In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over the country to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, photographer Celeste Noche gives us a peek into (the East Side of) beautiful Portland, Oregon.
5 Things: Portland, Oregon
Celeste Noche of Celeste Noche Photography
Since my first visit five years ago, every subsequent trip to Portland has been a small step toward eventually making it my home. Coming from the Bay Area, the differences between the two are what make it special: the walk/bike-ability, the micro-neighborhoods, the lush overgrowth, and the food (of course). But more than anything, I think the pace of life and the open community are what have ultimately made this an easy home to adopt.
Moving here was a fresh start. Leaving California, I also left the tech scene, which felt to me like a bit of a rat race. In Portland, there’s a community of creatives made up of all kinds of people living slowly while also living their dreams. This, coupled with the subtle change in seasons and endless good eats, has made Portland my dream come true.
I could create a month’s itinerary in Portland based solely on meals, but these five places are especially dear to my heart. With Portland being such a food-centric town, though, it’s hard to go wrong here!
Random Order, 1800 NE Alberta Street, (971) 340-6995
When most people come to Portland, they’re eager to get in line for donuts or ice cream. To me, both those things pale in comparison to Random Order’s banana cream pie.
Luce, 2140 E Burnside Street, (503) 236-7195
Having studied abroad in Florence, I lean toward simple and timeless when it comes to Italian food. Luce does exactly that. And with its Italian dry goods, black and white tile, and floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s so cute I’m tempted to move right in.
Broder, 2508 SE Clinton Street or 2240 N Interstate Avenue
Of all of the wonderful brunch spots here, Broder is my favorite. It’s Scandinavian-inspired, so it’s delicious and beautiful. Order the lost eggs and share the aebleskiver among the table. Oh, and either avoid weekends or go early!
Grain and Gristle, 1473 NE Prescott Street, (503) 298-5007
One of the great things about Portland bars is that they all have to serve food (it’s the law). Grain and Gristle’s motto is “fine food and libations” and it offers up exactly that. This is the neighborhood tavern that I wish was closer to my own.
Farina Bakery, 1852 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, (971) 340-9734
Farina is my favorite bakery. It’s colorful and bright, with the most scrumptious pastries to match! I always feel like a local coming in here—give Laura a hug for me when you stop in for a macaron.
Seven Sisters, 811 E Burnside Street
Maven Collective, 7819 SE Stark St, (971) 279-5888
Rerun, 707 NE Fremont Street, (503) 517-3786)
Portland Flea (every third Sunday at 525 SE Pine Street, every last Sunday at 1100 SE Grand Avenue)
My favorite places to shop are local charity stores and garage sales—but shops like Seven Sisters and Maven Collective offer wonderfully curated clothing and local goods. And with thrift stores like Rerun and community markets like the Portland Flea, you’re guaranteed a selection that’s always unique and ever-changing. You never know what you’ll find, or what will find you.
One of my favorite things about Portland is that no matter where you stay, there will be tons to see, do, and eat around you. I recommend getting an Airbnb in Belmont, Laurelhurst, or Alberta—before you know it, you’ll have a favorite coffee shop, bar, and restaurant just like the locals.
Farmers’ Markets (various days and neighborhoods)
Laurelhurst Park (SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd and Stark St)
Laurelhurst Theater, 2735 E Burnside Street, (503) 232-5511
Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Boulevard, (503) 493-1128
Get lost. Wherever you end up staying, you’re most likely a short walk or bike ride from incredible local spots. Each neighborhood is a gem in itself. Have a picnic at a nearby park (Laurelhurst and the Skidmore Bluffs are my favorite) or watch a movie at a historic theater like the Laurelhurst or Hollywood.
There are pop-up street fairs and weekly markets all the time, too. And while I’m partial to the ease and intimacy of the East Side, a morning at our incredible Farmers Market or an afternoon at Powell’s are too good to be missed. Keep your day open and let yourself wander!
Hunter boots, $148
At the end of this past February, the cherry blossoms began blooming; last year, it snowed. The weather can be wet and unpredictable, so bring layers and prepare for rain. Also, pro tip: Portlanders don’t use umbrellas. Waterproof jackets and rain boots it is! (I love my second-hand pair but Hunters are great, too.) [Ed note: Hunter makes a packable version now!]
P.S. Our trip to Portland last spring was way too short! Here’s the travelogue from our Pacific Northwest road trip. (We stayed at the beautiful Benson Hotel, and they lent Hudson a fish!)