Bridge City: Around Town Portland Guide

A NON-EXHAUSTIVE
IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER
LIST OF PLACES & THINGS
I LOVE IN PORTLAND.

PDX GEOGRAPHY LESSON
First things first, I’ll explain the simple and organized way this city was built. Portland is split into carefully designed quadrants that are established by easily identifiable landmarks:

Willamette River
Runs vertically through the middle of the city, separating EAST from WEST

Burnside Street
Major road running right through the middle of the city, dividing the NORTH from SOUTH

Each quadrant is made up of smaller neighborhoods like Buckman (SE), Concordia (NE), Pearl District (NW), and many more, but most locals tend to use the quadrant terms to share where they live or work.


SOUTHEAST PORTLAND

NEVER COFFEE LAB: 4243 SE Belmont #200

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The lovechild of Portland’s premiere coffee scene + the creative agency gurus at Juliet Zulu, this place is a visual masterpiece. Every detail is considered and completely photo worthy = an instagram dream. Although fairly new to the neighborhood, Never Coffee Lab has made some impact on my piggy bank as I’ve found myself craving a taste of not only their delicious Roseline espresso concoctions but also their vibes on the regular.

Yes, I said it, the vibes are strong with this one.

With friendly staff, colorful finishings, and just enough of that minimalist touch, this is a great place to spend some time reading, eating fancy artisanal poptart pastries, or just plugging away at work on your computer.

Follow the vibes: @neverlab

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PARCEL: 4243 SE Belmont #300

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Just a couple doors down from Never Coffee Lab is another gem in the city, and a new place to find the most quintessential Portland themed gifts around. The Parcel shop concept was sparked by a totally smart idea, create pre-packaged gift boxes that tell unique Portland stories and can be used for corporate gifting, or just the special something to bring home after a weekend visit.

This tiny shop showcases hometown brands like Jacobsen Salt Co., Bee Local, Olo Fragrance, and many more. I’m in love with this shop because they envisioned this with a purpose to both curate something beautiful and support local brands + makers. This will for sure be one of my top places to do Christmas shopping this year!

Visit: parcelportland.com

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TUSK: 2448 EAST BURNSIDE

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As one of the newest restaurants in Portland, Tusk has already made a big impression. The creation of Chef Sam Smith and help from Ava Gene’s Chef Joshua McFadden, this beautifully designed pastel heaven, that always seems to be filled with light, is a grand slam. That’s not even mentioning the incredible eats!

Tusk has a mouth watering menu, with major focus on veggies, and is what Chef Smith likes to call a Portland twist on Middle-Eastern Flavors. After locking down the dinner scene with their delicious seasonal salads and skewers, they recently opened up to Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, and O M G.

My suggestion is to try as many dishes as you can. Order it family style and share with friends. Some of my favorites though:

The Cypriot – Halloumi, lamb skewer, fried eggs, pickled pepper, and herb salad

Black Gold Cocktail – Lustau Fino sherry, Beefeater gin, lemon, honey, activated charcoal

Check out their Instagram: @tuskpdx

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MORE SE PORTLAND GOODNESS

PALACE STORE: 2205 SE Burnside
An eclectic mix of vintage and new cool-girl fashion, with an excellently curated selection of home + beauty products, this is the ultimate rad chick shop. A touch of hippy, a touch of fashion, a touch of kooky –  it’s hands down one of my all-time favorite places to go for inspiration and pretty much always blowing my budget.

HOUSE OF VINTAGE: 3315 SE Hawthorne
I almost didn’t want to put this on the list because it’s where I get 90% of my clothing. It’s a total diamond, but only if you’re willing to spend some time browsing the countless racks of vintage finds. This place is the real deal when it comes to one-of-a-kind vintage at a decent price in Portland.

MEAT CHEESE BREAD: 1406 SE Stark
If you’re like me, you’re always looking for the best breakfast burrito in town. Look no further, MCB is king of all breakfast burritos in Portland. This is a frequent pit stop of mine, and I never forget to add Avocado (plus bacon for those meat-eaters) to top it off. One bite in and you’ll experience crunchy hash browns, green chilis, and cold roasted tomatoes, the perfect mixture of texture, warmth, and flavor.

I’m not afraid to say that I am passionate burrito connoisseur. 🌯


SOUTHWEST PORTLAND

BACKTALK PDX: 421 SW 10th Ave

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I have the biggest crush on fashionista slash entrepreneur Katie Freedle and her dreamy retail space. Tucked between some of Portland’s most notable retail destinations, like Poler Stuff and Frances May, Backtalk is a place where those of us with a little twist of kookiness can live and breathe. Backtalk is filled with playful art installations, cosmically beautiful jewelry, and both vintage + local designer fashion.

This is not only a retail space, it’s also served as a studio for fashion designers like Laurs Kemp, offering them the opportunity to work and showcase their line.

Backtalk is definitely a must-see for any Portland visit, even if you’re a little less kooky than me.

