A Day Downtown | Portland

Downtown Portland Powell's

Downtown Portland

If you follow along with me on Instagram (@cassandranoelle) you might have seen that I recently spent a lot of time in Portland Oregon. Austin had a job assignment there so we spent just over a month living in a cozy apartment just a quick drive (or a train ride) away from the heart of downtown. My life-long best friends, Hannah and Emily, came from Southern California for a girls weekend while I was there and we made the most of our time and explored wildly.

(The above picture captures just one of the reasons I love Downtown Portland. He’s just nonchalantly riding a unicycle around the city.)

Downtown Portland

On our first morning, we headed downtown to have brunch at the highly-acclaimed Tasty n Alder on 12th Ave. There was an hour wait, so we put our names in and walked across the street to get coffee at Heart Roasters.

Downtown Portland Heart

The atmosphere at Heart was incredible. The style and ambience made it the ideal place to stop for a cup of coffee and, while their coffee was decently good, it wasn’t the best we had in Portland.

Downtown Portland Heart

(heart)

Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland

Finally we got the call that there was a table for us at Tasty n Alder so we made our way back to enjoy our brunch.

Tasty n Alder, a John Gorham restaurant in Downtown Portland, Oregon, is a modern steakhouse featuring a fun, family-style menu of innovative dishes with diverse international origins. Tasty n Alder’s brunch menu is inspired by Chef Gorham’s travels and experiences with the vital immigrant community working in the restaurant industry whose own cultural traditions have helped re-shape American cuisine as a global collaboration of flavors. In Tasty n Alder’s welcoming open dining space that is both urban and comfortable, a guest’s experience can be as versatile as the menu itself with seating at the lively bar, outdoor seats for the downtown Portland experience, or at a classic dining table. Tasty n Alder | About

We ordered three things to share; the Budapest Coffee Cake, Korean Fried Chicken, Tasty Steak & Cheddar Eggs. Everything was delicious on its own, but the flavors didn’t go together too well – if you visit, maybe be a bit less adventurous than we were. If I ever go back, I’d love to try their Lemon Ricotta Pancake with Blueberry Syrup or their Cast Iron Frittata.

Downtown Portland

Afterwards, we decided to visit Powell’s City of Books to walk off our food. We had all been to Powell’s before on previous trips to Portland, but it’s so amazing we needed to go back. And besides, it gave us a chance to explore as we walked.

Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland Powell's

Powell’s City of Books is the largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books. Located in downtown Portland’s Pearl District, the City of Books has nine color-coded rooms and over 3,500 different sections, offering something for every interest, including an incredible selection of out-of-print and hard-to-find titles. A one-of-a-kind Rare Book Room draws bibliophiles from near and far to browse an impressive collection of autographed first editions and other collectible volumes. Powell’s City of Books | About

Downtown Portland Powell's

Downtown Portland Powell's

Powell’s Books aka Heaven for Book-Lovers

Downtown Portland Powell's

The entire store is a world to get lost in. If I wasn’t limited by my suitcase, I would have taken several volumes home with me.

Downtown Portland Powell's

Is there anything better than browsing through a lovely bookstore?

Downtown Portland Ruby Jewel

“This book is even better than the book CATS was based on!”
(for my fellow Hamilton and musical theatre fans)

Downtown Portland Powell's

Downtown Portland Powell's

Once we were finished at Powell’s, we headed back outside to continue our adventures walking on the streets of the city.

Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland Ruby Jewel's

I know, I know. When you go to Portland you’re supposed to get ice cream at Salt & Straw. However, we have all been to Salt & Straw before at their Venice Beach and Larchmont locations in Southern California. Salt & Straw is good, but it’s not our favorite so we were excited to to try Ruby Jewel Scoops instead – especially since we were hungry after all of our walking around at Powell’s.

Downtown Portland Ruby Jewel

Now I can say that I like Ruby Jewel better than Salt & Straw. So much more.
Their ice cream isn’t as heavy and the flavors are absolute perfection.

Downtown Portland Ruby Jewel

We each decided to try two flavors; Brown Sugar Sour Cream with Rhubarb Jam and Pistachio Matzo Brittle. Both were outstanding and I can’t decide which one I liked more.

Downtown Portland Ruby Jewel

Downtown Portland Ruby Jewel

Happy faces brought to you by Ice Cream.

