Having visited Portland one other time, this trip was to enjoy the city a tad bit more and possibly in a leisurely manner. For my stay I chose the Jupiter NEXT Hotel, a modern boutique hotel close to the Pearl District. The minimalist décor and large wall murals are a plus. The large lobby area and upstairs coworking space were also great. The sleek design of the furniture was welcome. I liked the location also for it being somewhat central to a few different things I’d be doing during my days here and walkability to restaurants and shops.
The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is a botanical garden where you can enjoy a lovely walk along a lake and woods. Some of the most beautiful rhododendrons and azaleas grow here. It’s a pretty quiet venue and a good spot for some alone time. I didn’t have the time to spare or I’d have brought along a book to read and enjoy with my coffee. You will chance upon ducks and geese, but possibly other species as well.
A stop at the Portland Mercado was recommended by some friends and I took note. It’s a neat concept – an open-air market offering Latin American foods and multiple vendors. You can’t miss the building – its colorful and has eye-catching wall murals. The Haitian spot called Mathilde’s Kitchen was my dinner spot and I was not disappointed. Other cuisines available here are Cuban, Oaxacan, Peruvian, Colombian, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan.
Starting out early the next day, my first stop of business was the Portland Art Museum. If you have the time their cute café is worth a stop as is their amazing gift store. The cars exhibit was fantastic and the pieces of historic information enjoyable. I also liked the native American exhibits and was glad to see a substantial portion of the museum dedicated to it. I’d go back to visit if I could.
Across the street is the Oregon Historical Society which has historic exhibits about the state, and a huge collection of resources for the public at their library. I was surprised to spend as much time as I did here not fully knowing what to expect. I hear the exhibits change often so look online for an update on the latest. Whether you are new to the area or have lived here long, its still a good venue to visit.
Took a break for lunch walking over to Chez Dodo for Mauritian food and then walked along to the waterfront to find a spot to eat my samosas, and rice and noodle dishes, which are very similar to Indian food but taste quite different. The flavor of the islands is prominent in the food from this cart and loved by locals. Visit on off hours to beat the crowds. There’s nothing you could eat here and isn’t amazing.
An afternoon walk at Lan Su Chinese Garden was next on the agenda. I’ve been there before and liked it so much that I made time to visit again. This time I also got to enjoy tea at the tea house and a mooncake too while looking out the window over the lakes and the reflection of the building. If time permits, this would be a spot I’d stay in all day. All the flowers and plants are extremely soothing, and to think this is in the heart of the city.
I skipped the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland Japanese Garden, and Oregon Zoo on this visit as I had checked them off my list the last time. Other spots I wanted to head to but simply didn’t have the time included The Grotto, Maritime Museum, Pittock Mansion, Children’s Museum and World Forestry Center Discovery Museum. I am hoping to make time to see those when I visit again. Always open to your recommendations - comment below and let me know other to-do's to add to my list.
*Thanks to Travel Portland for assistance with attractions*