Your Perfect Girls Trip to Portland, Oregon

Best Things to See and Do in Portland, Oregon Travel Guide Blog

Portland, Oregon is the perfect destination for your next girls trip. It’s the dream destination for the outdoor enthusiast in your life and your fellow foodies. Portland may not be the first place you would think of for a girl’s trip, but just wait until you learn what this gem of the Pacific Northwest has to offer! 

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Portland Oregon Things to do

Your Perfect Girlfriend Trip Itinerary to Portland 

If you’re looking for Portland’s best restaurants, hotels, landmarks, day trips, or even the perfect Instagram spots – I have you covered! I’ve created the ultimate Portland guide to plan your perfect girls trip!

Must See in Portland, Oregon 

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Your Perfect Girlfriend Trip Itinerary to Portland 
Lan Su Chinese Garden

The Lan Su Chinese Garden is a calming escape from city life in the heart of downtown. There’s a teahouse inside the garden where you can sip hot tea with your girlfriends and take in the beautiful ambiance.

Admission: $12.95 | Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. 

sThe International Rose Test Garden 

International Rose Test Garden
International Rose Test Garden in June

What girl doesn’t love roses? The International Rose Test Garden embraces Portland’s nickname as the “City of Roses”. It’s the longest-running rose test garden in the country with over 10,000 beautiful rose bushes just waiting for you to smell and photograph! 

The garden is located in Washington Park with skyline views of downtown and Mount Hood. The primary purpose of the garden is to serve as a testing ground for new rose varieties.

Popover Tip: Parking is very limited in Washington Park, especially during warm weekends, and you need to pay to park. If you’re planning to drive, arrive earlier, or consider taking the TriMet (Portland’s light rail), or a rideshare. 

The roses are in bloom from late May through October. Did I mention the entrance is free?!  Make sure to not miss out on this gorgeous free Portland attraction.

Admission: FREE | Hours: 07:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Portland Japanese Gardens

Portland Japanese Gardens visiting Portland Tips

The Portland Japanese Garden is tucked within Washington Park. These gardens are filled with gorgeous cherry blossoms and koi ponds with the essence of a zen-like tranquility flowing through every detail. It’s the perfect spot to appreciate a serene place filled with nothing but beauty.

Admission: $20 

Popover Tip: I recommend planning an afternoon to hit the International Rose Test Garden, Japanese Garden, and Pittock Mansion all in one day. All these sites are very close to one another!

Pittock Mansion

Pittock Mansion | Portland Oregon Travel Guide
Pittock Mansion

The Pittock Mansion  is a must see for anyone who enjoys architecture and history! Pittock Mansion sits on top of a hill with photocard photo worthy views of downtown Portland and Mount Hood.  If you visit on a nice day, the ground outside the mansion is a popular spot for a picnic.

Admission: Free to walk the grounds, $12 to tour the mansion

Popover Tip: The grounds surrounding the home are free to visit, and if you’re short on time skip the tour of the inside of the mansion. 

Powell’s City of Books

Powell’s City of Books Portland, Oregon
Floor to Ceilings Books at Powell’s

You can’t visit Portland without visiting the largest independent bookstore in the world! Powell’s City of Books has over a million new and used books. You’ll find a genre for every interest with books floor to ceiling across three floors, nine rooms, and 3,500 different sections.

Powell’s has four locations around the city, but the flagship location that has over 1 million books is on Burnside Street.

Popover Tip: Oregon has no state sales tax – the perfect excuse to shop away! Portland also has several great vintage shops, and consignment stores for bargain hunters!

“Hop” on a BrewCycle 

BrewCycle  | Best Things to Do in Portland, Oregon
Portland’s BrewCycle

Craft beer and bicycles- it doesn’t get more Portland than that! Portland is known for its craft beer scene. What better way to try different local breweries than on a beer bicycleBrewCycle is perfect for groups of all sizes! 

Each ride is two hours and you’ll visit 3 different breweries for 25 minutes at each bar. Our favorite were Lucky Lab Brewing and Rouge Eastside.

Cost for the BrewCycle is $30 per person

Photo Spots in Portland

Do it for the ’gram! These iconic landmarks are guaranteed to show off Portland’s personality and rack up the likes. 

St. John’s Bridge  

Best Things to See in Portland, Oregon
Underneath St. John’s Bridge at Cathedral Park

St. John’s Bridge is one of the most picturesque bridges in Portland. The best photo is on the ground level right underneath the bridge at Cathedral Park. The architecture looks stunning from this angle! This is a great spot to spend some relaxing time in the park with your friends. 

