Monday, June 15, 2015

16 Things To Do In Portland This Summer

Okay guys, there's a lot I don't know about the world. I don't understand anything involving chemistry, I am useless if you were to ask me about why there is always morning dew on the grass and if you want to see a mind slowly disintegrate & implode: Ask me to explain outer space (but really though, what in the h*ll does 'LIMITLESS SPACE' mean and what is at the other end of it?!). BUT, there's one thing I do know. And that's Portland. I know Portland. Oh, how I know lots and lots about Portland. And since we are getting into the good parts of it with summer here, I figured I'd highlight a few things that keep me entertained here in the warm months:
1) Festivals.
I have written about my love of festivals many a time on this here blog. And I stand by that stance. Heck, even if I can't stand anymore I'm sure I'll preach the gospel of attending festivals to all the kids I know (right after I tell them to get off my lawn, obvy). Here's some upcoming ones that have my seal of approval:
Lake Oswego Arts Festival - June 26-28th

2) Sauvie's Island for berry-picking, farm livin' & beach going.
30 minutes west of Portland is Sauvie's Island, a very agri-rich island which houses a bevy of fun activities. In the cold months there is pumpkin picking, haunted houses & christmas tree farms but this post is about summer so let's get to that. In these hot months you'll find berry picking, boating & plenty of little sandy beaches to lay out (just be sure to avoid- or attend, based on what floats your boat- the nudist colonies).

3) Departure Restaurant + Lounge for drinks, food & views
Departure is the most welcome spot in my opinion in downtown Portland because there's really nothing else like it within the city limits. It's incredibly hip, the food is great and the views are amazing. It's located at the very top of the luxurious "The Nines" hotel right in the hub of downtown and hosts an Asian-fusion menu with panoramic, incredible views of the city. Whether you sit outside and enjoy that visual bounty or inside and feel like you're in a very chic spaceship: You will not be disappointed. Insider tip: They open at 4 PM.  If you want a patio spot on a warm day (especially a weekend), get there at about 3:30 and head up to the restaurant as quickly as you can. Otherwise, the spots will all be gone by 4:05 pm.

Departure Restaurant + Lounge   525 SW Morrison Street, Portland, Oregon 97204 P 503-802-5370
Hours are 4 pm - midnight Sunday - Thursday and 4 pm - 1 am Friday & Saturday

4) DowntownParks
Portland is peppered with so many parks which are perfect for visits with your dog, your friends & a bottle of vino alongside some al fresco dining on a blanket. My eastside picks are: Laurelhurst & Mt. Tabor (Mt. Tabor is an actual volcano & you can hike it!). My westside picks are: The Fields Park & Wallace Park.

5) First & Last Thursday
First Thursday: FT kicks off on the first Thursday of every month in the west side of Portland (that includes downtown & the Pearl District) and is the fusion of art + wine + street fairs. Head down NW 13TH AVE. and immerse yourself in local vendors, quirky music and unique items for sale. Among that trek, pepper into various art galleries & sip wine.

Last Thursday: LT is located on the east side of Portland and houses the same type of idea as FT does only it occurs on the last Thursday of each month. If I'm being honest, the last few times I've gone it's been insaneo packed and a wee bit more juvenile than FT. However, there's eateries a plenty and tons of unique vendors to keep the conversation going between you and your walking buddy.

6) Mississippi Street Fair
Jay and I just stumbled upon this last year on accident and didn't even realize we were in the middle of MSF until we left and Googled it later. Man, oh man is it fun!! I wrote about a walk we took on Mississippi here but during the street fair there is an ABUNDANCE of food, music, drinks, art, photography, crafts ... it's really the artisan's festival. We spent our time there people watching while we ate, strolling among the many vendors and visiting the shops.

