Welcome to Portland, Oregon! You’ve heard all about the food scene and culture here, but you’re wondering how to acquaint yourself with it. Take advice from this Portland native, also known as a NW unicorn, as to where to go to fully immerse yourself in our weird city.
Since you’re here for SearchFest, these places are easily navigated on foot. They are all within the downtown area, with most routes a stone’s throw from the Sentinel Hotel.
Start your journey off in the Pacific Northwest with a cup of coffee from one of these amazing coffee shops.
- Public Domain is my go-to coffee shop for anyone visiting from out of town. The coffee here is unique and they have the best people watching.
- Barista is a newer Portland favorite. Amazing coffee with often cute baristas.
- If you are looking for a place to set up your laptop, check out Case Study.
- And of course, Stumptown. You can’t leave town without getting a cup of joe from this place.
Now that you’ve got a caffeine buzz, keep on moving to lunch.
- Maurice opened in 2015 and has been a neighborhood joy ever since. The food here is French and they have amazing desserts. Get here early because when they sell out of something, it’s gone for the day.
- Elephants Deli is the BEST! This is a city favorite. Walk up, get a sandwich, or a Mamma Leone’s Chicken soup or Vegan Kale Slaw then enjoy it in Directors Park. Note, if you need to order lunch to go for a group, this is a fantastic option.
- Addy’s was introduced to me this fall. Just like Elephants, this is a great place to get something and go. I recommend anything with brie in it.
- Get an all American meal here at, Tilt. Their BBQ Chicken Salad is bomb.
- If it’s a burger you’re looking for, consider Killer Burger. You can’t go wrong.
Continue to eat your way through the city with dinner.
- You’re in the Pacific Northwest, so you need some fish, right? How about sushi at Bamboo? They serve fish that was caught with sustainable fishing practices. So no guilt!
- Enjoy good music, interesting murals and very cool floral arrangements at Saucebox. Saucebox is an Asian fusion restaurant with amazing short ribs and creative cocktails.
- The Veritable Quandary or the VQ is an old Portland gem. Visit the VQ before their current building gets torn down for a new glass tower and they move the restaurant in the fall. So if you fall in love with their chocolate soufflé like I have, fear not.
- A new Portland favorite is the Picnic House. Make a reservation, even for happy hour.
- For great Italian, hit up Mucca. I found out about this restaurant while chatting with a couple of Italian gentlemen. They said this is where they eat for authentic Italian food when they are in town.
Don’t’ stop now! Keep going! You can’t leave dessert behind.
- For the chocolate lovers out there, Cocao is the perfect spot for you. Enjoy a piece of chocolate while drinking a cup of chocolate.
- And for those who love something cold, Ruby Jewel has great ice cream. While Tart Berry is your source for frozen yogurt and all the toppings you can dream of.
- Now for my favorite, PIE! Petunia’s Pies & Pastries is worth a stop any time of day. They don’t just serve pie in case it’s not your fav too.
- Cupcakes anyone? Saint Cupcake is a go-to and great if you want to bring treats to your new friends and colleagues at SearchFest.
Now for the real meat, the real reason why you came to Portland, booze! Yes, we have great beer, wine and artisan cocktails.
For the cocktail lovers.
- Shift Drinks is my new go-to cocktail joint. Great service, good wine and beer selection and imaginative bar tenders.
- Step back in time to the 1950’s to the swanky Driftwood Room. Enjoy a champagne cocktail or a classic martini.
- Pepe Le Moko has oysters and cocktails. Try their house cocktail, the Grasshopper. Hint: It has ice cream in it.
For the beer enthusiast, go on a pub crawl to taste some Oregon brews.
- First Stop – 10 Barrel. Try the Joe IPA!
- Second Stop – Rogue
- Third Stop – Deschutes
- And last but not least, a friend to SEMPDX – Bridgeport
Why go to multiple watering holes when you can hit up a taproom or wine bar?
- The Tugboat opens their doors to travelers. Privately owned for over 20 years, the Tugboat will make you feel right at home as you are surrounded by books and games to share with the other explorers. They brew their own beer, try the Chernobyl Stout.
- Right across the street from the Tugboat is Bailey’s Taproom. They have great local and international beers.
- For truly interesting wine, check out Coppia Wine Bar and Restaurant. Owned by one of the members of Pink Martini, this carefully crafted selection of wine is worth a stop.
- You’re in Oregon, right? Surely you want to try Oregon Wines on Broadway.
- Did you know Tonya Harding is from Portland? Dockside is my favorite dive bar and is where Tonya’s accomplices dumped the evidence for their crime. The dump is a mile away, come-on guys! Guess they needed a beer that bad.
- If there is a sun break while you’re here, check out Momo’s Cheap drinks with outdoor seating? Yes, please!
- An Obility favorite, Yamhill Pub. Need I say more?
Shop with no sales tax. WHAT?!?
- If you’re a professional shopper like me, check out Pioneer Place. There are shops you recognize and Nordstrom is right up the street.
- For a local shopping experience, swing into Union Way. They have shops with hand- crafted goods and Little T Baker if you need snack.
- For book lovers, Powell’s Books. It’s a Portland landmark, you can’t miss it!
- For the music lovers, Everyday Music and 2nd Avenue Records.
- If you are an outdoor enthusiast, pop into the US Outdoor Store. Family owned and operated for 50 years, get your gear for your Northwest adventure.
Feeling full? And maybe a little tipsy? Walk it off!
- The Waterfront Esplanade takes you on a 2.4-mile loop around the river.
- Get a feel for Portland and view the Eastside at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
- The roses are not blooming yet, but the view is amazing at the International Rose Garden, but you may want to call Radio Cab to get there.
- Take an urban hike through the South Park Blocks. If you stick it out all weekend, there is a great farmers market in the park blocks by Portland State on Saturdays.
These are my secrets, so who knows, you may see me enjoying a champagne cocktail at one of these fine establishments while you’re in town. Keep an eye out, us unicorns disappear fast.