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How to Eat, Drink, and Play Like a Portlander

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There's no better time to explore the city and warm up your belly like a local — Portland is known to be an oasis for those seeking the best food, drink, tax-free (yes, really!) shopping, and events. Whether you're looking for waterfront dining or a bar tucked in the mountains, the following is a surefire guide to introduce you to some of Portland's best-loved venues, curated by locals in the know.  No matter which of the quadrants you're in — North, NE, NW, SW, or SE — you're bound to find your perfect adventure in the city's 145 square miles.

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Animal Traffic

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For outdoor gear with a focus on American-made classics, head to Animal Traffic in the Historic Mississippi neighborhood. Here you’ll find stylish and durable backpacks, rugged footwear, and Northwest fashion along with locally made gifts and home goods.

Broder Nord

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The focus at Broder is brunch, served daily until 3 p.m. The Swedish menu will wow your taste buds. Got a sweet tooth? Try the Danish pancakes with homemade lemon curd and lingonberry jam. For a savory option, order the baked egg scramble.

Ex Novo Brewing

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What started as a homebrewing operation in a garage has since become the nation’s first nonprofit brewery: Ex Novo donates its net profits to partner organizations such as Mercy Corps and Friends of the Children. In addition to doing good for the community, Ex Novo focuses on local ingredients for brews and bites. Try the grilled pear bruschetta or spicy fried chicken and doughnut sliders.

Mississippi Studios

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Owned and operated by musicians, Mississippi Studios is a live music venue built with acoustics and premium sightlines in mind. Grab a tasty burger of the month on the heated patio at Bar Bar, the accompanying burger lounge inside the venue, before enjoying local and touring songwriters and performers. (Bonus if you’re a Scotch drinker during shows: Mississippi Studios has plenty to quench your thirst.)

Salty's on the Columbia

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Watch boats sail along the Columbia River while dining along the waterfront at Salty’s. Try its signature steak and seafood menu for a sophisticated night out, or treat yourself to the all-you-can-eat weekend brunch with a build-your-own-Bloody Mary bar and all the fresh oysters on the shell you could wish for.

Alma Chocolate

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Watch small-batch artisan chocolates being made and test your willpower on the decadent caramel sauces for sale. Alma chocolates are dressed to impress with hand-gilded edible gold leaves. Alma’s flagship shop also serves drinking chocolate (made from real chocolate, never a syrup) and baked goods, like a rosemary chocolate shortbread, to warm the soul.

Clyde's Prime Rib

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Cozy up in red velvet booths at Clyde’s Prime Rib, serving tableside carvings for more than 60 years. Gather around the fireplace for slow-roasted prime rib and chargrilled steaks, then move to the lounge for an evening of blues and jazz.

Expatriate

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Expatriate delights the senses and challenges your palate with an innovative cocktail menu full of Southeast Asian influences. Sample budget-friendly drinking snacks — like the hot and sour spiced fries or shrimp toast — created by James Beard Award winner Naomi Pomeroy (her restaurant, Beast, is next door) alongside cocktails made by Kevin Webster.
Inspired by the traditional wood-fired grilling of Argentina, OX brings a twist to Pacific Northwest fare. Start with the clam chowder with smoked marrow bone, then go for the maple-brined pork loin chop or the wood-fired trout.

Pittock Mansion

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Located a thousand feet above Portland in the West Hills, Pittock Mansion offers the best spot to snap a photo of the city. The French Renaissance-style chateau was built in the early 1900s for one of the city’s foremost influential families. Take a behind-the-scenes tour or explore the mansion at leisure for a fascinating look at Portland’s history.

Abbey Creek: The Spot

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Can’t make it to the vineyard? Pop into Abbey Creek: The Spot for weekend wine tastings from the nearby vineyard. Located in the Artisan Avenue Market Place, this sweet spot is the perfect place to take a break while perusing local vendors.
Follow pairing recommendations from the sommelier and enjoy Peruvian tapas at Andina, like the tortilla de papa, and entrees such as Quinotto Chisaya Mama, a quinoa risotto with cheese, beets, and vegetables. Leave room for an incredible assortment of postres, seductive desserts to complete your Peruvian experience.

Powell's Books

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Bookworms won’t want to miss the world’s largest independent bookstore. With more than two million titles in stock, you’ll find local authors, classics, and the latest bestsellers in new and used condition. Plus, the events calendar is packed with readings and workshops.

Skyline Tavern

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Saddle on up to this saloon-style bar, elevated 1,060 feet atop Tualatin Mountain, and take in the spectacular view. Skyline Tavern is a relaxed hangout for locals thanks to horseshoes, pool, and a beer garden with community grilling.

Steven Smith Teamaker Tasting Room

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Order a freshly steeped pot of tea in this former blacksmith shop-turned-tasting room — or, expand your taste buds with a flight of teas arranged light to dark. Watch tea come off the line and make your selections with sachets or loose tea to go; you’ll be astonished at the number of varietals the tasting room has brewing, from Japan to Sri Lanka.

