19 Actually Great Date Ideas in Portland

Published On 04/22/2015 Published On 04/22/2015

We’ve already explained how dating in Portland is different than everywhere else, but no matter how different things are, you still have to go on actual dates from time to time. To make it easy, we came up with 19 super-sweet PDX date ideas just for you... and, um everyone else who reads this. You're welcome!

Go on a waterfall hike in the Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area 
Sure you could go to Multnomah Falls (and probably should), but make this date special and avoid tourists by hiking to one of the gazillion other falls in the gorge. If that goes well you can hit Multnomah on the way home.


OMSI After Dark

OMSI (address and info)
Central Eastside
On the last Wednesday of every month the children’s science museum (the one with the submarine that your parents never spent the extra six bucks to get into) goes 21+ for the night and throws a giant themed party with plenty of booze.

Drink Spanish coffee at Huber’s

Huber’s Café (address and info)
Why not enjoy Portland’s signature, flaming coffee cocktail at one of its oldest restaurants? With a hefty amount of 151 it’s a great icebreaker!

Slappy Cakes

Make your own pancakes at Slappy Cakes

Slappy Cakes (address and info)
Southeast Portland
Because what’s more romantic than frying hot batter on a table-top griddle rimmed with Bloody Marys?

Get dessert at Rimsky’s

Rimsky-Korsakoffee House (address and info)
Central Eastside
Our worst-kept secret coffee shop features some of the city's most cherished late-night desserts. Order the Chocolate Raspberry Fool and go down in the annals of great dates.

Flickr/Nathan Harrison

Watch an outdoor movie

Multiple locations
Once the rain stops there are a number of great pop-up outdoor movie theaters to choose from. Our favorite? Top Down Cinema at Hotel deLuxe, a wine-filled “drive-in” on the roof of a parking garage in Goose Hollow.

Drew Tyson/Thrillist

Eat dinner at a pop-up...

Multiple locations
If you’re looking to impress your date, go to one of the hottest tickets in town, a pop-up. Secure your reservation and start saving early for a place like Nodoguro or Langbaan, or hit up one of the slightly cheaper dessert tastings with the chefs at Nomad.PDX or Trifecta’s Eve Kuttemann.

Portland Spirit River Cruises

... Or, if your date’s over 60, get dinner on the Portland Spirit

Portland Spirit (address and info)
Central Eastside
A two and a half hour cruise up and down the Willamette, featuring a "toe-tapping" live band!

McMenamins Edgefield

See a concert at Edgefield

McMenamins Edgefield (address and info)
Portland’s premier outdoor venue hosts a variety of awesome shows with that quirky McMenamins' flair.

Catch a jazz show at Jimmy Mak’s

Jimmy Mak’s (address and info)
Pearl District
If you’re more into dark rooms and snapping fingers, Jimmy Mak’s in the Pearl might be more your scene for live music.


Stand in line for Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw (address and info)
Alphabet District
Want to turn a quick, innocuous date into a lengthy conversation? Invite your significant other for a cone at Salt & Straw, where the only thing more famous than its ice cream is its line.

Flickr/janet lackey

Watch the sunset at the Bluffs

Skidmore Bluffs (address and info)
North Portland
A not-so secret viewpoint off of NE Skidmore, the Bluffs are THE spot to watch the sunset, provided you get there early enough to claim your place.

Flickr/Mike Rohrig

Hike in Forest Park

Forest Park
We’ve got one of the largest parks within the city limits in the country, so why not take advantage with a leisurely stroll, a woodland run, or a vigorous hike? There’s something for everyone.

Wikimedia/Steve Morgan

Head to Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island (address and info)
Sauvie Island
You can pick berries at cute farm stands or just lounge naked on Collins Beach.

Soter Vineyards

Taste wine in the Willamette Valley

Multiple locations
Sure, you have to take one of the most boring highways out of the city but once you get into the valley and start drinking grape juice you’ll forget all about it. And about having to drive back. Might want to stay the night?

Go on a brewery/distillery tour

Multiple locations
Portland might be the best beer city in America, so take your date for some suds at some of the places where it is made. Or hit distillery row if you wanna try some sweet local spirits.

Mt. Hood Meadows

Ski or snowboard at Meadows

Mt. Hood
For the outdoorsy and athletic couples there’s a glacier with North America’s best year-round snow options.

Flickr/Wyatt de Mille

Free play at Ground Kontrol

Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade (address and info)
Old Town - Chinatown
On the second Thursday and last Wednesday of every month Ground Kontrol puts its games on free play and charges a $5 cover. There’s a full bar and a vibrant attitude, which is perfect for Big Buck Hunter and Pac-Man marathons.

DREW TYSON/Thrillist

Eat late-night haunted pizza

Old Town Pizza (address and info)
At Old Town Pizza, a hop skip and jump from Ground Kontrol, you can enjoy microbrews and one of our favorite slices in an abandoned elevator shaft that's supposedly haunted by "Nina." Don't say we didn't warn you.

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Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Huber's Cafe 411 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204 (Sw Portland)

Located in Historic Oregon Pioneer Building, Huber's -- Portland's oldest restaurant, founded in 1879 -- really takes the cake for old-school flare and modern-American cuisine. Here, guests can enjoy a traditional turkey dinner, fresh seafood, pasta, and Huber's signature Spanish Coffee, which is prepared tableside with a bit of pyrotechnics.

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2. Slappy Cakes 4246 SE Belmont St, Portland, OR 97215 (Se Portland)

Stop at this Southeast PDX spot and try your hand at creating your very own, one-of-a-kind pancakes on a table-top griddle rimmed with Bloody Marys.

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3. Rimsky-Korsakoffeehouse 707 SE 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97214

Our worst-kept secret coffee shop features some of the city's most cherished late-night desserts. Be sure to order the Chocolate Raspberry Fool.

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4. Jimmy Mak's 221 NW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97209 (Pearl District)

With plenty of options for food and a quality beer list, Jimmy Mak's jazz club will make sure you are satisfied while checking out local talent and world-class touring artists.

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5. Salt & Straw At 17th & Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211 (Alberta Arts Dist)

Rocking flavors actually developed in the labs of OSU's Food Innovation Center, Salt's a cheery old-timey ice cream cart dishing out eight envelope-pushing varieties made from ingredients like beer, basil, and bacon, and named for how the timeless treat was stored back in the day: in huge barns full of Angelina Jolie, Salt and straw.

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6. Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade 511 NW Couch St, Portland, OR 97209 (Downtown)

Classic arcade 'n drink emporium Ground Kontrol has been remodeled/upgraded to version "3.0", which brings new comfy flooring, an LED-heavy Tron grid-esque interior.

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7. Old Town Pizza 226 NW Davis St, Portland, OR 97209 (Old Townchina Town)

In addition to turning out gold medal winning beers on the regular and delivering said beers all over the city by bike, this pizzeria slash brewery makes its own pizza dough, ensuring the yeast is still alive when it’s baked. What results is a delicious fluffy, almost sourdough-like, crust. Oh, and they do it all in a building that's allegedly haunted. How very Portlandia.



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