Old Town Portland Sign 

Old Town Portland Sign

The white stag welcomes passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists crossing the Burnside Bridge. Originally a sign for White Satin Sugar, it’s now a designated Portland historic landmark. The best photo angle of the Old Town Portland Sign is on the pedestrian side of the Burnside Bridge!

Voodoo Donuts 

Portland Oregon Travel Blog
Love the Colorful Boxes from Voodoo Donuts

Any local will tell you Blue Star donuts are better than Voodoo Donuts (I agree too!), but  Voodoo wins for the most instagramable. 

If the bubblegum pink boxes and colorful murals outside the shop aren’t instagramable enough, then the outrageous donuts will steal the show. Fruit-loop coated donuts, bacon bars and voodoo doll-shaped donuts filled with jelly “blood” are just the beginning.

Portland Marquee Sign

Portland Marquee Sign
Portland Marquee Sign at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

The Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, that locals call the “The Schnitz,” is most recognizable by its bright marquee and “Portland” sign. The best spot to photograph the marquee sign is across the street. 

Where to Eat in Portland

Brunch at Broder 

Broder Nord Brunch
Broder Brunch

Broder brings a new twist to the Portland brunch scene with a Scandinavian inspired menu. 

For the best experience order both sweet and savory dishes! Start with Danish aebleskivers ( fluffy pancake balls) to share for the table with homemade lingonberry jams. For lovers of Bloody Marys, you must try their “Danish Mary” made with aquavit.

Lunch at Cheese and Crack 

Best Things to eat in Portland, Oregon
Charcuterie Board at Cheese & Crack

I still dream of these beautifully assembled cheese boards at Cheese and Crack! Every charcuterie features a different cheese from around the globe and your choice of cured meats, olives, honey, housemade cookies, crackers and baguette. To drink they have a variety of local craft beer, wine, frosé (frozen rosé wine slushies) and prosecco on tap. Service here is quick and casual. For larger groups plan to arrive earlier in the day to snag a table.

Popover Tip: The signature cheese plate at Cheese and Crack with the brie brûlée and Molinari salami is delicious! One signature plate can easily be shared with two people.

Dessert at Salt & Straw 

The Ultimate Travel Guide
Handmade Ice Cream at Salt & Straw

Salt & Straw in Portland is known for their unique handmade ice cream flavors. They’re made with all-natural dairy and local ingredients, as well as some imported ingredients from handpicked farms. 

Pear and blue cheese or strawberry honey balsamic are just a few of the types of flavors you’ll find at Salt & Straw! If you can’t pick just one you can have a “split-scoop” of two different flavors, or a “tasting flight” of six different flavors to savor or share.

Popover Tip: To skip Salt & Straw’s long lines, grab a hand-packed pint from the freezer, or stop by when they first open! 

Blue Star Donuts 

Raspberry Old Fashioned Donut from Blue Star
Raspberry Old Fashioned Donut from Blue Star

Blue Star Donuts takes the crown for the best donuts I’ve ever had!  The glaze and fillings they use have real organic fruits, and the difference speaks for itself in their incredible flavors. I loved Blue Star’s blueberry bourbon basil, or the raspberry old fashioned donut! 

Where to Stay in Portland 

Your Perfect Girlfriend Trip Itinerary to Portland 
The cutest tiny house found on AirBnb


Tiny House $$

Tiny houses are all the rage now, and if you want to know what it’s like to share 120-170 square feet with your friends, this is the place to give it a try! Here’s the link to a fantastic Tiny Cabin in Portland! 

We fell in love with this  “Tiny House” just 15 minutes from downtown. It couldn’t have been more charming, and it had everything we needed! It is in fact “tiny”, and I would only recommend it for two people. We rented a car, and with free parking at this AirBnb it was so much easier than paying for parking in a downtown hotel. 

Boutique Hotel

The Society Hotel  $$

The Society Hotel is perfect for travelers looking for a chic ambiance on a budget. It has a trendy coffee shop in the lobby with a stunning rooftop bar with views of the city. You can choose to stay in a shared room, share just a bathroom, or opt for a private suite. It’s located in the Old Chinatown neighborhood just a short walk away from Lan Su Chinese Garden. 

Luxury Hotels

Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland $$$

Walking inside The Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland, you’ll feel as if you stepped inside the home of a world traveler, with whimsical and vintage touches everywhere you turn. 

Heathman Hotel $$$$

If you like history, fantasy, and ghost stories, then you need to stay at The Heathman Hotel. There are rumored to be ghost stories surrounding this historic hotel – even those the hotel staff will quickly deny this. Rooms ending in “03” have been reported as seeing the most paranormal activity.   

