DISCLAIMER: I'm not a bride or engaged or anything (I do have an amazing jazz musician for a boyfriend...does that help?) but I'm thinking of taking a solo trip to Portland, first weekend in November, to be by myself/get some writing done/SEE THE WORLD!
On the OFF CHANCE that you have some time to spare (plus I know you love Portland and I know you take care of your girls, so)--any idea where I should go? What I should do? Incredible coffee shops to write in? Places to walk? Will the weather be icky?
I rly didn't think I'd manage to get this one up.... But lo and behold: when I tweeted "Anyone want to write a What To Do In Portland guest post?" it took Joanna Bean Martin exactly 3 seconds to volunteer.
Remember Joanna?? She is only ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE EAST SIDE BRIDES. It will take me some time for me to get over the fact that she left Los Angeles, but whatever.
Joanna and her husband Ike headquarter Afterall, their production company/design agency, inside Lucas, a salon and arts space in Downtown Portland. So I guess if you're Gretchen Jones, you could, say, get a bang trim while they work with you on the redesign for your site.
Anyhoo. Here's Joanna's advice for what to do/see/imbibe in Portland:
I've had a love affair with Portland for a while. So much so, that I got married there two years ago and finally made the move with my husband Ike and one-year old son Julian from L.A. last spring. Since then, we've headquartered and made ourselves at home in Northeast Portland.
If you were my guest and we only had 48 hours, this is what we’d do: drink, eat, shop, repeat. Day 1 is jam-packed. Day 2 is a little -- just a little -- more relaxed.
Pre-breakfast coffee at Woodlawn Coffee & Pastry. The pastries are worth the trip. This coffee shop is in one of the newly revitalized pockets of Portland and even though it's busy there’s always a seat here. (If you’re not feeling Gluten, Tula just opened and I hear it’s divine.)
Head to N Mississippi and put an order in at The Big Egg food cart, which is usually about a 45 min wait on the weekend. I recommend the Breakfast Wrap. Disclaimer: I am neither a breakfast burrito lover nor a wrap person, but this is the BEST egg-bacon-potato combo I’ve ever eaten.
Local Tip #1: say you want it how Dori likes it. She’s friend and regular at The Big Egg.
While you wait for your wrap, walk south to The Mississippi shopping district.
The Meadow: specialty salt and chocolate shop
Sunlan: the coolest light bulb store you've ever seen
Paxton Gate: oddities, curiosities and what nots
Pastaworks: fancy Italian market (delicious sandwiches)
Local Tip #2: Eat your wrap while sitting on a bench overlooking the river at Mocks Crest Park (a hidden empty lot that was recently declared a city park overlooking the Willamette River (will-AM-et not will-AMET) with views of downtown and the West Hills.
Next, head west over the river and choose your own adventure: Downtown/Pearl District or NW 23rd north of Burnside. Either area is good for walking/shopping...
Good classic vintage: Magpie, Avalon, Ray’s Ragtime
For your tax-free Isabel Marant and Rachel Comey fix: Odessa, Francis May
For your home: Alder & Co, Woonwinkel, Pendleton Home Store
Portland’s version of Pearl River Mart: Cargo
For your man: Lizard Lounge, The Woodlands, Dunderdon, Blackbird
For reading a book outside: Jamison Square, Classical Chinese Garden
Get lost inside for awhile: Museum of Contemporary Craft, Powell's [Editor's note: I would just like to point out that this book store has a SOLID five stars on yelp, with 1072 reviews. Also, H is a big fan of Powell's technical bookstore.]
For wishing you had more money: Drive around the West Hills and into Washington Park (beautiful houses surround the park, beautiful views from the park)
Pick up an afternoon coffee at the Stumptown at the Ace or Barista in the Pearl or a quick cocktail at Clyde Commons (Rec: Part and Parcel on the rocks) or Kask (High Desert Swizzle: mezcal and crushed ice). Ok, I like tequila.
Head up Highway 30 W towards Scappoose and follow signs for The St Johns Bridge. It wouldn’t be a complete Portland experience without visiting this bridge and Cathedral Park below it. While in St Johns, get a Halibut Sandwich from Burgerville (our very own local/sustainable fast food chain).
Day 2: I’ve saved my faves for Day 2. This itinerary is East Side heavy because it’s the side of the river I live on, and frankly, if you’re reading ESB, it probably means it’s the side of the river you’d live on too. [Editor's Note: Yessssssssssssssssssssssssss.]
Read: YOU HAVE TO HAVE BREAKFAST AT BRODER. If nothing else on this list, do that.
Get lost in a vintage warehouse: House of Vintage
Favorite curated vintage shops: Palace, Rad Summer, Half Pint
Best place to go broke: Una
Buy something that makes you feel intelligent: Stand Up Comedy
Best place to buy crystal jewels: Sword & Fern
Nice gifts: Nationale
Local gifts: Local Goods
Get an afternoon coffee and hang out with some cool looking people: Heart
Portland loves sandwiches: Bunk, Meat Cheese Bread, Laurelhurst Market
Local Tip #3: The line at Voo Doo Donuts is never ending and moves insanely slow. If you’re a donut person, definitely get the Maple Bacon, but if you’re not, like me, go across the street and get a drink at Valentine's.
Local Tip #4: Happy Hour Menus abound in Portland. It’s the best way to get the most bang for your buck at the best restaurants in town.
Favorite Happy Hours: Tasty N Sons, Sapphire Hotel, Clyde Common, Produce Row, Central
If you’re still hungry: Olympic Provisions (NW location), Gruner, Navarre, Luce, Grain & Gristle
For a lively bar scene: Dig A Pony, Bye and Bye, Bunk Bar, Yes and No, Rontoms
Because it wouldn’t be Portland, without mentioning a strip club: Magic Garden is kinda awesome, Mary’s is a classic, Sassy’s is debauchery.
Local Tip #5: Portland is a great city to see live music. It’s a town full of musicians and music lovers, therefor it’s also a town full of lots of great venues. Some of my favorite are: Roseland, Doug Fir, East End, Someday Lounge, Wonder Ballroom
There is a lot missing from this list, but I think it will give you a good taste of why Portland is awesome, and lead you to places to do some discovering on your own.
Our lady Joanna has chosen to ignore your "Will the weather be icky?" question so I'll go ahead and answer it for her: Yes.
See helpful hints here from Vancouver/Seattle ladies regarding dressing for rain.
(Photos by Nikki Fenix)