My family has started to adopt this mentality that we can celebrate family and each other on made up holidays that are not the typical Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays. So this year, we decided to all experience a new city together as our family get-together. So we all packed up our bags from different locations and flew to Portland for a fun 4 day adventure. Here is the itinerary and all that we go to see, do, and of course yummy food that we ate.
D A Y 1 : A R R I V E & T H R I V E
We landed in Portland early to mid afternoon after having somewhat of an early flight. I highly recommend staying in the Pearl District/ Downtown as this is the most hip and walkable part of Portland and gave us the most exploratory vibes. From the airport depending on traffic, you can either take the public transportation metro or Uber. The goal of today was just to take it easy and survive the rest of the day experiencing Portland without overwhelming ourselves. After dropping off our bags, first things first, we stopped for some coffee at Sisters Coffee Company to just relax and settle in. It was so much fun to people watch here and get a feel for the Portland community and people.
Next we headed to Powell Bookstore. To be completely honest, I had read many suggestions online saying to go here, but I was always doubting "How could this bookstore be so special?" and "Am I just going to walk around and look at a bunch of books???". But my parent's Uber driver from the airport insisted on a trip so we went. And man was I glad! My entire family ended up splitting up and exploring books on their own. It was great because they had so many recommended books through every type of section or "room". I bought a nice beach read, Patrick bought a book about shoe design, my brother bought a highly recommended fiction novel, my dad bought a Bonsai book, and my mom bought the cutest inspirational quotes book for a coworker. It really has everything for everyone and was just a really cool place to explore.
And lastly, we ended the night with one of the best meals we had in Portland at the Mediterranean Exploration Company. This Mediterranean restaurant is mostly shareable, tapas style plates and community table style eating which was I think my favorite part. We got to order so many dishes to try and honestly, everything was so tasty! Highly recommend getting the Radicchio salad, Hummus with Spring Vegetables, and the Lamb Tartare Kibbeh. So yummy!
D A Y 2 : M U L T N O M A H F A L L S
I highly recommend taking at least one day to do something outdoorsy while in Portland because not only is it just a beautiful and lush place, it is part of the culture. But before we left on our day trip to explore the outdoors, we stopped at Nossa Familia Coffee to charge up and start the day. This little coffee shop has a beautiful large patio to enjoy your coffee, so plan to go on a sunny and dry morning! Also if you are super into coffee, they offer cuppings on Friday afternoons.
After coffee we went on a day trip to Multnomah Falls. The great thing about Portland was their metro system. We could take the metro to the Columbia Gorge Express bus to get to the falls. We packed a picnic sandwich for lunch, but there is a restaurant and snack bar at the bottom of the falls. The falls has 2 viewpoints and depending on your willingness to get active, that will decide which one you choose. The first is a very short and easy hike from the base of the falls to the bridge crossing the falls. This is such a great view and is the "standard falls photo".
If you want to go a bit further, there is a hiking trail that goes all the way to the top of the waterfall. Just a warning, it is fully uphill the entire way so will seem like a workout. But the top is pretty cool to look down from.
After hiking and visiting the falls, we headed back to Portland just in time to get ready before heading out to dinner and then to see the fireworks since today was the 4th of July for our trip. I made a reservation at Jack Rabbit for dinner which is a good American style restaurant. One of the things that I loved since I drink gin, is they had an entire list, multiple pages long, or different styles of gin. Needless to say I had a pretty damn good martini with an old world gin! Lastly, if you happen to be in Portland for the 4th of July, you can walk over to Hawthorne Bridge to view the show, or just take a nighttime stroll along the river back to the Pearl District.
D A Y 3 : G A R D E N S G A L O R E
Day 3 we took it a bit easier but still managed to enjoy the outdoors in Portland. I highly recommend visiting the gardens in Portland. This day was probably everyone's favorite of the trip! We started at the Portland Japanese Garden first. There are bonsai trees that are hundreds of years old, rock gardens, and so many water features. It was honestly really cool to peacefully walk through this garden and just take it all in.
Next, we headed right across the street to the International Rose Test Garden. This garden is free and much smaller than the Japanese garden, but was fascinating none the less. This is where over 10,000 roses are blooming with different colors, shapes, and event scents. It was great to just walk up and down the rows and smell all the amazing roses! There are also spectacular views to downtown and Mt Hood.
After visiting both gardens, we were starving for lunch! So we headed over to Lardo to have some amazing sandwiches. Patrick and I split a sandwich and fries and also got the crispy pig ears for the table! The sandwiches are huge, so I highly recommend splitting with someone. Then we ended the night at 10 Barrel Brewing Company and just hung out in the Airbnb since we were all pretty exhausted ha!
D A Y 4 : C O F F E E C R A W L
If you know my brother or husband, you had to see this day coming somewhere on our itinerary. We visited about 4 coffee shops on day 4 (ha how fitting) and really got to just explore the city of Portland without really going anywhere. This was such a fun day for me as well since we had been so outdoorsy and adventurous our previous days. The first stop on our coffee crawl was Water Avenue on the east side of the river. We then went to Blue Star Donuts and then to Dapper & Wise Roasters. If you are not big coffee fans, then I would suggest to head to Blue Star Donuts to begin your morning on the east side of Portland.
