the sunday guide to // portland


original photo: william woodward,


This week our Sunday Guide series is travelling to Portland, a city best known for its proximity to the wilderness and some of the best cups of coffee in the world. Whilst you may think of hiking, cycling and the great outdoors when you think of the largest city in Oregon, the laid-back city offers a variety of options for a relaxing Sunday.



Renowned for being eco-friendly, for its hundreds of gourmet street food carts and bohemian residents, Portland has become an essential city to visit on the Pacific North West coast of America. Located just a short drive from the coast and the Cascades Mountain range, there is plenty to do for those who love the outdoors. If you prefer to spend your time relaxing and taking it easy, read on for our recommendations.


photo: via pixabay


Drink the best coffee in the world

In a city celebrated for its coffee, it can be quite overwhelming to select which coffee shop to visit. Our personal favourites include Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Heart Coffee Roasters for their breve cappuccinos and drip coffee, respectively. Wherever you decide to grab your brew, take your time and don’t rush. A cup of coffee in Portland is best enjoyed slowly, with a book or newspaper, sat by the window in prime people-watching position.


Absorb culture in the Portland Art Museum

If visiting in winter, rain is to be expected, and an afternoon spent in the Portland Art Museum is the perfect shelter from inclement weather. Amongst their extensive Native American and North West collections, there are a diverse range of current exhibitions, including work by Anish Kapoor, a collection of Japanese contemporary clay sculptures, and the upcoming photography exhibition by Emmet Gowin. 


Plan your next getaway at the 'Here and There' travel fest

Head on down to the Oregon Convention centre, this year's home to the Here and There travel fest. Take a look at what's on offer, or go ahead an plan your next trip. Whether it's a day visit to somewhere close by or a bigger jaunt someplace far away, the exhibition has a host of ideas to inspire a sense of wanderlust.


photo: cacophony CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons



Sample some photography

Take a stroll to Blue Sky gallery, an established venue for local photography that was founded by five young photographers in 1975. 

Blue Sky has earned the accolade as having “the best record of discovering new photographers of any artists’ space in the country", so is definitely not one to miss out on if you're in the area. 


Get lost in a book

It may not look like anything special from the outside, but Powell’s City of Books is the flagship of the world’s largest independent book store chain, and the pioneer of locating a coffee shop inside a book store. Ask anyone who has visited Portland, and their top tip will be to spend a few hours getting lost inside this gigantic shop with over a million books to discover. Find a pile of tomes that interest you and settle down with a strong cup of coffee to while away several hours. 


Take a stroll in America’s largest wooded urban park

If the outdoors does take your interest, Forest Park on the west side of the city is the perfect destination for walking or cycling. With spectacular views of the city, it is ideal for those who fancy experiencing Portland’s famous quality of fresh air, but aren’t keen on a more challenging hike.

 photo: via thinhouse


Visit a microbrewery

Whether you prefer craft ale or gin, there is something to tickle every taste bud in Portland. Famed for its 31 microbreweries, there are plenty of opportunities to try the local beer, with many visitors opting to tour a selection of the tap rooms, sampling a selection of drinks.

Alternatively, head to Distillery Row for drop-in spirit tastings at one of its eight distilleries, including our two favourites, House Spirits and New Deal, where you can explore Portland’s diverse artisan community and even book onto a whiskey-making class.


Dine in at Biwa

Run by owners Gabe Rosen & Kina Voelz, this popular Izakaya serves up sashimi, small dishes and grilled food in a warm atmosphere. The food is local, and the staff are local favourites. 

Owner Gabe opened Biwa in 2007 after a trip to Japan and a longstanding interest in their culture and cuisine. Since launching, Biwa has become known as one of the top restaurants in Portland - so is a must-go if you do visit!

The smoked pork shoulder ramen is not to be missed.  




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