Guide to Portland

Portland is a dream! Put it on your list.

If you're following my Instagram, you know that during the month of September, I had too many extra shifts at the hospital and I found myself working really long weeks. By the end of the month, I was exhausted physically, emotionally, and mentally. Early last week when I came home from work, Bry surprised me with tickets to Portland to see our Utes play Oregon State, and I was SO ready to get the heck out of here and be with my family. So without hesitation, we planned an itinerary, packed up, and flew out to Portland.

The weather's forecast was rain, rain, rain... but we took out our umbrellas and didn't let the thunderstorms slow us down. I made a fun recap of our trip, that I thought I'd share... and also included a little travel log of the things we did in case you are planning a trip there soon with your littles.

Song: Featherstone by The Paper Kites

Having Ellie with us made the trip so fun because we kind of tailored it around her, and activities she would enjoy. Traveling with young ones is hard because things don't always go as planned. For this trip, we kept our expectations really low (especially with all the rain), and I think we ended up having so much fun because everything kept exceeding our expectations. From the plane rides, to the football game, El was an angel, and we were so happy we brought her along for the ride.

Really quick, do all of you know about If you don't, look it up and USE IT for traveling. Bry and I have loved our experiences with it, and I would recommend it to anyone. As a quick travel tip, if you are having a hard time deciding what to do in a certain place, I love looking at the recommendations from hosts there... people who LIVE in the area you are traveling to, and recommendations on the activities/restaurants they love.

To find this information, once you click on a place to stay (or one you're even interested in), you can scroll down to where it will say  GUIDEBOOK on the left and then  "______'s guidebook" followed by "Things to do in _______." Then, it will bring up a list of the most popular things to do, or best local secrets. We didn't stay in an airbnb home this time around, but I loved looking at the locals' guidebook for tips, and found some fun things to do/tips we used on our trip. Try it out!

Below is our itinerary. I have to first give a word of warning: many of the food places we ate at were not the healthiest. I know this is a health and wellness blog, but I wanted to include all of the places we ate at (and included them in my video) because I think this message is good for people to hear: nobody is a perfect eater. It's okay to enjoy your splurges, every once in a while. Having a donut every now and again is NOT going to hurt you. Bry and I try our best on vacation to implement healthy habits/food, but we also love that being on vacation gives us that moment  to splurge a little bit more than we might at home. It's all about balance. We love food, we base a lot of our trips around food (#noshame), and it's our chance to try a lot of these more popular places to eat without feeling bad about it. Having a healthy relationship with food doesn't involve shameful eating. And yes, we have healthy relationships with food. So you better believe we lived it up and enjoyed every bite we took. 

Okay, enough talk. Here was our itinerary.


1. Portland Zoo

We got a window of sunshine and took advantage of the outdoors while we could. After sleeping in and having brunch at our hotel, we went straight to the zoo because we knew Ellie would love the animals. She's at that fun age where she's learning how to say all of the animal sounds. 

Our favorite thing as of late: we'll say, "Ellie, what does a gorilla say?" She thumps her hand on her chest/stomach and says, "ahhhhhh." Cutest thing ever. I guess the monkeys made a lasting impression on her because she learned to say, "ooh-ooh-ahh-ahh" while we were there too.

I was surprised at how much we ALL loved being there. The rain must've scared everyone away, because I felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. Be sure to look up the times the train is running, because that's a fun thing for the kids. Also, our treat at the "Elephant Ear" truck was a hit! $5 for those cinnamon scones, but well worth it! If you happen to see the zookeepers around, try to see when they feed the elephants. They put on the best show! Who knew elephants were crazy about whole apples and stocks of celery!?

2. Lunch at Kure Juice Bar

I loved the "Extra Mile" smoothie and "Mission Macro Bowl."

3. Powell's City of Books

Just go. Especially if you have kids who love to read. We spent a good hour sitting on the carpet and around a table with Ellie reading books. Next time I'll be leaving more room in my suitcase to bring more books home. The cool thing about this place is not only is it the largest independent bookstore in the world, but they sell new AND used books. I found the best deals on Ellie's favorite books. And be careful... there's an Athleta and Anthropologie across the street...  :)

4. Voodoo Doughnuts

A must. No questions asked. Make it your splurge for the day. They even have Vegan donuts!

5. Dinner at Pok Pok

This was our plan for dinner that first day, but when we arrived, it ended up being too long of a wait for our little one. I've heard this place is a must, and that the sticky chicken wings are amazing. We ended up having some of our own food that we bought from the grocery store, and I always love some fresh food.

6. swimming + relaxing at the hotel pool

Always a good time with our Ellie water babe.


1. Pine State Biscuits for breakfast and Portland Saturday markets

Not a healthy breakfast, but YUM. YUM. YUM. Be prepared to wait in a line, but it's WORTH IT. Trust me on this. Not only are the biscuits and gravy amazing, but their pancakes are to die for!! The Saturday markets on the waterfront are open every weekend from March-Christmas Eve and they have tons of vendors/things to see. 

2. Utah football game

We were super anxious about taking Ellie to this game, because not only is it a long event for a one year-old, but it was raining, windy, and cold. We lucked out big time because we bought tickets from a man outside the stadium who had covered seats. Little did we know this made the game so much more enjoyable... we were warm, Ellie loved it, and we were dry the entire time. Plus, our Utes pulled out the W! Score! 

3. Food trucks on Division Street

Little did we know Portland is a land of food carts! They have so many different carts, and we found a gathering of them in a parking lot on Division Street. You can find info. on these carts here. The atmosphere was fun because they have all of them in a big circle, and you come together to eat in the middle under a big tent lined with twinkle lights and music blasting. We loved it. Try Whole Bowl food truck!

4. Dessert at Salt and Straw

Right up the street from the food carts (also by Pok Pok), is Salt and Straw. There are a few locations in Portland, but this ice cream shop is something you need to try! They have the craziest, most unusual flavors of ice cream... from strawberry balsamic, to olive oil, to snickerdoodle, to pear and fig. Super fun!


1. Drive to the coast

This drive from Portland to Cannon Beach was unbelievable!! We were in awe the entire drive, and an hour zipped on by. I'd do it again, just for the drive!

2. Cannon Beach

Make sure to stop here and have a picnic, and also to take pictures by Haystack Rock. So so pretty! I would love to rent a beach house there one day!

This was Sunday for us, and so the drive + church on the coast + Cannon beach took up most of our day. We ended up coming home and eating in our hotel room with groceries we bought. But if you have extra time on your vacation, these are things we wished we could've seen.

Other things to see in Portland:

Multnomah Falls

Japanese Gardens

Por Que No? Tacos

The Children's Museum


If you are planning a trip there, enjoy this guide! Or maybe you better book a trip now...