View the shop on Instagram: @backtalkpdx

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ACE HOTEL PORTLAND: 1022 SW Stark

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It wouldn’t be a Portland guide if I didn’t mention the Ace Hotel. A hub in the city for all things creative and youthful, Ace Hotel is definitely the place to stay if you’re looking for great access to Portland’s many amenities. Shopping, restaurants, walkable destinations, and transportation are all within reach – making this the perfect launch pad to all things Portland. Don’t forget, it’s super cute and actually affordable.

Grab a coffee at Stumptown Roasters in the lobby, get in the photobooth with your friends, and chill with a book on the comfy couches. It’s also one of the most “grammable” spots in Portland. Don’t judge, everyone does it. 😉

Follow along, and find the nearest Ace Hotel to you: @acehotel

 

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MORE SW FAVORITES

PSU FARMERS MARKET: 1717 SW Park Ave
This is one of my favorite Farmers Markets in the city. Running year round, every Saturday morning, you can find all the local meats, breads, flowers, food trucks, and great people watching. Don’t miss it!

LUC LAC: 835 SW 2nd Ave
Hands down, the best late night food in all of Portland. Open till 4AM on the weekends means I have taken my fair share of Lyft rides here for an incredible bowl of Tofu Vermicelli Salad and fresh spring rolls. YUM.


NORTHWEST PORTLAND

FOREST PARK: 3800 NW Thurman

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If you’ve been in Portland for even 10 minutes you may have already heard someone brag about Forest Park. It’s the largest city park in the nation, with 5k plus acres of wooded trails, bike paths, and endless viewpoints. We are truly lucky to have access to the outdoors just a quick bike ride from anywhere in the city. My favorite way to get here is biking across one of the many Portland Bridges – hence “Bridge City” – and finding some trails to explore.

Forest Park is tucked into the hills above NW Portland and from certain vantage points you can overlook the city in all her glory with Mt. Hood in the background – what a delight.

Whether you’re a trail crusher looking for a 30 mile loop to run on, or just a few miles of light bird-watching on a Sunday, this place has it all.

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OTHER NW GOODIES

PRASAD: 925 NW Davis
Vegan does not have to mean flavorless tofu. This place does vegan justice, with a diverse and flavorful assortment of hearty bowls, bountiful salads, and smoothies for days. Prasad is connected to a yoga studio as well, which means it’s the perfect zen place to grab lunch after a stressful work morning.

NW 13TH AVE BLOCKS BETWEEN FLANDERS + LOVEJOY
A historic section of city blocks in Portland that has slowly but surely become a hub of retail, coffee shops, and super cool office spaces. A wide street that use to serve the meat-packing district of Portland, is a fun walk and gives you a view into how the city has partnered with private development to maintain its historical charm. Visit places like: Snow Peak, Vintalier, KEEN, Barista, Lizard Lounge, and more.


NORTHEAST PORTLAND

ALBERTA ARTS DISTRICT: NE Alberta St. + surrounding area

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One the best ways to explore a city is simply walking as much as you can. Even after living in Portland for 8 years, I am constantly exploring neighborhoods and discovering new pockets of rad vibes. I suggest starting on a popular street like Alberta, and meandering through the streets to see the creative energy each home brings to this city. If you’ve got a dog to join you – even better. There are over 279 parks in Portland, with an astounding 10k acres of land. I’m on a mission to see every single one.

Another thing you’ll notice is how friendly Portlanders are. We’re known for it, even though we jokingly tell people not to move here because it rains all the time….but seriously, it does rain a lot 😉

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THE WAYBACK: 4719 N Albina

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If you’re down with mid-century design, funky beats, and a relaxed atmosphere then look no further. The Way Back, a new lounge bar concept from Tanner Goods, is my favorite new hangout in Portland. I think I’ve been there 4 times in the last week, and it’s always a good time. They’ve intentionally built a space that feels like your new living room, and has details like sexy fire-pits outside and nightly DJ sets from local talents such as the stylish Timothy Blanchard, Meghan Wright, Colton Tong, and Christian Davis.

Kick back, enjoy the music, and grab a tasty cocktail fireside, you won’t regret it. The entrance to the lounge is through the Tanner Goods retail space, which is a design dream of its own, filled with an impeccable selection of leather goods handmade in right here in Portland, OR.

Scope the scene on their Instagram accounts @tannergoods + @thewaybackpdx

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EXPLORE MORE NORTHEAST

THE KNOCKBACK: 2315 NE Alberta
A super low key vibe, this bar wouldn’t appear at first sight to be a culinary gold mine, but it’s literally blown my mind every time. They have a diverse selection of vegan or meat-centric sliders that will make your tastebuds scream and one of the best under-the-radar deserts around: A $1 handmade marshmallow that has been soaked in rum and toasted by hand held blowtorch. Try it, for real.

THE MEADOW: 3731 N Mississippi
The four elements of luxury –  Bitters, Chocolates, Salt, and Flowers. This small boutique features goods of the extravagance and I love it. The perfect spot to grab a gift, or just indulge in your every desire – there’s a little something for everyone here. 

All photos by Jules Davies. Say hello to her on Instagram @julesville_ and check out more of her work on her website!

View our Style Guide and Travel Guide from Chelsea and Jules!