We get it, time is a precious commodity, so when you’ve got three or four days clear and open, you don’t want to squander the precious sands of time suffering from decision fatigue. We’ve put together a list of what to drive, wear and essential things to do so you can explore the best parts of the Pacific Northwest with ease, determination and most importantly, style.
With gas prices soaring to new heights and possible trade wars on the horizon, it makes sense to travel economically. Mini has put together a vehicle steeped in adventure, luxury, and style. The Mini Countryman PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) is ridiculously fun to drive and can make the trip from Vancouver to downtown Portland in just under five hours. Put the vehicle in sport mode and you'll have access to e-boost — an addictive torque-laden pedal punch that’s super useful when highway driving. Mini-connect puts an endless array of useful tech tools at your fingertips, literally. The gigantic circular dashboard touchscreen conjures up directions, music and cabin features that ooze with ambient light, style, and comfort. This is the quintessential Pacific Northwest whip, eco-minded, good amount of space for four humans and all-wheel drive to handle the west coast weather.
It’s not just yoga gear anymore. The fine folks at Lululemon have travel collections for both men and women that thoroughly live up to the brand's ethos. Breathe easy, it’s on us. From the men’s collection, throw on the slim fit commission pant and layer up with the five-year basic tees for temperature versatility. If it cools down, pull the lightweight active jacket out of the mainstay duffle.
Whether you're blasting through the streets of Portland on a Food Cart Bicycle tour or winding your way through vines at David Hill Winery with a Pinot Noir in hand, the Travel Essentials Collection has you covered. And, if you somehow find yourself in crow-pose, you won’t blow a stitch.
Smack dab in the middle of downtown Portland’s business district, The Duniway is a melting pot of everything that makes The City of Roses a world-class city. Named after Abigail Scott Duniway, notable women’s rights activist, whose efforts were instrumental in bringing Oregon women the right to vote, the hotel is a Portland paraphernalia time capsule. Order an Americano at the café steps away from the check-in counter and you might notice a vintage View-Master, invented by Portland native, Edwin Mayer, and books strategically placed about in a partnership with Portland’s legendary Powel Books.
You wouldn’t be at fault for spending an entire day swimming the lap pool, sipping cocktails at the bar and dining at the new restaurant of rock-star chef, Chris Cosentino, Jack Rabbit.
Alternatively, check out McMenamins Grand Lodge. Built in a former Masonic and eastern star property, the lodge has quirky paintings, photographs, and old band posters at every corner. The unique furnishings in every room, combined with the exceptionally friendly staff, and amenities like the Ruby spa and outdoor rock hot tub, make it a stay to remember.
Head Chef Cosentino’s philosophy is to use everything the animal gives us, so get ready to eat some meats. On one side of Jack Rabbit you'll find warm wood table tops and high ceilings with glowing glass orb lights surrounded by a well-equipped bar, and on the other, an oyster shucking and cured meat bar. If you don’t manage to catch the GM, Doug, for cocktail recommendations, ask for Kimberley (she knows her drinks). We recommend starting out with the Majestic Mule or City of Roses (featured in the New York Times), which pairs perfectly with the Tombo Crudo (Albacore Tuna Tartare) or the Beef Tartare. Next up, order a glass of Napa Valley Riesling to go with the 3 Little Pigs, an in-house cured trio of country ham, porcini-dusted pork-corn and trotter tots.
Kama’aina is another must stop location to kick back and enjoy some amazing Hawaiian comfort food. Try the Spicy Ahi Poke and the ‘Aina or Warrior pack, before finishing up with an order of Li-hing Mango Hi Snow, a mango infused ice that is shaved into a light refreshing dessert. And if you’ve got room, try an order of Dragons Breath, cereal balls frozen by liquid nitrogen, then dipped in sweet sauce. When you take a bite puffs of mist billow out of your mouth.
Ridgewalker Brewing Company serves ales, IPA’s, mead, stouts, and wine on a nice long line of taps offering up in-house craft beers as well as hosting a run of the best craft breweries in Oregon. We recommend you go for a flight of Ridgewalkers beer before diving into pints from other parts of Oregon. If you run into one of the owners, Jeff, ask him when the superhero dance party is, and make sure to get a recommendation on what pint to drink next. He knows his beer.
Also make sure you take some time to fully explore the Sake brewery. Sake One has a global reach with a craft brewery vibe. See how the rice is polished and the yeasty mix is brewed for consumption. Step up the tasting bar and tour the history of premium Sake with your taste buds. We recommend tasting the medium-dry G Gifty Sake. It is a past-meets-present drink brewed with traditional and newer techniques used to bring a distinctly Oregon valley taste to the table. Just remember to keep the designated driver happy and purchase a few bottles on the way out for later when you are back at the Grand Lodge.
See and Do
Time to burn off some fuel with the best tour company in Portland, the Pedal Bike Food Truck Tour. Ask for Evan, who knows the city inside and out and can match your biking skills and level of hunger/thirst to the pace of the tour. This isn’t your typical circling of food trucks like hungry sharks. On this tour, you'll visit pods of food carts that have semi-permanent natural gas hookups and proper tenting to deal with unexpected weather.
Be sure to stop at Cartopia, the Southeast Hawthorne and 12th cart pod so you can choose between Korean BBQ wraps at Kim Jong Grillin’s Ssam and Chicken and Guns BBQ chicken joint. Don’t worry, you’ve got at least two more cart pods to stop at and loads of great beer options to help make the what-to-eat-next decisions easier. We very much recommend that you ask your guide to stop by the famous bike ‘zine shop called Book Store on your way back to home base. Inside the shop you'll find quirky and hilarious magazines with titles like Free. Ass. Mag. and Paleo for Unicorns. The Pedal Bike Tour will be a trip topper for sure.