How to spend the ultimate spring day in Portland


It rains in Portland. Sure, we know you've heard that trust us, you know nothing. If you hail from elsewhere you have no idea just how mindbogglingly grey and dreary winter here can really be. Spring ushers in a complete turnaround. While outdoorsy all year long, the minute the days lengthen and the sun shines bright, however briefly, Portlanders show their true colors and emerge from their winter cocoons.


At first glance visitors are sure to consider the natives insane. After all, who spends the day outside in shorts when the temperature hovers in the 50's or low-60's? Convertible roofs retract, outdoor tables appear and families flood parks. Spring has sprung.

Opportunities are nearly endless, but here is one example of a near perfect day in the city of roses.

Pure Spice~
Let's start out on the east side of the Willamette River at Pure Spice. If the idea of noodles and duck for breakfast is just not right. Let's just say you have no idea what you're talking about. Take our word for it and head to this delicious Asian restaurant for some hand-pulled noodles, scallion pancake, and scrumptious five-spice duck. Astonishing.

After your taste buds have been brought to an entirely new level and your belly is full it's time to get some exercise and hey, what is better than to combine a stroll in the fresh spring air with some of the most eclectic people watching imaginable. The Portland Saturday Market has long been a testament to the craftsmanship and unique spirit of this independent city. Who knew that you had long dreamt of having your very own garden troll or henna skirt? Shop to your heart's content, enjoy street performers, some great and some...not, and stretch those legs.
flickr/donireewalker

10 Barrel Brewing~
All that walking has surely brought your appetite back and it's certainly time for a beer! 10 Barrel has long reigned in craft beer heaven Bend, but luckily for Portland residents there is now a local location as well, complete with an inviting rooftop bar. Spiff up a bit to head into the trendy Pearl district and prepare to be impressed by the iconic Pacific Northwestern feel of this pub. Take in the cityscape while sampling a few of the 20 taps filled with deliciousness. If the munchies have taken over never fear. But keep in mind this is Portland and you won't get just a burger. Oh no, you can get a burger all right, but it may very well feature chipotle aioli, baby arugula, white cheddar, and bacon-apple jam. Hello~ you are not in Kansas anymore.
flickr/PDX Beer Geek

International Rose Test Garden~
Time for some more exercise, and this time hills are included. You didn't seriously think you could come to Portland and not walk four or five miles a day did you? So naive. Well no matter, when the scenery is this incredible you won't mind some heavy breathing. The Portland rose gardens are world-renowned for their size, variety and beauty. To add to the atmosphere, the gardens sit on the hills of West Portland with the city spread out below and Mt. Hood in the background. Now is the time to, quite literally, stop and smell the roses.

Lucky Lab Brew Pub~
Well it's certainly time for another beer. Heading back to the east side, get your doggie fix on at the pup friendly Lucky Lab brew pub. Join active locals and their furry friends on the outdoor patio while you sample just a few more of the many craft beers this town has to offer. Enjoy the dog drool and get your beer on as your next stop in the ultimate day is all about the food.
flickr/madame.furie

Pok Pok~
We've said it before, and we'll say it again. You don't know Thai food until you've eaten it at Andy Rickers adored Portland flagship location. The fish sauce wings, boar collar, and green papaya salad will change your life. No joke. The wait can be long. Stop being in such a hurry and embrace the scene. It is so well worth it. Grab a lot of napkins, this is food best eaten with gusto. Drown the inevitable fire with coconut water, a whiskey sour, or take your first foray into drinking vinegar, a treat you will not soon forget.

Aalto Lounge~
A full day out and about deserves a spectacular finish. Finish this ultimate spring day at Aalto lounge. Work your way through the mid-century modern interior for the back patio where a DJ will entertain far into the night. Hop into the photo booth to document your happiness. Down an adult jello shot, or simply move right into a sophisticated old fashioned or glass of local wine. Truly the perfect end to a perfect day.

flickr/vexsens

The rain in Portland is very, very real. The key is to plan your trip to this fair city to suit the weather. And good luck to you.

Rhonda Delameter is a freelance travel writer, long-time Portland resident, and blogger at thenextbigadventure.net