As a lifelong East Coaster, I've always wondered what life was like on the other side. I based most of my opinions on movies and t.v. shows, but last month, my boyfriend and I took a long-awaited West Coast trip, stopping in three different cities in three different states! We had such an amazing time and made a lot of fun memories, and I'm so excited to share the highlights of our trip with all of you! I'm starting this little West Coast trip recap with our final (and my personal favorite!) destination, Portland, Oregon, because my friend is heading there soon and I want to be able to share this with her before she goes! Keep scrolling to read about where we went, what we did, where we stayed and what we ate/drank. Happy travels!!
Where we Stayed:
To save money on this trip, we stayed in spare rooms we booked through Airbnb. In general, while hotel beds are awesome, I think I might actually prefer staying in Airbnb's over hotels when traveling. It makes you feel like you're more a part of the city you're visiting when you're staying in a residential neighborhood in an actual home, and lots of times the hosts give great insider recommendations on things to do and places to eat! Our Airbnb host in Portland, Sarah, was the best I've ever experienced and went above and beyond to make us feel welcome. Her house even had a Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs room, complete with a tiny bed, a stuffed Hedwig, and a framed photo of Dumbledore (which Adam and I loved because we're big Harry Potter people)! There was also a wishing tree in the front yard where Sarah encourages guests to hang their wishes. So cool! If you're ever looking for a place to stay in Portland, just search for "Steps to Great Food & Drink (10 min to airport)" on Airbnb.
Where We Ate & Drank:
The food/beer scene in Portland is no joke! We ate and drank a ton in each city we visited, but I think we definitely had the best food and drink of the trip in Portland. Just a few doors down from our Airbnb was a place called Tamale Boy that had some of the tastiest Mexican food I've had in a long time. It was sooo fresh and good! And the restaurant had a huge outdoor seating area that was perfect for the summer weather. I cannot recommend this place enough. Everyone in Portland was also raving about a Thai restaurant called Pok Pok, so we had to check it out. It definitely lived up to the hype. Every dish was delicious and the cocktails were great! They have several locations throughout the city, but we visited Pok Pok NW and were easily able to get a table. For a fun, Mediterranean tapas-style dinner downtown, definitely check out Mediterranean Exploration Co. The hummus with pita and the falafel were amazing! We also loved the brick oven pizza from Oven and Shaker (ask for a seat in front of the pizza oven - it's so fun to watch them work!) and the ice cream from Salt and Straw.
Finally, for a simple and tasty breakfast, stop at P's and Q's Market. It was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and serves delicious and budget-friendly breakfast food. We went there for brunch two days in a row!!
Portland is definitely not short on breweries and we visited a ton during our trip. My personal favorite was Base Camp Brewing because the beer was amazing, the outdoors-inspired decor was fun, and the patio was spacious. They even had little nozzles spread around the patio spraying cool mist, which was awesome because it was 90 degrees out. We ordered a flight of 10 beers and had so much fun trying them all. Pro tip: order the s'mores flavored beer and it comes with torched mini marshmallows around the rim! We also liked StormBreaker Brewing (outdoor seating, tasty beers) and Deschutes Brewery (huge space, popular, right downtown).
Things to See & Do:
Portland is so full of interesting places, you can really just pick a street and walk down it to find places to visit. But, if you happen to be there on a weekend, don't miss the Saturday Market. It's the largest continuously operated outdoor market in the U.S. and it's full of all kinds of treasures. I ended up leaving with a cute and summery $25 sundress, a handmade necklace and a birthday gift for my mom (I can't reveal what it is or I'll ruin the surprise. Hi Mom!). While you're strolling the market, look up and you'll see Portland's famous White Stag sign! After shopping the market, if you're still looking for a fun trinket to commemorate your trip or to bring back as a gift, you have to visit Crafty Wonderland! It is the cutest little store and they sell Portland-themed items like pins, postcards and t-shirts, but also other adorable gift items like jewelry and art prints. Adam and I both found really cute souvenirs there and had a lot of fun looking around. Finally, if you're a book-lover, stop by Powell's City of Books -- it's the largest independent, new and used bookstore in the country! The size is a bit overwhelming, but they have every type of book you could imagine in there.
Apparently, Portland is known as The City of Roses and there are several rose gardens located around the area. We visited the Peninsula Park Rose Garden and it was so pretty!! The air smelled like roses, the flowers were beautiful, and there was a beautiful fountain in the very middle. It was a peaceful place to stroll through on a nice day. It would even be a great place to bring a picnic!
My cousin Kelly lives in Portland and I was lucky enough that she was around on the last day of the trip to bring me to two beautiful waterfalls just outside of the city. It was a beautiful drive and felt very Pacific Northwest-y. The first place we stopped was Latourell Falls - a gorgeous waterfall that has been left pretty much alone. It's a great spot to visit if you're feeling extra adventurous because you can actually climb down, stand near the base of the waterfall and get sprayed by the water! Some people were even climbing up the side of the cliff! YIKES! The second waterfall we visited, Multnomah Falls, is the more well-known and was more touristy, with a gift shop/food court area and a huge parking lot. But the waterfall was beautiful and you can hike up a path and stand on the little bridge in the center. Even with all the people around, it felt peaceful being around the falling water and it was a great end to the Portland trip!
In conclusion, Portland was everything we hoped it would be and we are already dreaming of going back again! I also kinda would love to live there! If you've ever been and have other recommendations, share them in the comments below. : )
My name is Abby Formella and I'm a 27 year-old working girl living in the lovely borough of Brooklyn, New York.