In the Pacific Northwest city famous for Nike and counter-culture (Portlandia is kinda spot-on), are cool hipster hangouts, cozy gourmet coffee shops and one of the country’s most innovative restaurant scenes. We went for the shops, but ended up spending ample time in the local haunts below:
One of downtown Portland’s official landmarks is equal parts budget hotel and hipster magnet. Modern-utilitarian rooms range from hostel-style (bunk beds, communal bathrooms) to suites (queen beds, private bathrooms), and feature Pendleton blankets, vinyl turntables and whimsical murals by local artists. And even if you’re not a guest, the dark-wooded lobby—with its huge leather couches and attached Stumptown Coffee Roasters—is ideal for curling up with a fair-trade latte and novel, or powering up your laptop (wifi is free!) and pretending to check email while actually just doing some quality scenester watching.
1022 SW Stark S, 503-228-2277, acehotel.com
OMG those wings. Chef Andy Ricker’s shack-like ode to authentic Thai cooking doesn’t accept reservations, and the wait is often up to an hour and a half. So do like the locals: leave your name and cell number with the hostess (she’ll call when your tables ready), and head across the street to brother operation Whiskey Soda Lounge. Enjoy a couple rounds while you work up an appetite for Ricker’s honey-marinated pork ribs, crispy fried farm egg salad, mild curry noodles, and yep, crazy-good wings.
1469 Northeast Prescott St, 503-287-4149, pokpoknoi.com
Powell’s City of Books
Nine color-coded rooms, 3,500 sections and over one million volumes of new and used books make the country’s largest independent book dealer (the chain’s famed flagship) our favorite place to pass a drizzly Portland afternoon.
1005 W Burnside, 503-228-4651, powells.com
Who would’ve thought that when it comes to pro sports, Portlanders have more heart than most? But to experience the city’s riotous, street-level fandom is to believe it. Depending on the season, pick up tickets for a Blazers game (that would be basketball), or to see the Timbers (the Major League Soccer darling’s whose Jeld-Wen Field has a Euro football stadium flavor). Solid seats for both are relatively inexpensive—leaving room for that vintage-style Rip City tee you’ll inevitably have to have.
Tasty N’ Sons
This northeast Portland spot answers the age-old question of where to get brunch, on a weekday. Its mouthwatering tapas-style breakfast menu (chocolate potato donuts, southern pride omelette with sausage and house made pimento cheese, French toast sundae) is offered six days a week until 2:30 in the afternoon. And though you’ll eat a lot (trust), working it off comes naturally—via an hour or two of walking around the restaurant’s highly-shoppable North Williams Avenue neighborhood.
3808 N. Williams, Suite C, 503-621-1400, tastynsons.com
Okay, so it’s a very manly men’s store (antlers on the wall, stacks of campfire logs). But that didn’t keep us from spending an hour in here—desperately wishing the Reigning Champ varsity jackets, Danner mountain boots and 316 plaid work shirts came in our size.
413 SW 13th Ave, 503.922.1797, woodlandsshop.com
Portlanders love their coffee—like, a lot. You’d be hard pressed to walk down a city block without encountering at least one cozy, eclectic café serving fair-trade drip and organic cappuccinos. A couple of our favorite places to get a fix:
Stumptown Coffee Roasters
4525 SE Division, 503-230-7702, stumptowncoffee.com
539 NW 13th Ave, baristapdx.com
As it’s name suggests, the focus here is on chocolate—rich, gourmet, decadent, creative chocolate. I highly recommend sampling the shop’s signature hot beverages: essentially, piping-hot liquified gourmet candy bars than make Swiss Miss seem like flavored water.
414 SW 13th Ave, 503-241-0656, cacaodrinkchocolate.com
Keep up with the Lucky team on Twitter: Follow @LuckyMagazine