Out and About in Portland, with Your Help?

comments: 58

Cupcakes4 People write to me regularly and ask me to recommend places for them to go when they visit Portland, Oregon. I always feel really uncomfortable with this because I want people to have a great time when they come to this beautiful city, and I am positive that I am not the right person to lead the tour, as I hardly ever know what's going on around here, honestly. I usually refer them to a book we sell in our shop called Eat. Shop. Portland. It is a great reference that showcases some of the best independently owned eating and shopping establishments in Portland. It's also great to have a few extra copies if you're a Portlander expecting visitors. It's tiny, has lots of great photos and is chatty and informative (along with containing all the reference info and maps you need) so your visitors can actually help plan their own visits. I like that idea.

Cupcakes3_1Nevertheless, the book certainly doesn't cover it all. Portlanders, if you're reading this, can you suggest your favorites here, as well? I really need your help, and I know you guys are much savvier about the city than I am. I would love it if you could add some suggestions to the comments, with links for everyone if possible. Tell us not only your favorite restaurants and shops, but also parks, events, farmer's markets, movie theaters, fabric and craft stores, places to stay, gardens, galleries -- whatever it is that you love to do here and know like-minded peeps would enjoy. I don't think we need to limit it to Portland proper, either -- some of the best parts of the area are at the beach, the mountain, the gorge, and the valley, so if you have anything to add please let us know. Thank you, thank you!

Cupcakes5 These diminutive sweeties (they're only about an inch in diameter!) were from one of my favorite new bakeries, Saint Cupcake, and it's my recommendation.

What are your favorite places?


I have no recommendations about THAT Portland (hee). But I had to tell you just how hungry you're making me. Really, really hungry. I think I need to go find some ice cream. ;)

Oh my! These do look scrumptuous!

I can identify with not knowing what to recommend to visitors about the city you live in. It's only recently that I've started to look for Vancouver's attractions, because I need photos to put on my blog!

Im just so sad to have missed Saint Cupcake... I love Pix Patisserie (http://www.pixpatisserie.com/ ) - but its nice to have a cupcake bakery too..

We always took people to the usuals:
Kennedy School
Japanese Gardens
even OHSU for a peek!

We also spent alot of time at The Doug Fir as well as the pub crawl along Hawthorne. Cant beat that.
I guess most of our entertaining invloved booze and bars. OH WELL!

I'm not from Portland, but all my Portland friends RAVE about Pistil's Nursery. It's at the top of my list for my next visit.

Pistils Nursery

Those cupcakes are yummy looking... and I am on a diet (thank goodness they are there and not here)... I may just have to order that book. I have decided that Em and I may just have to go on a holiday to Portland sometime in the near future : )

we will be passing through portland next month - so i'm curious to see where people point to... thanks!

Some of my favorite places when I visit portland now are the Hanna Andersson outlet, the Japanese and Chinese gardens, the gardens at Reed, the Zoo and Washington Park (especially for the summer concerts). When I had out of town visitors, we would always go to Multnoma Falls and/or Hike Dog Mountain. It's been years, but we'd often hike to Wind River hot springs or go to Carson hot springs, which were both quite fun. Eating a cupcake while soaking in a mineral tub at Carson sounds just about right!

Multnomah Falls
Japanese Garden
Classical Chinese Garden
Portland Parks Finder

I'd visit Portland just for those gorgeous looking cup cakes. Bet they tasted scrummy too!

It is times like this that I wish I had a matter transporter - so I could whizz over land and sea to get some of those cupcakes. Of course I would have to eat them rather than bringing some back with me so I could avoid any nasty 'The Fly' type mishaps. I don't think frosting for hair is such a good idea.

Oh I'd love to run a cupcake shop - it must be such fun thinking up different recipes. We just don't really do the cupcake thing over here in England. Maybe I need to work on that...

I have tons (TONS!) of recommendations. Most of them involve food...
-Tea Zone (forget the address): Best selection of lose-leaf teas, tea cups, mugs, pots, sets, accoutrements, and panini.
-Sainte Honoré Bakery in NW: Pretty accurate French breads and coffee, also the hangout for some of the local Francofile clubs and water hole/viewing place for the Tour de France
-Old Wives' Tales: Without a doubt, the best vegetarian/vegan menu in town. Their Hungarian Mushroom soup is a crowd pleaser.

Tea Zone
St. Honore Bakery
Old Wives' Tales

oh man, i could devour those cupcakes in about 2 seconds. i've been having a terrible craving for cupcakes lately, but I haven't felt well enough to get my bum in the kitchen to do some baking.

i'm determined to make some tonight. i cannot resist the lure of the cupcake.

Ah, so many places. If you love cheese, there's a hidden secret in Portland that every cheeselover must know. Steve's Cheese located inside Square Deal Wine right next to St. Honore (noted in a previous post). Steve Jones is such a nice guy. Like Alicia, the minute you meet him you want to be his best friend. Pick up a fabulous bottle of wine at Square Deal and have Steve pick the perfect cheese to compliment the flavor!

I always advise visitors that enjoy drinking wine that they must take at least one day and explore the Willamette Valley wineries. It's so close to Portland -- why not? http://www.willamettewines.com/

Lange is one of my favorite wineries. A nice family willing to provide loads of their winemaking knowledge. And the view from their tasting room is outstanding. The Estate Pinot Noirs are quite nice. http://www.langewinery.com/

I'd recommend Bergstrom Winery in a heartbeat, but they are only open Memorial Day Weekend, Thanksgiving Weekend, the rest of the year by appointment only. http://www.bergstromwines.com/

In Dundee, Oregon admist all of these winemaking talents is a lovely bistro, Dundee Bistro - http://www.dundeebistro.com/our-menus/ They offer wines from some of the smaller vineyards that don't have public tasting rooms. The oven pizzas are fabulous, as well as the Halibut fish and chips.

