Picture Guide to Portland: Nature, Coffee, Donuts and Other Foods

Language is important on a rainy day.

I think Portlanders understand this well, whereas, I, growing up in New Jersey would make rain as an excuse for anything. For Portlanders, rain stops nothing. If it rains, they hike, run, walk, cycle, drink local beer and drink lots of coffee without a single thought about rain.

Our time in Portland was short, but well spent. Here are my picks for things to do that involve nature, coffee, donuts and food.

Long post alert. Mostly pictures.

 
 

Cannon Beach vs. Multnomah Falls vs Japanese Garden

Sorry, but there is no contest here. You have to do all.

While Cannon Beach is a bit farther away at around 1.5 hours from Portland, you can't NOT visit the Goonies rock. If you are a child of the 80's, then you will know this place. There's also something about the Pacific Northwest that will call you. Heading to Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock is an easy ride through the mountains. After you take the obligatory pictures and walk along the beach, head down the Oregon Coast Highway for more scenic views. Depending on how fast you drive, you can easily complete the coast drive within a day.

The Falls tour is around 30 minutes out of Portland. It will take you through the Columbia River National Scenic Highway where you can catch plenty of trails and views of other waterfalls.

The Japanese Garden is a short ride from Portland. It's higher elevation that Downtown. If you are lucky, a clear day will allow you to see Mt. Hood.

For the Beach, Falls or Garden, I recommend starting early. You can beat traffic and be one of the first people to be at a site which is quite magical since it's so quiet and serene.

Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock or the Goonies Beach along the Pacific Coast.

Short hike in Oswald State Park to this surfer's cove.

Trains, cars, buses oh my at Blue Heron. Stop in for a quick bite, taste some wine and charge your Tesla.

Trains, cars, buses oh my at Blue Heron. Stop in for a quick bite, taste some wine and charge your Tesla.

 

Enter your information to download a full 4 day itinerary including GPS info, trails to check out and what/where to eat.

 
* indicates required
 
 
catstraveltip-portland.png
 
The Portland Women's Forum Stop allows you to see the Vista House and the Columbia River Gorge.

The Portland Women's Forum Stop allows you to see the Vista House and the Columbia River Gorge.

Bridge at Latourell Falls.

Bridge at Latourell Falls.

Multnomah Falls cascading at around 620 feet.

The Japanese Garden. Look at those colors! Gorgeous!

The Japanese Garden. Look at those colors! Gorgeous!

The Japanese Garden is a great place to relax, sit quietly and meditate.

The Japanese Garden is a great place to relax, sit quietly and meditate.

 
 

Nossa vs. Blackrock vs. Barista vs. Townshend

I'm noticing a trend here. Coffee is big in Portland. Perhaps it's because of the weather, but there's a coffee shop in every corner. Great if you love coffee. Great if you want a place to chill. Great if you need an office. I'm honestly not a coffee connoisseur, but I appreciate a freshly ground and freshly made espresso or flat white. Many of these coffee shops are also very Instagram worthy so sit down and get your caffeine fix.

Black Rock Coffee Bar. Cool, cozy and looks like an Englishman's library.

Black Rock Coffee Bar. Cool, cozy and looks like an Englishman's library.

Nossa Familia Coffee where they roast their own beans. Small shop where you can look into their roasting process. They have extremely helpful baristas.

Nossa Familia Coffee where they roast their own beans. Small shop where you can look into their roasting process. They have extremely helpful baristas.

Barista Coffee Bar, where the hipster grab their coffee with their dogs. Easy place to work to with it's large windows and lots of light.

Barista Coffee Bar, where the hipster grab their coffee with their dogs. Easy place to work to with it's large windows and lots of light.

Townshends Tea with a huge selection of loose tea to enjoy in the cafe or to take home, if for some reason you are tired of coffee.

Townshends Tea with a huge selection of loose tea to enjoy in the cafe or to take home, if for some reason you are tired of coffee.

 

Blue Star Donuts vs. Voodoo Donuts

Alright, the almighty question, which is better? We visited both places when there was no line. Yes, those times are apparently possible. We got a selection of donuts to try. We were not rushed so we had time to peruse the selection.

My verdict: Blue Star all the way. The brioche dough just tasted heavier, better. The flavors seemed more interesting to me too. I come from the land of Dunkin Donuts and I was not too impressed with Voodoo though they did have lots of interesting flavors and toppings. At Blue Star, we got 6 donuts, cut them into shareable pieces so we could try all 6 flavors. We even had leftovers for the next day and they were still delicious, better a day after it seems.

Blue Star Donuts South Waterfront. They open early at 6:30AM so stop by before starting your day exploring Portland. No line and fresh donuts.

Social media explained at Blue Star Donuts.

Blue Star Passion Fruit!

Blue Star Chocolate Almond Crunch!

Voodoo Selection on Rotation!

Voodoo Blueberry Cobler with Granola Crunch!

 
 

Bamboo Sushi vs. Gravy vs. Oyster Bar vs. Salt & Straw

OK, there's really no comparison there, but a few places you must check out to eat. Local or sustainably harvested so you can't go wrong with food made with good intentions. All delicious, all filling, all worth the calories.

I believe this was the Green Machine, a vegetarian sushi and quite very good. Their pork buns though I was not too impressed. Not as good as Momofuku. Sorry!

I believe this was the Green Machine, a vegetarian sushi and quite very good. Their pork buns though I was not too impressed. Not as good as Momofuku. Sorry!

Gravy! Yes, that's the name of the place. Those hash browns were ridiculous. Cooked just right, crunch and tasty. On the bottom is a biscuit topped with their in house gravy. Tip: share a plate. This was enough for 2 people.

Gravy! Yes, that's the name of the place. Those hash browns were ridiculous. Cooked just right, crunch and tasty. On the bottom is a biscuit topped with their in house gravy. Tip: share a plate. This was enough for 2 people.

 
 
Oops! No oyster pics from Oyster Bar, but there's the cute alcove we had dinner in.

Oops! No oyster pics from Oyster Bar, but there's the cute alcove we had dinner in.

Salt and Straw Ice Cream Flight. Amazing flavors! Tip: get the flight so that you can taste test multiple flavors.

Salt and Straw Ice Cream Flight. Amazing flavors! Tip: get the flight so that you can taste test multiple flavors.

Enter your information below to see a list of more places to see and do in Portland.

 
* indicates required
 

Click on the map above to review recommended items to see and do per day.

 

Related Posts