I LOVE PORTLAND, OREGON.
This was my first trip to the Pacific Northwest and it met all of my extremely high expectations. We did a weekend trip here since it’s a quick two-hour flight from Los Angeles, but this could easily be a week-long trip. We also brought a few extras, including our pup, Butterscotch, and my sister, brother-in-law, and their one-year-old boy.
Before I get into all of our activities, I should preface this with the fact that we were met with very favorable weather. It didn’t rain once and each day was 60F and sunny. According to Portland locals and historical fact, that is not typical Portland weather. Let’s just say I lucked out and you can expect considerably more rain during your visit.
We were there for three days total and here is how we spent them:
Hiking: We are a family who loves to hike. And while there are endless amounts of hiking options near Portland, we opted for some of the most popular hikes near Multnomah Falls. Not only were there some very family-friendly options, there were also dog-friendly hikes so we were able to bring the whole family. We used my favorite hiking backpack, the Osprey Packs Poco AG Child Carrier, which comes in Blue, Black, and Green. It’s a heavy duty child carrier, but in my opinion is fully worth the price for frequent hikers. Jimmy LOVES sitting in it because he still has full visibility and freedom to move his arms and legs around. It comes with a hidden rain hood and you can also use the pockets to store food and personal items.
The Nines Hotel: As usual, we stayed at a Starwood property using hotel points and were not disappointed. The Nines hotel in Portland is beautiful, conveniently located, and has two excellent restaurants. One night, we were joined by some friends and brought the whole group to Departure Restaurant – it was perfect. We took an early dinner reservation and the restaurant had plenty of other families, making everyone feel at ease.
Eating: You seriously cannot go wrong with food in Portland. Everywhere we went was great and most of the restaurants had vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and any other type of dietary restriction covered. My son cannot eat gluten or dairy so this made things so easy for us at restaurants. Here are my favorites:
- Departure Restaurant: upscale, family-friendly Asian food with great city views and a rooftop lounge
- Petunia’s Pies and Pastries: delicious vegan desserts with dozens of options (I preferred it to the more famous Voodoo Donuts)
- Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen: Vietnamese pho with lot’s of other options for the less adventurous (try eating here during off hours to avoid the lines since they don’t take reservations)
Shopping: ATTENTION SHOPPERS: Oregon does not have sales tax! If you’ve been dying for a new pair of shoes, Portland is a great place to grab them because you can skip the sales tax and save some money. But more importantly, don’t miss Powell’s Books, the largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books. Seriously, even if you just kind of like books, this place is amazing. We grabbed a ton of new books for Jimmy and I also grabbed a few for myself. It’s also great just to look around since it is so massive.
Museums, etc.: Portland is very green, and they love their gardens. We visited Pittock Mansion which is an old historical mansion with beautiful gardens surrounding the property. Admission here is $10 (kids are free), but I would probably only recommend this for older kids. We also visited the gorgeous and serene Lan Su Chinese Garden (also $10 per person, kids free). It is conveniently located downtown (walking distance from my hotel) and has a tea room inside where you can relax and enjoy the property. I could literally spend every afternoon here and be happy.
One thing that really stood out to me in Portland was how many families I saw. This is a perfect vacation spot whether or not you have kids and especially if you love the outdoors. I will definitely be heading back here, probably sometime again this year!