A Local's Guide to Portland, Oregon — Rain or Shine!

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  • Portland, Oregon

  • USA

  • Oregon

  • Arts & Culture

  • Food & Wine

  • Nature Escapes

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Outdoor & Nature

  • Gluten-free Travel

vertical green sign that reads "Portland"
Fora’s Take

As a major foodie living in a foodie city, we made it our mission to find delicious and safe places for our gluten-free friends to eat in our hometown. These places go above and beyond, not just in making sure their food doesn’t contain or become contaminated by gluten (wheat, barley and rye), but they make their food taste incredible.

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Where to stay

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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.

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  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

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

Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel

Just 10 minutes from all the downtown sights, this riverside hotel offers a peaceful stay and a waterfront restaurant.

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  • $50 hotel / resort credit.

  • Upgrade & late check-out whenever possible.

Jupiter NEXT

This modern, stylish boutique stay in Portland's Central Eastside district boasts sleek rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and coveted city views.

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Things to do

tiered grassy knoll with tall trees

Outside

Forest Park: One of the largest urban forest reserves in the country, Forest Park has more than 80 miles of trails winding through 5,200 acres that overlook the Willamette River. It’s a gateway into the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, all without ever having to leave the city.

Lewis & Clark College: Nestled into the hills of southwest Portland, Lewis & Clark College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the state and offers stunning views of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens. Easily accessible by public transportation, Lewis & Clark is a must-stop if you want to see Portland’s iconic mountain in its full glory.

Shopping on Mississippi Avenue: When it comes to quintessential Portland — like “put a bird on it,” Portlandia Portland — the best place to start is N Mississippi Ave. Here, you’ll find quirky local shops with the best finds, from vintage treasures to the curious and strange.

Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden: The Portland Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden are separate parks in Southwest Portland. The Portland Japanese Garden showcases eight different garden styles on its 12 acres. The International Rose Test Garden is owned by the city and free to all visitors. Portland is also known as the City of Roses!

Bike ride around town: All around the city, you can rent bikes from Nike’s Biketown (Nike headquarters is just eight miles west in Beaverton, OR). One of the most popular and beautiful routes is along the waterfront of the Willamette River.

For rainy days

Get cozy at Tea Chai Té: A train caboose, a sneaky speak-easy vibe and chasing a rainbow. What do these three things have in common? They’re all Tea Chai Té! A true gem in Portland since 2003, they offer over 120 high-quality teas, most of which are loose-leaf and can be enjoyed in a reusable mug cuddled up on a couch in one of their three locations, or on the go in a travel cup.

Portland Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary: Portland is known for its connection to the beautiful nature imbued into the urban landscape. One way to encounter nature while staying dry(ish) on a typical rainy day in the PNW is to visit the Portland Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. Their mission is, “to inspire all people to love and protect birds, wildlife, and the natural environment upon which life depends.” At the 172-acre sanctuary, you can visit the ambassador birds in their enclosures, tour the interpretive center and stop by the Nature Store, from which all proceeds go to support the sanctuary's work.

Bouldering at The Circuit: Ahh, take a hike! Welp, you may not want to today because it’s raining. Let’s move our muscles by going bouldering instead! At one of their three Portland metro locations, you’ll find colorful plastic rocks bolted up on walls mapped out in routes for anyone from total beginners to master climbers. Unlike rock climbing, you won’t be clicked into a harness. Bouldering is about trusting yourself and having the mental fortitude to climb up and down that wall. They have all the gear you need to rent, so get ready to get climbing!

Catch a movie at McMenamins St. Johns Theater & Pub: Looking for a laidback way to spend the rainy day? Check out the theater and pub at the McMenamins in St. Johns! Here you’ll find delicious pub food and locally brewed beer you can devour while watching a movie you may have missed the first time it came through theaters. The building has a fascinating history, as do most McMenamins locations. Be sure to read up on the history of what was meant to be a temporary building for the 1905 World’s Fair, if you make this stop on your journey through Portland.

OMSI: The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is an education treasure right on the Willamette River. Between the rotating and permanent exhibits, OMSI has activities for all ages. You can go on a submarine tour, take a trip to outer space in the planetarium or try hands-on science experiments. If you’re looking for something geared more toward adults, check out OMSI After Dark, a rotating series of educational opportunities that talk about the science of brewing beer, or the blend of folklore and science.

Places to eat & drink

a row of potato chips wrapped in newspaper cones

If you have any dietary restrictions, you know it can be tricky to find safe places to eat when you travel. Below you’ll find a non-exhaustive list of some of the best gluten-free places to eat and drink in Portland, OR.

Honey Butter Country Fare: Who doesn’t love fair fare? Imagine eating corndogs, fried chicken and funnel cake in one sitting without feeling like you've just downed a quart of frier oil. That is the magic the wonderful couple who runs Honey Butter Country Fare brings to the Portland community. With a seemingly endless combination of toppings and dips for their corndogs, you can dream up a delicious creation all your own. You’ll also find grits, chili, fried Oreos and more. They’re a dedicated gluten-free food truck offering animal-based and vegan food for everyone can enjoy.

