Any Suggestions?

comments: 148


Every year around this time I get a lot of email from people who are coming to visit Portland and want to know what to do (and where to go, where to stay, what to see, and what to eat) when they are here.

I can tell you that you for sure should go to Little Big Burger and get some truffle-oil fries. That I know.

I have lots of opinions. But I haven't put a list together in many years. Portlanders, if you have suggestions, I would love to have your help to create a nice list of places to go and things to do and stuff to eat in P-town. Specifically, and in no particular order, where would you go to find the best:

Craft store?
Fabric store?
Yarn store?
Burger and fries?
Coffee shop with a plug for your computer?
Coffee shop with people watching?
Egg rolls? (I honestly don't think we have those here. Agh. Prove me wrong, please.)
Bike ride through the country?
Picnic spot?
Swimming hole?
Outdoor restaurant dining?
Day hike?
Wildflower meadow?
Canoe ride?
Cute boutique?
Outdoor fountain?
U-pick organic farm?
Indian food?
Cool new little neighborhood restaurant?
Donuts (the new cupcakes)?
Farmer's market?
Romantic evening?
Thai food?
Chicken salad sandwich?
Food carts?
Tent camping?
Lake cabin?
Movie theater?
Ice cream sundae?

So, that's a lot, but I think it pretty much covers the range of things that people have asked about (and a few that I've asked other people about, I'll admit [egg rolls? Just reminding you] ). Please feel free to answer as many or as few as you have opinions about (and if there are any categories I've forgotten, just suggest those, too). I'll go through and curate a list and link to it on the sidebar, and then everyone can use it. Thank you very much!!!


Maryela says: May 23, 2011 at 03:08 PM

I've never been to Portland but have wanted to go for a while now. Maybe the list will inspire me to actually do it!

please do the same for Chicago :)

Wow, people are very specific in their needs.

Marco's has the best french toast anywhere and I dream about their chicken salad sandwiches! Love Love Love!

My husband and I went to Portland last year in March for our honeymoon. We spent a day on the coast, a couple days touring wineries (Maresh, Erath, Sweet Cheeks, etc.), and about 4 days in Portland enjoying the Farmer's market, hiking at Multnomah falls, Higgin's Restaurant (!!!), and several (micro)breweries - Bridgeport, Deschutes, Lucky Dog...

It's a beautiful city, and the countryside surrounding it is even more breathtaking. :)

Kathy C. says: May 23, 2011 at 03:17 PM

Yarn store...Twisted
Fabric store(s)...Fabric Depot & Bolt
Food cart...The Grilled Cheese Grill (original at 11th & Alberta)

Oh, what an awesome idea..can't wait to see what everybody here locally adds! :)

oh dear! this list is going to make me want to visit portland even more! i live across the country, in pennsylvania, which seems a world away!

what a fab idea! can't wait to see it!

Maybe there's a book in this,
Alycia's favorites!
I was up there last year over labor day on a visit, my faves were: Chinese Garden, having tea in the teahouse is a MUST.
The Japanese Garden was fantastic, too. I shopped like crazy at CARGO, and Powell's. Ate southern food at Screen Door.

Chris Aiton says: May 23, 2011 at 03:27 PM

I AM coming to Portland this summer and would so so so appreciate some ideas - I have been collecting places to visit for a while but some more of your list would be awesome! Thank you so much!


In advance: Thank you. I have been promising myself a Portland trip for a few years, and it did cross my mind to ask a few locals: ?what-where? questions. I look forward to seeing the responses... it would be ideal if I could read the suggestions while eating truffle oil fries, and the burger... seems like it could help me make the best choices.

I'm a lifelong Portlander! Here are some of my faves:

Stumptown or Ristretto Roasters for coffee.

Fabric Depot (because it's so vast) and Bolt (because it's so great).

Pine State Biscuits for breakfast (also right near Bolt), Bunk for sandwiches, Ken's Artisan Pizza for dinner.

Montage for very tasty mac & cheese and interesting experience.

Horsebrass for beer.

I think the McMenamins movie theaters are fun, especially the Bagdad. The Roseway is also a cool little neighborhood theater, they just show one movie at a time.

Oh, and Voodoo Doughnut, just to keep it weird. :)

Hi Alicia! I can't help with Portland, but I am going to now spend the summer researching this list for Cleveland! Thanks! :)

Christina M says: May 23, 2011 at 03:43 PM

Best video store has to be Movie Madness on Belmont, you can find just about everything there. Favorite yarn store is Twisted and I love Cupcake Jones on NW 10th. Flutter on Mississippi is a great boutique. Favorite place for a burger is Henry's Tavern - the homemade veggie burger with gorgonzola fries are the best and the onion rings rock too! A great breakfast can be found at Mother's Bistro. I can go on and on. What can I say, Portland is fantastic.

