Thanks to work, I’ve been able to do some traveling to places I have never been before, Portland being one of them. The whole purpose of this trip was for Kevin, our videographer, and I to attend Cre8con, a 1 day creative conference. Along with the conference, we trend shopped at multiple stores in the area.
The trip began with a morning flight out to Phoenix for a layover. I had about an hour and a half layover in Phoenix and then it was off to Portland. Once I arrived at PDX, I met up with Kevin so we could Uber to our hotels together. We ended up having to stay at different hotels because of price spikes but they were only a 10 minutes walk from each other. We ordered an Uber pool and had a really nice woman pick us up. She was telling us that she’s lived there for around 20 years (give or take) and was chatting to us (and the other girl we picked up) about things to do and where to visit.
We get to my hotel first, which I highly recommend. The Canopy by Hilton is right in the Pearl District, minutes from everything. The hotel was so, so nice (looks just like the photos) and such a friendly staff. They had complimentary breakfast that I took advantage of one morning and holy smokes…the most classy breakfast I have ever seen at a hotel (pictures below.)
Once we set our bags in my room (he had to check into his room later), we immediately went to look around the Pearl District. Since we are here for work, we also need to trend shop meaning go to competitor stores to see what colors and patterns we see trending and also keep our eyes out for new products. So we basically just walk around stores like we’re shopping but take photos of what we see to put in to a presentation we have to do when we get back.
Our trend shopping was split between 2 days and we covered a lot of ground. Other than trend shopping and the conference, we had the evenings to do whatever we want, which is really nice. We went to a lot of delicious restaurants, Powell’s, and the highly popular Portland Japanese Gardens.
Some of the restaurants (that I highly recommend) include Pine State Biscuits, Afuri, Food Carts Portland, Sushi Ohana, Life of Pie and Screen Door, just to name a few. Pine State and Screen Door are an ABSOLUTE MUST. I am drooling just writing about them and I could eat either everyday for all three meals. I did a lot of research and Screen Door is so popular that you have to get there before they open or else there will be a line. So I arrived 30 minutes before they opened and there was already a line forming, it was nuts. And of course, I did get 1 donut from Voodoo. Honestly, i don’t see the hype but now I can say been there, done that.
Powell’s was humongous. There were like 7 floors of BOOKS. It was insane, we had no idea where to even start. We ended up near design and photography books so we spent some time just browsing through books in this section. There were a lot of people in the store too. Tourists and locals, I’m sure. If I was a local, you bet I would spend an entire day here!
The Portland Japanese Gardens was beautiful and top tourist attraction for visitors. It was very peaceful and serene. Lots of greenery and intricate branches. They also have a lookout spot to see Mt. Hood. Luckily the weather was really nice and clear when we visited so we were able to see it.
Friday rolls around and we had to wake up early for the conference, so we ate breakfast at my hotel and walked 5 minutes to the building. This is my first time attending any kind of creative/professional conference so I was really looking forward to it. We got to hear from a lot of cool, successful, and creative people speak, some of which include, Kiki Wolfkill (studio head of Halo), Richard Ting (Global Chief Design Officer of R/GA), Portugal. The Man. (Grammy winning duo), and Raamla Mohamed (writer/editor/producer for ABC’s Scandal.) You can learn more about these speakers along with the rest, here. All very successful and accredited professionals. I definitely learned a lot and hope to attend many more conferences in the future.
After the conference, Kevin had to fly back to shoot a wedding the next afternoon. Poor guy had to catch a red-eye (THE WORST!) which left me to explore Portland on my own before I flew out Saturday afternoon. So Friday night, I went to Life of Pie to eat. I felt like a loser sitting alone, but I embraced it, haha.
The next morning, I woke up and went to Screen Door for breakfast. Like I mentioned before, I went early so that I didn’t have to wait hours to get a seat. I got seated right away at the bar seating, ordered chicken and waffles with a side of gravy, and got my food within 30 minutes. Talk about perks of getting there early! I was standing in line in front of two locals and they suggested I order a side of gravy and I’m so glad they did. It was soooooooooooooo good.
While I was eating, a woman sat next to me. She was very friendly and had a very outgoing personality. She started chatting with me immediately. We small talked a little and she was telling me some of the backstory of Portland and the why there was such a large population of homeless people. Kevin and I realized early on that there were A LOT of homeless around the city. She was fun to talk to and very informative.
Once I finished eating and talking to that lady, I walked 30-40 minutes to get across the bridge. Normally, I would’ve Uber’ed, but it was such a beautiful weather that I decided why not get some steps in. And apparently nice and clear is not Portland’s typical forecast so we came on the perfect weekend. I still had an hour or so to kill until I had to leave for the airport so I went and walked around Portland Saturday Market. I saw some cool and crafty vendors, nothing too far off from the typical farmers market or festival. I did see seashell succulent holders which were really cool and something I had never seen before. There was also a talented sax player in a uniform playing everyone walking.
I strolled through the market and ended up near Voodoo and Afuri, a place we had visited a couple days prior. I stopped at Fuse’s walk up window to get a caramel chai tea latte and….it was one of the best I’ve ever had! It was full of so much caramel flavor, just how I like it. I had tried an iced caramel chair from Stumptown the day before and it was gross, tbh.
As I’m sipping my chai and walking down the street I notice an insane amount of homeless on this block I was walking passed. I was a little concerned, just because I have been stopped by the homeless before asking for money and what not. It just makes me a little uncomfortable, especially being alone. So I was walking somewhat speedy. I realized that they had canopies set up to hand clothing out to them which explained the massive group in one area.
Back at the hotel, I finish packing up, check out of the hotel, and order a lyft to the airport. I got to the airport wayyyyy to early. I hate when this happens. I got there 3 hours early, not on purpose. You never know what TSA is gonna look like! 3 hours surprisingly flies by and I board the plane to fly to Minnesota for a 1.5 hour layover. I have never been to Minnesota but it was FREEZING. And on top of freezing, I completely shattered my phone screen in the bathroom. So, me and Minnesota didn’t get off on the right foot, lol. I also ate dinner at the airport…..$18 for a burger and fries!? Alright then. I land in Indianapolis around 11:30 pm or something and my roomie, Karina, picked me up.
Overall, I would visit Portland again. It was a good time and I feel like I didn’t get to see everything in the 3 days I was there. And I would definitely eat at Pine State and Screen Door again, lol.