We deemed this the “summer of fun”. We had a house full of visitors which made everyone less homesick. It also provided the perfect excuse to explore Portland like a tourist. We made sure to try at least one new adventure or restaurant with each visitor too. Sometimes it was a huge success and sometimes an epic fail but when I go to (or past) the places we tried I get the warm feeling of friendship all over again.
Here is my list of staples for visitors:
Powell’s is a hit with all visitors but especially the young ones. Getting to hold books in your hands is a lost pleasure in the age of Amazon & ebooks. The employees at Powell’s are top notch professionals. When my daughter requested a non-fiction book on Mermaids, the info. desk personnel tried very hard to find her one. My friend even found the obscure books written by two of his friends on the shelves.
*tip- Powell’s has used books too. They are co-mingled with the new ones so dig through the stack and you may find your selection at a discount.
My husband finds VooDoo to be grossly overrated. Here is why you need to go anyway. The downtown location allows you to stand in line in front of a porn theatre and make cream filling jokes to pass the time. The flavors are unique and there is even a rapper series you can try to complete (Marshall Mathers, ODB and the blunt). When you say you went to Portland, people will ask if you went to VooDoo so you might as well go and have a donut & some Stumptown coffee.
*tip- Go to the location on the East side of the river for a shorter line and a mechanical elephant to ride if you are under 150 lbs.
Salt and Straw
Salt and Straw is a foodie ice cream shop. There is a reason there’s a line and there is a reason it’s not full of kids (unless you count hipsters). You will often find local harvest items or even local brews in these unique concoctions. When you do reach the front of the line they are happy to give you a taste of some flavors to help you make a good decision.
*tip -You can skip the line if you are just grabbing pints from the freezer and head straight to the register.
Admittedly I never really trusted the food trucks in Chicago, exempt the cupcake truck which I loved. I didn’t like that I had to follow them on twitter to know where they were or that there was exhaust involved. Now that I am here I get the Portland Food Cart obsession. The food carts in Portland have a lease and generally stay put in a designated lot. They can be found in almost every neighborhood in Portland. Many of them have amazing food and the lots offer something for everyone in one place. Just don’t expect it to be quick. You can expect about the same timing as ordering in a restaurant.