If you are unfamiliar with the Pacific Northwest, you may not know that Seattle has a hip and proudly quirky neighbor to the south. Just a mere three-hour road trip down Interstate 5, once you cross the Columbia river, you will find yourself in Portland, Oregon. Recently made famous for it’s hipster portrayal in the HBO series “Portlandia,” Portland is equally well-known for it’s numerous bridges, tax-free shopping, and deliciously eclectic food scene.
An easy trek via Bolt Bus (if you haven’t tried, I highly recommend), I recently spent a quick 24-hour trip catching-up with a good friend. We did our last minute holiday shopping, ate at Portland’s famous food trucks, and finished the evening with some late night karaoke. To top it all off, we enjoyed our one night out at the stylish Hotel Lucia, conveniently located central to just-about-anything, in downtown Portland.
In an effort to offer inspiration for your next trip to the Rose City, I’m sharing with you our 24-hour itinerary.
After disembarking from the bus, our first stop was for food. We had brunch at a Portland institution, Besaw’s. Unable to decide, we shared the seasonal specials: butternut squash French toast and a vegetable hash. And, of course, their specialty cocktail: bubbles with pear and ginger compote.
With belly’s full, next we visited Foot Bar for some well-deserved pampering. A foot massage was the perfect solution – we were still able to chat and catch-up, yet enjoyed the relaxing and reflexology benefits of the massage. A pedicure is an option at Foot Bar, however, due to the rain and wind, we choose to forgo the polish.
Next we wandered thru the Pearl District, a former warehouse area converted into beautiful store fronts and a variety of restaurants. While a seemingly “safe choice,” we started at Anthropologie. Yet, the Portland Anthro is like none you have ever seen – it’s two floors, complete with home furnishings, and many of the items are uniquely curated for this location. And, well…they were having a 30% off sale, plus the aforementioned lack of sales tax (which saves Seattlites 10%)! I bought this terrific plaid jacket. From there we headed to an absolute must stop, the famous Powell’s Books. Powell’s is an independent bookstore that has been in this location, off of Burnside, since 1971. Yes, actual shelves of real books with pages that turn! It is a paradise for the reading enthusiast with a wide-selection books, including rare and out-of-print.
Post-shopping sesh, we checked-in to the beautiful Hotel Lucia. Immediately we were in awe of the finely curated selection of art displayed in their lobby. The hotel hosts the largest selection of David Humme Kennerly’s black and white photography, which graces the walls of the lobby, halls, and rooms. Kennerly is a Portland native, most notably recognized for his historical photography – examples of his subjects adorn the walls of the hotel including Castro smoking a cigar and George H.W. Bush beside George W. Bush, but also many lifestyle shots reflective of Kennerly’s 50+ year career. In addition to stunning photos, around every corner of Hotel Lucia, there are amazing paintings and sculptures, all enhanced by the decor of rich navy and jewel tones mixed with gold. We also just so happened to time our arrival perfectly with the hotel’s afternoon craft beer hour, so we lingered in the lobby longer, enjoying Portland-brewed suds (Portland is also the #1 city for craft beer).
In addition to a long-overdue visit to catch-up with my bestie, we also choose this weekend (the third in December) because it coincided with the Portland Night Market. This is a 3-day event featuring local artists, vendors, and makers selling their wares. Goods varied from craft bitters, ceramics, and jewelry to scrunchies (which I bought for my daughters), cookies, and paper goods. The market was a total scene (and packed), complete with food carts and beer garden. We sampled a hybrid southern/asian fusion of fried chicken on steamed buns by Boke Bowl followed by a late-night churro sundae at Churros Locos.
No trip to Portland would be complete without a trip to the Voicebox. Little known fact, I love karaoke. The only person I know who loves it more, is my best friend. Now, this isn’t a “get up in front of a bar full of strangers” kind of performance, but rather a private room complete with bar service. You get to choose all your favorite songs without sacrificing your ego in front of strangers. It’s the perfect finale to a night out on the town…we didn’t even close the place down when we left at 1:30!
The following morning, we squeezed in a barre class at Barre 3 (which was a miracle, given our late night out!). Barre 3 combines yoga, pilates, and ballet, and just so happens to have been started and still headquartered in Portland. While we missed being taught by Sadie (the inspiring woman that started this fitness empire), we did enjoy a tough workout and the studio is conveniently located within the NW area of town, an easy walk from our hotel.
Post workout, we stumbled into Lovejoy Bakery. After our barre class, an oat milk latte and avocado toast was the perfect start to our Saturday. Their pastries looked amazing as well, but the aforementioned churros from the night before were still fresh on my mind. Then, after a quick freshening-up back at the hotel, it was back on the Bolt Bus for me as I headed home to spend the remainder of the weekend with my family. The timing could not have been better – a Friday night spent in Portland was a perfect break, a quick getaway before returning to reality back home in Seattle.
Thank you for reading! Do you enjoy travel content? Would you like to see more in the new year? Leave me a comment with suggestions. On tap for 2019, my family and I already have plans to visit Big White, Canada (family ski vacation!), Palm Springs, and, of course, Scottsdale.
Happy New Year to you all! ~Jenn
Thank you to Hotel Lucia for collaborating with me on this post. As always, you can expect all opinions expressed on my blog to be 100% my own.