Mississippi Street Fair - Saturday, July 11th

7) Running/Biking/Blading on the Willamette Waterfront Loop
Pronounced "Will-AMM-Ett", the river itself is kind of disgusting to swim in allegedly. But it is what we got coursing through downtown Portland separating the west side of Portland with the east side. Anyway, the full loop has been designed to accommodate runners, walkers, joggers, bikers & rollerbladers alike! In fact, Jay and Chandler run this route 3 times a week. My suggestion would be to grab a coffee with a friend, walk the entire loop & then finish off the day perusing Saturday market (which is open on Sundays too!) where you can buy everything from homemade scarves to eccentric hats while you eat your body weight in food cart food. A bonus of this venture is that you get to cross two of Portland's many bridges, which is why we are colloquially referred to as "Bridgetown" often.

Also fun to head up from the waterfront to Pioneer Courthouse Square for Flicks on the Bricks outdoor movies.

8) Cannon Beach
One of the best things you can do living in Portland during the summer is get the heck out of it! The beach is 50 minutes away. Cannon Beach is by far my favorite (nothing commercialized, tons of little shops, insanely profound natural beauty) but there's also Manzanita, Seaside, Gearhart, Pacific City to name a few. We often make the decision to leave last minute on a Friday and head out after work for a weekend of beach fun. Such a treasure. Any newbies to the area would be greatly remiss in not heading over for a visit.

Check out the Sandcastle Contest June 20th

9) Brewery Tour
I am proud that Portland is known for its snobby love of ales because they are so worth the pretentiousness. Based on neighborhood, there's a HUGE array of bar crawls you could do as we have the most breweries per capita than any other city in the world. For a full list of breweries, click here.  Additionally, Portland BrewCycle allows you and your friends the chance to pedal from spot to spot. 

10) Runs/Races
Portlanders love being active and nothing helps you stay in shape more than paying for a d*mn racing fee and having the lingering event hanging over your shoulder. But really, what is a better way to spend the day than pushing yourself with your buddies. And hey, most of the races finish with food and an ice cold beer. For a full list, click here.

11) Edgefield
McMenamins is a local company with many 'campuses'. I say campus as a couple of their breweries are located in old schools. But seriously, they are everywhere in Portland and always a treat. I suggest visiting Edgefield, and enjoying the bounty of atmosphere fused with beer. While there you can go to a concert, walk the gardens with your Ruby ale and finish the day by crashing at their onsite hotel. Insider tip: Service is notoriously slow at these places. Really. Notoriously. Just sip your beer in peace while you wait a bit longer for your paired sandwich.

12) Wine Tasting
This goes without saying as Oregon Wine Country is an activity that I would hope everyone would experience at some point- yum, pinots! But, if you're short on time and can't make the 45-minute trip to the Willamette Valley Wine Country while you're in Portland, the closest winery to the city is Garden Vineyards - they have great wine, a gorgeous estate & usually their pets are running around which makes it that much more fun. Heck a visit there even means that you can visit a beloved eatery called Helevetia Tavern on your scenic drive home.

13) Mount Hood
Man alive, one of the most coveted aspects of Portland during the cold months is our access to Mount Hood. I love it so much that if I spend too much time thinking about it, a single tear will trickle down my face so I won't. BUT, in the summer there's things to do as well and the views are just as incredible. Try camping spots here or heading over to Ski Bowl for family fun on their slopes.

14) Central Oregon
Anyone who knows Oregon well (or even slightly well) knows the sheer value of Central Oregon. Made for the active and worth the 3-hour drive from the city, it houses rafting, hiking, horseback riding, mountain views, shops & good ol' fashioned family fun which would make Clark Griswold incredibly happy. Highlights include: Bend, Sunriver, Eagle Crest, Black Butte & Sisters. For visiting information- click here.

15) Eating, walking, shopping on NW 23rd/21st
The blocks that make up NW 21ST & 23RD Ave. house everything you need for a perfect Saturday. Leisurely stroll up and down the streets where you'll find a million stores to shop in, a million places for happy hour and award-winning restaurants at any price point (Papa Haydn & Little Big Burger are two of my suggestions). Grab an espresso at Barista, check out the earrings at 3 Monkeys, grab happy hour at North 45 & finish the day with ice cream at Salt & Straw.

