Join me (Julia), Woody, Jon, and Phoebe as we embarked on an unforgettable exploration of Portland, Oregon. During the Memorial Day weekend of May 2018, the four of us set foot in this captivating city. Being accustomed to the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, California, we were immediately struck by the refreshing air and the vibrant green landscapes that enveloped us.
Our stay spanned three days and two nights, a timeframe that proved to be more than sufficient for our planned adventures. To make the most of our visit, we highly recommend renting a car to navigate the city. Portland’s attractions are conveniently located within close proximity to one another, and the absence of heavy traffic, in stark contrast to LA, allowed us to swiftly check off everything on our exploration checklist.
Travel Cost: Let's break it down:
Flight: $192.60 per person
We opted for an economy class flight with Alaska Airlines, booking our tickets two months in advance in March. The flight duration was approximately two hours, covering a distance of 834 miles (one way). The Alaska airline staff provided excellent service, offering comfortable seating and complimentary amenities such as water, a choice of beverages (coffee, soda, juice), and delightful cinnamon biscuits.
Our accommodation was a spacious two-bedroom, three-bathroom, two-story condo, which exceeded our expectations. We checked in on Friday afternoon at 3 PM and checked out on Sunday morning at 11 AM, making it a three-day and two-night stay. With four people sharing the cost, each of us contributed $78. We secured this amazing Airbnb home in early March, ensuring a comfortable and memorable experience.
Hertz Car Rental: $124
To facilitate our travel needs, we rented a Dodge minivan directly from the airport. The vehicle accommodated our large suitcases, allowing space for our shopping indulgences. Splitting the rental cost amongst the four of us, we paid $31 each. Remarkably, we only used half a tank of gas during our trip, spending approximately $35 to refill it before returning the car.
Friday, May 25, 2018
⇢ Tasty & Sons: A fantastic brunch spot, although be prepared for a wait of approximately 45 minutes. We arrived at 9:45 am and were seated around 10:15 am. To start, we indulged in the Citrus Paradiso mimosa from the Bubbles section of the alcohol menu. Our order consisted of the Salmon Board ($10), Potatoes Bravas ($9), Hangtown Fry ($16), and the mouthwatering Tasty Steak & Cheddar Eggs ($17). Each dish was a culinary delight, leaving us wanting more. Personally, my favorite was the Tasty Steak & Cheddar Eggs. The plates were served one by one, perfect for sharing and reminiscent of tapas-style dining.
⇢ Multnomah Falls: After brunch, we headed to Multnomah Falls, which took about an hour to reach. Unfortunately, most of the hiking trails were closed due to the previous year’s fires, but we still managed to visit the visitor platform and capture a memorable group photo in front of the falls.
⇢ Nong’s Khao Man Gai: For dinner, we discovered Nong’s Khao Man Gai, a popular spot in downtown Portland. This indoor restaurant served a delectable dish called Khao Man Gai, featuring chicken and rice. Despite its simple presentation, the flavors were remarkable. Be sure to follow the directions provided on how to eat it the right way.
⇢ Pearl District: We explored the vibrant Pearl District, the downtown area of Portland. This neighborhood offers a wide range of pubs, restaurants, ice cream shops, and more, making it a perfect place to stroll around and immerse yourself in the city’s atmosphere.
⇢ Portland Rose Festival City Fair: As we walked through the Pearl District, we stumbled upon the Portland Rose Festival City Fair. Although we didn’t plan to visit it, we decided to check it out. The fair had an admission fee of $8 per person, and additional charges for the rides. It was an interesting experience, and we encountered some unique and “weird” characters, showcasing the city’s eccentric charm.
⇢ Wayfinder: We ended our day at Wayfinder, a fantastic pub with a great selection of beers and delicious bar food. We savored the Asada Fries and Mac & Beer Cheese, accompanied by some refreshing IPAs. The cozy atmosphere and enjoyable fare made it the perfect spot to relax and unwind.
Saturday, May 26, 2018
⇢ Portland Japanese Garden: We initially planned to visit the Rose Garden and assumed it was connected to the Japanese Garden. However, upon arrival, we discovered a separate ticket kiosk and an admission fee of $17 per person. While the Japanese Garden had a serene and tranquil atmosphere with a notable Koi pond, I must admit that I felt somewhat disappointed overall.
⇢ International Rose Test Garden: To our pleasant surprise, we stumbled upon the hidden gem of the International Rose Test Garden, located across the street from the tennis courts. Unlike the Japanese Garden, this stunning rose garden was free to the public and absolutely majestic. I couldn’t help but feel a tad regretful about the substantial amount we spent at the Japanese Garden when this beautiful spot offered abundant flowers and fantastic photo opportunities.
⇢ Cheese & Crack: For a delightful evening of unwinding with friends, we visited Cheese & Crack. This charming establishment provided a cozy atmosphere and served delicious charcuterie boards. We indulged in the Sampler Plate Deluxe, paired with a bottle of wine, which left us fully satisfied. The assortment of cheeses was exceptional, and the capicola meat was simply divine. We couldn’t resist trying their Affogato for dessert—a heavenly combination of perfectly swirled ice cream and rich coffee that was visually reminiscent of unicorn magic.
⇢ Ringside Steakhouse: Our dinner reservation at Ringside Steakhouse was the epitome of an upscale and romantic dining experience. With its dimly lit ambiance and classic steakhouse vibes, the restaurant exuded a sultry and intimate atmosphere. I highly recommend indulging in their Dry Age Bone-In Rib Steak, a delectable shareable dish weighing in at 34oz and served on a sizzling plate ($110). Each person can choose their own side, and we relished the House Caesar Salad, large Onion Rings, Baked Spinach, and Sautéed Mushrooms. The onion rings lived up to their reputation, and the meal was accompanied by a delightful basket of hot sourdough bread, of which I managed to resist only having two bites, secretly wishing I could have taken more home.
Sunday, May 27, 2018
⇢ Pok Pok: We arrived at Pok Pok around noon and were fortunate to find no waiting time. This renowned restaurant had garnered rave reviews, and we were eager to sample their flavorful dishes. However, much to our disappointment, everything we tried turned out to be excessively salty, even for someone like me who appreciates salty flavors. The ingredients and the concept of the dishes were undoubtedly delicious, but the overpowering saltiness hindered our enjoyment. We ordered Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Chicken Wings, Neua Naam Tok Beef Salad, Sunny’s Yam Wun Sen Chao Wang Clay Glass Noodle Pot, and Khao Soi Neua Beef Curry Soup with Jasmine Rice. Despite the underwhelming experience, I’m willing to give Pok Pok another chance on a different day, as I genuinely believe it may have been an off-day for the chef’s taste buds.