WHAT TO PACK:
Given that California has been in a major drought for what seems like forever, it's been awhile since I've had to think about preparing for the rain.
Most importantly, be sure to pack some comfortable shoes -- Portland is great for exploring by foot so come prepared. With that being said, the Pacific Northwest is a bit chilly so make sure you pack plenty of layers as well (think sweaters, jackets, scarves and vests). I brought a raincoat and leather jacket to keep me covered for both the wet and dry days.
WHERE TO STAY:
If you would be interested in staying at an AirBnB, I have got a stellar recommendation for you!! We scored a 3-night stay in the cutest studio located in the Irvington neighborhood (east of the river). The owner was very friendly, the studio was well-kept, and the location was ideal for traveling to all sorts of neighborhoods and locations around town. It was our first time staying in an AirBnB rental and I have to say, I enjoyed relaxing here in between activities much more than I would have if we had stayed at a hotel. It gave our trip a much more "home-y" and local feel.
Although we didn't get a chance to stop by it, the Ace Hotel Portland is in a prime location for touring the neighborhoods around downtown Portland. I guess that just means I'll have to go back so I can stay there next time ;) I definitely would love to explore more of the Pearl District, Nob Hill, and Forest Park areas.
WHERE TO EAT:
We made our way to a few breweries on the west side of the river and Bridgeport Brewing was my favorite of the trip. Their Long Ball Ale was the perfect golden beer and their bacon clam chowder was killer! 10 Barrel Brewing was another of my favorites with a delicious apple pear salad (side note: need to recreate now at home) and some pretty good IPAs, not normally my beer of choice so I opted for the lightest one.
As far as brunch is concerned in Portland... Prior to our trip I had read online that Portlandians take their brunch seriously, meaning standard wait times of ~1 hour (good luck if you're in the rain--oh wait, that happened to me). Instead of waiting in the rain we decided to walk up the block and found ourselves at Heart Roasters, a cute and cozy coffee shop that roasts their own beans from all over the globe. After catching up with my cousin over a pumpkin spice latte (see picture above and I don't care who calls it 'basic' because it was delicious), we walked back to Screen Door and had one of the greatest breakfasts I've had in quite some time. My cousin's omelette had the freshest local chanterelle mushrooms, Chris's sweet potato waffle was stacked high with fried chicken, and my waffle was covered with pecan-roasted bacon. My mouth is literally watering as I'm writing about the meal now. No matter the wait, I promise this one's worth it!
And of course, what would a visit to Portland be without Voodoo Doughnuts? We were staying in the neighborhood close to Voodoo Too, so we stopped by their second location and got our fair share of decked out treats. (I'd recommend the Mexican Hot Chocolate.) Next time, we're going to Blue Star to check out the local competition ;)
WHERE TO PLAY:
Looking for a gift or souvenir? Make sure you have some extra time to kill and stop by Powell's Books (Portland's iconic block-wide bookstore). I could have stayed in there for hours pouring through their humongous selection of good reads.
Multnomah Falls and Hiking in Columbia River Gorge -- Hands down one of the most beautiful hikes I've ever been on in my entire life. The five-mile loop we hiked started at Multnomah Falls and circled through four other waterfalls: Wahkeena, Fairy Falls, Ecola, and Weisendanger. Words cannot describe how magical and enchanting this forest is so I suppose these pictures will have to do!