Downtown Portland Voodoo Donuts

Is it a trip to Portland without Voodoo Doughnut?

Downtown Portland Voodoo Donuts

First, let me add a disclaimer that we didn’t buy these donuts for ourselves (not after just eating ice cream!) I got them for Austin to share at work.  But still, it’s an iconic place and popular tourist spot that I was glad to check off my have-seen list. We had to wait for about an hour in line and I don’t particularly like donuts, but I was in awe of the creativity of these.

Note: Voodoo Doughnut is cash-only so be sure to have plenty in your wallet before waiting in line!

Downtown Portland Voodoo Donuts

Downtown Portland

It was a long day, full of miles of walking, new books, and delicious food. Portland as a city has such a unique vibe that is artistic, laid-back, fun, and relaxing. It’s not as stressful as Chicago or New York and even though we were tired by the end of our day, we were looking forward to a few more days of new experiences ahead (more of those stories coming soon!)

Downtown Portland

Have you been to the Pearl District of Downtown Portland? 

What are some of your favorite places there?

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  • Lauren Jane

    This looks like such a blast! I love to find bookstores when I visit new places, but like you, I totally have to limit it (or am thankful for an already in place limit because I would buy them all!) I so want to get to that side of the USA someday, I’ve never been further west than Texas!

  • Great photos to capture all the fun in PDX 🙂

  • Portland looks like a wonderfully eclectic and unique city to visit! That’s why I’d love to visit someday.

  • I live in Portland, so I’m familiar with all of these places. Next time you will have to try Blue Star, their donuts are a bit more refined and not as sugary.

  • This looks like so much fun! Voodoo is on my list for whenever I get to Portland!

  • I miss Portland so much!! I thought Voodoo was a teenie bit overrated. We did many of the same things when we were there!

  • Portland is one of my favorite cities of all time! My husband and I got to go there last year for a long weekend and I took him all around to Powells, Voodoo Donuts and of course, we had to stop at a food truck! It’s such a unique city and the food scene is unreal!

  • Portland is BEAUTIFUL! One of my favorite cities!

  • Looks like a great time with your friends, and you hit some great spots! I was in Portland for the first time (I still can’t believe it) just last summer! Loved it — so much to see (and eat)!

  • It looks like you had such a great time! I’ve wanted to got to Portland for such a long time. Well, really I’d just love to go to the West Coast in general!

  • OOH! Portland is still number one on my list to visit in the US! That bookstore looks amazing and I’ve heard about those donuts! They were on food network at some point. You look like you had a great time!

  • How lovely! I need to go back to Portland. I spent one day there once on a coastal road trip and had a so-so time. I need to give it another go-and plus, I could spend all day in Powell’s Books!

  • Those donuts look amazing! We’ve been having our fair share of ice cream on this Cali trip — it’s hard to pass up local treats!

  • Everyone thinks of voodoo when they think of Portland, RIGHT?! I swear every time I watch the Food Network they have some Portland bakery or restaurant featured. I want to go and eat my way through that city!

  • Looks like so much fun!! Not going to lie, I really want to know what Gangsta Grass is now!! Can’t wait to visit Portland!

  • I love love love amazing bookstores…especially ones that need a map! Portland looks like such a fun and quirky city. Thanks so much for giving me a tour!

  • Love Portland, looks like you really made the most of being there even for a short while! Their food truck scene is one of the best ever!!
    xx, Kusum | http://www.sveeteskapes.com

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  • That book store looks amazing! And you got two of my favorite things, donuts and ice cream!

  • My friend lives in Portland even though i havent been there i heard so much about it i feel like i already have. You guys seemed to had so much fun there, love your pics. x

  • I lived in Portland during (and after) college! I miss it so much and am jealous you got to go explore! <3

  • I definitely need to take a trip tp Portland. It looks like there are so many cute little shops around, which is nonexistent in my town. I loved the little bookstore! It reminds of the Beauty and the Beast. Haha.

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  • Love Portland! We’ve been there a few times since we’re not too far away in Seattle. I love the Pearl District. For dinner, we went to Andina with friends and it was so good! We ordered a ton of food (since it’s tapas and all small plates) and didn’t have a bad thing there! Highly recommend it 🙂

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