The District Domestic’s Guide to 48 Hours in Portland, OR

So it’s taken me a week to get it together, but here it finally is… my guide to 48 hours in Portland, which is just about exactly how long we had in Oregon last weekend!

Day 1: Start by checking into the Hotel deLuxe for old-time Hollywood glamour and posh accommodations.  The halls are filled with black and whites of famous movie scenes and the rooms feel perfectly luxurious, without being over the top.

Be sure to include a Saturday in your trip as the Portland Farmer’s Market is one of the best I’ve seen, but more about that later… Trust me, just go!

After purchasing all sorts of goodies for a day trip (we picked up cheese, bread, miniature cookies, pizza, apples and pears), jump in the car and head for the hills (ok, they’re definitely mountains), but anyway, drive east on 84 until you get to Route 30 (The Historic Highway, which is exit 17).  Now’s, the time to sit back and enjoy the ride.  There are plenty of waterfalls along the route to do mini-hikes of less than a mile to view.  We loved the Bridal Veil Falls and Multnomah Falls, both of which have options for longer hikes.

After leaving Multnomah Falls, get back on 84 and head east for nine more exits.  Get off at Bonneville Dam to visit the incredible fish ladder that help adult fish such as salmon and steelhead trout migrate upstream.  Built by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bradford Island Visitor’s Center is an educational stop where you can watch through underground windows into a fish ladder to see as fish navigate up the current.  Workers count around the clock to track increases and decreases in fish runs.  We couldn’t believe how many we saw!  Last year, over 1.4 million fish of the salmon variety went through the ladder!  I know it sounds nerdy and like high school biology class, but you’ve got to check this out.  It was really amazing!

Hop back on 84 and keep heading east.  In just a few miles, you’ll reach the Bridge of the Gods which connects Oregon and Washington state.  For the dollar toll each way, the view crossing the bridge is definitely worth it, plus you can then check Washington state off your list of places you’ve been.

Continue on 84 until exit 64 for Route 35.  Just after getting onto Route 35, take the short jaunt to Panorama Point.  It’s only a few minutes of a drive and the view of the apple and pear orchards with Mount Hood in the background is breath taking!  Once back on 35, head south for just a bit and you’ll reach the Mount Hood Ranger’s Station – a great place to pick up brochures/maps for the next little leg of your journey. The view of the mountain as you continue along 35 is beautiful.  In the picture below, we came around a corner and had to hurry to stop to take this shot.

We then continued along 35 until it turned into Route 26 and then headed north to the Timberline Lodge, which is the ski resort on the mountain in during the winter months.  This is also where hikers attempting to summit the mountain begin their journey around midnight during the month of July.

From here continue on 26 until you get back to the exits for 84 back into Portland.  The whole loop took us about 7 hours, though we really took our time and did several of the little hikes.  I would imagine if you just drove the loop without getting out of the car, it would be between 2-3 hours.

As for dinner check out one of the food trucks or local Mexican places, we were so tired after the long day of hiking that to go food while sitting in our hotel room watching a movie was just what we needed!

Day 2: Don’t waste your time at the “famous” Saturday Market (which is actually open Saturday and Sunday), instead for the up and coming Mississippi Ave. district,  but first, start your day with a leisurely breakfast at Mother’s Bar & Bistro.  Try the Mexican Scramble (filled with corn off the cob, poblano peppers, jack cheese and served with tortillas) and a bloody made from a delicious homemade mix.  The shabby chic atmosphere is so inviting you’ll want another bloody!

Then hop the train and head to the Mississippi Ave. District.   Walk from the train stop to the hip new shops – but, don’t be put off by the walk, which takes you through a neighborhood and over a major highway, you’ll be surprised and delighted by the plethora of hidden gems once you reach Mississippi Avenue.  Here are some of our favorite stops:

Amnesia Brewery – A true local micro-pub.  With a barebones back-to-basics atmosphere, enjoy a cold one while giving your feet a break at one of the picnic tables out front.  It’s among the best people watching in Portland.

The Meadows – Think you’re ahead of the culinary curve by cooking with Maldon and Kosher salts?  Think again!  Stop in here to try and buy from over a hundred salts.  And while you’re at it, pick up a fresh bouquet of flowers and bottle of wine for a romantic evening.  And, of course, dessert!  The Meadows also carried more artisan chocolate bars than I’ve ever seen in one place!  Definitely one of the most exciting new food stores in the country!

Pistils Nursery – For a little bit of country in the big city, check out Pistils. From their Anthropologie-esque store, they promote the idea of home-grown urban agriculture.  I wanted to buy everything in this store, but had to refrain as I didn’t think Southwest Airlines would appreciate my bringing it on a 6 hour flight back to DC.  Their indoor plants were really beautiful and it’s very apparent they take great care of them!

Porch Light – Visit Porch Light for the perfect gift for your girlfriends.  They carry vintage and vintage-inspired pieces for the home.  When I stopped in a frequent shopper was loading a shabby chic sideboard table into her husband’s truck – she said it was perfect for their front porch.    I found all sorts of kitchen gadgets and little notepads that I couldn’t live without.  Be warned though, men will quickly lose their patience with you in this store.  It’s so full of interesting things you could easily browse for an hour.

When you’ve had enough, walk down to the Widmer Brewery and have a cold one at their Gasthaus Pub.  Their Beer Cheese Soup is incredible (get the recipe here) as are the hamburgers.

Then hop in a cab to the Columbia Sportswear Outlet at their Historic Old Sellwood location.  We went hog wild as we couldn’t believe how great the deals were.  Then hop on a bus back across the bridge into downtown Portland.

Give yourself a little downtime to enjoy a drink while getting ready for dinner at Clyde Common.  We had an incredible meal of fried chicken livers, perfectly fried french fries, tomato melon salad, roasted rooster and a lemon pudding cake (just to name our favorite parts of the meal).  Sundsays equal half priced bottles of sparkling wine.  You’ll be so pleasantly full, you’ll be out when your head hits the pillow!

And if there’s time on your last morning (we might be just a few hours over 48) hop in a cab and head north to Portland’s Rose Garden. The International Test Garden is beautiful at sunrise and has a great view of the city.  And for you true lovers of roses, their David Austin beds are pretty amazing!

So, I hope you enjoy!  And, if you’ve been to Portland, please share your favorite places to travel, shop, eat and enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest city!

1 Comment

Filed under Food, Gardening, Outside DC, Restaurants, shopping, travel

One response to “The District Domestic’s Guide to 48 Hours in Portland, OR

  1. looks like a great trip! that’s a beautiful shot of the artichokes! i love going to different farmers markets. that waterfall also looks amazing!!

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