Ancestry Brewing Taproom

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If you’re cycling the Springwater path, make a pit stop at Ancestry Brewing to sip on family-made American, English, and Belgian ales. Order on tap or take a fresh growler home — the Piney IPA and Best Coast IPA are local favorites.
Grab a classic Moscow Mule in this cool-kitsch Russian venue. Encourage your party to eat like a Russian with the family-style “Ruskie Zakuski Experience”; otherwise nibble on a variety of dumplings and an authentic short rib borscht. And don’t forget to sample house-infused vodkas.

Portland Winter Lights Festival

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Head to the Portland waterfront just outside the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry for this free outdoor event taking place February 1 to 4. Light-based public art installations and performances are fun for all ages, and the closing night features an art lantern parade.
Want a cozy neighborhood eatery for a classic brunch? Toast is an intimate farm-to-table diner featuring seasonal ingredients and unique twists on favorites like an egg sandwich with goat cheese and fried green tomatoes, and the lamb eggs Benedict.

Wayfinder Beer

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This century-old brick warehouse is a hotspot for craft beer lovers looking for local lagers and ales. Grab a pint (or two) and try the mac and beer cheese or baby back ribs fired up on the wood grill.

Cacao Drink Chocolate

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Chocolate lovers can’t miss Cacao for its curated selection of craft chocolates. Savor a bite of Valentina dark chocolate and maple, or go for the intensity of the house-made drinking chocolate. Cacao is a tiny shop with big flavor.

Huber's Cafe

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Locals flock to Portland’s oldest restaurant for the traditional turkey dinners (back in the late 1890s, the turkey sandwich was the go-to order) and baked ham with sage dressing. Sample the happy hour menu and order a Flaming Spanish Coffee to be prepared tableside.

Portland Japanese Garden

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Located within Washington Park, more than five acres make up Portland’s traditional Japanese Garden. Five distinct gardens are perfect for year-round strolls while special events and workshops rotate seasonally.

Little Bird Bistro

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For a blend of classics and on-trend French cuisine, grab a table at Little Bird Bistro. The eclectic interior and friendly vibe go well with an escargot and focaccia appetizer, followed by everyone’s favorite: maple-brined pork shoulder.

Voodoo Doughnut

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If you can only dig into one Portland favorite, Voodoo Doughnut is your go-to for local flare and flavor. You’ll have a hard time settling on one treat, but the Voodoo Doll or McMinnville Cream doughnuts are sure bets for locals, though the classic apple fritter is brag-worthy, too.
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

Animal Traffic

For outdoor gear with a focus on American-made classics, head to Animal Traffic in the Historic Mississippi neighborhood. Here you’ll find stylish and durable backpacks, rugged footwear, and Northwest fashion along with locally made gifts and home goods.

Broder Nord

The focus at Broder is brunch, served daily until 3 p.m. The Swedish menu will wow your taste buds. Got a sweet tooth? Try the Danish pancakes with homemade lemon curd and lingonberry jam. For a savory option, order the baked egg scramble.

Ex Novo Brewing

What started as a homebrewing operation in a garage has since become the nation’s first nonprofit brewery: Ex Novo donates its net profits to partner organizations such as Mercy Corps and Friends of the Children. In addition to doing good for the community, Ex Novo focuses on local ingredients for brews and bites. Try the grilled pear bruschetta or spicy fried chicken and doughnut sliders.

Mississippi Studios

Owned and operated by musicians, Mississippi Studios is a live music venue built with acoustics and premium sightlines in mind. Grab a tasty burger of the month on the heated patio at Bar Bar, the accompanying burger lounge inside the venue, before enjoying local and touring songwriters and performers. (Bonus if you’re a Scotch drinker during shows: Mississippi Studios has plenty to quench your thirst.)

Salty's on the Columbia

Watch boats sail along the Columbia River while dining along the waterfront at Salty’s. Try its signature steak and seafood menu for a sophisticated night out, or treat yourself to the all-you-can-eat weekend brunch with a build-your-own-Bloody Mary bar and all the fresh oysters on the shell you could wish for.

Alma Chocolate

Watch small-batch artisan chocolates being made and test your willpower on the decadent caramel sauces for sale. Alma chocolates are dressed to impress with hand-gilded edible gold leaves. Alma’s flagship shop also serves drinking chocolate (made from real chocolate, never a syrup) and baked goods, like a rosemary chocolate shortbread, to warm the soul.

Clyde's Prime Rib

Cozy up in red velvet booths at Clyde’s Prime Rib, serving tableside carvings for more than 60 years. Gather around the fireplace for slow-roasted prime rib and chargrilled steaks, then move to the lounge for an evening of blues and jazz.

Expatriate

Expatriate delights the senses and challenges your palate with an innovative cocktail menu full of Southeast Asian influences. Sample budget-friendly drinking snacks — like the hot and sour spiced fries or shrimp toast — created by James Beard Award winner Naomi Pomeroy (her restaurant, Beast, is next door) alongside cocktails made by Kevin Webster.

OX

Inspired by the traditional wood-fired grilling of Argentina, OX brings a twist to Pacific Northwest fare. Start with the clam chowder with smoked marrow bone, then go for the maple-brined pork loin chop or the wood-fired trout.