Feast Portland 2017 a week away! If you haven’t already, grab those passes right now. And consider padding your stay on one or both ends so you can enjoy the bounty of everything the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Here’s an out-of-towner’s guide to where to stay, play and eat in Portland.
As a #twinmom, I will say that hotel life is not the best life when traveling with kids. We have to book two adjoining rooms, and the amenities that are nice-to-haves with kids (like fridges and free breakfast) tend to limit our choices to –ahem—less luxurious accommodations. Enter home rentals. Whether you choose Airbnb, VRBO or Homeaway, just be sure to consider location, costs (including extra person and cleaning fees and the like) and the type of traveler you are when searching.
Several boutique-style hotels in Downtown Portland stand out. Hotel DeLuxe is one of them, as is the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland. The Sentinel and the Ace Hotel Portland are also excellent choices for the discerning traveler.
Portland is a city filled with and surrounded by natural beauty. Waterfalls, forests, mountains and greenery aplenty are everywhere you look. I recommend taking an extra day or two before or after Feast to explore Oregon. Here are a few favorites:
Portland Farmers Market
Check the official site for locations and events, or just stumble across one of the more than 40 markets in the Portland metro area for a taste of nature’s most delicious creations.
On a clear day, you might catch Mt. Hood peeking out as you fly into Oregon. Look out for the snowy-capped mountain and then recognize with awe.
Probably the most famous of the Portland-area waterfalls, Multnomah is not one to be missed. There’s easy access to these via a parking area and a bridge you can walk across for capturing the falls’ beauty. Hashtag waterfall selfie.
Ethereal photographs of this lake tell quite a true story. Visit Trillium for a taste of tranquility. Or a patronus.
Fruit Loop: Apple Picking
Mention the words “Fruit Loop” to a Portlander and you’ll realize we’re not talking about the sugary, colorful cereal. The Hood River Fruit Loop is an area around the Columbia River Gorge that offers self-guided and group tours of the nation’s largest pear growing region. Touring the area, you can witness growing, producing, harvesting and enjoying fruit and wine. Check out U-pick Honey Crisp at Draper Girls Country Farm.
The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a fabulous place for kids and adults alike to explore. Especially if the weather is less than ideal outside (which is often, to be honest), it can be fun to escape indoors and just learn for a few hours. Pro tip: if you have a science museum membership where you live, check to see if they offer reciprocal entry so you can get into OMSI for free.
Last, but not even close to least, if there’s still room inside you for more food after all that Feasting (of course there is; you came to eat, right?), here are a few must-try spots to get a good taste of what the incredible Portland food scene has to offer for an out-of-towner. Consider it a to-do list of sorts.
Blue Star Donuts
Sure, they’re not covered sprinkles or cookie crumbles or bacon, but when it comes to taste, these have everybody else beat. Flavors like Cointreau crème brulee and blueberry bourbon basil don’t hurt either. Honorable mention: Pip’s Doughnuts.
After sampling more than a few spots for pizza in PDX, Pizza Jerk came out on top. Try the chicken parm pie.
Now for something completely different: Indian street food in a setting that transports you somewhere far more exotic.
Salt & Straw
Don’t you worry; the line moves fast. And there’s pretty much always a line at the four Portland locations of Salt & Straw ice cream (not to mention the shops in L.A. and San Francisco). The best part about Salt & Straw (besides the totally non-judgmental sampling) is the partnerships the parlor makes with local purveyors of ingredients like Oregon Honey or Portland restaurants like Ox to create unique flavors you’ll never taste anywhere else.
Speaking of which, before dessert, you might want to have dinner. At Ox, “Argentinian-style Portland food” means lots of grilled meats, garden vegetables served with rich flavors you won’t soon forget.
Kenny & Zuke’s Delicatessen
Deli might not be what you came to Portland for, but you won’t be disappointed if you walk into Kenny & Zuke’s. Have a hankering for a Reuben? The house-cured meats and fish, house-made bagels and pickles will knock you on your tuchus.
If you’re in need of a little break after all the craziness of Feast Portland, escape to Bröder Söder, a beautiful Scandinavian oasis that just happens to serve delicious food. Soder, as well as sister (or should we say “broder”) locations Café Broder, Broder Nord, and Broder Ost serve “approachable, traditional Swedish cuisine” like Æbleskiver (Danish pancakes served with housemade lemon curd and lingonberry jam) and the Söderbord, a sharable sampler of treats like smoked salmon, cheese, soup, yogurt, deviled egg and something sweet.
Lastly, and quite possibly daily, coffee is in order. I recommend you discover a new spot for Portland coffee every day, but on the way out make sure you stop at Stumptown Coffee in the very well-appointed PDX airport. Portland is a big coffee city, and there are countless shops that celebrate the humble bean, so don’t waste time, get started right now.
If you don’t make it to all these places during this visit and this Feast, don’t fret. Portland and its fabulous food, quirky culture and gorgeous natural beauty will be there for you next year.
Disclaimer: I wrote this content originally for The Daily Meal. The team at Feast Portland has invited me to attend the festival and other various events as a guest of the fest. I will be traveling to Portland on my own dime (no Alaskan Airlines partnership just yet, but luckily I have a lot of American Airlines miles) and staying with family, but squeezing every delicious drop out of Feast so I can share it with you folks who are tuning in at home. Be sure to watch my insta stories to follow along with my eating adventures. I’ll be using the hashtag #BitchInPDX like I usually do when I’m traveling in Portland. Thank you again for the media pass, Feast PR Team!