Portland, Oregon, has a reputation for many things from great microbreweries, to amazing parks aplenty, and of course a reputation for keeping things weird. But something you may not know about Portland is that it’s a fabulous place for a girls-only getaway—filled with activities to enjoy with your girlfriends for a day, a weekend or more. Kick back with some local wine (or beer!), explore Portland’s parks, or go shopping in any number of unique shopping districts. Here are a few reasons why Portland is the best place for an unconventional girls getaway.
Muffins and Mimosas
Photo by Nathalie Wilson CC BY
Start your day with breakfast or brunch at one of Portland’s many breakfast joints. Few cities love breakfast as much as Portland so you’ll have your share of places to choose from, but count on a wait for the more popular spots like Mother’s Bistro & Bar close to the downtown core or Besaw’s on the far end of Nob Hill. Spend your wait time planning out your day and people watching. No matter what part of town you’re in, there will be a breakfast or brunch hotspot nearby, most of which feature a signature dish, such as the yummy salmon hash at Mother’s.
Stretch it out
Photo by Taro Taylor CC BY
Before or after brunch, perhaps consider a meditative and relaxing session of yoga. Portland has tons of yoga studios, many of which allow walk-ins. Yoga Pearl, located close to a number of restaurants and stores in the Pearl District, is one such spot. A drop-in class will cost you under $20 and a variety of options, from Gentle Hatha to Power Vinyasa, ensure you get whatever workout you need. If you’re heading to Nob Hill either for breakfast or shopping, Shine Yoga likewise offers walk-ins and includes use of all equipment—mats, blocks, bolsters and more—in the price of your class.
You can easily fill your mid-morning, afternoon and/or evening with shopping in one or all of Portland’s best shopping areas. Portland offers up everything from the full mall experience to local indie shops, with two especially fine options for local shopping aficionados. Best of all, no matter where you go, Oregon has no sales tax! If you’re staying at a hotel that’s located downtown core, look to the Pearl District, home to the famous and exceedingly massive Powell’s Books, where you can easily browse the book collection for hours or enjoy a cup of coffee. Also in the Pearl District are other shops to explore, from women’s clothing boutiques like Mabel & Zora to outdoorsy stores like Patagonia. Within easy walking distance of the Pearl District is downtown, where you’ll find blocks of both indie and chain stores. A highlight of downtown’s shopping scene is Pioneer Place on 5th Avenue with the largest concentration of designer stores in town. However, do keep in mind that Portland prides itself on being weird. Perhaps nowhere sees quite as much of the weird as the Pearl District and downtown, but take it as a cultural experience.
Portland’s cutest shopping district is located a few blocks west from downtown — Nob Hill, specifically a stretch along NW 23rd Avenue. You won’t spot chain stores, malls or even giant bookstores here, but instead can stroll tree-lined avenues lined with local clothing boutiques, trendy restaurants and bakeries, and coffee shops. Because of this, NW 23rd was selected by US News and World Report as one of the top 10 shopping streets in the U.S. Highlights include a stop at quirky Archibald Sisters, Evergreen Fair Trade with items from around the world, and Eclectic Home where you’ll find unique décor items. Enjoy brunch or breakfast, stroll the shops and pair it with a visit to Washington Park. For the most bang for your buck, head to the Lloyd Center in the Rose Quarter. The Lloyd Center is a huge mall, all indoors, making it an excellent rainy day shopping destination. Stores include general mall fare, from Forever 21 to Macy’s, and a Made in Oregon store where you can pick up a bottle of local wine if you don’t have plans to stop at a winery or wine shop. Special bonus—Lloyd Center has an indoor ice skating rink if you want to set free your inner ice princess (or fall down a lot, either works well here).
Gossip in the Garden
Washington Park is one of Portland’s treasures for ‘tis no mere park. Within its bounds are several of Portland’s best attractions, including the Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, International Rose Test Garden and the Portland Japanese Garden. Choose your own adventure, but don’t miss a stroll through the roses before you hop aboard a shuttle up to the Japanese Garden (available from the parking lot just up the hill from the Rose Garden). The Portland Japanese Garden does cost a small fee to enter, but once you’re inside, you’ll find yourself a world away from the city. Wander the pathways on your own, join one of the free tours to learn more about the plants, or find a secluded bench and become one with nature. Sometimes there are also art exhibitions at the Garden Pavilion at the center of the five-acre Garden.
One more glass, s’il vous plait!
Portland is known for its beer and wine, which means you simply must try one or the other while you’re here. For an ideal girlfriend vacation activity, wrap your evening up with some wine tasting at Enso Winery—a boutique urban winery that produces only small-batch wines. Stop by any night of the week to taste what’s new at the winery as well as other local wines and beers. There’s nothing quite like a tasting at a winery, but Portland’s wine bars are also worth Room5g out. You have plenty to choose from, but for a great selection of food, wine, beer and even some wine cocktails, Remedy Wine Bar has you covered. With both local and import wine, local beer, Sherry and a food menu, Remedy is the perfect place to kick back after your day out. If you want to taste more than one wine, order the wine flight of the day.
Portland may be weird,
but the hotel you choose can be anything you want it to be.
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