The Perfect Summer Day in Portland, Oregon

Portland is a city that’s bursting at the seams with fun activities and stuff to do. There’s so much, in fact, that planning an itinerary for a day could seem exhausting if not downright impossible to fit everything in! Below, we’ve picked and pruned, finding the must-see’s and best-of-the-best’s to get a taste of Portland on a summer day. The best part? There’s always more to see and experience. This is a fantastic start.  

1. Start the morning off with breakfast at Mother’s Bistro and Bar

Any perfect summer day will require lots of energy, so it’s key to have a hearty breakfast. Mother’s Bistro and Bar serves a fantastic breakfast from 7 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on weekdays and starting at 8 a.m. on weekends. We recommend going for the grilled portabella mushroom scramble.

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2. Take a short drive to the Portland Japanese Garden

After breakfast, take a short drive to the Portland Japanese Garden. Check to see if there are any events happening of interest. Even if not, the gardens are well-worth a visit by themselves for their serene beauty. 

3. Visit the Portland Saturday Market

Assuming you’re out and about on a weekend, you should absolutely make time to stop by the Portland Saturday Market. The market is Portland mainstay, full of resplendent hand-made crafts, delicious street food, regular events, and much more. Walk around, get a quick snack, or simply people watch: Regardless, you should go.

4. Drive over to Oxbow Regional Park

About 40 minutes away, the Oxbow Regional Park in Gresham, Oregon offers fantastic scenery and wonderful swimming. The riverside is sandy and the calm water makes it perfect for kayaking. Spend an hour or two taking in your surroundings and appreciate its splendor. 

5. Get lunch at the Local Cow

A local favorite, the Local Cow in Gresham is a wonderful spot for lunch. Stop by on your way out of town to eat like a local. Their food is local, sustainable, and organic. Go for the fried pickles and any of their signature burgers.

6. Head back into Portland and stop at Powell’s City of Books

A Portland fixture, Powell’s City of Books “is the largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books.” Lose yourself among the 3,500 different sections or plan to see a visiting writer or artist. No matter the time of year, Powell’s is a must-see. 

7. Indulge with a cup of Turkish Coffee from Tov

Nothing quite says hipster-chic like sipping Turkish coffee purchased from a repurposed double-decker bus while reading your latest purchase from Powell’s, but we can think of few better ways to spend an hour on a Portland summer afternoon. Tov serves Egyptian coffee and tea along with traditional espresso beverages.

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8. Tour the Pittock Mansion

Once you’re finished with your coffee, head over to the Pittock Mansion to see how the opposite end of Portland society lives. The mansion is a historic museum open to the public with guided tours. Walk from room to room and imagine what it might’ve been like to live amongst the high and mightiest of Portland’s elite.

9. Eat dinner like a Top Chef at Castagna

One of Top Chef Season 12 winner Mei Linn’s favorite Portland restaurants, she writes that chef “Justin Woodward does with food is like modern art. The plates that come out of the kitchen look so seemingly simple, yet they’re so complex in flavor.” Treat yourself to one of the best dinners you’ll ever have before your final activity of the day.

10. See a show at the Aladdin Theater

The historic Aladdin theater began life as a vaudevillian theater before becoming a movie theater and now a concert venue. No matter the day, regardless of time of year, they’ve got a show for you. Buy a ticket for whatever they’ve got playing and enjoy the ambiance, the history, and relish in the perfect summer day you just had. 

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