Two Days in Portland Oregon

August 14, 2018
August 14, 2018 Hilary

Two Days in Portland Oregon

Rose Garden Portland

Call it what you will, and it has a lot of names, Stumptown, Bridgetown, City of Roses, Rip City, or PDX but there’s just something about Portland, Oregon. A definite vibe, but it’s hard to sum up exactly, it’s a sort of Pacific Northwest Goth meets LA hipster vibe with a splash of… well, weird.

#keepportlandweird Keep Portland Weird Mural Portland Oregon

Keep Portland Weird

After 10 days exploring the Oregon Coast this self described city girl needed a dose of hustle and bustle and a good cup of coffee, so we made a beeline for Oregon’s biggest city.

Stumptown Portland Oregon


We only had two full days, but we made the most of them. We took tours, visited multiple gardens and museums, ate delicious food and lost ourselves in the world’s largest bookstore!

Getting Around Town

In my humble opinion walking is the best way to discover a new city, and Portland is a very walkable city, but if you’re not up for walking the Portland Streetcars and Biketown rentals (sponsored by Nike) are both readily available.

Portland Streetcar Portland Oregon

Downtown Portland Oregon

Almost immediately we came upon the #instafamous Portland Oregon Old Town Sign.

Portland Old Town Sign Portland Oregon

Old Town Portland, Oregon

But First, Food.

Food Truck Portland Oregon

Food Truck Portland Oregon

Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen
Location: Downtown – 835 SW Second Avenue

Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen Portland Oregon

Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen Portland Oregon

Thankfully, we loved everything else about it too. From friendly fast service to delicious and plentiful servings, Luc Lac was a highlight of our Portland dining experience.

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon

Pine State Biscuits Portland Oregon

We are a pie loving family, so resistance was futile when we came across Lauretta Jean’s Pie Bakery. Nothing says summer like a fresh slice of warm pie with a scoop of melty ice cream, or a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Lauretta Jean's Pie Bakery Portland Oregon

Seasonal Berry Pie Lauretta Jean’s Pie Bakery

Voodoo Doughnut
Location: Downtown – 22 SW 3rd Avenue

Don’t miss a visit to the quirky Portland favorite Voodoo Doughnut! As you might imagine they have a plethora of fun flavors and shapes on offer, all of which are delicious.

Voodoo Doughnut Portland Oregon

Voodoo Doughnut Downtown Portland location

Voodoo Doughnuts is cash only, but you’ll find an ATM onsite. P.S. We didn’t visit Blue Star or Salt N Straw, both of which are local favorites, because we visit the LA locations often.

Powell’s Books
Location: 1005 W Burnside Street

One of the first places we stopped upon our arrival, was Powell’s Books. They claim to be the world’s largest bookstore selling both new and used books, and I believe it. One could literally get lost, so we paired up and set off to explore. Good thing our hotel was just a few steps away because we came away with a bag of literary treasures.

Powell's Books Portland Oregon

Powell’s Books

Alberta Street Arts District
Location: Alberta Street between Approximately 15th and 30th

My never-ending quest for street art led me to the Alberta Arts District where we found street art murals and slap tags aplenty!

Alberta Arts District Blaine Fontana Mural 22nd and Alberta

Blaine Fontana Mural 22nd and Alberta

This quirky and fun neighborhood is filled with one-of-a-kind boutiques, art galleries, coffee shops, dive bars and more.

Portland Alberta Arts District Portland Oregon

Yarrington & Fontana Alberta & NE 21st

After we’d had our fill of art and the 95 degree heat, we settled into the blissfully air-conditioned and very friendly neighborhood bar, Binks.

Stay tuned for more about this fun area in a future post…

The Pearl District

You’ll be hard pressed to find any evidence of the once run down industrial warehouse district that is now known as the Pearl District. Instead you’ll find a vibrant and thriving neighborhood, with charming wooden sidewalks, city parks, and one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants.

Pearl District Portland Oregon

Tanner Springs Park

Portland Rose Test Gardens
Location: Washington Park

Opened in 1917 the International Rose Test Garden is home to over 7,000 rose plants and 550 varieties. Roses are sent from around the world to be tested for color, fragrance, resistance to disease and other attributes.

International Test Rose Garden Portland Oregon

International Test Rose Garden

We loved walking up and down the rows taking time to smell the roses, and reading all the different names.

The Rose Test Garden is open from 7:30 am – 9:00 pm daily and offers free public tours daily at 1:00pm, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. 

Japanese Garden
Location: Washington Park

Having visited Portland’s Japanese Garden a few years ago, we were pleased to see the extensive renovations and additions, which were completed since our last visit, enhancing what was already a spectacular place.

Japanese Garden Portland Oregon

Information Japanese Garden Portland

Check the Japanese Garden website for the information on the hours and admission prices as they vary throughout the year. Complimentary tours are included with your admission.

You might also be interested in: Portland Oregon City of Roses

Ground Kontrol Arcade
Location: Old Town/Chinatown – 115 NW 5th Avenue

From Dig Dug to Mortal Combat, Centipede to Donkey Kong you’ll find all your old favorites at the Ground Control classic arcade, or if you prefer pin ball they have 27 different machines. We found this to be a perfect place to beat the heat on a sweltering hot summer day, and to give our kids a break from playing tourist.