But aside from the ghosts residing inside, The Heathman Hotel takes luxury to a whole new level. The hotel was built in the 1920’s with elegant décor, and guests will love the hospitality from their professional staff.

Portland Travel Tips 

What’s the Best Time of Year to Visit Portland? 

Portland is the perfect summer destination! If you want to spend more of your time outdoors, I would plan visiting during the summer.  

May through August are your warmest months, but these months will have the most visitors. For fewer crowds in the summer, visit during a weekday rather than over the weekend.

How Long Should I Stay in Portland? 

You could easily spend weeks in Portland and the surrounding area. If you’re looking to stay in the city, you could easily see the main sites of Portland in 48 hours. 

If you’re interested in taking day trips to the Oregon coast, wine tasting, or hiking waterfall trails in the Columbia River Gorge, I would add 2-3 extra days to your trip. I recommend taking at least one day trip outside of Portland!

Should I Rent a Car? 

Portland has a convenient MAX light rail and bus system, but if you plan on taking my recommendations for any day trips, I recommend renting a car! If you rent a car, parking downtown is easy and low cost. We never paid more than $15 a day for downtown parking.

The city also has several bike share programs (including Biketown which has 100 stations across the city) if biking around downtown is more your style. Portland is very bike friendly!

Best Day Trips Outside of Portland 

If you’re interested in taking any trips outside of the city,  I recommend renting a car. A car will give you the freedom and flexibility you need to explore the various regions near Portland. 

The Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park

Portland, Oregon Travel Guide Blog
Trail of Ten Falls Hike

Trail of Ten Falls Loop Hike

Distance: 7.8 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate

I highly recommend a day trip to hike this gorgeous trail in Silver Falls State Park to see not one, but TEN waterfalls! Silver Falls State Park is 70 miles from downtown Portland. 

The whole trial is all within a 7.2 mile loop through the beautiful lush foothills of the Cascade Mountains.  They have well-marked trail signs with the name of each waterfall so you know you won’t miss them. Some trails even go behind the waterfalls for stunning views!  

I would recommend around two to three hours to complete this hike. If you don’t want to complete the full loop, there are different shortcuts you can take.

Popover Tip: There’s a large parking lot at the trailhead, but if you’re visiting on a holiday weekend in the summer, still plan to arrive early to grab a spot. 

Columbia River Gorge 

The Columbia River Gorge is beautiful! This is where you’ll find the famous Multnomah WaterFall that should be on everyone’s itinerary! In the Columbia River Gorge you’ll find hiking trails, lakes, waterfalls, and wineries.

Final Thoughts on Portland

You can’t go wrong with a summer girls trip to Portland! You’ll burn off all the amazing food you’ll eat on beautiful trial hikes or a bike ride. Spend an afternoon browsing the books shelves at Powell’s, and end your day with ice cream at Salt and Straw. No matter what you decide to plan for your Portland trip you’ll appreciate all of Portland’s unique quirks that truly makes “Portland Weird”. 

Would you plan a girls trip to Portland? What things in this Portland guide would you want to do the most? 


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Best Things to See and Do in Portland, Oregon Travel Guide Blog

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  1. We loved visiting the Rose Test Garden! So many incredible varieties and it smells AMAZING. Great guide, Linnea!

  2. I didnt realise theres so many varied things to do there, the chinese garden and tiny house would be at the top of my list

  3. I’ve heard so many good things about Portland and after reading your post I’m extra enthusiast to visit Portland one day. And the trail of ten waterfalls sounds the best!!

  4. I was in Portland on a work trip a couple years ago and missed most of these spots! To be fair, March wasn’t the best time to be there for the gardens. But I still wish I’d gone to Salt and Straw – it was just a little too far out of the way/a very expensive Uber ride just for ice cream.

  5. Aren’t Voodoo donuts the best? So many to choose from. I love Portland. The restaurants you chose look amazing.

  6. My last trip to Portland was postponed, but I’m no longer upset as I’ve just filled in more of the “must-dos” on my itinerary! Thank you!

  7. What a great guide to visiting Portland. We really want to go! Saving this for our trip someday. Also, Voodoo Donuts – yum! I have heard about this place 🙂

  8. Portland is an energetic and fun city. I spent a lot of time in Powell’s and checking out the street art. I wish I had visited some of the gardens.

  9. I decided last week that I was adding Oregon to my bucket list. This post reassured me why I need to go! And Silver Falls State Park looks lovely!

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