Nestled between the Columbia and Willamette rivers, Portland is the ultimate city for outdoor-enthusiasts with Forest Park stretching 40km across the north of the city and the sublime Oregon coastline just an hour or two by car. It’s no surprise then, that hiking and trail running are so firmly engrained in the culture here.
As evening approached we raced up to Portland’s picturesque Pittock Mansion just in time to catch a glimpse of the sunset, a golden haze over ‘Rose City’ (one of Portland’s many nicknames). For a split second, Mount Hood peaked through before becoming encompassed by cloud once again. It’s only when sat overlooking the entirety of downtown that you realise, it isn’t so big after all.
Portland is a small town pretending to be a city.
Somehow Portland has managed to preserve the feeling of a ‘small-town’ despite being Oregon’s largest city, home to over 630,000 people. A place you’re bound to bump into friends, Portland is a young, vibrant and diverse city with a community of sub-communities from book clubs to coffee cultures and beyond.
During my time in Portland I was fortunate enough to partner with Stay Alfred, a really exciting company that’s making waves across the hospitality industry in the United States. When I’m travelling for long periods of time, I want to stay somewhere that feel like home: to be able to dine-in, do my laundry and have a space to work. Unless I’m on holiday, sunning myself by the ocean, an apartment appeals to my lifestyle far better because I’m so much more productive when I have my own space.
Much like my recent trip to Amsterdam, the greatest reason for choosing Stay Alfred is that I no longer want to feel like a tourist when visiting a city. I want to taste living in the hustle and bustle, connecting with locals and mostly, feeling like a local. The more time I spend overseas, the more I require from a space. Having access to a gym and my own kitchen allows me the freedom to maintain a healthy (and affordable) lifestyle which is priceless.
I believe Portland is home to the best coffee in the United States. A big statement? Perhaps… but from North Mississippi Ave to SW Madison street, new coffee shops appear each and every day across all four corners of this city. It’s been two years since my last visit to Portland so I decided it was time to update my list of favourite cafés, many of which were non-existent during my last stay.
My Current Top Cafés in Portland, Oregon.
Address: 2012 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211, USA
Hours: Mon – Fri: 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun: 8AM–4PM
My first visit to Proud Mary was in Melbourne and after visiting Aunty Pegs, the roastery, it soon became my favourite café in the entire city. After learning they had recently opened their second hip, Aussie café in Portland, it would be my first stop upon arrival. Proud Mary introduces a much needed ‘Melbourne brunch scene’ to the Pacific Northwest. With a delicious breakfast, smoothie and lunch menu, it is still one of the only place in the city where you’ll find phenomenal coffee and food under the same roof. Last month Proud Mary served a beautiful bean from Brazil on v60, the best coffee I’d tasted throughout my entire stay. Needless to say, I was super impressed and returned daily.
Address: 3845 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227, USA
Hours: Mon – Sun: 8AM–6PM
Food? Only bakery items
Found in the funky setting of North Mississippi Avenue, serving fresh pastries from Pearl Bakery, this pour over bar is taking ‘Rose City’ by storm. With just a few table and chairs on the street and no indoor seating, I was a little perplexed upon arrival but soon remembered this is Portland, after all. Featuring beans roasted by some of my favourite local roasters, coffee is second to non in this sleek, minimal pod. If you’re looking to simply try a variety of sublime coffees without fuss, look no further than Jory Coffee.
Address: 4747 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206, USA [multiple locations]
Hours: Mon – Sun: 7AM–7PM
Food? Bakery items
Since visiting Good coffee in 2016, another 2 cafés have popped up in and around Portland, each with their own charm while maintaining a warm, homely space which is echoed through their artisan-crafted mugs. The people of Good Coffee are charming and accommodating – the importance of such service mustn’t be downplayed. While they don’t currently serve v60s, their batch brew is second to none and it’s one of my favourite spots to sit with an afternoon coffee in a cozy environment enhanced by the streams of people who have made this café their home. It’s a special space and with a name like ‘Good Coffee’, it couldn’t serve anything else.
Address: 3875 SW Bond Ave, Portland, OR 97239, USA
Hours: Mon – Sun: 7AM–5PM
Food? Bakery items
Opening just a few months ago, Oracle is the ‘new kid on the block’, located in the newly renovated area of South Waterfront. While there’s not an awful lot happening around Oracle, the café itself boasts a large seating area in a warehouse-like, spacious, wooden interior. As well as a quality selection of coffee from roasters across the States, Oracle boats an array of baked goods from Shoofly Vegan Bakery, freshly baked just a few kilometres away. Like the majority of coffee shops in Portland, Oracle offer a selection of milk alternatives including brands such as Oatly, Califia Farms and Pacific. It’s a beautiful space serving really good coffee and I’m excited to see the café grow.
Address: 2030 N Willis Blvd, Portland, OR 97217, USA [multiple locations]
Hours: Mon – Sun: 6:30AM–4:30PM
Food: Bakery items
A quaint, charismatic, dutch inspired neighbourhood café, Prince is a lively spot for coffee and fresh stroopwafels nonetheless. Currently serving Proud Mary and Heart Coffee, it’s a unique space, buzzing with charm and character, where you’re sure to be invited in with a welcoming smile. With two cafés in Portland, Prince is somewhere that I definitely recommend checking out when pursuing a taste of Holland. The menu is simple, the welcome is warm. Prince strips back the unnecessary frills and barriers of speciality coffee to provide an environment to suit all.
My list could expand to include the likes of Coava Coffee, Heart Coffee and Upper Left Coffee Roasters to a name just a few. Each café brings something different to Portland’s somewhat saturated coffee industry and I’m the first to admit it’s not always about the best coffee. People, atmosphere and the overall character play a significant role but the cafés above tick most, if not all of these boxes for me.
A huge, genuine thanks to Stay Alfred for hosting me during my time in Portland. This trip was a dream come true and I had the best time exploring the quirks of Portland once again. Throughout my time in Portland I was located in the heart of downtown, equipped with all the amenities I could require. If you’re looking for an apartment space to call your own while travelling America, feel free to use my discount code: YOURPLACE to receive 10% off your booking.