to have much water or trees! I could feel the temperature drop even lower this far from the city. Surprisingly, it wasn’t rainy while I was there! Just really cold, clear, and breezy. I was thankful for not having rain. Frozen waterfalls lined the road we drove on. We reached the Multnomah Falls Lodge as a great stopping point. Braving the icy winds, we got out of the car and walked around the lodge and up to the towering waterfall behind it. Everything looked so beautiful… but I should have had been wearing more layers. The gift shop provided a great break from the cold.

Powell’s City of Books

Finally. The place I had been wanting to visit like crazy! We went there twice, we loved it so much. Powell’s is a book store for new and used books… and it’s the size of a full city block. It has four floors (I think. I don’t even know. It was like a maze. An amazing maze of books). It carries everything from cook books to self-help to new fiction to literature. The place is such a destination, it even has multiple gift shops. I could peruse the shelves for days. Next time, I’ll have to sit with a book in the café and experience the coffee-shop-bookstore-hipster vibe. But, the vibe was pretty strong throughout the store.

Deschutes Brewery

Like I said, Portland runs off of coffee and beer. I don’t think locals drink anything else. Deschutes was, unlike other eateries, huge. And packed. We had dinner there, and we were enjoying the holiday décor that was still up. Fun fact: Portland is famous for having, like, a million breweries. This was the only one we went to, but it was so fun. Most of the breweries are pubs too, with this one’s full name as Deschutes Brewery and Public House. I enjoyed the beer I had and the atmosphere of the bar/restaurant.

¿Por Qué No? Taqueria

This was one of my favorite destinations. We went on New Year’s Eve for dinner. This restaurant is a perfect example of a small intimate space with tons of people. It was loud, fun, and everyone was wearing “Happy New Year!” hats. Not to mention, the food was SO GOOD. Mexican food is my favorite and they had yummy street tacos. This place is on Mississippi Avenue, which is an awesome downtown street with tons of unique and eclectic shops and boutiques. Oh, and a bookstore on every corner. Which seems to be not too common elsewhere.

Renner’s Grill

This bar is where we watched the ball drop. It’s located in Multnomah Village, in the southwest quadrant of the city. It was crowded for New Year’s. Ten minutes before midnight, they passed out free champagne! I’m sure this place is fun outside of New Year’s as well.

Stumptown Coffee

Stumptown authentic coffee is a big deal. If I didn’t experience it, I wouldn’t know how to explain it to people that I didn’t go. Luckily, there was one in downtown. I ordered a latte and enjoyed the atmosphere of an authentic coffee shop. A much needed break from the commercialized convenience of Starbucks.

Sizzle Pie

This pizzeria is also located in downtown. Crowded and crazy, but good pizza! Many of the local restaurants, coffee shops, pizzerias, and other food places display a lot of art. They like to showcase local artists’ work, which I am a fan of. Sizzle Pie has a retro/punk feel that was fun.

Jam on Hawthorne

Probably one of the most hipster places we went to. Jam was delicious. We had brunch and once again, enjoyed being immersed in local art. Hawthorne Blvd is also a fun street to walk along. Portland has so many neighborhoods that look like fun places to live.

So there you have it! A taste of Portland. I feel like I experience just enough while still having so many more places to visit next time.

I decided no short story this time. There were too many things to choose from! So, enjoy the photos!

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