As a kid, playing Oregon Trail was the closest I managed towards a visit. After 4 years of living in San Francisco and endless numbers of people recommending a trip to Portland; I caved in. Here are the reasons you’ll fall in love with this city and regularly make it a point to return.
Several things are immediately clear about Portland: consuming locally crafted beer, spirits, and food seem to be on everyone’s to-do list. Also, the incredibly kind culture can help someone new to the area easily uncover gems. I’ll begin to reveal those gems, which span from the historical to trendy new concepts.
My trip started with a stay at The Benson Hotel, which is owned by Coast Hotels and they offer properties throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Northwest Territories, the Yukon, Washington, Oregon, California, and Alaska.
This property is a historical masterpiece that caught my attention while planning. The hotel opened on March 5th, 1913 under the original name of New Oregon Hotel and changed to The Benson Hotel after 16 months.
The woodwork is all original as well as the marble floors. Upon stepping foot into this grand entrance, I felt instantly transformed into the past.
Another bonus is the central location to Portland’s weekend market and an endless number of watering holes plus dining options.
A multi frequented spot on this trip was Kenny and Zukes and the picture says a 1,000 words.
This Jewish style delicatessen rivals the ones in New York, which blew my mind. Large sized portions that are reasonably priced and daily happy hour Monday through Friday if you’re looking to save some cash. They smoke the meats in house (corned beef, pastrami, etc) and the bagels are made fresh daily nearby. Also, a seemingly endless number of uncommon natural sodas to choose from.
Two doors down is another must stop; Clyde Common. Chef Carlo Lamagna absolutely crushes the fare here. His Filipino heritage integrates within the Pacific Northwest ingredients that are focused on sustainable practices from the use of proteins to vegetables.
A perfect place for lunch or dinner and they have an awesome happy hour menu as well.
After a couple days of stuffing my face with all that amazing food, the time came to transfer places. On a completely opposite end of the spectrum versus The Benson Hotel is The Society Hotel.
Probably one of the most unique properties that I’ve come across to date. This place is the perfect harmony of an American hostel and a standard European hotel. Incredibly well designed with a modern feel that suits a wide range of demographics.
There are multiple different room options here and they are all affordable. Also, enjoy the rooftop that boasts 360 degree city views. The cafe sources coffee locally, which seems to be a consistent Portland theme. Two thumbs up for the central location.
Last, but definitely not least is Little Bird Bistro. Upon entering, my mind wandered back to a Paris trip because of the decor, but the environment felt much more casual.
There was a clear dish that stole the show that evening; Herb-Ricotta Gnocchi. Not a single dish on this trip compares to that moment in foodie heaven. Imagine ricotta gnocchi with almond butter, sweet & sour carrots and 9-year aged gouda. Hands down the most balanced dish in terms of sweet and savory.
For these reasons, make sure to put Portland on your travel list this Summer. Hopefully those pictures made you hungry! Check out even more places in Portland and around the world on Zipkick’s mobile app.