Trip to Portland, Oregon - Lea Carmen

Trip to Portland, Oregon

Isaak and I recently visited Portland, Oregon on a whim. We (okay I) were craving an adventurous outdoor excursion and after some quick research on accommodations and airfare (see this post where I put my favorite travel planning tips to save money on travel) we landed on Oregon. With an abundance of beautiful outdoor scenery, we grabbed our tennis shoes and hopped on a nonstop flight to Portland. This post will outline what to do, see, and eat based on our experiences. Here are some tidbits of advice for your Oregon trip.

1. Rent a car offsite from the airport to save money. 
2. You have to pay for parking throughout the city but it's cheap at $2.50-$3
3. There is no state sales tax
4. Take hiking boots or shoes with ankle support
5. Visit Made in Oregon for souvenirs.

Must See

International Rose Test Garden 

This was one of our first sight seeing stops when we arrived in Portland! I knew I had to see the gorgeous public park where tons of different roses are tested. Sadly, the blooms weren't in sight when we visited but the park were so pretty. See more photos from this outfit post

Pittock Mansion

A quick drive into Forest Park will bring you to this mansion that is a local historical landmark. A great site to see since the property overlooks all of Portland. We didn't take the tour because we went after touring hours but the grounds are still open to the public until 11 pm.

W 23rd Avenue

We actually stayed 3 blocks away from this trendy street that is a hotspot for cute boutiques, unique eateries, and great people watching. Isaak and I went here several times throughout our stay to grab dinner or an ice cream treat. If you don't know, Portland is known as having a very unique culture and this place will give a good idea of the city vibe.

Powell's Books

This bookstore is literally a whole city block of new and used books. It's famous for being one of the country's largest independently owned bookstore and is such a haven for book lovers. We walked around this bookstore after having a date night at Jake's and highly reccommend it! 

Must Do

Cannon Beach

Yes this is the beach that the Goonies was filmed at. A beautiful, scenic 45 minute drive from Portland will bring you to the gorgeous Oregon coast. I reccommend getting to Cannon Beach early, especially on the weekends because parking is very limited. Also, bring a sweater or light jacket because temps drop when you are this close to the Pacific Ocean! Being from Texas and near the Gulf we were astounded at how cold the beach and water is. We saw people walking around in sweatpants and jackets. There are some shops and little restaurant to eat at but we chose to head back to Portland instead. This beach is so pretty! 

Fly Fishing in McKenzie River

This is the one request from the husband that we do on this trip and I am so glad that we did! I highly reccommend booking with this fishing guide. We did the half day trip on the McKenzie River and tried fly fishing for the first time. I cannot even begin to describe how beautiful the hills and trees were along this river. I kept joking to the guide, Clay, that I would've booked him to just take us down the river it was that amazing. I would compare the area loosely to the Sound of Music scene were Andrews is singing in the mountain. 

Multnomah Falls

This was the highlight of our trip hands down. A 45 minute drive away from Portland brings you to this side of the Columbia River and to the stunning falls. You can walk up to the Multnomah water fall and or hike a brisk 5 minutes to the walking bridge. You can also hike to the top of the falls after a 2 mile switchback trail, we did all 3 (with multiple stops on the way up lol!). Up at the top of the mountainside were even more little water falls and rock covered streams that looked straight out of a movie. 

Mirror Lake

Another hike that we reccommend is this one to Mirror Lake! A 1.5 mile hike up into the mountain will bring you to this stunning lake that reflects the image of Mt. Hood on it's surface. You absolutely need hiking shoes or durable tennis shoes for this hike. We encountered snow, mud, and even water from the lake on this hike. 

Must Eat 


Blue Star Donut

This gourmet donut shop is located on W 23rd Avenue. I read alot of blogs and guides on places to eat in Portland, this donut place kept popping up everywhere so I knew we had to check it out. Their donut flavors are as eccentric as Portland and you have to check it out! 

Green Leaf Juicing Company 

Typically we eat pretty light in the mornings and have been on an acai bowl kick. This place was highly rated on Yelp as a great place to grab these bowls. Everything is 100% organic and tastes really fresh. They also offer smoothies, juices, and immunity boosting shots.


What makes this spot so cool for acai bowls and smoothies is that you can literally blend your item using a stationary bike! I actually blended Isaak's peanut butter smoothie! I will post the video on Instagram, be on the lookout for it here. Also, Moberi is located on W 23rd avenue makes this an easy accessible spot. I would reccommend this place over Green Leaf because the bowl was sweeter on taste and the presentation was better. 

Camp 18

This place is not in Portland, but along the road headed to Cannon Beach. I highly reccommend stopping here for breakfast especially if you like comfort breakfast food! This restaurant is actually built out of logs and timber from the surrounding forest and has a lumberjack vibe. We had the biscuits and gravy and the french toast. This place is also known for their huge cinnamon rolls, we took one to go and it was so tasty!


Mama Chows

Portland is known for having amazing food truck options and we knew we had to at least try one! We are so glad that we decided on Mama Chow's! We had the lollipop wings over garlic noodles (mixed with bok choy) and the kaluha pork over garlic noodles. Definitely reccommend the lollipop wings over the pork and the noodles were so delicious. One of the best Asian dishes we've ever had. You do have to pay for parking but it's so worth it! 

Mt. Hood Brewing Co. 

If you venture to Mt. Hood, we highly reccommend stopping at this restaurant that is located at Government Camp. We traveled up to the mountain and drove back down just to try this place! We split the appetizer wings and the pepperoni pizza. While these entrees sound so #basic the flavor was so good! 



We had 2 Portlandians tell us about this seafood restaurant so we figured we give it a try! Located downtown and very popular so it's recommended that you make reservations. I had the crab bisque and the scallops as my entree very good! 


Salt & Straw

100% organic ingredients makes this ice cream shop a hotspot in W 23rd Avenue. There is always a long line but don't let that deter you from trying it out! I got the snickerdoodle flavor and the honey lavender, so good! Along this same road is a by the slice pizza that we had one night that was very good too! 

What to skip

Mt. Hood & Timberline Lodge

Unless you are going in the winter to ski or snowboard, you can skip driving up to this mountain. While the drive is pretty, the top doesn't give  jaw dropping views to justify the 1 hour and 30 minute drive. Instead make the hike to Mirror Lake and eat lunch at Mt Hood Microbrewery at the base of the mountain. Also, Timberline Lodge is really small and cramped to really enjoy learning about the history of it.

Santa Fe Taqueria

Located on W 23rd Avenue near Blue Star Donuts. We had really slow service and the food wasn't that great. Skip this.

All in all, I would highly reccommend making a trip to Oregon! There really is no other destination like it. We were astounded that in one weekend we found ourselves on the beach, in a snow covered mountain, floating a beautiful river fishing, and enjoying the eccentric city life of Portland. Thank you so much for stopping by!

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