Things to Do in Portland this Weekend

Portland, Oregon, known for its eclectic mix of natural beauty, artistic flair, and culinary excellence, is a playground for adventurers and culture enthusiasts alike. This guide offers a curated itinerary that spans from vibrant arts districts to serene natural landscapes, ensuring that your weekend in Portland is packed with unforgettable experiences.

Things to Do in Portland

Let’s start with Friday Night Dinner

Dinner at Andina

Dinner at Andina

Location: Nestled in the heart of the Pearl District

Cuisine: Andina serves up a fusion of traditional Peruvian ingredients with modern culinary techniques, offering dishes that are both vibrant and comforting.

Specialty: The restaurant’s signature dish, ‘Lomo Saltado’, which is a stir-fried beef dish marinated in soy sauce and vinegar, reflects the depth of Peru’s culinary heritage with a twist that resonates with Portland’s foodie culture.

Ambiance: The warm, colorful interiors of Andina, paired with live Latin music, create an inviting atmosphere that complements the innovative menu and makes diners feel like they’ve stepped into a bustling eatery in Lima.

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Saturday: Nature, Nourishment, and Nightlife

Breakfast at Mother’s Bistro & Bar

Time: Start your day at 8 AM

Details: Mother’s Bistro & Bar is all about hearty, home-style cooking. Each dish is prepared with care, mimicking the warmth of a meal cooked by a loving mother.

Specialty: The challah French toast, soaked overnight in a rich custard and served golden brown with a dusting of powdered sugar and maple syrup, is a comforting start to any day.

Atmosphere: The bistro’s interior, featuring soft, plush furnishings and an array of family photos, offers a welcoming and familial feel that encourages guests to relax and enjoy their meals.

Portland Japanese Garden

Time: Best visited between 10 AM and 12 PM to avoid crowds

Highlights: The Portland Japanese Garden is a haven of tranquility, featuring eight unique garden styles, each meticulously designed to foster peace and reflection.

Details: Walk the meandering paths through the Strolling Pond Garden or sit quietly in the Natural Garden, each area designed to illustrate different philosophies and aesthetics found in Japanese landscape art.

Special Note: Don’t miss the authentic Japanese tea house, where you can participate in a traditional tea ceremony—a profound cultural experience that encapsulates the essence of mindfulness and hospitality.

Explore Japan on a budget! Get tips for independent travelers on saving money while enjoying the best of Japan’s sights and experiences.

Lunch and Hike at Forest Park

Lunch and Hike at Forest Park

Culinary Stop: Before heading out, pick up a gourmet picnic basket from Elephants Delicatessen, known for its fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and delightful sandwiches.

Adventure: Forest Park, the largest urban forest in the United States, offers a respite from the city’s bustle with its extensive network of trails and stunning natural beauty.

Trail Recommendation: The Wildwood Trail, part of the park’s 70 miles of pathways, is especially popular for its accessibility and scenic views that change with the seasons, offering lush greenery in spring and a fiery palette of colors in fall.

Get ready for an amazing hike to Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon! Our guide has all you need to know, from trail tips to camping gear essentials.

Dinner at Le Pigeon

Dinner at Le Pigeon

Time: 7 PM; reservations recommended

Menu: Chef Gabriel Rucker’s Le Pigeon is renowned for redefining Portland’s culinary scene with daring French-inspired dishes incorporating rich, local ingredients.

Must-Try: The beef cheek bourguignon, which is slow-cooked to perfection and melts in your mouth, paired with locally foraged mushrooms and small-batch Oregon pinot noir.

Experience: The intimate setting and open kitchen allow diners to watch as their meals are prepared with precision and artistry, adding an element of theatre to the dining experience.

Portland Center Stage Performance at The Armory

Performance at The Armory

Showtime: 9 PM

Highlights: As the largest theater company in Portland, Portland Center Stage at The Armory presents a variety of plays and musicals that reflect both local and global themes.

Details: The theater itself, a historical armory transformed into a state-of-the-art performance space, provides an impressive backdrop for evening entertainment.

Tip: Check their current schedule and book tickets in advance—whether you’re in the mood for a gripping drama, a hilarious comedy, or an enchanting musical, the company’s diverse repertoire is sure to offer something that piques your interest.

Sunday: Artistic Morning, Spirited Afternoon, and Relaxing Evening

Portland Art Museum

Portland Art Museum

Time: Start your day with culture from 10 AM

Exhibits: The museum showcases over 42,000 objects, from Native American artifacts to contemporary art installations.

Must-See: The modern art collection is particularly notable, featuring works by both renowned and emerging artists that provoke thought and inspire creativity.

Why Visit? The museum not only offers a glimpse into the artistic achievements of the past and present but also serves as a dynamic cultural hub in Portland, hosting lectures, film screenings, and family-friendly events that enhance the community’s engagement with art.

Brunch at Screen Door

Brunch at Screen Door

Time: Arrive by 12:30 PM to secure a spot

Details: Screen Door takes pride in its roots in Southern cooking, delivering dishes that are bursting with flavor and made from scratch each day.

Signature Dish: The praline bacon and buttermilk fried chicken waffle, drizzled with maple syrup, perfectly balances sweet and savory—a quintessential Southern brunch that’s become a Portland staple.

Experience: Expect a lively atmosphere as locals and visitors alike queue up for what many claim to be the best brunch in the city. The wait can be long, but the bustling, friendly environment and mouth-watering aromas make it a worthwhile endeavor.

Distillery Row Tasting Tour

Distillery Row Tasting Tour

Start Time: 2 PM

Experience: Portland’s Distillery Row is an artisanal spirits hotspot, home to several small but mighty distilleries crafting everything from gin and vodka to rum and whiskey.

Details: The tasting tour offers a behind-the-scenes look at the distillation process, complete with samples and insights from the distillers themselves.

Why Participate? It’s a unique opportunity to delve into Portland’s craft spirit scene and discover the care and creativity that goes into each bottle.

Sunset Dinner Cruise on the Willamette River

Sunset Dinner Cruise on the Willamette River

Departure Time: 7 PM

Experience: The dinner cruise offers panoramic views of Portland from a new perspective—as you glide along the Willamette River, the city’s skyline unfolds under the changing colors of the setting sun.

Details: The cruise includes a three-course meal, often featuring local seafood and seasonal ingredients, accompanied by live music that enhances the serene evening ambiance.

Why End Here? There’s no better way to wrap up your weekend in Portland than by reflecting on your experiences as you watch the city lights flicker on, marking the beginning of another beautiful night in the city.

Conclusion

Portland’s charm lies in its ability to blend urban culture with natural beauty, offering a weekend filled with diverse experiences that cater to all tastes. Whether indulging in the city’s culinary delights, exploring its scenic landscapes, or immersing yourself in cultural and artistic activities, Portland guarantees a memorable adventure that will leave you planning your next visit.

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