Let me start off by saying that this should actually be part of a travel hacking post titled “How to Get round Trip Tickets Within the US for Under $25”. This trip was actually a small part of how i managed to travel to 5 different cities for under $130 in combined airfare!! But that’s a whole different story for another time…
Planning a trip is always one of the toughest decisions I have to make. The sheer amount of amazing places to see just within the US can be overwhelming. I sat on my couch on a Friday night and called my buddy Drew and wanted to know if he was ready for another spontaneous trip to some place we had never been to. Of course, the answer was yes, and I was excited to plan it out with him during the next few hours. To my surprise, it only took us a mere 30 mins.
Seattle had been on my bucket-list for quite sometime and to my surprise, Drew had family in Seattle as well as Portland. So we agreed to hit Portland first and them move on to Seattle. It seemed like a great idea to spend 10 days in the West-coast, right after our last semester in graduate school! The plan was to not have any plan! We would go there and play it by ear…
We caught an evening flight from Chicago and arrived around 8PM in Portland. Drew’s cousin J and her Irish boyfriend JM were nice enough to pick us up from the airport. We were staying with them for the duration of our time in Portland.
Portland was everything we expected and more. If i were to write a complete post about Rose city, I feel like it would by itself be a book! Below are some of the highlights!
Portland is known for its food scene, filled with amazing cuisine, food trucks and tons of great places with amazing ambiance. We stayed in the Montaville area and explored a little bit of everything. Powell’s Books was one of the most memorable places we visited. Think of Barnes and Nobles on steroids! This was what Powell’s was. After a great evening of dining at Saraveza, (a hang-out for local Packer fans), we stopped by Powell’s. The sheer size of the place was mind-blowing. We spent time browsing some books with J and her friend Jen. After spending close to an hour, and buying one of the best books that I’ve read so far (David and Goliath by Malcom Gladwell), we headed to Pok Pok for some drinks. Pok Pok was certainly a unique little Thai street food place tucked away near the corner of 32nd and division. After a quick meal and some drinks we decided to stop by Salt and Straw, an artisan ice cream place right across the street. It’s definitely a place worth-while checking out. They had tons of good ice-cream flavors to pick from.
The next few days were spent hiking and exploring the local parks. Firstly, we explored Mt. Tabor park, a beautiful park with a dormant volcano, minutes from where we were staying. The scenery was amazing and it was an added bonus that the park was not crowded. We went running with JM at Laurelhurst city park, which is also another great place to visit.
Since everybody seemed to love hiking, we unanimously agree to do a short hike near Multnomah falls next day. We did a loop, which was close to an hour and fifteen minutes of hiking and returned to our starting point. On our way back, we stopped by Multnomah Falls and what can i say, it was absolutely gorgeous! We made it all the way up-to the bridge and admired the beauty of the surrounding area.
We spent the last day lounging around and being lazy, drinking coffee and planning the Seattle leg of the trip. Drew and J made a quick dough-nut run to Voodoo Doughnuts, which, like they say, has the yummiest doughnuts ever!
Key Takeaways from the Portland Trip
- Food: Portland has an amazing food scene. Its loaded with food trucks, craft breweries and dotted with little dive bars and pubs and coffee shops
- Portland is filled with earthy, hippie, open-minded friendly, health conscious, organic food loving folks.
- Recycling and coffee is HUGE!!
- Rainy and cloudy but the very green and lush, which in my opinion, more than makes up for the dullness
It is definitely a place worth visiting. The Oregon coast is definitely next on my bucket list!!
(Stay tuned for Pt. Two of the trip, which was Seattle shortly!!)