This place is a wonderland.
If this will be your first time traveling to Portland, to Oregon, or to the Pacific Northwest, welcome! We enjoy visiting towns we’ve never been to and relish a built-in excuse to do so—we hope you’ll do the same. We’ve listed some of our favorite places to eat, drink, shop (sales tax-free!) and visit below. We also recommend The Willamette Week, Eater PDX, and Travel Oregon for your perusal and planning.
Beer Theaters - Portland’s movie theaters sell beer and pizza. If a theater opened without a full bar and several pizza options, the town would revolt. We most often go to the Academy Theater (up the street from our house), which charges $4 a ticket and shows new releases alongside older movies. We saw Repo Man (1987) there on our second date.
Southeast Asian Food - Portland has really good food. It’s difficult to go wrong. However, if you’re interested in going extra right, we can assure you that Pok Pok lives up to the hype. Skip waiting for a table (for maybe an hour or more) at the original Southeast Division location and eat across the street at their sister Whiskey Soda lounge. The menu is almost the same (it might even be better), and you can watch Thai action movies from the 80s while you chomp on the absolutely-worth-it fish sauce wings.
Neighborhoods - Portland’s neighborhoods each center around a node of shopping, eating, and drinking that makes the part of the city what it is. While there are some repeats (every neighborhood seems to have a Salt & Straw ice cream, with good reason), each offers something unique. We find ourselves on SE Hawthorne (a better Powell’s than downtown), N Mississippi (Paxton Gate!), NW 23rd (old Portland), and SE Stark (brunch epicenter) most of the time. Division (boutiques, bars and coffee), Burnside (vintage stores and cocktails), and the Pearl (high-end old Portland, big breweries) are also excellent.
Coffee - If you skip our wedding to go on a coffee tour, we will understand. Portland is home to some of the best roasters in the country. Coava is the standout, must-drink coffee of legend. For coffee shops and cafes, we recommend Barista, Sterling, Extracto and Case Study.
Hood River and the Gorge
Hiking - The Columbia River Gorge is a protected scenic area for a reason. Even driving through it yields some pretty spectacular views. A wildfire took out many of the hiking trails recently, but several have re-opened or will open by September. This tool lets you search for a trail that fits your schedule, energy level, and enthusiasm for waterfalls.
River Sports - Hood River is a well-known windsurfing destination, but you can also find many other river-based activities on offer including kayaking, paddleboarding and jetskiing. Parks and beaches along the riverfront are also great for picnics and walks.
Food & Drink - Hood River has delicious food and beer. Breweries for Full Sail, pFriem, and Double Mountain are all based in Hood River, and offer full menus along with more beer than you could possibly need. Double Mountain pizza deserves special mention (add Mama Lil’s peppers to whichever one you order). Portland staple Broder serves a Scandinavian brunch menu good enough to merit a satellite location Broder Ost in Hood River. Pine Street Bakery has excellent sandwiches.