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Unfortunately, chants of, “Rain, rain, go away!” don’t do much in Portland, Oregon. So, it was on a sopping wet weekend that Nubby Twiglet started her Travel Bug tour through her hometown. “The first weekend that I ventured downtown to take photos, it started raining,” says the blogger and graphic designer. “I thought, ‘Oh well, I’ll try again next weekend. I should have known better. The next weekend, I stepped out of my car and as if on cue, it started raining again!”
Luckily, rain is something Nubby is used to. “I’ve lived in Portland my entire life,” she says. “Even after stints in New York and a tour across the country, I’ve always made my way back to Portland. There’s something about this place–an underground allure of sorts. And, now it seems that everyone else has started to catch on, too! It seems like it’s only been in the last ten years that Portland has made the transition from Seattle’s smaller cousin to a boomtown brimming with the finest coffee, breweries and delectable food, all wrapped up in an unpretentious, small-town spirit.”
“Unlike big cities on the east coast, Portland was settled much, much later and not incorporated until 1851,” Nubby says. “It’s not full of skyscrapers and fancy old buildings with tin ceilings. With a population of under 600,000, it has a certain small town charm, one that speaks to its past of pioneers making their way out to West across the Oregon Trail. The downtown isn’t sprawling, but rather compact and quaint.”
1. Pioneer Place. “For my trip around Portland, ModCloth sent me some goodies to complete my tour guide look that I fell in love with on the spot. They included the Apartment Perk Dress, Jukebox Tights, Haute Wire Headband and my favorite, the Shifting Gears Jacket (seen in the first photo) which I’ve been wearing nearly every day! This photo was taken in Pioneer Place, a behemoth of a shopping mall which has all of my favorite chain store standbys all under one roof.”
2. Pioneer Courthouse Square. “A stop in Pioneer Courthouse Square, nicknamed ‘Portland’s Living Room,’ is a must. It’s centrally located, a great place to meet the locals and rest and eat lunch after some power shopping.”
3. Powell’s Books and Reading Frenzy. “Everyone makes time to stop by Powell’s Books. It’s known as the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world, and there really is something for everyone lurking inside. Directly across the street from Powell’s is the new Dr. Martens store with a selection of shoes in every color of the rainbow. And, just around the corner is Reading Frenzy, a go-to for independent zines.”
4. Rocco’s. “Portland is a foodie’s paradise but sometimes, on those long, dreary days, you just need some comfort food. I swear by the veggie pizza at Rocco’s (near Powell’s Books). It’s cheap, healthy, and fills you up. A winning combo, if you ask me!”
5. Stumptown Coffee. “Stumptown Coffee is a Portland institution. The casual, minimal, brick-walled atmosphere is perfect for catching up with friends, and the huge glass windows facing the street mean that it’s an ideal spot for people watching.”
6. Kenny & Zuke’s and Clyde Common. “Next to Stumptown are some other small town heroes, Kenny & Zuke’s (perfect for a sandwich) and Clyde Common (a restaurant with a casual European atmosphere). I love both!”
7. Ace Hotel. “Finally, after hitting the pavement all day, the perfect final resting place is the Ace Hotel. It’s unpretentious and cozy–just like Portland. And, it has a photo booth (which accepts ATM cards!) in the lobby! It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Thanks to Nubby for her tour of Portland! If you live in Portland or have ever been, what would you recommend?
portland, style bloggers, tours, wanderlust
This is so cool! One of my favorite bloggers is from Portland! I just heard about Powell’s books on NPR too! Love this! Oh and hey, if you ever want someone to do one of these for Detroit….(just sayin’).
Nubby is such a beautiful inspiration!
I lived in Portland for two years (and will be returning one day) and one of my favorite things to do was to hit up the foodcarts which are located all over Portland. Some of the best are in Hawthorne neighborhood and also in Mississippi neighborhood. The best coffee shop by far is Love Cup in Sellwood (which is a subrub of Portland).
That’s a pretty good review of downtown but for the real Portland experience go beyond the shopping and pearl districts and explore the various neighborhoods. I quite frankly love NE Portland and the quirky shopping on Hawthorne or the incredible food on Alberta or look at the lovely houses in the Irvington District. From March to December you HAVE to go the Portland Saturday Market along the waterfront. Oh I could go on and on…
Being from the south, when I moved to Portland about 10 years ago all I wanted to do was search out a place to find good southern food with a portland twist. Pine State Biscuits was just the spot to curve my southern cravings while still getting the small hole in the wall feel that portland loves to provide. They have homemade biscuits and sweet tea in mason jars. A MUST GO TO!
