Portland is a city that is easily accessible regularly, due to the emergence of promising new places, especially restaurants and bars, All the time. And with spring officially in the air and summer around the corner, now—before the next rush of travel—is a great time to schedule a trip to the City of Roses.
Below, 10 reasons why you should visit Portland, Oregon, this spring.
Ace Portland Hotel
What’s old is new again in this Portland staple. Although the boutique hotel that occupies a historic building in the city center has maintained its opulent reputation since it opened in 2007, the pandemic has presented a unique opportunity to change gears and refresh. The 79 rooms are lighter and brighter than ever, thanks to a crisp paint job, plenty of added greenery, and custom touches like wall features, APC denim blankets, and black chairs. And although the property’s Clyde Common Restaurant unfortunately closed earlier this year, a free breakfast is offered from Stumptown Coffee, Smith Teas, and St. Honore daily at The Pantry for hotel guests.
Kimpton Riverplace Hotel
Despite being one of Portland’s most classic properties, the Kimpton RiverPlace manages to feel like it’s reserved for those in the know—a surprise, given its scenic waterfront location, the 84 rooms and suites styled in a chic lodge-inspired design, and a new chef. At his restaurant King Tide Fish and Shell. Peruvian-born Alexandre Destra brings 18 years of experience to the revamped menu, which translates into artistic dishes rich in seafood with a Peruvian and Japanese flourish. The Kanpachi Crudo, for example, features slices of buttery fish topped with avocado, capers, blood orange, and chili vinegar, so every bite is equal parts delicious, tangy, and spicy.
Alpina Soul Walk
Available for free on the ECHOES mobile app, Albina Soul Walk is a self-guided, one-mile audio tour created by artist Megan Hattie Stahl, curated by Bobby Smith, and narrated by lifelong Portland musician Calvin Walker and Norman Sylvester. It tells how the Northeast neighborhood was once home to the incredibly vibrant soul music scene from the 1960s to the 1980s, then gradually dissolved due to systemic racism and gentrification.
It is not new. It’s not even technically Portland, although Beaverton is a short drive from downtown. But this charming and quaint Japanese bakery owned by veteran baker Hiro Hori is an absolute must when you’re in town. Although Oyatsupan bakes around 70 desserts from scratch, you can’t go wrong with more classic items like subtly soft and tender milk bread – Horie dough subjected to 24-hour fermentation – custard egg salad sandwich, and delicious beef buns curry.
Since Hot Spot Cafe Phuket does not take reservations, arrive at least ten minutes before opening – yes, there will already be a line – to secure a table. Your patience will be rewarded with an imaginative Thai-inspired menu from chef and owner Akkapong “Earl” Ninsom of delicious sweet pandan cheese (add salmon roe), striped sea bass, and show off Thai paella with plump mussels and “dry” tom yam. Save space for your black sesame, coffee and passion fruit crepe cake.
Another buzzing venue by Earl Ninsom, Montavilla’s Lazy Susan serves up comforting, friendly dishes—many of which are cooked over a natural charcoal fire. Start with the fried salt-smoked whitefish, before diving into the Backyard BBQ Grill-Burger. Easy to make, this version with beef steak, American cheese, specialty sauce, and pickles is one of the best in town and is everything a burger should be: straightforward and satisfying. even better? Comes with two delicious crunchy hash browns.
It’s almost impossible to fall by St. Beatrix, the mighty little bakery owned by Jess Smith, without wanting to try it all. That’s because of Smith’s fondness for unexpected, yet surprising flavor combinations – on my visit, there were Blackberry Marshmallow Coconut Scones and Scones with green pepper, cheddar and cream cheese – and her beautiful custom cakes garnished with fresh flowers.
Jenny Nguyen opened The Sports Bra on Northeast Broadway for one reason: to address the stark inequality between men’s and women’s sports. To that end, the cleverly named bar is dedicated exclusively to women’s sports. From the gadgets decorating the space to the female games played on television, everything here champions the largely overlooked aesthetic achievements of women.
Gabbiano’s has everything you would expect in a classic red sauce joint. The ambiance is calm and lively, and the portions are generous. But where it differs from other ancient sites is in its high-profile recipes. Pasta with Marinara is made of handcrafted noodles pressed into a silky tomato sauce and filled with butter, while the popular fried mozzarella is shaped as “picks” and filled with homemade marinara.
Miko Mochi Donuts
The mochi donut chant that is sweeping across the country has landed in the city of roses at Mikiko Mochi Donuts. Owned by business and life partners Alex McGillivray and Emily Mikiko Strocher, this cozy Northeast shop features exotic and fun flavors like Yuzu Vanilla Funfetti and Horchata Pudding. And because it’s baked and dairy- and gluten-free, you can indulge in more than one.