Instagrammers Guide to Portland Oregon

I’ve received countless emails asking for a list of things to do in Portland Oregon and while I feel like I still have so much more to explore (we’ve only been here a year), I decided to put together an Instagrammers guide to PDX with the places I’ve been thus far. When I first moved here, I searched high and low for places to eat, see, and do and to be honest, I didn’t love what was out there. These lists of things to do in Portland were either old and outdated, or coming from a different perspective I couldn’t relate to. With Instagram and Snapchat, places we want to see and do are completely different from before. Maybe it’s less about finding the best cup of jo in the city and more about finding the most photographable coffee shop. Hopefully, you’ll see a little bit of both, the good and the pretty!

Also keep in mind, the Portland Oregon area is divided into 4 sections, North West, South West, North East, and South East. Each place listed below will show which side of town it’s on, so when you’re planning your trip, keep this in mind. I’ve also listed a couple spots that are located in suburbs outside of Portland. Again, keep travel time in mind when planning your trip as it will take some time getting from place to place.

Things to do in Portland Oregon

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Salt & Straw – I’m sure you’re well aware of this place by now. The scent of homemade waffle cones alone will suck you in. The line tends to be out the door on weekends, so if you can, try to go during the week. Cool, fun flavors, and such a friendly staff.

838 NW 23rd Ave, Portland, OR

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Tea Bar – Another Instagramers dream. Think white clean walls, wishbone chairs, and beautiful tea. They have several locations now and they’re all gorgeous. A must-stop for me!

Tea Bar SE 4330 SE Division St Portland, OR

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Blue Star Donuts –  My absolute favorite donut spot! Their motto, quality over quantity, which when it comes to food, is always the best way to go (or with anything for that matter). Clean, high quality ingredients, a couple vegan options, and just so darn good. The location on NW 23rd Ave is my favorite, but we’ve also been to the one on SW Washington st, SE Hawthorne Blvd, and still waiting to try the one in the Airport.

921 NW 23rd Ave. Portland, OR 97205

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Barista in the Pearl – really cute in the summer when you can sit outside. It’s in the heart of the Pearl District and the brick buildings that surround it are beautiful. Out of all the coffee shops we’ve tried in Portland, Barista has the best coffee in our opinion. Ask for their vegan mocha.

539 NW 13th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

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Barista on 3rd – My favorite Barista coffee to take photos. Beautiful tile, marble, and brass hardware. It’s a quaint spot downtown, not that easy to get to, but it’s adorable.

529 SW 3rd Ave #110, Portland, OR 97204

Things to do in portland oregon Good coffee

Good Coffee – Not my favorite coffee, but this place is an Instagramers dream. White, marble, and greenery everywhere. Go on an off day because the place is small and can get crowded.

1150 SE 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

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Saint Cupcake – These are my favorite cupcakes I’ve tried in Oregon so far. They don’t have a ton of vegan options, but they have the basics – vanilla with choc frosting, choc with vanilla frosting – and those are on point. Vegan cupcakes can be hit or miss and these are amazing! They have a ton of fun regular (non-vegan) flavors as well.

1138 SW Morrison St, Portland, OR 97205

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Upper Left Roasters – A large cafe-like setting where people tend to work and drink coffee. Cool interior, but most importantly, they’re avocado toast is amazing!

1204 SE Clay St, Portland, OR 97214

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Voodoo Doughnuts – I’ve only been to the one on NE Davis st, but I pass by the one on SW 3rd avenue all the time. I would say, Voodoo is more like your typical donut shop, but just with crazy toppings and flavors. They have a lot more vegan options than Blue Star, but I must say, I like Blue Star because I know and can taste that I’m eating high quality ingredients. This place is a staple here, so a must-stop when you’re visting.

1501 NE Davis St, Portland, OR 97232

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Heart Coffee Roasters – A really cute spot as well (if you’re looking to take photos), the name alone is adorable. But, not my favorite coffee. Cute spot to hang out and get some work done, though.

537 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

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Cupcake Jones – I’ve only been once, but this place is pretty well known here. Not my favorite vegan cupcakes, but they do non-vegan options well.

