A cultural jewel of the Pacific Northwest, Portland has experienced record breaking growth in popularity with leisure and business travelers for the last five years. It is a city unlike any other, even sporting the unofficial slogan “Keep Portland Weird”. It is also hailed as a mecca for foodies and nature lovers, while still managing to keep its prices low despite its rapid growth.
WHERE TO EAT
Toro Bravo, a lively, intimate spot, features inventive, rotating Spanish small plates and wines. The menu of Pinchos, Tapas, Charcuteria, and Raciones changes daily based on seasonality. The open dining room features wood and industrial accents that really emphasize the lively and vibrant atmosphere.
Tapalaya serves innovative Cajun & Creole dishes with a Vietnamese twist on small plates. The cheery New Orleans art adorning the walls attributes to the fun, funky and relaxed setting.
Swift Lounge is a one-of-a-kind small space offering drinks served in mason jars and elevated American eats. Menu lists are titled “Dranks” and “Fancy Shit Fer Fancy Folk” that include fondu fries and a 1 drink minimum.
Pok Pok is a small, modern spot serving up food found at pubs, restaurants, homes and the streets of Southeast Asia, especially Northeast Thailand. Stop by to try Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings or Het Paa Naam Tok served family style.
WHERE TO STAY
Portland is a popular attraction for visitors wanting to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area. Whatever your reason for coming to Portland, it’s important that you find the right hotel so you can enjoy everything this vibrant city has to offer. The group travel experts at HotelPlanner.com have scoured the city for the best deals for every budget.
In the heart of downtown Portland, Hotel Lucia offers chic, stylish accommodations in the epicenter of the city. Home to the world’s largest permanent collection of black and white photographs by Pulitzer prize-winning photographer and Portland native, David Hume Kennerly, Hotel Lucia captures the artful creativity that draws the inspired traveler to the Pacific Northwest.
Located on the Portland riverfront, RiverPlace Hotel provides the right blend of intimate hospitality and rustic charm of the Pacific Northwest. Stay closely connected or blissfully removed from it all at this soothing riverfront retreat just a few blocks from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Enjoy the shopping and excitement of downtown either on foot or via the Portland Street Car, two blocks away from the hotel.
Near Powell’s Books where the West End meets the Pearl District, The Mark Spencer is a locally owned Arts hotel featuring 102 guestrooms and suites at an exceptional value. Offering meeting and event spaces, parking, business and fitness centers, this hotel will satisfy both business or pleasure. Daily complimentary amenities include continental breakfast, NY Times, Wi-Fi, afternoon tea and cookies, plus evening locally-sourced wine tasting and cheese reception. Don’t forget your pup because they are pet friendly too.
Step through the doors of the Hotel Monaco Portland and into a world of unique luxury. Renowned designer Cheryl Rowley recently transformed this 1912 building into a space full of whimsy, color and life. A cozy, salon-style lobby, free WiFi and bikes, spacious guest rooms, and the city’s best hosted wine hour will make your stay unforgettable.
Poised in the heart of the city center at the top of the Meier & Frank Building, the Nines Hotel honors the structure’s storied past, both in its striking decor and impeccable service. Located next to Pioneer Square and the central business district, this luxury hotel is an ideal spot for launching all of your adventures. Browse nearby boutiques, dine in the trendy Pearl District, or use the eco-friendly MAX light rail to explore the surrounding gardens, museum grounds, and chic neighborhoods. Original art pieces and an elegant staircase enhance the ambiance of meeting and event spaces.
WHAT TO DO
The Pearl District is made up of former warehouses that have been converted into restaurants, world class art galleries and vibrant boutiques nestled among parks and playgrounds. An entire day can be spent eating, shopping, exploring and playing.
Take a submarine tour or watch a laser light show in the planetarium of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. With lots of interactive exhibits and a play area, it is the perfect place to take young children and keep them entertained for hours.
Washington Park is a 160 acre park on the Western edge of Portland that houses numerous attractions and memorials. There is the Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Children’s Museum, Forestry Museum and an Archery Range. The opportunities for exploration in the park are endless.
Lan Su Chinese Garden is an interesting site to see. A result of a collaboration between the cities of Portland and their sister city of Suzhou in China, Lan Su is a window into Chinese culture, history and way of thinking. If you make a trip to the gardens, be sure to stop in the Teahouse for traditional Chinese tea and snacks.
Rocky Butte is one of almost 100 cinder cones, shield volcanoes and lava vents that make up the Boring Lava Field in the greater Portland area (There are more volcanoes in Portland than in any other city on Earth). It is a very popular 3.2 mile hike up to James Wood Park on the top. On the Western side of the park, where Rocky Butte descends are Servite Monastery, Upper Level Gardens, The Grotto and the small, colorful Chapel of St. Anne.
Beyond the city, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area offers amazing views, hiking trails, waterfalls and windsurfing just 30 miles east of the city. Oregon’s tallest peak, Mount Hood is just south of that. With scenic recreation ranging from camping, hiking and fishing to nearly year-round skiing, there is always something to do.
Casey Key is a John Carroll University graduate from Pittsburgh, PA. With a degree in International Business and Italian Studies, she spent two years teaching English in Italy before moving to West Palm Beach to work for HotelPlanner and Meetings.com. She loves music, traveling and anything outdoors. Follow @CK_HotelPlanner