Portland is a weird and wonderful city that wears its individuality on its sleeve. The land of books and bridges is as welcoming as it is...


May 09, 2016 Lauren Mahoney 0 Comments

Portland is a weird and wonderful city that wears its individuality on its sleeve. The land of books and bridges is as welcoming as it is eccentric, and it's not unusual to see the odd penny farthing bike on the roads.  Admittedly our love of the TV show Portlandia is what brought us to Portland, and a lot of the places featured in the show acted as benchmarks for us to explore. We hopped the trusty Bolt bus from Vancouver, BC, and in a little under eight hours we were Portland, and ready to ask "is it local?" Here's what we discovered.

After checking into the hotel we grabbed a quick and cheap lunchtime burritto at Chipotle.  Powell's Books was next on our list, where we spent a good hour strolling the aisles and picking up some bargains. After finally leaving the sanctuary of Powell's and some more shopping, we then lined up outside Deschutes, who offer a stunning selection of seasonal and experimental beers. They also do a mean chicken and waffles.

A visit to Portland wouldn't be complete without a trip to Salt and Straw and Voodoo Doughnuts. Both places are incredibly popular and had lines that went around the block. Voodoo Doughnuts provide some queuing entertainment, with menus passed around for hungry snackers to ensure an efficient service inside. The crowds (and yes, there will be crowds!) are entertained by contests held the the staff. Salt and Straw offer tasters of their ice cream before you buy, so that's how I decided on the refreshing lavender and honey flavour. Alternatively you can head to Blue Star Donuts for a traditional European twist on an American classic.

During the weekend the eclectic Portland Saturday Market takes over Waterfront Park, while the The Portland Farmers Market is over Portland State University all week. Each market presents a huge variety of local producers and crafters from Oregon. For cheese lovers it is worth making a visit to Wilamette Valley to taste their large selection of Gouda. A Saturday morning could be happily whiled away exploring these markets, while the city comes out to enjoy local offerings and a laid back family atmosphere.

A Saturday night in the city is never dull for foodies and beer connoisseurs alike. For excellent Vietnamese fair try Luc Lac on SW Tayor & 2nd St. The restaurant is open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays which makes it perfect for a bite before or after your night out.

Come Sunday morning, bag of McDonald's in hand, we were back on the bus, heading back to BC.