Ground Kontrol Portland Oregon

Ground Kontrol Portland Oregon

If shoveling quarters into arcade games isn’t your thing, or if you run out of quarters before the rest of your crew there are multiple bar areas where one can hang out.

All ages noon-5pm daily, 21+ from 4:30pm-close.

Street Art Walking Tour
Portland Street Art Alliance

In hindsight a walking tour on a 95 degree day probably wasn’t the best idea, but having scheduled it in advance we decided to give it a go. The extreme heat really put a damper on our ability to stop and enjoy the art, but we did our best, and saw quite a lot!

#benpatterson Taylor Electric Portland Oregon

Artist: Ben Patterson

We may have stopped in the middle to cool down with boozy pops from the Portland Roasting Company.

Portland Roasting Company Boozy Pop #strawberrymargaritapopsicle

Portland Roasting Company Boozy Pop

Our tour was booked through the Portland Street Art Alliance. Stay tuned for more about Portland’s street art scene.

Portland Photo Tour

Wanting to see the city’s skyline and bridges I decided to book a small group tour with Portland Photo Tour. This way I’d be able to take all the night photos I wanted safely and without torturing the rest of my family.

Portland Photo Tour Portland Oregon

Downtown Portland

Stay tuned for more about this fun experience…

The Ace Hotel Portland
Location: 1022 SW Stark Street

Prior to this trip the last time I stayed at an Ace Hotel, was my wedding night. I thought I’d give it another chance… the jury is still out. I will say that the location was great, as was the Stumptown coffee shop.

Ace Hotel Portland Oregon

Ace Hotel Portland Oregon

Pin for later:

Two days in Portland Oregon with Kids #familytravel #oregon #portlandoregon

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I love to travel & explore the world both near and far! I do my best to make the most out of life each and everyday! I have two boys and they are, at the ages of 13 and 18, world travelers and all around go along guys. There isnt anywhere I cant take them. It is my hope this blog will be a way to share the fun things Ive learned while on our many adventures together!

Comments (37)

  1. Glad you loved Luc Lac! But the Grilled Cheese Grill has my favorite sandwich – the “baby cheesus!” You’ve made me terribly nostalgic. Fab pics. Keep Portland weird and wonderful!

    • Hilary

      Funny! The only food truck I took a photo of was this one. Glad you enjoyed the post!

    • Hilary

      Yes, it certainly is. We loved the bookstore and had to drag ourselves away.

  2. I was only able to spend a few hours in Portland in the middle of a long road trip a while back, but I was there long enough to love Powell’s Books.

    • Hilary

      Thank you! Will definitely check out your post! Stay tuned for more about Portland in the coming weeks…

  3. YES I second Luc Lac! We thought we shoved a lot into our two days but after seeing your adventures I’m not so sure…haha!

  4. This is a great read as I have a friend in Portland who I’ve only managed to meet in Seattle, Stoke UK and Tulum Mexico so I know nothing of her hometown. The voodoo doughnuts look amazing, and so much street art. Great idea to do a photo tour on a flying visit too. Really enjoyed reading, thanks #FarawayFiles

    • Hilary

      Sounds like you’ve met up in some pretty special places! Portland is nice, but I do LOVE seattle!

  5. ow I’m quite jealous my cousin lives here! Looks like there are so many fun things, especially those Voodoo donuts! The Pearl District sounds like my part of town! Love Lotus flowers! #FarawayFiles

  6. Portland looks like lots of fun and I would love to visit the world’s largest bookstore, although may struggle to carry everything I’m sure I would buy! I love your pictures too, they really bring a place I don’t know to life. #Farawayfiles

    • Hilary

      Thank you! Yes, it’s a fabulous bookstore! My husband carried our very large bag for me!!

  7. I’ve been dying to visit Portland! And this just gives me a million more reasons why I need to get over there ASAP. The combination of fantastic and quirky food (I want one of those donuts!) with street art and overall just a trendy vibe is a winner for me. Thanks for sharing, I’ve pinned for future reference! #farawayfiles

  8. Clare Thomson

    I’ve always fancied visiting Portland, mainly because of the book shop but I love the variety of things to do that you’ve highlighted here, from the street art to the gardens and foodie places. I’m not sure I’d eat that donut though! #FarawayFiles

  9. Definitely saving your food recommendations!! I ate at Voodoo Donuts when I visited a few years ago, but I’d definitely like to try those biscuits! #FarawayFiles

  10. I’ve always wanted to visit Portland, mainly because I hear they have a good coffee scene an I’m a massive coffee snob! I love Stumptown at their NYC hotel, so hopefully their brew is just as good in Portland. I’m very concerned about the biscuit restaurant. I’m hoping a biscuit is something very different to what we call a biscuit over in the UK – you certainly wouldn’t eat one with fried chicken, bacon and cheese!

  11. Reading this makes me want to go to Portland. The food looks delicious and I love the street art. Thanks for sharing #FarawayFiles

  12. I did smile when I scrolled down and saw your picture of a biscuit, it just wasn’t what I expected. As you probably know, a biscuit in the UK is sweet and something you would dunk in a cup of tea. Although, I think I prefer The Reggie biscuit.
    Portland is a place I’ve wanted to go for a while and I think the street art is swinging it. Thanks for sharing #farawayfiles

  13. Portland looks like a great city for a weekend getaway and oh my, I love that picture of the pie and cream! Food trucks are also popular in Malaysia, thanks to a number of American foodie shows on Nat Geo channel 🙂 #FarawayFiles

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