Portland

This relaxed, hipster city is the largest in Oregon and definitely worth a visit when in the Pacific Northwest. Portland is brimming with independently-owned shops, microbreweries, farm-to-table restaurants and has no shortage of wilderness escapes. The city is home to the Columbia and Willamette rivers, and is about 1.5 hours from the famous Mount Hood. Portland’s surrounding national parks offer plenty of adventure for hikers, kite-surfers, skiers, and more.

The Portland airport is about 35 minutes from city center. Take the MAX light rail or an Uber. If you plan on exploring the region, we highly recommend renting a car for a few days to check out some of the national parks nearby.

EAT

Portland is well-known for its restaurant scene, craft beer and food truck (cart) culture. The food carts are located in “pods” sprinkled throughout the city. Wandering around downtown? Head to the food pod between 9th & 10th Avenues on Adler Street, and don’t miss the Grilled Cheese Grill for their famous, cheesy sandwiches.

Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom Brick oven pizza and beer? Our kinda place. Try the Truffle Shuffle.

Imperial Located Downtown, this American style eatery from Chef Vitaly Paley is a delicious brunch spot. On the hungrier side? Opt for the Fried Chicken or French Toast.

Ox Restuarant Argentinian steakhouse famous for its wood-fired grill.

Paley's Place Upscale yet casual dinner in Nob Hill. The chef’s focus is on sustainable, locally-sourced Pacific Northwest plates.

Pine State Biscuits Famous breakfast eatery with three locations in the city. Go for the signature homemade biscuits and gravy or fried chicken.

Pok Pok Authentic, Thai cuisine in a chill, outdoor atmosphere. We like the original location on Division.

Salt & Straw Not your average ice cream shop. This creamery offers eclectic flavours like Arbequina Olive Oil and Honey Lavender with homemade waffle cones. Plain Vanilla kinda guy? No worries, they have it all!

Toro Bravo Spain meets Portland. Expect to find a mix of pintxos, tapas, charcuteria and a seasonal menu that changes daily based on local produce. A delicious, modern and local take on traditional Spanish dishes.

DRINK

Barista Little coffee shop on Alberta Street.

Breakside Brewery Craft beers and delicious bar food.

Great Notion Brewing Award-winning brewery with funky and fruity IPAs. We love the cans to-go.

Stumptown Sustainable coffee homegrown in Portland. Try the cold-brew!

PLAY

Downtown Like most downtown areas, Portland has it all. We love wandering around downtown as there are always new shops that are a bit unique and quirky in their own right. As an added bonus, the state has no sales-tax!

Japanese Garden Over five acres of beautiful gardens on the west side of the city.

Powell's Largest collection of new and used books in the US.

Union Way A little shopping quarter with various boutiques. Definitely check out All Good and Bridge & Burn for stylish and functional outerwear.

Waterfront Park If visiting for a weekend, check out this area on Saturday for the weekly market with locals selling a bit of everything. Portland at its finest.

DAY TRIPS

Canon Beach Home of the famous Haystack Rock, this beach is a perfect day trip from the city. Enjoy the beach, go for a hike in Ecola State Park, or explore this small seaside village for local food and shopping.

Columbia River Gorge National Park 30 minutes outside of Portland, this national park hosts an outdoor playground with several hiking trails and beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge. Check here for trail information.

Mount Hood 1.5 hour drive from Portland, Mount Hood offers a variety of activities no matter the time of year. We visited during December and took advantage of the snow sports. We recommend booking a chalet in Government Camp and driving up to the mountain during the day. Airbnb had great options for our family. Government Camps offers a village-feel, and is within walking distance to shops, restaurants, and bars. For skiing, there are three options: Ski Bowl, Meadows and Timberline. We skied Meadows and loved skiing in the tree-line.

Tamanawas Falls This 6 kilometer hike is east of Mount Hood and begins at the Sherwood Trailhead. This is an easy path straight to the falls and back. Proper hiking shoes are recommended.

Timberline Lodge Check out (or stay in) this historic landmark lodge constructed in 1937 during the Great Depression. This lodge offers ski in/out access to the slopes and on site restaurants & bars. The lodge is also famous for its role in the movie, The Shining.

Multnomah Falls Iconic waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. The trail is currently under repair after the forest fires so check here for the latest updates on trails.

STAY

We recommend using Downtown or the Pearl District for a base. The Pearl is known for its art galleries, boutique shopping, and dining nearby. Staying in Downtown? Check out The Nines on Morrison Street for its location, comfort, and friendly staff.

LOCATIONS NEARBY

Whistler Blackcomb

The twin peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb are one of the largest ski and snowboard resorts in North America, and just 120 kilometers north of Vancouver.

The mountain offers quite the winter playground with over 200 marked trails. Ski season runs from November through May and lift tickets can be booked in advance to save on the peak price. Alternatively, visit the mountains in off-season for excellent hiking and mountain biking.

EAT

Creekbread Wood-fired pizza.

COWS Whistler Amazing ice cream… treat yourself!

Earl’s Kitchen American-style bar with food. Go for happy hour.

Nagomi Sushi Good sushi in a cozy Japanese restaurant. Convenient if you are staying in the upper village.

DRINK

The Fitzsimmons Pub Neighborhood bar with craft beers and board games.

Garibaldi Lift Co. Bar & Grill Après-ski bar with an outdoor patio.

Merlins Bar & Grill Après-ski bar at the base of Blackcomb.

PLAY

Ski, snowboard, hike, etc. The mountains have it all! The PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola allows easy access between Whistler and Blackcomb.

High Note Trail Take the Whistler Gondola and Peak Chairlift to the trailhead, which begins at the top of Whistler Mountain. At the top, you have 360 degree views of hundreds of snow covered peaks! Distance is 9.4 kilometers (moderate difficulty).

Joffre Lakes Trail Hike near Pemberton A 10 kilometer hike through forests with beautiful mountain and lake views (moderate difficulty)

For more information on these hikes and others, check out the Whistler trail map here.

Relax and unwind After a day on the mountains enjoy one of the many spa options in the villages.

STAY

Upper Village and Whistler Village are both easily accessible by car and have their own lifts, making both locations desirable. They are also both connected by a pedestrian walkway (5-10 minute walk).

Whistler Village is more commercial with more restaurants, bars and shops. There are also several Airbnb options in the area which we opted for as we prefer the space. With regards to hotels, we have been recommended the Four Seasons Resort Whistler or Fairmont Chateau Whistler, which has ski-in ski-out access.