Mandy and I are suckers for mountain cities. Portland delivers in a spectacular way. We spent the early morning grabbing some local coffee at Black Rock Coffee and watching the sunrise at the top of Rocky Butte Park.
Rocky Butte is an extinct volcanic cinder cone and a fantastic place in Portland to watch the sunrise. The view of Mt. Hood from the top is absolutely extraordinary and seeing the city unfold below you is an awesome experience.
After Rocky Butte, we naturally decided to check out downtown Portland and see everything that we could while we had the time.
We grabbed a fantastic, if massive, breakfast at Cheryl’s on 12th in the heart of the downtown.
And we set off from there to experience the city. There’s currently a local yarn crawl going on, which led us on a massive self-guided walking tour of downtown.
Besides the five yarn shops (out of the fifteen participating in the yarn crawl) we hit up all across Portland, we visited Powell’s City of Books, easily the largest book store I’ve ever seen,
and Petunia’s Pies and Pastries for lunch, a great local vegan place.
After five hours of downtown, we moved to our next stop, still in the city, the Portland Japanese Garden.
The garden is a beautiful oasis still in the heart of Portland, but tucked away deeply enough into the trees that you could start to believe that you’re by yourself as you walk through it. Hundreds of different plants and flowers dot the landscape as you walk through, leading in a long, meandering loop through nature.
It’s an absolutely beautiful place, and if you’re a fan of nature, it should definitely be a place to check out while you’re here.
After the garden, we visited The Tao of Tea, a local tea shop specializing in free trade teas, and we spent a couple hours in here just sipping tea and watching people walking by.
Tao of Tea serves tea in many of the traditional ways: Gaiwans (pictured above), bombillas for Yerba Mate, clay pots that have steeped only one type of tea for years (allowing hot water that sits in the pot without tea taste like that tea). If you’re interested in trying traditional Chinese, Japanese, Indian and South American teas, we highly recommend trying one of their locations.
After so much walking around, sitting and enjoying a slow afternoon tea was a very relaxing experience.
Finally, to round out the night, we found our way to a well reviewed sushi restaurant called Bamboo Sushi.
Bamboo Sushi focuses on serving sustainable fish and ingredients, only naturally sourced. The presentation and the staff were both great and the food was likewise.
We didn’t take a picture of it because we were too busy eating, but the Lucky 13 roll was so good we ordered a second one.
Lucky 13: MSC albacore, cucumber, and avocado inside with a mixture of east coast red crab, scallop, yuzu tobiko, and cilantro across the top
Be sure to try one if you stop by one of the two Bamboo Sushi restaurants in Portland.
All in all, a super first day, and an absolutely great start to our Oregon trip.