307 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97209

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10 Barrel Brewing – This is a great spot to come to when the weather is warm. They have an open roof deck with a bar. It gets pretty crowded even during the week at lunch, so pick off times and you should be good to go. Good beer and good food (think pub food).

1411 NW Flanders St, Portland, OR 97209

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Bamboo Sushi – This is our go-to for sushi. Modern and cute interior, but most importantly, they use high quality ingredients and are a sustainable restaurant. I don’t eat fish, but Mike says it’s always fresh. Their yakisoba noodles are amazing!

404 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

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Jefe – Think Mexican food with a Spanish flare. Being from California, we’ve become very picky about our Mexican food. We still haven’t found anything in Oregon that stands out. But, we like this place for their chips, salsa, guac and happy hour. Good drinks and good vibes, for sure. If you’re in Lake Oswego, this is a great spot. 

16360 Boones Ferry Rd., Lake Oswego, OR 97035

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Departure – Probably my favorite restaurant in Oregon (I’m sure many people would say this). A sexy rooftop restaurant and lounge ran by chef Gregory who happened to compete on Top Chef season 12. With their cool cocktails, view of the city, and top notch food (with a separate vegan menu), this is a must-stop while visiting Portland. The restaurant doesn’t open until 4 everyday, so keep that in mind, and I would highly recommend making reservations.

525 SW Morrison Street, Portland, Oregon 97204

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Kure Juice Bar – We love this place! They have the most amazing Acai bowls. I get the Sunnyside and it’s the best I’ve ever tasted! They also have smoothies, juices, and some hot drinks. Love the downtown location.

408 SW 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

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La Sen Vietnamese Grill – Hands down, our most frequented restaurant. I’m obsessed with pho and this place does their vegan version so well. I love that it’s clean and healthy. Not a hole in the wall (although most would say those are the best spots). I also get their green beans and tofu dish, which is AMAZING! They have several locations, but none of them are downtown. This is more of a suburb spot. So, if you’re ever in West Linn, Tualatin, or Sherwood, I would stop in for lunch.

7628 SW Nyberg St, Tualatin, OR 97062

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Life of Pie Pizza – A cute little laid back spot. Their wood fired pizza is a little thicker than most, but really good. A great lunch spot to stop into. I’m not 100% sure they have gluten free dough, but they do offer gluten free spaghetti.

3632 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227

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Lardo – You wouldn’t expect a person who eats vegan to say anything good about this place. I have not actually eaten anything at Lardo, but I’ve been with my family. This place is all about the meat – I would say artery clogging sandwiches that are worth having 2 times a year. If you’re a meaty sandwich kinda guy, I would definitely check this place out.

1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205

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Nostrana – this is a really cool spot. Extensive wine list, yummy cocktails, and fantastic Italian food. Obviously, I love their wood fired pizza, but Mike has raved about some of their other dishes.

1401 SE Morrison St, Portland, OR 97214

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Grassa – I’ve been here once. It’s a small spot and can get crowded. Think handmade pastas, little salads, and a variety of sides (garlic bread and veggies). Not really vegan friendly, but it’s a cool spot to stop into when you’re running around downtown and need to refuel.

1205 SW Washington St, Portland, OR 97205

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Pine Street Market – Another one of our go-to spots. This recently opened in 2016, so it’s still fairly new. It’s Portland’s first food hall featuring 9 of the city’s best chefs and purveyors all under one roof. My favorite spot is Marukin Ramen (best vegan ramen!!!), but we also love Shalom Y’all, Wizbangbar (best vegan strawberry ice cream, ever!), and Kim Jong Smokehouse. Everything here is really good, though. It’s a great spot when you’re visting with a group of people. Everyone can order whatever they want.

126 SW 2nd Ave, Portland, OR 97204

THings to do in portland oregon Boke Bowl

Boke Bowl – This is a really cute spot with plenty of vegan options. Sadly the vegan ramen I had wasn’t very good, but Mike had the fried chicken rice bowl and enjoyed it. Think handmade noodles, steamed buns, and fun pairings.

1028 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214

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Roman Candle Baking Co. – A really cute cafe spot, with pizza and breads among other things. Think fresh bread and pizza by the slice. It’s on a street with other cute restaurants and coffee shops. Salt & Straw happens to be a couple doors down.

