Discovering Small Business Charm in Portland, Oregon

Fora travel advisor Elizabeth Callaway wearing red sweatshirt and black jacket stands in front of colorful field of tulips
Curated By

Lizz Callaway

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  • USA

  • Oregon

  • City Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Local Travel

  • Slow Travel

  • Foodie

  • Small Businesses

  • Shopping

A city view of Portland, Oregon at sunset with pink clouds and a neon sign reading 'Portland Oregon Old Town' with a white deer.
Curator’s statement

From small businesses to nature escapes, Portland travel is special as it offers something for everyone – which is why this city in Oregon has become a top US hot spot!

The Fora Difference

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Killer perks

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Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay Portland, Oregon

Hotel deLuxe

VIP-worthy experience in Portland featuring old Hollywood design and an array of unique experiences.

The Nines, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Portland

Your heart-of-the-action pick in Portland, with a statement atrium lobby and farm-to-table restaurant.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

The Heathman Hotel

One of Portland’s most recognizable landmarks, the iconic Heathman Hotel blends rich history with a reverent appreciation for the arts from its vibrant lobby to its suites.

Fora travel advisor Elizabeth Callaway wearing red sweatshirt and black jacket stands in front of colorful field of tulips

Unlock perks by contacting Lizz to book your trip.

Things to do Portland, Oregon

A red and white Powell's Books sign over a storefront in Portland, Oregon with cars passing by.

Browse Powell's Books

A book lover's dream. Powell's has numerous locations throughout the Portland area, but the original is on Burnside. With new and used books as far as the eye can see, Powell's deserves hours to explore. With staff that are experts in their department, Powell's can present you with many options, no matter what subject. Make sure you take the time to visit their rare book room on the top floor. Note, you will need to get a free pass at the information desk next to the room as they do limit the number of visitors in the room at a time. 

International Rose Test Garden

From April to October, you can view over 10,000 rose bushes of over 650 different varieties. Located on just under five acres on a hill overlooking Portland, you can see the Cascade Mountain Range and Mount Hood on a clear day. Admission is free but parking is not. 

Portland Japanese Garden

In the same park as the International Rose Test Garden, you will find a serene escape to Japan at the Japanese Garden. This ticketed tranquil area includes a traditional Japanese Tea House, quiet walkways and frequent events. Guided tours are included in the cost of admission. 

Pittock Mansion

High in the hills of northwest Portland, this beautiful mansion is frozen in time. Each of its 23 rooms act as its own art museum, featuring paintings and antiques. The mansion hosts numerous events throughout the year to highlight Portland's rich history and culture. If you're lucky enough to visit at Christmas, take the time to view their beautiful decorations and Christmas spirit.

Eat & drink Portland, Oregon

A black and tan oreo doughnut with a pink VooDoo Doughnuts box in the back from Portland travel.

Food Carts: Portland is a food cart heaven. As opposed to food trucks, like you would find in other cities, Portland created small areas full of small food carts serving some of the most delicious food and drink around. Each neighborhood has three to five food cart pods, so it is likely that you'll stumble across one near you. 

Pine State Biscuits: With multiple locations throughout the city, Pine State is known for its over-the-top biscuit creations and sandwiches. Come hungry and be prepared to leave full.

Lazy Susan: An unassuming restaurant in a quiet Portland neighborhood called Montavilla, Lazy Susan focuses on the food. No fuss, no muss – just delicious food and drink. Feeling adventurous? Ask the staff to order for you! I promise, you will not be disappointed. 

Olympia Provisions: A growing artisan meat and charcuterie purveyor, Olympia Provisions has multiple locations to fit your feeds from brunch to dinner. Grab a drink and enjoy a board or a bowl of fresh clams. 

VooDoo Doughnut: An iconic Portland institution. Open 24 hours a day, VooDoo provides wonderfully weird donuts and off-the-wall flavors. They even have vegan options! 

Lardo: Sandwiches abound! Creative creations and delicious, messy meals all served up to you between two slices of bread.

Broder Nord: Always a hit for breakfast/brunch! Nordic fare with three locations throughout PDX.

Ripe Cooperative: When the pandemic hit, celebrity chef Naomi Pomeroy changed her beloved fine dining restaurant, Beast, to a kitchen that provides some of the most delicious food in the city. Come by for oysters on the half-shell, house made focaccia and gelato. 

Expatriate: Right across the street from Ripe Cooperative, this funky bar has a dark, fun interior where you can get a drink and a bite before heading out into the night. 

Sebastiano's: This deli and restaurant in the Montavilla neighborhood has the best cannoli in the city. Be sure to grab a sourdough stromboli! 

Hale Pele: Tropical Cocktails and a fun tiki bar! If you're looking for a little show with your exciting drinks, come on down!

Hey Love: I love this spot for a girl’s night out. They also have fantastic vegan options, too.

Sunshine Noodles: Cute Cambodian noodle bar that is also open for brunch! 

Driftwood Room: Located in the lobby of Hotel deLuxe, Driftwood Room specializes in Manhattans, Champagne cocktails, and all things Absinthe! Ever tried an absinthe fountain? Prepare to completely change your opinion on what absinthe can be.

Need to Know

Check out my 'A Romantic Wine Getaway in Paso Robles, California' guide if you're heading down south to California from Oregon!

Fora travel advisor Elizabeth Callaway wearing red sweatshirt and black jacket stands in front of colorful field of tulips

Travel Advisor

Lizz Callaway

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