The weekend started off a bit rocky, but in the end, we had a wonderful getaway to Portland for my husband’s birthday. I had been there once before, but this was his first trip.

Originally, we were supposed to take the Coast Starlight train from San Jose, CA up to Portland, but after several hours of delays, we decided to cancel the train tickets and book a flight. In the end, the train didn’t arrive until 7 hours after it was originally scheduled to, so we would have missed over half a day of Portland fun! We may try to do the train again someday, however, as it is supposed to be one of the most scenic train rides in the country.

Now to Portland. We arrived at PDX in the early afternoon on Friday. After dropping our bags off at the hotel, the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland, our next stop was lunch at Stacked Sandwich Shop. Everything on the menu looked great, but the Polpetta sandwich I had was absolutely delicious. It’s a pork and water buffalo meatball hoagie, and I highly recommend it.

I don’t want to gloss over the hotel, so let me tell you a little about the Kimpton Hotel Monaco. The place embodied Portland’s charm with it’s unique, colorful, and quirky decor. Our room was wallpapered floor to ceiling with birds. The furnishings were cozy and comfy. And the location was perfectly walkable to almost everything we wanted to do.


Our next stop after lunch was the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). It was a pretty rainy day, and this was a 5 minute walk from the sandwich shop. The museum was pretty fun. There was a special King Tut exhibit that was an additional cost, but was worth it. That special exhibit was the main draw for us. There were a few other interesting exhibits, but the rest of the OMSI would probably be more entertaining for those with children. We saw a laser show in the planetarium. That was…different. It was only $4 on top of our regular admission ticket, so it wasn’t too bad, but I definitely wouldn’t pay more for that particular show.

Saturday morning, we started the day by meeting a couple of local friends for brunch at Cheryl’s on 12th. It was a 15 minute walk from the hotel, and there was only about a 20 minute wait, which wasn’t bad considering how crowded it was. The food was delicious. There didn’t look to be a bad option on the menu. I had a mimosa and the pancakes with lemon curd, blueberries, and whipped cream.


After that, we wanted to find something off the beaten track. Our friend remembered hearing about a Peculiarium. It was $5 per person admission, which is about what it was worth. It was very small, but fun. I don’t even know how to describe it. Just look at the pictures below.


We followed that up with some VooDoo Doughnut. I know there are a lot of other doughnut shops in Portland, but since this was my husbands first trip, we went for the most touristy one. There was a long line but it moved quickly. They are cash only, but there’s an ATM on site. The doughnut selection was unique and eclectic. All were great, but I don’t recommend the ones with cereal on them. By the time the cereal sits in a cabinet on a doughnut for a while and then in a box, it gets a bit stale.


Of course we couldn’t go to Portland without a trip to Powell’s City of Books. This massive bookstore takes up a whole city block and multiple floors. It’s almost overwhelming. We spent a couple of hours in there. They have a whole room of rare books which they only allow a certain number of people in at a time. The have both new books and really old books. Old as in 1700’s old. Bottom line, there is something for everyone, so if you are even remotely into reading and you find yourself in Portland, go to Powell’s.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Portland without some beer tasting. Our next stop was Basecamp Brewing Company. The beer was pretty good, and the atmosphere felt like you really were in a basecamp. I particularly liked the S’more Stout, which comes with a toasted marshmallow. There were food trucks outside the tasting room, as well. We didn’t get food, but it all smelled delicious.


Next up was dinner. We walked around for a bit, but everywhere had a pretty long wait. Then we came across Lardo and my husband and I both got the burger. There is no way this was even remotely healthy, but man was it tasty!


We ended the evening with a movie at Living Room Theaters. With reclining seats and small theater sizes, this place was aptly named. It was the perfect way to end the cool rainy evening. There is a restaurant attached too, and you can get food to eat during the movie, or eat in the restaurant itself.

We did not rent a car because everything was so walkable and there is a big Uber/Lyft presence in Portland.

We packed a lot into a three day weekend, and still feel that there is so much for Portland to offer. We will have to go back in the spring or summer sometime to enjoy more of the outdoor activities the area is known for.