24 HOURS IN PORTLAND
When life throws you a ride to Portland with your friends but only 24 hours to explore it's only natural to weigh up if it's worth it. As Vagabonds, desperate to see the world, we decided we had nothing to lose to see this hipster haven.
After a quick 5 hour drive from Vancouver it was time to refuel then explore.
The gang checked into our pad for the evening, The Residence Inn Portland Downtown. Rooms were cheap between 6 people, plus there was WiFi and a complimentary buffet breakfast. Close to the train and an easy 20-25 minute walk to Burnside St.
If you're into quirky shops, great bars and tasty food, the Burnside area is a good place to start. We begun the adventures at Ground Kontrol, a giant vintage game arcade that serves beer. We were a bit too early for alcoholic service but the place was still buzzing.
Keen to find an interesting little gem to drink in, we entered the shady looking Embers. A long dusty bar with all of three people in there drinking we decided to stay for a quick drink. After a closer inspection we realized we'd stumbled into a gay bar. We weren't fussed, drinks were cheap and we played some pool on a grimy and broken pool table before moving on.
We followed some sketchy directions from the bartender to a patio bar that we couldn't find and ended up grabbing some Mexican food at Maya's Taqueria. Tasty food and not too pricey. We grabbed some wifi to scoured the interweb for a place to have happy hour drinks.
With google's suggestions fresh in our heads we wandered to Kelly's Olympian Bar, which was the best decision we made all night. Firstly Happy Hour was from 4 pm-7 pm and beer was $1.5, highballs were only about $3. Secondly, Kelly's is done up with a tonne of old motorcycles and biking gear, and has a great relaxed dive-bar vibe.
With about 10 drinks in us..each..it was off to get some tasty Kebab from a random street truck. Already fuelled with food and of maybe a little too much alcohol we realized we weren't far from Voodoo Doughnuts, the legendary shop filled with every type of doughnut you could dream of. The line moved quickly and soon enough we were faced with life changing decisions. Grab no more than 2 doughnuts each, they're huge and dense. The Home Simpson was super tasty however the others were only about a 6/10. Next time we'll opt for Blue Star's for their gourmet selection or Coco's for fine quality classics.
With so much fun under our belts, it was time to get to bed.
It was off to a quick free buffet breakfast with a make it yourself waffle machine. Nothing like sugar for breakfast.
Keen to take part in one of Portland's biggest attractions, the Portland Saturday Market, we were out the door and off exploring early. The market is huge and filled with tasty treats and of course some of Portland's finest arts and crafts- a great place to get a quirky souvenir or two.
Saving the big things til last, next on the list was a quick visit to Powell's bookstore, one of the biggest bookstores in the world. The place truly is endless and is filled with both new and old books, toys, gifts and of course a coffee shop. If you're a bookworm save at least an hour to wander around.
Armed with knowledge and a few new books it was time to get some food for the hangry member's of our group. Lucky for us,Sizzle Pie is located directly opposite Powell's. Having eaten plenty of authentic New York slices, we are a little snobby on pizza but Sizzle Pie is really decent. New York style slices that barely hold the generous tasty ingredient combinations on top. Yum.
With only an hour to kill before we had to make a run for our Greyhound, we realized how rude it was not sampling some of Portland's huge claim to fame-craft beer. We decided to roam the nearby streets when we stumbled across The Big Legrowlski, a super trendy boutique craft beer brewery. Pints were about $5 and there was a great choice of every style beer you could want.
After a quick dash to grab our luggage, we caught our Greyhound bus. We realized we had accomplished a lot for 24 hours, perhaps more perhaps than if we had allowed for a longer stay of 48 hours.
Portland, you happening funky little thing. Thanks you for all the memories and please, stay weird!