Then we slowly started using all that energy to make our way north and walk through these neighborhoods exploring the houses, landscapes, and just seeing how the Portland people live. It was a really pretty walk (and if you have watched the show Life Unexpected on Netflix, these houses look exactly whats on the show ha!). We passed Sewallcrest Park and took a left on Hawthorne Blvd and stumbled across a really cool vintage shop with furniture, knick knacks, and clothing called Vintage Pink! After exploring some of the neighborhoods we rented the orange Nike bikes and rode up the river walkway path, crossed over at Hawthorne bridge, and continued up to Pearl District to visit the famous Saturday Market. We walked around to see all the vendors and tents and then enjoyed lunch while listening to live music.
After the market, we headed home for a quick little regroup before needing some more coffee to get through the day. On a side note, you may be thinking that a) we drank too much coffee this trip or b) why is Portland so fascinated with coffee. The answer is the weather! Portland is gloomy then sunny, cold then hot, sometimes slightly humid, and can never make up its mind. Being from LA, the gloomy days in Portland, especially today, was hard to not get tired. Coffee was much needed!! We headed further west of the Pearl district to see a new neighborhood set up and went to Good Coffee - Slabtown. This part of Portland was completely new with brand new apartments, grocery stores, and restaurants all built to be its own little community. We then rented scooters (my dad's favorite thing to do!) and scooted around the neighborhoods for a bit before settling down for a good beer-cocktail at Breakside Brewery - NW Slabtown.
Lastly we went to the famous Pok Pok - NW for dinner. There are two major locations and one takes reservations while the other one does not. We didn't want to risk the chance and we were already on this side of town, so we scooter-ed to dinner and made a reservation. Man was Pok Pok amazing! It is shareable dishes as well so was great to order a few items and all share. We got the famous Fish Sauce Wings, Da Chom's Laap Meuang (spicy), Muu Kham Waan pork, and the special for the night was a fish dish.
Visiting New York City has been on the top of my list for some time now because who doesn't like to explore high density city life with all the cafes, shops, bars, and restaurants?! The last trip I took to NYC was on my school's 8th grade field trip so this time, as an adult, I wanted to explore New York from a bit of a local's perspective with some landmarks and museums. Here is how I explored NYC and Brooklyn in 4 days.
D A Y 1 : B R O O K L Y N B R I D G E
We landed in JFK early morning and made our way to Brooklyn Heights where we were staying. After dropping off all of our stuff we decided to hit the ground running to explore and of course get the most important thing at that moment... coffee! We took a stroll alongside the water on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade to get the best view of the city and get our blood pumping after a long flight. Also, if you look to the left, you can see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and to your right is the Brooklyn Bridge. It was so quaint to walk the trail as New Yorkers were casually walking their dogs or going on a morning jog. A great way to start off our trip for sure.
Once you get to the Brooklyn Bridge area where the trail ends, there is a Starbucks close by or if you want to try the Brooklyn Roasting Co go ahead and pop in for your dose of caffeine. Then make your way over to La Bagel Delight for a good ole fashion NYC bagel. I was starving so the bacon, egg, ham, and cheese bagel was my choice ha! After you have eaten, you can go to the Brooklyn Bridge picture spot on Washington Street. Here is the most iconic view of the bridge and you should definitely stop for a few photos.
Next, we decided to subway over to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I absolutely loved seeing Monet and Van Gogh exhibits in person. If you are not in to museums, I suggest not being afraid to browse through and not linger if you aren't interested. They also had a Jackson Pollock feature exhibit which is one of Patrick and my favorite artist that we have yet to see an entire exhibit on. After the Met, we went to eat lunch at Pastrami Queen. This place has the best pastrami sandwich I have ever had. I suggest to split a sandwich and fries because they are huge.
After filling up on the best lunch at a local NY deli, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge back to the Brooklyn side to get home. There is a walkway on the bridge with some amazing views. It is about a mile so takes 20-30 minutes to casually walk across the entire bridge.
Later that night we went to Other Half Brewery for a fun night hanging out. They are lovers of the IPA, but they had a specialty can beer called the Gin Fizz, which was absolutely delicious!! One of my top favorites for sure. Then for late night snack, we went to
Brooklyn Social. It is an old Sicilian social club transformed into a late night local watering hole for crafted cocktails and delicious sandwiches.
D A Y 2 : P A R K S G A L O R E
Day 2 we slept in a bit and then decided to go grab some brunch. We went to the Farmacy, a cute little old pharmacy that serves sandwiches, soft serve, and a New York staple, the Egg Cream. It is a traditional NY drink with milk. seltzer, and syrup. It was so good and interesting to try.
Next we spent most of the day exploring all of the parks in NYC. Our first stop was
Central Park at the Bethesda Terrace and getting a view of the lovely Loeb Boathouse. It was so nice to just roam around and get lost in the park. Take your time enjoying the view.
