When chatting about the west coast with friends or colleagues, it seems like the cities that come up in conversation are places like LA, San Francisco, Napa Valley, and other popular California destinations. Recently however, Seattle and Portland seem to surface a little more frequently than they used to. There’s so much to do in this state that it’s hard to narrow down your itinerary for visiting Oregon once you’ve made the choice to do so.
Whether you’re a serious foodie, coffee lover, or addicted to fresh air, visiting Oregon should be on your travel radar. I have flight notifications on Kayak to check prices to fly out there because I want to go back so badly!
It is sometimes difficult to pick a place to go and get yourself there if you don’t necessarily have a reason to go out there. For me, my great friends live here and I added it onto a work trip. I do find that if I have curiosity about a location or do have an inkling of desire to go, yet feel that I do not know enough about where to stay or what to do, it really helps to either ask others for their trip itinerary or look up what other people have done. It helps bring the daydreaming to reality.
Check out my trip itinerary for visiting Oregon. I was there for just over three days, and jammed them full with two out of the seven Oregon Wonders, at least three areas of town, and way too much to eat!
Day 1: Portland It Up
First things first: Dining. Portland doesn’t mess around when it comes to amazing bites to grab on every corner.
Ever heard of a food pod? I hadn’t either. They are little clusters of mini food trucks that are found all over town. In one food pod you could find an eclectic smoothie stop, pizza pit, BBQ joint, Indian pod, Pacific/Asian cuisine, and a place to get your sweet fix. For people like me who never know what they’re in the mood to eat.
Not only are food pods a fun place to eat outdoors with lots of variety, but it’s also pretty cheap! I got this Scandinavian wrap, called a lefse, for $6.00. When traveling, I try to keep breakfast and lunch pretty inexpensive compared to dinner since it’s usually much steeper, especially in big cities.
The Tulip Festival
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest is a seasonal event that occurs in Portland every year. A field of rows upon rows of tulips blossom in the most vivid, serene colors. Mount Hood and Mount Saint Helens outline the horizon, beautifully snow-capped, while a fair goes on with food and drink, little pony rides and other activities for the kiddos.
This is one of the hundreds of events that go on in Portland every year. During the winter there’s the Portland Winter Light Festival, while the summer offers plenty of ways to experience local culture and enjoy some sun at the same time.
Base Camp Brewery
Basecamp Brewery is a taproom located in the heart of Portland. This awesome outdoor area is perfect for all types of weather, and the inside is even cooler with their sporty decor. There’s a kayak hanging from the ceiling above the bar! The beers are all themed to outdoor sports, so you can get some Oregon outdoor inspiration while you try one of their amazing beers. We ordered a flight with 10 beers, and this was the first time ever I have gotten a flight and enjoyed EVERY single one very much.
Day 2: The Oregon Coast
I am speechless even remembering the Oregon Coast. I have never seen anything remotely like it. You have to add this to your itinerary for visiting Oregon, no doubt about it.
We drove about an hour and a half northwest of Portland to get to Cannon Beach, a spot lining the stunning shore where you can see sea stacks, that enormous mass of rock you see above just sitting out in the ocean. How the heck do those even get there?!
The beach is super lively. Many dogs running around, people suited up surfing the pretty big waves, kites darting above in the serious wind. I had tears streaming down my face from the windiness!
Because the Oregon Coast is so long, of course, there are many different areas you can drive to and see completely different scenery. This was along a curvy road where we stopped to peer over a high cliff.
As if those weren’t beautiful enough views, we went to Hug Point where you can dart around a corner when the tide goes in to find this awesome waterfall with huge, looming pine trees overlooking the sea.
The clouds and fog only added to the majesty of this place. The Oregon Coast requires a whole day to soak in all of the beauty.
Are you hungry from all of your exploring?! On the way back to Portland, you’ll find Tillamook Cheese. If I hadn’t known better, I would have just thought it was any old factory on the drive by. But my friends said we had to go, since Tillamook is the dairy farm of all of the most delicious Oregon dairy! The line inside for ice cream was a maze. Cheese samples galore and a cute cafe await inside, and you can walk around to check out the history of the company. It was very educational, free, and delicious!
Upper Left Roastery
Tired from your long day of being in the car and being in awe? Upper Left should be your next pit stop. It’s a roastery in Portland (also wrote about it in my other post on Portland) with delectable coffee. The sleek design makes for a relaxing place. They also sell gourmet toast for a snack. This is a must see.
Day 3: Downtown Portland & The Columbia Gorge
Tasty and Alder
Oregon knows how to brunch. This family-style restaurant is located in downtown Portland, and it is the perfect thing to fuel you up before you go on a day of hiking at the Columbia Gorge.
Gourmet biscuits with oysters and bacon, granola and rhubarb compote, and a zillion other fancy words I didn’t know are featured on the menu. This meal was decadent, and will always be somewhere I return when I visit Oregon.
The Columbia Gorge, Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Fall is a waterfall located on the Oregon side of the Colombia River Gorge, an area filled with great hikes and great views. We were there on a chilly day with all clouds and rain, were essentially soaked the entire time, and it was STILL one of the best days of my life.
Crossing over the bridge you see here is one of the first things you do. Definitely bring plenty of waterproof gear, as you get showered as you cross over the bridge and walk around this waterfall, among the others you see throughout the trails in the Gorge. If you stand on the bridge and look outwards, you are looking at Washington.
Visiting Oregon was one of the coolest trips I’ve ever taken. I hope having an idea of what a three day trip itinerary looks like helps you to have a better idea of what exactly there is to do in Portland!
What are your favorite things to see and do in Oregon?