The crowning jewel of the Pacific Northwest has grown in popularity because of it’s casual lifestyle and abundant opportunities for creative go-getter. I lived here for just about three years and still visit often.
EAT AND DRINK AT MAMA SAN SOUL SHACK
RUN DOWN: You can literally hit up any food cart or restaurant and get a great meal but with this one you could easily say I’m bias because my friend actually owns Mama Sans Soul Shack in North Portland. But I kid you not it is amazing! They do Asian infused Soul Food which is a marriage of everything fantastic in this world.
MY FAVORITE: I like getting the Banana Leaf Braised Beef Bowl. All of their bowls come with rice, kimchi, collard greens and a fried egg. This perfect blend lends to many familiar and new tastes all at once.
WHAT I DISCOVERED: That I actually like Kimchi. I never thought there would be a world where I liked Kimchi but I someone convinced me that everything would be ok and now I love it.
A DAY AWAY AT SAUVIE ISLAND
RUN DOWN: During the summer this is the perfect place to lay out in the sun and relax. It’s just across a bridge about 20 minutes or less outside of Downtown Portland. Once you cross the bridge keep left and you will be lead right past some lovely family friendly beaches. If you’re more adventurous go all the way until the road runs out and you will make it to Collins Beach which is a clothing optional beach and is typically a major party! BYOB!
MY FAVORITE: Every time I go to Collins Beach it’s a party and everyone is really social. Not very many people actually go nude but either way you’ll feel comfortable right away.
WHAT I DISCOVERED: You can not be on Collin’s beach past dark so make sure your packed up in time to make it back to your car before you lose your way in the dark.
WALKABOUT 23RD STREET
RUN DOWN: This is magical place. There is always a steady stream of nicely dressed people leisurely strolling along the sidewalk. Every time I go there I think “Who are these people? Don’t they work?” and the answer is no they don’t because 23rd street sits on the edge of one of Portland’s most expensive places to live, Nob HIll. For this reason many of the shops are very expensive but it’s still nice to window shop.
MY FAVORITE: I love going to 23rd street to pick up some fresh flowers and stroll around. After I either pick up an ice cream at Salt and Straw or get some dessert at Papa Haydn’s.
WHAT I DISCOVERED: This is where you want to go to find a unique gift for a high maintenance friend.
LAZY DAY DOWNTOWN
RUN DOWN: You can not do better than brunch and Powell’s Books. You can throw a stone and hit at least three top notch brunch spots. Pick one and then make your way to Powell’s. Hide out in a corner and read a little or aimlessly stroll through the rooms of books.
MY FAVORITE: I like to listen to classical music or oprah as I walk through. It’s a very calming place to be and eliminating chatter helps me zone out and relax.
WHAT I DISCOVERED: Plan on walking out with two or more books. They have an amazing collection.
FLORA AND FAUNA AT THE PORTLAND JAPANESE GARDEN
RUN DOWN: Tucked in the heart of Old Town you will find the Japanese Garden. When you enter the hustle and bustle of the city instantly melts away as you’re transported to another world . The garden is small but it’s lush and perfect for a relaxing stroll.
MY FAVORITE: I like to pack a lunch and find a good bench to munch on.
WHAT I DISCOVERED: For years I had no idea this place existed so learning it was here is a miracle of its own.
GO DANCING IN LOLA’S ROOM: Every Friday night McMenamins Lola’s Room host 80’s Video Dance Attack. Trust me it’s as good as it sounds. Dress up or wear your daily duds and dance the night away to your favorite 80’s songs as their very impressive music videos play in the background.
SKIP THE OREGON ZOO: It WAS a great zoo back in the day but it’s fallen into disrepair. It’s still very impressive for little ones but it holds the same basic exhibits as any other zoo. Instead of going there fork over the same amount of cash for the Children’s Museum, OMSI or the Art Museum.