Portland: Our Personal Tour

Sure, we love traveling, but we realized that others like to travel to Portland as well.  So we thought we’d throw in a mini series on our beautiful home city.

We get visitors all the time, and we love playing tour guide and showing off this gorgeous area.  There are many places we love to take guests, but we typically start with a sampling of our city.  This is what that looks like.

Farmers Market

Start the morning in the south park blocks at Portland’s huge farmers market on the PSU campus (only open on Saturdays), sampling the wares and perhaps picking up some fresh produce to munch on.  Listen to street musicians, or simply people-watch.

Director Park/Pioneer Square

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Head north, and check out Director Park and Pioneer Square (two blocks apart).  Laugh at the kids in the fountain, maybe play a game of giant chess, and surprise our visitors by having them stand on the magic circle in Pioneer Square’s mini amphitheater and belt out a note or two.

Powell’s Bookstore

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Keep wandering north, and hit up Powell’s Books.  Wander the massive bookstore and perhaps pick up a few souvenirs.

Food Carts

Stop by a food cart for lunch.  Seriously, this is where you’ll find some of Portland’s best food.  There’s a huge culture around food carts in Portland, and with so many choices, bad carts simply don’t survive.  Therefore, patrons are left with only the best.  And with options from around the world (Fiji, Egypt, Georgia (the country), 20 flavors of grilled cheese, massive burritos, waffle sandwiches….), you really can’t go wrong.

Voodoo… if we must

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Head toward the river, and stop by Voodoo Donuts – but only if our guests really want to, and if they’re willing to wait in the crazy line.  Take a local’s advice: the donuts are more of a novelty, and we mostly find them pretty meh.  If you actually want amazing donuts, hit up Blue Star instead; you won’t regret it.

Saturday Market

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2017

Continue past the “Keep Portland Weird” sign (we’re proud to be considered weird!), and meander through the Saturday Market (runs all weekend).  Here, you’ll find dozens of local artists and craftsmen, offering products ranging from hats and artwork to spoon wind chimes and handmade catnip toys.  If you’re shopping for something really Portland, skip the Made in Portland shop, and go here instead.  This also attracts street performers, including the statue man and some truly remarkable musicians.

Waterfront Park

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2015

By now, we’re all usually quite exhausted, so we take it easy wandering back south along the waterfront, taking in the sights of the river on a pleasant day and maybe grabbing a light cocktail at the marina.

Living Room Theaters

For the evening, we visit one of our favorite haunts (we’ll give you some of those in a future post) for some delectable eats (Portland is a big foodie town).  And if our guests are up for it, we might wind the evening down with a visit to the Living Room Theaters – movies with “artisan” popcorn and uber comfy seats in tiny theaters that house about thirty people.


If we aren’t all completely dead the next day, we branch out from the city a bit and visit some of the nearby sights.

…but I’ll save those for another post.

Have you ever been to Portland? What were some of your favorite activities?

Psst… do you love reading about Portland?  You might also enjoy these:

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