Next park up on the list was Washington Square Park. This was such a quaint, neighborhood park and one of my favorites. It is much smaller than Central Park for sure, but the live street music and just getting to people watch with NYC people walking their dogs, enjoying the sun in the park, or eating lunch was so relaxing. Plus the Washington Square Arch is a sight to see.
After seeing all the parks, we explored and walked around the Greenwich Village area and then made our way to East Village for an amazing dinner at Szechuan Mountain House. Highly recommend this place to step out and try a different type of food than you have probably experienced, plus you have to try the crispy chicken with Sishuan peppers. This is a popular spot so put your name on the list and if you have an hour to 1.5 hour wait, then head over to Barcade for a drink and some games until your table is ready. Or if you are lucky enough to get seated right away, head on over afterwards.
D A Y 3 : M A N H A T T A N T O U R I S T
On Day 3 we decided to explore more like a tourist to hit some of those key monuments or spots that sometimes you just can't leave NYC without seeing. We started our morning however with iced coffee and an apple cider donut from Salter House which was delicious! It has a corner cafe spot with big windows, perfect for people watching all of the Brooklyn locals. Patrick and I loved sitting there just taking in all the happenings. Next we walked around Brooklyn Heights are to admire all the Willowtown Brownstone Buildings and architecture. They are truly amazing and beautiful.
We first headed to the Flatiron district to view the iconic Flatiron Building. This was such a cool little sliver of architecture to view. Feel free to explore around a bit and check out the Flatiron district. It is a pretty cool spot.
From there we headed north towards Midtown on 5th Ave. On our walk we passed the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Hall, and Rocket City Music Hall. You can also veer off a bit and go to Times Square. We avoided that area because we thought it would be too crowded and not worth it ha. But most importantly, you have to stop and get a NYC hot dog at one of the street carts.
Oyster Happy Hours seem to be pretty popular and NYC and to be honest, I couldn't be happier!! The spot to go is Upstate in East Village for their happy hour at 5 pm. You must get there at least 15-30 minutes in advance to wait outside for them to open to get a spot right off the bat. This place fills up fast, and there is a good reason for it. The oyster selection was amazing and they have a deal to pair with a beer or wine. Afterwards, wrap around the other side of the block for a fancy cocktail at Local 92.
That night we decided to head back to Brooklyn to have the ultimate Brooklyn NY pizza experience. And why not take the ferry at night to get a view of the city lights?! It was such an incredible view and I highly recommend taking the ferry at least once on your trip. First stop on the pizza night was Dellarocco's which serves wood fired brick oven pizza. Highly recommend getting the chef's special! Next, save room for one more on-the-go slice from Table 87, a coal oven pizza by the slice place. Now that you're stuffed on all the pizza you can get, head home and have a fun night in playing games or chatting about your trip.
D A Y 4 : B R O O K L Y N L O C A L
For our last day in NYC, we decided to spend a low key day experiencing Brooklyn like a local. We went to the amazing area of Williamsburg which is a quirky foodie area. We ate at Sweet Chick for brunch to meet up with my cousins who I haven't seen in forever. It was unfortunately raining for us most of the morning, but I would have loved to explore more of Williamsburg. After brunch, we made our way back to Brooklyn Heights and visited the Transit Museum. It was a pretty cool spot, especially if you're a history buff or just like to know how things work. It explains the history of the subway system in NYC. It even has train cars from different decades. After the museum we stopped by Swallow for a cup of coffee and cookie.
That night after dinner, we headed to the cutest bar, Elsa. The inside architecture details and lighting was spot on, plus the cocktails were amazing! This was definitely my kind of place. After Elsa, we headed to Barbes for live jazz in the back room. The craziest thing happened, and I still cannot believe it. Patrick and I are huge fans of the movie Midnight in Paris, and it just so happened that Stephane Wrembel, the artist of the main theme song, was there! We were both in super fan girl mode. What an amazing night!! They pretty much have live music every night.
Zara Overcoat (similar here) , H&M Blouse ,
Madewell Jeans , Scarf (similar here) , andAdidas Sneakers
I just got back from a trip to New York City and had a blast! I have not been back to NYC since a school trip in the eighth grade, and it was fun getting to explore a new city as an adult. We initially chose April in hopes that it would be warmer weather and springtime would be creeping in but it was still pretty chilly, at least for us LA folks ha, but would highly recommend trying to go in April or May to get the best weather possible. Here is what I wore in NYC in early April.
For most days I wore about the same outfit. I always wear sneakers when exploring a city because I want to see as much as I can and not have my feet slow me down. So these Adidas Original Cloudfoams were a must. It would get pretty chilly during the day because the wind would pick up between the buildings, so I wore either this Zara overcoat (similar here and here) or switched it out for aleather jacket on a warmer day. I also loved a good scarf over a long sleeve shirt or sweater to help block the wind around my neck and chin which was great. And I pretty much rotated through myhigh waist Madewell blue jeans and Joes Jeans black jeans.
A born and raised Southern girl who's wanting to inspire every women through style and beauty while living in the big city of Los Angeles.