3377 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202

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Oven and Shaker – this is our go-to for wood-fired pizza. It’s in the heart of the Pearl District, walking distance to many things. The La Fettunta, which is a bruschetta of sorts, is the best garlic bread I’ve ever had. It’s doused in olive oil and large sea salt chucks and it’s just AMAZING.

1134 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209

Other Restaurants

Thai Peacock – This is a new-to-us spot that we recently tried over Christmas. The food was good, but I think the cute location made it even better. It’s a small place, but the interior is cool and it’s nice a clean (which I’m big on).

219 SW 9th Ave, Portland, OR 97205

Por Que No? – Very famous among locals. I’ve been here once, and or me, it was nothing special. I typically judge Mexican restaurants on how well they do their beans, rice, and salsa, and there’s so much better out in Portland than this. But, Mike says the meat is amazing. So, if you’re a street taco kinda person, I would give this a try. The line tends to be out the door, so try going at an off time.

4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97215

Andina – Peruvian food with plenty of gluten free and vegan options. This is a really fun spot. They play live music and the bar is always slammed. Definitely a great spot to go with a group of people. Our family introduced us to their famous cocktail, Sacsayhuman, which happens to be super spicy and yummy.

1314 NW Glisan StPortland, OR 97209

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Black Butte Ranch – This is a fun little getaway spot that’s about 2.5 hours SW of Portland. It’s a nice spot to spend your down time in the summer. Think pools, tennis, golf, and outdoorsy activities. See my full post here.

Things to do in portland oregon Cherry Blossoms

Cherry Blossom Trees – The Cherry Blossoms are unreal here in the spring. You’ll find them just about anywhere, but if you’re looking for the perfect photo op head to waterfront downtown.

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Ace Hotel – Another one of those hotels we’ve never actually stayed at, but the lobby serves as a great spot to grab coffee, meet up with a friend, or just relax. Stumptown Coffee is attached and Blue Star Donuts is down the street, so it’s a nice spot to have a casual breakfast before you head out to explore.

1022 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97205

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Multnomah Falls – This is obviously a must-see while visiting Portland. It’s about an hour west of the city, but it’s a beautiful drive. It’s in the Gorge, so it gets really windy depending on the time of year you’re visiting.

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Stoller Vineyards – One of our favorites spots out in Willamette Valley wine country. The grounds alone are beautiful. They let you bring your own food and picnic, which is always a plus. A must-stop if you’re wine tasting.

16161 NE McDougall Rd, Dayton, OR 97114

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Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm – If you’re visiting Portland in the Spring, this is definitely worth seeing. It runs from March 24th – April 30th and is about 45 minutes south of Portland. Stroll through 40 acres of vineyards and tulips. It really is stunning! They also have other attractions on site – food, wine tasting, games for kids, and you can even bring your dogs. It gets crowded, so try to go during the weekdays.

33814 S Meridian Rd, Woodburn, OR 97071

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St. Johns Bridge – About a 15-20 minute drive North from downtown Portland. Coming from the Bay Area, the second we drove on the bridge, I immediately thought Golden Gate. It just so happens (I was told by a friend), the same designer built both. You can definitely see the resemblance. If you make your way under the bridge, you’ll find a cute little park perfect for photos.  

8600 NW Bridge Ave, Portland, OR 97203

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Oneonta Gorge Hike – It’s about an hour and 15 minutes west from downtown Portland. A cool experience, but it’s not for everyone. I’ve been once and I probably don’t ever have to go again, but if you’re into getting submerged under water (almost neck deep for me) to get to the waterfall, than I would say go for it. It is a hike without trails (you’re literally walking in the river), so bring appropriate shoes (no flip flops) and make sure your phone or camera are in a waterproof bag. It’s awesome on a hot day, but just bring a change of clothes, because you’ll be soaked.

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Oswego Hills Vineyard and Winery – This is one of our favorite spots that happens to be in my aunt’s backyard, aka the suburbs of West Linn. They’re only open on Sundays, but on a nice summer day, it can’t be beat. Bring your own picnic and enjoy the beautiful grounds. See my full post here.