Potato Champion: Potatoes. Need I say more? On the corner of SE 12th and Hawthorne, you’ll find Cartopia: “Portland's original Eastside food cart pod and beer garden; landmark of the city's vibrant food cart scene since 2008.” One of the main attractions at Cartopia is Potato Champion. Since the beginning, Potato Champion has been slinging “twice fried Belgium style fries” with their own sauces and variations on the classic Canadian poutine. Whether you’re out late bar hopping or shopping through Hawthorne, stopping at Potato Champion is a great way to fill your belly for whatever adventure awaits.

Mutantis Brewery & Bottle Shop: The newest dedicated gluten-free brewery and the first dedicated gluten-free bottle shop in Portland is Mutantis Brewery & Bottle Shop. Near the corner of NE 18th and Dekum in the Woodlawn neighborhood, Mutantis is becoming well-known for their “ever-changing array of naturally gluten-free beers in styles ranging from tame to bizarre.” Mutantis is helping Portland keep it weird, but also absolutely delicious.

Tamale Boy: Sharing a patio with Mutantis is Tamale Boy, which offers food inspired by authentic styles from around Mexico. What started as a humble catering service has grown in popularity and offerings. My husband’s favorite appetizer is their Queso Fundido, a bowl of melted Oaxaca and Jack cheese topped with chorizo, chile oil and more, served with corn chips. With an ever-evolving menu focused on bringing fresh food in an authentic way, Tamale Boy is a great stop to satisfy everyone in your group.

Ground Breaker Brewing and Gastropub: Ground Breaker Brewing and Gastropub is aptly named. Opening in 2011, Ground Breaker was the first dedicated and certified gluten-free brewery in the United States. Nestled into SE Portland, you’ll find delicious, baturally gluten-free craft beer.

Salvi PDX: Salvi PDX runs the kitchen at Ground Breaker, and they hit the ground running! Salvi PDX is owned and operated by a husband and wife team who brought a grandmother’s dream to life. Offering authentic Salvadoran cuisine “with a modern twist,” you’ll find delicious pupusas, nachos, plantains and even chicken wings.

Zilla Sake: Zilla Sake is the only dedicated gluten-free sushi restaurant in the Portland area I’ve found so far. Starting in 2007, Zilla Sake was the city’s first dedicated sake house. Now Portland “is one of the nation’s top sake importers per capita,” according to Zilla Sake’s website. A year later, the current owner and head sushi chef, Kate Koo, added the sushi bar component to the business and started Zilla’s current reputation as a “traditional, high-end sushi destination.” My husband and I have traveled to Japan, and we ate a LOT of sushi there, but Kate and her team at Zilla surpass all of our expectations of what we could ever come across state-side.

Mestizo: Mestizo brings together unconventional ingredients to well-loved and well-known Latin dishes like ceviche, empanadas and tacos. Everything they make is gluten-free, and most items can be made vegan. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, with beautiful elements tucked between plants that fall just below the ceiling. It’s a great place for friends and family to gather and share delicious food. Their alcoholic drinks are also impeccable. The Mezcal Old Fashioned and the Honey Baby are standouts on their list of house drinks. You really can’t go wrong with any choice you make at Mestizo!

Casa Pequeña Taqueria: Casa Pequeña Taqueria, known around my house as CPT, may not be in Portland proper, but is a must-stop for all taco lovers visiting the area. The chef at CPT is inventive and regularly creates new and exciting tacos. A crowd favorite is their flank steak taco, with spicy mango salsa on thin slices of jicama instead of a traditional corn tortilla. Their standard menu features street-style tacos, tostones, empanadas and some incredible tequila and mezcal cocktails.

Whole Bowl: With locations scattered throughout the Portland metro area, Whole Bowl is a healthy pit stop that’s especially great when you’re in a rush. All locations offer a walk-up window, and few provide places to sit on-site, but that’s the beauty of Whole Bowl. This no-fuss, no-muss restaurant does one thing in two sizes: a healthy and delicious combination of “brown rice, black and red beans, avocado, cilantro, black olives, Tillamook cheddar, sour cream, salsa, and Tali Sauce” that can also be “veganized” by request. The bowls are easy to hold in your hand, so they’re great to grab and eat on the go.

Mikiko Mochi Donuts: Portland takes food seriously, and donuts are no exception. At Mikiko’s, you’ll discover a HOLE new world of donuts. Mikiko donuts are made from mochiko, a sticky rice flour that is naturally gluten-free and always baked, never fried. The flavors are on a monthly rotation and feature some classics, plus some unexpected and inspiring creations. Can’t make it to the shop in northeast Portland? Stop by a local grocery store like New Seasons and grab a box to try.

Kyra’s Bake Shop: While not in Portland proper, Kyra’s Bake Shop is a must-stop for folks who can’t have gluten, especially for those who don’t want to risk cross-contamination. Owner Kyra Bussanich is the only contestant to have won "Cupcake Wars," on the Food Network, four times with her gluten-free recipes. In addition to incredible desserts, Kyra’s also offers cinnamon rolls, sandwiches and more! Some of our favorite items from Kyra’s include the London fog donut, the ham and swiss galette and the marionberry lemonade cupcake. Just down the road from Portland in Lake Oswego, Kyra’s Bake Shop is definitely worth the trip.

Looking to extend your trip to Oregon? Also check out this guide to Oregon's best-kept secret, Columbia River Gorge.

Need to Know

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Oregon.

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Oregon.