16) Hiking the Gorge
And finally, let's not kid ourselves, the Columbia Gorge - the border line between Washington & Oregon - is by far one of our most amazing assets. It starts about 45-minutes east of Portland and within it, you can find hikes at any level, undisturbed peace, unrivaled natural beauty and the solace you might need on a stressful day. It is truly Oregon & Washington's most prized, shared possession. For a list of hikes, head over here.
And there you have it! A good jumping-off point of fun things to do in Portland during these warms months. If you're visiting the city soon or have any questions regarding the above, feel free to email me at I'll be happy to help in anyway that I can!

[all images used are mine]


Pat Hatt said...

Wow, never be bored in the summer living there. That is a ton of festivals too.

So if space is circular like earth and that is outside of earth, what's outside of space? And what's outside of that? And what's outside of that? lol

Anonymous said...

My husband and I really want to visit Oregon someday. I have never been and he was just there in an airport once, I think. I would like to see the parks and restaurants.

Panty Buns said...

My apologies for the following comment being so long:
At least one of us must continue watch or read the Neverending Story to keep Bastion alive and reading the book so that he, Falcor the Luck Dragon, the Princess, and the world and universe including the Southern Oracle don't all get swallowed up by the "Great Nothing" that apparently some theoretical physicists think might be related to the universe. I'm surprised that you don't immediately grasp everything about outer space and physics. Just because great minds like Dr. Michio Kaku (Super String Theory) have worked hard at theories to unify Einstein's theory of Relativity (with time and space warping around matter) and Neils Bohr's Quantum theory (with particles light-years apart having movements entangled) is no excuse for you failing to grasp it all instantly! Merely because dark matter and dark energy (may?) exist throughout space rather than just in black holes, and physicists describe things like quarks or neutrinos having spin but no mass, and all of it may be wrong because humans tend to theorise things in terms familiar to experience through their senses or math, none of it is cause for mind implosion amongst us non-physicists. Scientists cant even seem to describe light well, describing both in terms of waves with frequencies and particles with mass. So what if we can't explain it to them? After all, we are generally well informed about worm holes, time and space by movies like "Contact" and TV series like Dr. Who. Now where did I leave that time-traveling phone booth?
Wow, you really do know a lot about Portland! Since I've never been there I'm having to read slowly, trying to keep my mind from imploding. Being a recluse festivals are foreign to me. Wow again. There really are a lot of them there. Those blueberries look good. There are farms not far from me. Shame on me for not doing one of those "pick your own" things. OMG, there's a nude beach at Sauvie Island? I loved reading the reviews. Since it's clothing optional I don't suppose anyone would mind if I went to the beach in my panties there. Love the pics of the views from "The Nines". The downtown parks look nice and the street fairs look interesting. The running, biking and blading sound like too much work for this couch potato but the views along the loop look pretty and the Saturday market sounds nice. Cannon beach looks lovely. Being a non-drinker I'd skip the brewery tour. Kudos on your running. They'll be running near me soon but I won't be in it. Mount Hood looks beautiful. You really know your shopping. Good tip Re: NW 23rd/21st That Columbia gorge is spectacular.

BLovedBoston said...

Oh my gosh you may have just convinced me that I need to make my way to Portland!! I'm all about wine tasting and looks like there are a ton of places to visit! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

Jax said...

Sounds like there's a lot of fun things going on!!! One day I will tour Portland and enjoy in all these amazing things you post. :)

Heather Lockhart said...

Portland is on my list of cities I'm dying to visit. Great tips, thanks!

I do what I want.

Caitlin @ Candyfloss & Persie said...

@Pat- ha, my mind can barely compute that question even.

Caitlin @ Candyfloss & Persie said...

@Robin- plenty of parks and restaurants to enjoy!

Caitlin @ Candyfloss & Persie said...

@BLoved- we have some great wine!

Caitlin @ Candyfloss & Persie said...

@Jax- :)

@Heather- thanks!!!

Caitlin @ Candyfloss & Persie said...

@PB- so much awesomeness in your comment, on the train to work but I will respond to you tonight when I can give it better thought, my stop is coming up :)