450 Rosemont Rd, West Linn, OR 97068

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Maak Lab – This is such a cool spot – nothing I’ve really ever seen before. I want to say it’s a place where they make soap, but I’m not 100% sure (it’s kind of mysterious like that). The design is stunning and makes for a great Instagram shot.

916 W Burnside St, Portland, OR 97209

Portland City Guide The Society Hotel

The Society Hotel – Another one of our favorite spots. We’ve never actually stayed at the hotel, but we love the cafe downstairs and the rooftop deck with spectacular views of the city. An awesome spot when the weather is warm (sip rose on the rooftop), but also a great spot to grab coffee and warm up on those colder days. Plenty of Instagrammable shots here!

203 NW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97209

30 Comments

  1. Jay Brown
    January 20, 2017 / 6:44 am

    This is an AMAZING photo essay of Portland and its attractions. Ive always wanted to visit Oregon for wine tasting, and Portland in particular for its food scene. This motivates me to go sooner rather than later.

    Great job! A very “editorial quality” blog post! Thank you for sharing Crystalin!!

    • Crystalin
      January 20, 2017 / 8:19 am

      Wow, thank you so much! My goal was to create a post readers could really use while traveling to Oregon. Nobody really talks about all the cute spots here, so I hope I was able to shine light on all these adorable places.

    • Crystalin
      January 20, 2017 / 8:19 am

      Aww, thank you so much!

  2. N.T.
    January 20, 2017 / 5:29 pm

    Great guide, Crystalin! Gotta check out some of these places the next time I go to Portland! If you like beer, check out Ex Novo (great beer and non-profit) and Cascade (awesome sours)! Also, tell me you’ve been to the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden! :)

    • Crystalin
      January 21, 2017 / 10:36 am

      I have been to the Rose Garden, but didn’t have a nice enough photo to share… I’ll be adding to the list as time goes on. I don’t drink beer, but my husband does so I’ll let him know about these spots. Thank you!

  3. Elysiansfield
    January 20, 2017 / 10:15 pm

    Putting Portland on short list of places to take family this summer after reading your post. Thanks for all the great insider tips.

    • Crystalin
      January 21, 2017 / 10:36 am

      Yay, glad I could help :)

  4. January 21, 2017 / 8:54 am

    We were just in Portland last October/November, and we LOVED it. You’ve mentioned several spots we went to and loved, but so many more that I just have to go back and try! Saving this for later. Next time we go, we are also going to spend some time in McMinnville…. We spent less than a day there while exploring the Willamette Valley, and it is so adorable, has great coffee and foodie options, and is surrounded by vineyards! Have you been there?

    • Crystalin
      January 21, 2017 / 10:39 am

      I think I have been to McMinnville a long time ago when we were just visiting at the time… they were having some sort of parade. But, we need to head out there and actually explore. Looks adorable! Glad some of the spots you went to landed on my list :)

  5. Taylor
    January 21, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    Hello fellow Portlander! I have to confess, I was a little giddy when I read that you guys were moving to Portland and I’m so happy to see you’re enjoying it (snow and all ;) ). So many of my faves are on this list, thought I might contribute a little more!

    Cooper’s Hall – great wine bar in SE, very photogenic as well
    ENSO Winery – another urban wine bar in SE
    Cibo – amazing Italian restaurant on SE Division, they have great wood fire pizzas and happy hour!
    Nuestra Cocina – yummy mexican place, also on SE Division
    The Solo Club – great cocktail bar in NW
    Sweet Hereafter – vegan bar in SE! It can get a little crowded but the decor is cute and the food/drinks are good.
    Red Hills Market – the most delicious sandwich/market place in Dundee out in wine country. you must go!

    • Crystalin
      January 23, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Hi Taylor! Your comment just made me so giddy. All of these places sound amazing! Heading to Cooper’s Hall stat. Red Hills Market is actually one of my favorites (even before we moved here). I totally forgot to add that one to the list. I’ll have to update the post with new spots as time goes on. But yes, I LOVE Red Hills, so good. We have a lot to still explore, so if you know of anything else (places to visit, explore) please shoot me an email :)

      Thanks again!

