Best Summer Day in Portland Series
We have put a lot of time into thinking about what constitutes the perfect summer day in Portland. There are so many options for curating the best day you can have here in the Rose City that we decided to make a series about it. There are several “perfect days” that involve staying close to home, ranging across the river on cross-town excursions, biking, walking, public transport. In trying to incorporate the many faces of what makes Portland great we see sprinklings of rivers and parks, hikes and gardens to breweries and coffee roasters, food carts and shopping.
One of the things that makes Portland so special are all of the natural resources that sit right at your fingertips. When we say that we are talking about our great number of parks, fountains, trails, gardens. As many city travelers know being surrounded by green jewels found amongst towering architecture can turn a hectic day into a sweet haven that refreshes like no night of sleep (however great the bunk or the dorm mates) can. Inner peace found while sitting on the ground, spending quiet moments, are priceless.
Since there are so many great places and we want to know the most about all of them we will go through our blog day in stages. Step one on our perfect day agenda was the International Rose Test Gardens and now we move on to lunch and some meandering through downtown!
Walking down from the Rose Garden you will end up back at Burnside St. This is where the #20 bus runs. Burnside St. is one of the most important streets in Portland. It divides the entire city North from South (and the Willamette River divides East from West). On one side of Burnside you are in the North(West) part of town and the other side of Burnside you are in the South(West) part of town!
You can walk or catch the #20 for 2.50 for adult fare and and take it down to SW 10th and W Burnside. Get off at landmark Powell’s books. We’ll come back to Powell’s later. First we have to get some food!
Walking up a few blocks, heading South, you will run into a giant Food Cart Pod on 10th and Washington. This is the largest one that is currently in Portland and has a huge variety of foods, including some 24 hour carts.
If you are curious about the various foods, you can get a taste of a few things. Franks Noodle cart has hand pulled noodles. Standing next to that is Boke Dokie, a cute cart created by the founders of Boke Bowl, one of Portland’s favorite casual ramen spots. Bokie Dokie serves fried chicken and tofu sandwiches that are uh-mazing.
One of our favorite carts, the Taste of India, is delicious. They can be a bit brisk, but make their naan fresh for each order. They have lunch specials with vegetarian and omnivorous options available. Other interesting spots include the Dump Truck and Snow White House which are right next to one another. One vends delicious creations in the form of dumplings, the other is one of Portland’s oldest carts. Snow White House has been in Portland since the late 90’s and is a humble but tasty creperie. They come highly recommended and, if you go at a chill time the woman staffing the cart will chat you up!
For delicious Mexican food check out La Jarochita! They have wonderful shrimp dishes and a great al pastor. Their location on 4th ave has been around for a long time and this is only the newest edition to their great locations.
Taking foods from the carts one can sit in provided seating along the carts, or can hop over to a park. The closest is O’Bryant Square on Park St. (9th) and Washington, but some other parks can be a bit more comfortable. Director’s Park is 2 short blocks further South on Park and Yamhill. Though the park lacks green space it has a lovely fountain and a great seating area. The park boasts a glass canopy and almost a half-acre of space to sit and enjoy the city. The park has Big Chess, a giant chess board that you can pick up and play during the day at the park. Many other events take place there and are free!
Only one block past Director Park you will come into one of Portland’s most distinctive downtown features, the South Park Blocks. They are create a common space in the Portland State University Campus. There people picnic, view public art and gather for events. The Park Blocks also act as the front lawn for the Museum District. The Portland Art Museum, the Oregon Historical Society and, soon, the Oregon Jewish Museum as well as other cultural spots.
This is a wonderful shady green space to enjoy a meal. When you have finished your food in the shade head on out to explore downtown a bit, go to Powell’s City of Books and Pioneer Square! There is so much right at your fingertips!
Anything we missed? Something you love? Send us your thoughts!
Once we have accumulated enough feedback we’ll compile a list of “Guest Favorites” so you can see what travelers like yourself have loved about Portland.