The Hello Sessions is happening NEXT WEEK, so we thought it was high time that we share some of our favorite spots in Portland. We choose to have The Hello Sessions in Portland because it makes the trip worthwhile--we find that people come for the conference, but also for all the fun and charm and weirdness that the city has to offer. Portland locals, please add your favorites in the comments!
Toast: A little hole in the wall off the beaten path, Toast is a lovely little spot for breakfast. The menu changes seasonally, but we've never been disappointed by the offerings. And we ALWAYS leave totally full and happy.
Biwa: This spot is open until midnight, and serves up casual Izakaya (Japanese gastropub) style foods like ramen, sashimi, gyoza, and yakitori.
Lovejoy Bakers: One of our favorite breakfast or lunch spots, Lovejoy Bakers has a gorgeous selection of baked goods and hand crafted coffee options. We're particularly fond of the steel cut oatmeal, which is topped with a brown sugar brûlée.
Little Bird: Award winning chef Gabriel Rucker's second Portland establishment, Little Bird, is fine dining in a laid back atmosphere--and if that's not Portland in a nutshell, we don't know what is. The plates are inventive little works of art that are almost too beautiful to eat. Almost.
WORK/SHOP: As its name implies, work/shop is a space where you can both work (or learn) and shop in this Instagram-worthy spot. Some of our favorite Portland makers, like calligrapher Rachel Jacobson, teach workshops here. You can also find some excellent locally made gifts (for yourself or others).
The Meadow: Flowers, chocolates, salts, and wine. Need we say more?
Alder & Co.: Everything in this spot feels special. Think: clothing, jewelry, candles, and cozy throws. This is one of those places to buy yourself something special to remember this trip by.
Lounge Lizard: So many awesome vintage finds at Lounge Lizard! Everything is curated and cleaned, so all you have to do is choose among the treasures.
PSU Farmers Market: Rain or shine, this farmer's market is open every Saturday all year long! Gorgeous fruits and vegetables, several food stalls (it's hard to choose among them...) and excellent local honey, wine, and chocolates to bring home as gifts--for yourself or others.
Skin by Marywynn: Hands down one of the best spa experiences of my life! Even though I now live on the East Coast, I only get facials when I can go to Marywynn's. They are hardcore believers in oil cleansing, and your skin will feel baby soft when you leave.
Ground Kontrol: Calling all gamers! You'll find everything from Ms. Pac-Man to Mortal Kombat II here, as well as a fully functioning bar.
Living Room Theaters: If all that travel and networking leaves you in need of a couple of hours of quiet, check out this little movie theater. It's located directly across the street from The Cleaners and plays indie movies while serving up scrumptious restaurant-quality cuisine (and drinks!).
Powell's: This could totally fall under "shops" but going into Powell's is a whole experience. One could spend hours in this bookstore (and we have!). If you're traveling, you might find it difficult to limit the number of things you can fit in your suitcase. Going to Powell's is a bit like time traveling--when's the last time you spent a whole afternoon browsing through books?