  6. January 22, 2017 / 7:27 am

    I’m actually surprised how many of these places I managed to visit during my short stay in July. I actually found the food at Lardo too salty for my taste. We went to the one on Hawthorne if I remember correctly. I loved Blue Star Donuts though. I think I just prefer the gourmet doughnuts there to the novelty doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts.

    Before my trip, I actually checked your Instagram, the lovely @chietanak, and my friends at the LocalAdevnturer’s Portland bucket list.

    Esther and Jacob from the LocalAdventurer are actually in Portland for the next year or so definitely reach out to them! Maybe you guys could meet up or check off a few more spots. :)

    • Crystalin
      January 23, 2017 / 10:02 am

      Hi Elysia,

      Thanks for sharing your tips. I’ll have to check out both! I completely agree, I prefer gourmet doughnuts over novelty (Blue Star all the way) :)

  7. Tiffany
    January 22, 2017 / 8:28 am

    I am headed to Portland for the first time next month with my sisters, thanks for the recs! I’m so excited to try all the yummy food! :) I have a quick question…I realllllly want to see Multnomah Falls while we are there, but I’ll be about 7 months pregnant. Is it the kind of spot you have to hike to or walk up a million stairs? Or can you pretty much just drive right up to it?

    • Crystalin
      January 23, 2017 / 10:04 am

      Yay, I’m so glad you can you use all my rec’s! You should be totally fine at Multnomah Falls. The parking lot to the waterfall is a pretty short and flat walk. You can walk further, but you don’t have to in order to get the full experience. Have so much fun!

  8. January 23, 2017 / 11:54 am

    Have you been to Pok Pok (or Whiskey Soda Lounge right down the street) yet? It’s a must for me whenever I’m in town, and I dream of those drinking vinegar cocktails all the time!

    xx Hannah // http://www.HomemadeBanana.com

  9. January 23, 2017 / 1:06 pm

    This was such a helpful post! I haven’t been to Portland before, even though it has always been some place to check out in the back of my mind. I bookmarked so many places on yelp because of your post. Thank you! All the photos are gorgeous too (as per usual!)

  10. January 31, 2017 / 10:22 pm

    Thank you for this amazing post! I’m debating whether I should visit Portland or a different place this spring and after reading your post, I think I’ve made up my mind! If you don’t mind me asking, what kind of camera do you use? :-)

    • Crystalin
      February 1, 2017 / 5:25 pm

      Awesome, so glad I could help! All these photos were taken on my iphone.

  11. erica
    February 26, 2017 / 9:01 pm

    I love this “instagrammers guide” post! it’s super helpful with finding the cool places to visit :) please do more of cities you visit!

    • Crystalin
      March 1, 2017 / 9:17 am

      Thank you so much, Erica!

  12. April 21, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    My sister and I are visiting next week and I love this guide. So much to do and see. Thanks for this comprehensive look. All of the pics look wonderful.

    • Crystalin
      April 24, 2017 / 6:55 am

      Awesome! I’m so glad you found this to be helpful :)

  13. May 2, 2017 / 4:27 pm

    So glad we found your blog. We just opened up our services in your area. Would love to learn more about your favorite places to order from in the city. Keep in touch & let’s connect on social!

    IG: @bootler
    Twitter: @gobootler
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gobootler
    Web site: https://www.gobootler.com/

    We’re now in Boston, Austin, Philly, D.C., Chicago, Portland and Seattle!

  14. Jenny
    May 6, 2017 / 9:14 pm

    Going to Portland in 2 weeks & your list really helped me with places to go! I have to ask tho, what filter do you use for your photos Bc they are remarkable!

    • Crystalin
      May 8, 2017 / 7:58 am

      Awesome, that’s so good to hear! I use the Fade filter in iPhoto.

  15. Carley
    May 22, 2017 / 1:08 pm

    I LOVE this post! I am trying to plan a trip to Portland and Vancouver this summer. I will most definitely be bookmarking your site. Your photography is stunning as well. What type of camera do you use?

  16. cali
    August 8, 2017 / 11:45 pm

    I love this list. thank you for including if a place is cool but maybe not a great place to eat ect. super helpful!

  17. Sonya
    September 13, 2017 / 11:38 pm

    Thanks for this awesome post! Great for vegans like me and my boyfriend.

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