How to Have an Awesome Summer Vacation In and Around Portland

This was undoubtedly the best trip to Oregon I’ve ever had.  It really helps to have more than just a day or two, and to have a checklist of things we wanted to do so we didn’t end up going to the same three places we always go.

If you like coffee, beer and being outside, here are my recommendations for an amazing time in (and around) Portland

1. Go to Mt. Hood. Stop at Wildwood and walk along the beautiful Salmon River.

Swim in Trillium Lake.

Visit Timberline Lodge.

2. Go to the Columbia River Gorge.

Get coffee at Dog River (good coffee and extremely kid-friendly!)

Hike to a waterfall (we chose Punch Bowl this time but there are a ton of options)


Taste the beer at Double Mountain Brewery (and maybe have some pizza, too).

Have ice cream at Mike’s (is it even possible to go to Hood River without doing this?)

3. Meet a blog friend!

I’ve been reading Jen’s blog for a few years now and was SO excited to finally meet her in person.  I got to meet her insanely adorable brand new baby daughter, Penelope, too!

4. Run on the Wildwood Trail

I have been running in Portland for years and somehow this was the first time I’ve ever done this.  If you park in the lot above the zoo (near the Vietnam Memorial) you can run forever and every 1/4 mile is marked.  It’s BEAUTIFUL.  We ran 8 miles and it was amazing.

5. Go to Stumptown Coffee.

Mike takes coffee really seriously and he was very skeptical about claims that Portland’s coffee is better than San Francisco’s.  We went to Sterling, Coffeehouse Northwest, Barista, and Stumptown, and Stumptown was the only one that could compete with his beloved SF staples, Ritual, Four Barrel, and Sightglass.

6. Enjoy the weather!  There are only a couple months of the year that being outside is actually enjoyable, so soak it up!  I recommend playing in the sprinkler and eating dinner outside.

7. Drink a LOT of beer.  Portland has so much good beer, it’s kind of ridiculous (the Bay could definitely learn a thing or two).  In Portland alone, we sampled Amnesia, Hopworks, Deschutes, and Bridgeport.


It was so much fun to spend a week in Portland with perfect weather, family and friends, and of course a ton of good food.  I just adore that city.



5 Responses to “How to Have an Awesome Summer Vacation In and Around Portland”

  1. 1 Josie August 20, 2012 at 6:33 am

    So glad you had a fun time! This post made me really sad that my sister doesn’t live in Portland anymore – I’ve been to several of the places you mentioned when I’d go visit her! Minneapolis isn’t nearly as cool 🙂

  2. 2 Kira August 20, 2012 at 11:07 am

    As we were enjoying our Willamette Valley Pinot the other night, I asked Joe, “If we went back to Portland, how would we divide up our time?” I think the answer would be – more Columbia River Gorge and more beer. The wine was great, but there was so much else that we didn’t get to!

  3. 3 Audrey August 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Sounds like an awesome trip! My in laws live in Portland and I must store some of these ideas away – like the Wildwood trail. Since the last two times I visited were for races (Portland full and Eugene half), I didn’t do any fun runs, and just stuck to the Waterfront. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal in Portland. Right now I’d love to have some breakfast at Mother’s (in downtown) and grab some Stumptown to drink with a monkey muffin from Grand Central Bakery!

  4. 4 Kate August 20, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    You make Portland seem so much better than my experience!

  5. 5 Cathryn Ramsden August 21, 2012 at 8:02 am

    I’ve not been to Oregon yet, we really fancy it, esp Portland. We’ll use this post as a guide when we do go!!!

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