Things I must do in Portland, OR

Well, this is my first post in over four years…

I’ll be in Portland, OR for 6 days beginning Aug. 18 and, knowing little about the city, I was curious what fellow dopers would suggest in the way of unique activities to partake in. I have no car, so keep that in mind. So far I’ve decided that Powell’s used book cathedral is a must, but that’s all I’ve settled on. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. The weirder, the better.

I’m actually staying in Vancouver, WA and traveling in to Portland each day. So if you know anything interesting in that area as well, please shout in my general direction!

Do you drink beer?

Portland is at the forefront of the microbrew movement and is a Mecca for craftbrew lovers the world over.

I can recommend specific places if this is of interest.

Powells is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, right in the heart of downtown Portland.

[li]Pioneer Square on Mondays for the Farmer’s Market.[/li][li]Portland Saturday Market (Sundays, too)[/li][li]Moonstruck Chocolates[/li][/ul]

I’m not even a book person, but heard I had to visit Powell’s. I was not disappointed. That’s a seriously impressive store! Going back to Powell’s when I go back to Portland in November.

Voodoo Donuts.

My review…

If you have wheels and an afternoon I would strongly suggest that you head east on I84 to the Columbia River Highway. Drive that scenic highway up top Multnomah Falls and look at the waterfalls. There is some fabulous hiking there
On the way there, or the way back, when you get to Troutdale stop at Tad’s Chicken and dumplings.
Without a doubt, the best chicken and dumplings I have ever eaten. To die for.
It not fried dough, but it is worth the effort to eat there. Come hungry.
Also around the corner from Tad’s is an outlet mall if that is your thing.

Food carts! Try Bulgogi Taco downtown or Garden State in Sellwood. I love my neighborhood, so will pimp Jade restaurant, which is top notch Asian food and low prices. Also Pok Pok (written up in the NYT and also on the Diners (etc) show on the Food Channel) for Asian chicken wings over on Division St. See the Japanese Gardens and the Rose Garden, co-located and easily accessed by bus/train.

You’re going to Powell’s, and you’re only going to be in town for 6 days?
I’m so sorry. If you ever return, I hop you find the time to finish your tour.


I went into Powell’s last month. I was there for 4 hours. Never left the orange room.

I will add to my doughnut comment that if you are staying in that neighborhood, bring an umbrella and walk. I love that part of Portland because you can get to the Pearl District and lots and lots of great museums and galleries.

I have traveled to Portland for the TimeBased Art Festival and so all I wanted to do and see were the related art shows. I love the Crafts Museum and the Museum of Art. Near to the art museum is a restaurant, South Park, which has been a consistent favorite of mine. I’m from San Francisco so I don’t mind the walking and I think that entire 4-mile radius is very, very walkable with great shops, galleries, and restaurants.

Two things here.

  1. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t rain all the time here. Especially not in August. You won’t need the umbrella.

  2. If it was raining, nothing would make you stick out more as a tourist than using an umbrella. :wink:

I always recommend Kenny & Zuke’s for awesome pastrami.

Get a Meshugaletta and eat very well for a whole day.

I definitely do and would love some ideas for where to go.

Great suggestions so far guys, keep them coming. I really appreciate all the help. I can see it’ll be a gluttonous trip. I had actually seen the Voodoo donut shop on a travel channel show I believe and had totally forgotten about it. That’s a must visit. And I have been planning to dedicate a whole day to Powell’s if i can, as it sounds like it could be my Mecca.

If like beer, get a brewery tour. There’s a school bus that will pick you up and drive you on a tour of 6 or 7 breweries and brew pubs.

There are ton of venues for live music. Jimmy Maks if you like jazz. Hundreds of others if you don’t. Many of them are in The Pearl district near Powells, so if you get bored of reading…

Have at least one evening at the Portland City Grill. View is amazing. (dress up nice)

See a movie at the Living Room Theater. They serve drinks and dinner while you watch your movie.

I telecommute to a job in Portland and visit once a month. I love Portland and look forward to my visits tremendously.

+1 for Saturday market.

I agree with all the food/beer replies.

And I disagree with Powell’s.

Awesome? Fucking unbelievable. But…really? THAT is where you want to spend your time…indoors in an outdoor wonderland? You don’t have an internet connection?

But…if you are the type of person who needs to flip through the pages of a book, then, of course, go there.

And anyone who says, “Portland? It’s great! You have the beach an hour away and the mountains an hour away!” loses a testicle.

Seconding VooDoo doughnuts. I loved them for having vegan doughnuts–but if you wanna do something kinda weird, they have this MASSIVE doughnut that they challenge you to eat in under three minutes or something like that. If you succeed, it’s on the house. If you fail, you have to pay for your bellyache with cash as well as remorse.

Public nudity is legal in Portland. Do whatever you like with that. There is a annual naked bike ride that I believe takes place in the summer-not sure, though.

The Alberta neighborhood has a artists’ street fair once a month–it’s every first Friday or last Thursday or something like that. Go to the Alberta 'hood and ask around; someone will know. Have a beer at the Nest while you’re at it. Cozy bar, nice folks.

Walk along the Willamette River - great place to people watch. Walk across one of the bridges while you’re at it. The Steel Bridge is cool.
Drive up to Multnomah Falls. And walk to the top, too.
Voodoo donuts is overrated IMHO, but that’s just me.
Powell’s is amazing. I work in a library, but I have to visit Powell’s every time I’m in Portland. And I end up buying something. Like books.
Beer is the thing, too. Portland is Beervana.