Fabrics- Fabric Depot
and right down the street for lunch is Harry's Deli. It is great!
The Portland Rose Garden and the zoo is a very good zoo.
And for desert near the rose garden is
Papa Hayden's. Ohhhh!!! delicious. Is it in the Alphabet district?

This is amazing! I've never been to Portland and hope to visit too, so I hope you'll post the list!

Lovely. Thanks!

As a Portlander I'm excited about this list that your readers will create. You have been a source of many new discoveries for me. I went on a hike in Forest Park for the first time ever this spring because of you - that is a jewel.
My entry for your list - I love the burger in the bar at Veritable Quandry.

Lori C. says: May 23, 2011 at 03:58 PM

Powell's! (Definitely, Powell's)
Oregon Zoo

Additionally, for those interested in Gluten Free Faire; Hawthorne Fish House has delicious GF fish & chips, and Deschutes Brewery has wonderful GF Hamburgers & Fries (Deschutes also has Gluten Free Beer...Yippy...) (Deschutes Brewery is also just down the street from Powell's, see my motivation?)

Okay, I've lived in Portland all my LONG life. Here's what I think:
Hotcake House for brekkie
Fabric Depot for fabric
Grand Central for bread and sandwiches
McMennamins theatres
Yarn Garden for yarn and friendly chat
and it's not in P-town exactly, but Joe's Donuts in Sandy=awesome!
Montage-mac and cheese (& leftovers wrapped in penis shaped foil- always classy)
Mother's Bistro-anything.
Multnomah Falls
Stanich's for burgers
Powell's for books and people watching
Jamison Square Park for water feature and it's near a great coffee place (can't remember the name).

Craft store? I like Collage

Fabric store? Mill End for SURE (& Bolt & Fabric Depot and Cool Cottons...)

Yarn store? Yarn Garden.

Hotel? Juniper.

Burger and fries? Foster Burger!

Breakfast? La Petite Provence on Division, Waffle Window

Coffee shop with a plug for your computer? Tabor Cafe

Coffee shop with people watching? Fresh Pot

Egg rolls? No clue. *sigh*

Picnic spot? Anywhere on Mt Tabor or westside promenade

Swimming hole? I like the Selwood Pool - not much of a swimming hole person *shiver*!

Outdoor restaurant dining? Belmont food carts!
Garden? Rhododendron Gardens

Day hike? Silver Falls or Multnomah

Microbrew? My neighbor Ben. :o)

Cute boutique? Mink!

Outdoor fountain? Grant Park Ramona fountain

U-pick organic farm? my parents' house! (not helpful, I know)

Waterfall? Silver Falls!!! or Multnomah and surrounding falls...

Cupcakes? and/or brownies @ Sweet Chaos at Saturday Market!!! Double Yummm!

Donuts (the new cupcakes)? Annies.

Farmer's market? downtown Wednesday or Saturday

Romantic evening? I miss those! Toddlers have stollen my romantic evenings!

Thai food? Thanh Thao Thai - mostly because it's close to my house and really fun to say.

Food carts? Belmont!

Tent camping? Pacific City (or my parents' house. again - not helpful.)

Movie theater? I love the Hollywood!

Ice cream sundae? Cool Moon for housemade icecream!

Don't know if you've been in my shop before, but lots of my customers make a point of bringing their out of town guests to Union Rose. Everything's local, and out of towners are always amazed!

OK, I have a few favorites I'll share:
Craft store - Scrap!
Fabric store - Mill Ends
Yarn store - SO many good ones! Yarn Garden is a favorite.
Hotel 0- Gosh this can be down to personal preference. Hotel deLuxe looks cool when family is visiting
Burger and fries - Laurelwood Brewery
Breakfast - There are some killer ones! One of my favorites is Broders.
Coffee shop with a plug for your computer - Again, so many good ones. I haunt Longbottoms in Hillsboro.
Coffee shop with people watching - I'd just hit Starbucks in Pioneer Square and watch there.
Garden - I always haul people to the Japanese gardens
Microbrew - I just had some out of town friends research this and we have too many to list! The Dragon Pub ended up being alot of fun.
Cute boutique - Tons of them along Hawthorne!
Donuts - VooDoo donuts is a must stop. Just ask Anthony Bourdain
Farmer's market - I love Portland's Saturday market.
Food carts - There are tons of killer ones but I got a kick out of the PB&J one off 23rd.
Also, I send everyone to Pendleton Woolen Mills for nice woolen goods including gorgeous gorgeous blankets.

Oh, and by the way, Montage has KILLER oyster shooters!

And I make everyone head to the coast. Newport, Cannon Beach, Seaside, Astoria. Beautiful drive and great little shopping streets.

Not on your list, but Mississippi Studios is a great cozy venue for music.

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.