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The Best Things to do In Portland

Updated: Jan 23

  1. Visit Lan Su Chinese Gardens

Lan Su Gardens in downtown Portland are a beautiful and serene respite. Lan Su was built by Chinese artisans from Suzhou (Portland's sister city) and they are reportedly one the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China.

On your visit, learn about Chinese history, admire art and calligraphy, and end up at the tea house for tea and Dim Sum. Must haves: mooncake, dumplings, and sugared mango.

2. Heathman Hotel

Iconic upscale hotel in downtown Portland, featuring contemporary art and a beautiful lending library in the lobby. It was also the scetting for a scene in 50 Shades of Grey.

3. Day trip to Cannon Beach.

The drive from Portland to Cannon Beach is about one and a half hours, roughly 80 miles. Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach are amongst the most beauiful places in the world. This location has also been listed 21 Best Beaches in the World

National Geographic. Great photo opps and a multitude of tide pools to explore. For lunch or dinner, enjoy local beer and coastal pub fare at Pelican Brewing. If you wanta more elevated dining expierence with great seafood with a view of Cannon Beach, check out The Wayfarer.

4. French bar food at Canard.

Canard, opened by James Beard award winning chef Gabriel Rucker, offers elegantly innovative French bar food. Paired with classic cocktails and a wonderful wine selection, this is definitely a must try when in Portland.


  • Foie Gras Dumplings w/rhubarb/pistachiomarigold

  • Duck Stack pancakes w/duck gravy/tabasco onions/duck egg/add foie gras

  • Belle Oiseau' (Riesling/Pinot Gris/Muscat/Gewürztraminer)

  • Belle Pente, '18, Willamette Valley

5. Thai at Farmhouse Kitchen and Thai.

Chef Kasem Saengsawa serves savory, made from scratch and sourced locally Thai street food and entrees. It has been voted "Best Thai Restaurant" by Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016-2019. And it's no wonder! Flavorful, fresh, inventive and colorful. Down to the whimsical cocktails.

Featured dinner:

Little Lao Table Set for 2.

fresh rolls with peanut sauce, crispy rolls, samosa, neua num tok rolls, papaya salad, panang neau short ribs, hat yai fried chicken with curry sauce, shrimp fried rice, pad thai tofu, fried egg, spicy eggplant, roti bread, blue rice


Mermaid Dreams and the Black Pink.

6. 40 lbs. Coffee

Coffee is to Portland as Cactus is to Phoenix. The Northwest has a natural beauty of verdant greens, prehistoric forests, am abundance of nature for the outdoor enthusiast...and consequenty this is seen in a lot of the interior design. This is my favorite coffee shop in Portland.

Featured: Cardamom latte with Coava coffee, avocado toast with fried garlic/chili oil/lemon.

8. Voodoo Donuts

A 24 hour donut shop created by Portland based Kenneth Pogson and Richard Shannon. With a cult following, 50 flavors (including their signature maple bacon bar), and many wacky varieties such as the Voodoo Doll and Marshall Mathers, there is always a line to get a donut here.

They are not gourmet. They are deep fried dough blasted with creamy sugary glazed, unique toppings such as Oreo cookies and Captain Crunch. Featured here: 'The Viscous Hibiscus.'

9. Peruvian Street Cuisine at Chicha.

Chef Alexander Diestra serves up great delights such as the Papa Rellena, peruvian style croquettes with egg, ground lamb, rocoto sauce, huancaina sauce and salsa criolla. Also try the Humita (tamale of fresh sweet corn, aji amarillo, queso fresco, uchucuta sauce and salsa criolla. Wash it down with these two cocktails: Sacsayahuaman (signature cocktail with house infused habanero vodka, passionfruit and cane sugar). Also the Ahumado de Pepinillo (mezcal, pisco, fresh lime juice, cucumber and egg whites).

10. Romantic Dinner at Lechon.

South American cuisine meets Pacific Northwest in an immersive atmosphere with coral reef aquariums and industrial meets rustic design elements.

Must try Featured items:

1. pan seared scallops- fresh corn polenta, tomatoes, parmesan, fine herbs.

2. bone marrow - bread, parsley, shallot, caper mustard salad, chimichurri.

3. spiced tuna tiradito - sesame emulsion, orange leche de tigre

4. Mal Humorado - el jimador reposado tequila, combier, habanero syrup, mango, lime.

10. The Portland Rose Gardens

Imagine being in a place where you are surrounded by the smell of rose and citrus…almost like an herbal tea. It’s intoxicating. Store bought roses have none of the beautiful compounds that impart that seductive scent, that in the Wild lures pollinators. That’s why this is a must visit, so you can 'stop and smell the roses.'

11. Relaxing Stroll in the Japanese Gardens.

Nobuo Matsunaga, former Ambassador of Japan to the United States, visited these gardens and stated that they are “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese gardens in the world outside of Japan.”

The Garden is located in the hills of Washington Park, overlooking the city, and is 1 acres of traquil gardens, an Japanese Tea House, koi ponds, streams and small waterfalls, intimate walkways, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood.

12. Clam Chowder at Southpark Seafood.

Southpark Seafood has the best clam chowder in Portland! This sustainable restaurant that has been in operation for two decades has elevated the clam chowder to another level with clams in the shell, as well as adding flavorful gnocchi to this already toothsome chowder. The shrimp and grits were also a fantastic addition to this menu. Super creamy, with fresh juicy prawns and a little kick. The cocktail program was a beautiful complement To the fare.

13. Spanish Coffee Service at Huber's.


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