I live very close to Portland so I go there often. It’s great to see Modcloth showcasing the beauty of Portland!
Don’t leave out the East Side! It’s way better than downtown.
I agree with Colleen, Southeast is the absolute best. Especially Hawthorne and Belmont between 30th – 39th, tons of coffee, shopping, and awesomeness abounds.
I’m interning here in Downtown Portland until mid-January and have frankly fallen in love with this city (with the help of finding a male counterpart to love with it!). And this article just sums up everything I love about this place. Thanks for brightening my day. 🙂
One of my favorite cities ever!
This is so awesome! I just moved to Portland this past spring, and I’m so deliriously in love with this city. Although compared to the town I used to live in (Missoula, MT), Portland is the Big City. More great places to visit here are Voodoo Donuts, the Saturday Market, and the Japanese Garden.
This blog entry just barely scratched the surface! Hawthorne is a great shopping/eating/people-existing part of town, and I adore the relatively new Chinese Garden in Old Town (though the Japanese Garden and the Rose Garden cannot be beat on a dry June day). Also, check out the amazing music scene! Great local venues: Holocene, Doug Fir Lounge, and the historic Crystal Ballroom range from small to big and are great places to start your love affair with P-town sounds.
Wow Portland looks very cool. I may have to add it to my “cities to visit” list! And how CUTE is that dress!!
I am an East Coast girl, but Portland is my favorite West Coast city (I lived in the SF Bay Area for 5 years). I don’t have a recommendation specifically except to walk around and explore on your own. And stop in the pubs along the way.
I LOVE Portland! I visited some family there this summer and absolutely fell in love. Portland has such a great vibe and I’d love to live there one day.
Travel Bug is definitely my favorite feature. I’m so glad you chose Portland this time! Portland has been on the top of my travel-to list for about a year now and this makes the desire to go even stronger. I’ll definitely bookmark this post so I can read it before I go!
I live in Portland currently and while I’m not as charmed by it as some (I grew up in Seattle and the small town vibe of Portland is off-putting for me.) I would suggest straying from Downtown if you take a trip here and walk up to 23rd st. (Yes walk, one thing I do love about Portland is that it’s so walkable). There are great shops along the streets heading up there as well as the streets themselves. I also have to give a shout out to Tender Loving Empire which moved just by Powell’s earlier in the year. They are an independent Artists Collective, Record Label and Screen-print shop. For truly unique gifts and music made by local artists it’s a must.
I see we posted simultaneously on essentially the same thing. Small world 🙂
If you’re by Powell’s, you should definitely check out Tender Loving Empire, a little store full of local art, books, and other knick-nacks. They also have their own record company and a nice little selection of local music. Love it there. And I agree with other posters, checking out the East side is a must, esp. Hawthorne, Belmont, Mississippi, and Alberta. Mt. Tabor is beautiful all year round and is a nice little oasis for hiking, painting, taking pictures, walking your dog… or watching the Soapbox Derby! The Nob Hill area is not too far from downtown– NW 21st Ave is full of great food and bars, and Cinema 21 is nothing short of awesome. 23rd has some decent (window) shopping and little hole-in-the-wall places like Escape From New York Pizza hidden amongst the pricier boutiques. And plenty of variety for you Japanese and Thai cuisine lovers. Yum. Okay, I’ll stop gushing now… just really love living here xx
Cute little tour, and the spots she visited encompass a very small square block radius in downtown’s up and coming West End shopping district. While the inner SE/NE hoods are charming, neither one has the vibrancy of downtown/NW/pearl.
Love the blog! After extensive travel, I myself have wound up in and stayed long in Portland. IHowever, I would like to be the doomsayer and point out that only a native would describe Portland as “unpretentious”…
Sweet tooth? Rimsky-Korsakoffee House “Rimsky’s” is ultra quirky and Portland-esque. Hot fudge sundae and black coffee… check 🙂 Enjoy!
This should actually be renamed “Tour of about 3 Blocks in Portland.” There’s really much, much more to our gorgeous city.
I’d suggest checking out Buffalo Exhange in portland as well! very fun to explore and dig through as well as in powells!
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