You can always hit up Portland’s famously long-lined brunch scene, but during warm weather months it’s nicer to grab a hot treat from a bakery or delicatessen at one of Portland’s many farmers markets. They also provide a great opportunity to sample from Oregon’s bounty of fruit, vegetables, and meats. The Portland State University Farmers Market is on Saturdays during the summer and likely the largest one in town.
One of the city’s most famous landmarks, Powell’s City of Books is a testament to the longevity of the printed word, a multi-story maze of literature and text. Grab a latte from the attached coffee shop and roam the halls, and you’ll soon find that you’ve somehow spent hours perusing the shelves.
Sit and sip a cappuccino
Sure, Portland is famous for Stumptown Coffee, but that’s not the only craft coffee shop roasting beans and pulling espresso shots throughout town. Water Avenue Coffee, Portland Roasting Company, Coava Coffee, Good Coffee, and Upper Left Roasters all make amazing coffees, while shops like Barista and Never work magic with other people’s beans. These coffee shops are ubiquitous, so there’s no excuse for grabbing Starbucks for your morning buzz.
It’s not called the City of Roses for nothing -- from April to October, peaking in June, the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park is alive with hundreds of blossoming rose bushes of all scents and colors, a beautiful reward for surviving yet another gray and dismal winter. Given its popularity, it’s best to skip the hunt for a parking spot and catch a bus.
While it is the Rose City, Portland’s wet springs and sunny summers grant us a bounty of floral riches. The Rhododendron Garden is right by the bastion of liberal arts known as Reed College and offers a beautiful assortment of flowers, ponds, ducks, and other wildlife. It’s just $5 most days, free on Mondays, and makes for a lovely way to pass an afternoon before heading to happy hour.
Hit up a happy hour on a patio
For a city with nine months of rain, PDX sports a wealth of bar and restaurant patios. And if the city loves anything as much as it loves brunch, it’s happy hour. Combine those two things and you get a perfect summer afternoon. Some of our favorite spots for the combo are The Rambler, Aalto Lounge, Solo Club, Night Light Lounge, Interurban, Radio Room, and Momo’s. For a truly “extra” experience, move from a patio to a rooftop patio: grab happy hour at Departure, Altabira, Rooftop Bar, or the newly built Xport.
Portland may not be the art mecca as cities like New York or Chicago are, but it does have a modestly sized museum that offers some classic and contemporary art pieces, as well as local and Native American art. It’s actually one of the oldest museums in the country and it’s worth the trip for any art lover. Tickets are $20 for adults, and free for kids under 17, making it a great place to visit for families.
Catch a pop-up dinner
Holy moly, does Portland have a lot of pop-up dinners. From the weekly regular ones like the astonishing Southern dinner program Mae to sporadic cocktail pop-ups like Shipwreck, there’s usually something tasty going down in town. Feastly is a good resource to search for pop-up dinners, or just ask your coolest friend.