If you don't want to drive back into Portland after enjoying the valley, McMenamins Hotel Oregon or McMenamins Grand Lodge. http://www.mcmenamin.com/

After all that you'll be addicted to the valley's offerings of many fabulous Pinots, then you'll have to figure out how to support this expensive habit!


I love visiting Portland because I can eat without stress. I'm Celiac which means I have an allergy to Gluten. Old Wives' Tales has a seperate gluten free menu and a healthy children's menu. Corbette Fish house really rocks for flavor and texture. http://www.corbettfishhouse.com/
Two things that are sometimes rare for gluten free food. When I last popped in it had been a year and a half since I had fried fish. It was delicious.
Grolla Restaurant is nearly all gluten free but I wasn't that impressed. It was again a relief to order without being worried that I was going to be sick but the main meals were average and I could have cooked the same at home. The starters, salad and desserts were all delicious and there was a great children's consignment store just around the corner.

This is great information..I definately want to visit this place when I eventually get to the "states"..couldnt just move a little bit closer to Sydney could you!? In Australia we always make cupcakes for kids birthdays But they are quite expensive to buy from a coffee shop..I wish we had the demand here to have a whole shop dedicated to them. And "your" love of donuts and chocolates with peanut butter in them in amazing too!!

My sister lives in Portland and I always make her take me to:
Grasshopper and Tumbleweed
Henny Penny
Oblation Papers
Art House
Ann Sacks tile
Fabric Depot
Schoolhouse Electric

and we have to eat at Elephants Deli (http://www.elephantsdeli.com/ ). Love love shopping in Portland.

no, thank you!
you so graciously gave me this book & it was totally helpful & i have been meaning to write a proper thank you note so don't count this as that.
thank you.

I agree with Lisa sp-
all the places along Alberta street; tumbleweed, grasshopper, bolt, Close Knit, the newly remodled Vita Cafe.
I am a junk lover-so here are my fave "junk places":
-rejuventation, vintage hardware,odd items, basic inspiration and damn good cafe:
-hippo hardware, a very junky, quirky store-have spent hours rummaging
knitten kitten, a fabric+yarn thrift store-hit and miss-but sometimes such a hit!!!
Really Good Stuuf-sometimes overpriced but funk junk
(503) 238-1838
1322 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214
the glorious estate sales found in the Oregonian clssifieds-i have found the best stuff here and had some funny experiences, too!
ok-that's it for now...

What an absolutely delicious and sweet site. Very Yummy!

Well if I was on my way to Portland the very first place (and maybe only place) that I would go is to your shop. Simply to bask in the glory of the beauty created by your talent and imagination (not to mention all that magic!)!!

Ooh, thank you! A cupcake bakery in my own town! A few places we love in Portland:

Bombay Cricket Club for Indian food

happy hour at the Portland City Grill (30th floor of the Big Pink)

Elephant's Deli for tomato-orange soup

Powells, of course!
Reading Frenzy
Alberta Street
N. Mississippi Neighborhood
Hawthorne Neighborhood
Oblation Papers (in the Pearl District)
Seaplane in northwest to see local designers.
All our great parks.
The Stars Antique Malls in Westmoreland can be fun for browsing (overpriced).
When my sister is here we try to hit all the Goodwills, Value Villages, and the Red, White, and Blue thrift store.
I don't go to the suburbs much, but I do like Uwajimaya in Beaverton for Japanese craft books and other fun.

Those cupcakes look divine. Gosh, I'd love to visit Portland again. What a gorgeous place.

If there are any husbands or boyfriends tagging along, you might want to check out these places:
Wunderland, especially the one on SE Belmont (the building is called Avalon) http://www.wunderlandgames.com/index.htm
or maybe Ground Kontrol
Or you can find your favorite pinball machine by looking over the well-maintained pinball location list at http://www.portlandpinball.com/

Mabel's ( http://mabelscafe.com/ ) shouldn't be missed for yarn and coffee!

Other places for coffee are Tiny's at 1410 SE 12th or Stumptown at 34th and Belmont ( http://www.stumptowncoffee.com/ ), which is right across the street from Zupan's. While you are on Belmont, run up and rent a movie at Movie Madness ( http://www.moviemadnessvideo.com/ ). And maybe make whoever you are visiting take you to "the bins." They'll know what that means. Bring some of that hand sanitizer, though, if you go there.
If you MUST go outside, you could walk the loop of the Esplanade being sure to go by the Salmon Street fountain and continue under the west end of the Hawthorne bridge, across the lawn and to the Riverplace dock. That is fun. I did that with the corgi just today. The little amphitheater thing in the rose garden (Washington Park) is a great place for a picnic.
And don't forget to go under the east side of the Burnside bridge to see the infamous Burnside skate park! Again, don't forget the hand sanitizer over there.
Thien Hong on Sandy for Salt and Pepper squid. Grand Central ( http://www.grandcentralbakery.com/ ) for lunch. Piazza Italia for early dinner. ( http://www.piazzaportland.com/ ).
Jeez, hon, all you had to do was ask me!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.