I grew up (mostly) in Portland and have witnessed the city undergo a massive transition over the decades, from a low-key city that felt more like a large town to a capital of American culinary culture. The city’s location amidst the fertile Willamette Valley means that Portland has been doing farm-to-table fare since before it had a name.
Whether you’re grabbing a bite at one of the numerous food carts around town or sitting down at a proper restaurant, you can expect the ingredients to be fresh and, oftentimes, locally sourced. Just don’t expect white tablecloths—we Portlanders are a casual bunch, and while plenty of restaurants excel at presenting their food beautifully, flavor always takes priority.
Portland weather is unpredictable, so wear layers and be prepared for rain.
If you only have time for one thing, make it a food cart pod meal.
Portland is a notoriously bike-friendly city, and a great way to get around is by renting a bicycle and zipping to different food cart pods (the local term for clusters of food trucks). You can easily spend a day food cart-hopping, and get a great lay of the land in the process.
In the evening, ride downtown to hop on a sunset river cruise on the Willamette River, an experience that'll give you views of the Portland cityscape, its scenic bridges, and a chance to sample local fare.
Portland is known for its donuts, and while Voodoo Doughnut is the best-known shop to pick up the sweet treats, locals know that there are plenty of other spots. Find your favorite with a morning donut walk.
If you don't want to bicycle, take a bus or taxi over to the Kerns neighborhood in Northeast Portland to try out some of Portland’s most lauded local restaurants—joining a tasting tour is a great way to sample different spots without having to pick just one.
On your final day, head out to( the Columbia River Gorge, a natural scenic area that's a short drive from town. Once you arrive, a great way to take in the sights is by cycling—you can even join an e-bike tour, which takes you to wineries and markets, allowing you to taste local produce where it’s grown.
Portland has been known for microbreweries even longer than it’s been known for its food, and if you love beer, you’ll want to go brewery hopping. Just don’t attempt to drive or cycle after—instead, rely on public transportation or join a tour.