Why Portland is the Perfect Spot for a Girlfriend Getaway
Portland is one of Oregon’s (America’s) most fascinating cities. Known for being artsy and weird, people travel from all over the world to experience the Rose City’s vast and eclectic offerings. For those seeking access to exceptional outdoor adventures, an unbeatable nightlife, and delicious cuisine—Portland is a must on your girlfriend getaway to-do list.
Before you pack your bags and plan your agenda, take a minute to check out this girlfriend getaway guide to Portland. We cover all of the fun, strange and sexy things you’ll want to experience while hanging out in The City of Roses.
Guide to Portland Girlfriend Getaway
Colorful seating combined with rotating artwork made by locals makes this spot the quintessential Portland coffee house. Common Grounds boasts a 20-year history of providing the perfect specialty coffee shop experience with baristas who greet you like an old friend. Relax on one of the sofas with a latte, and dial up the comfort with my favorite, their grilled peanut butter and banana panini featuring dried cranberries (and the option to go “Elvis Style” by adding bacon).
Cellar Door Coffee Roasters
Best known as a local coffee roaster, this Victorian-style café focuses its efforts on serving the perfect cup of joe. Recline on a couch with your favorite caffeinated sip, or order a savory slice of quiche to munch on while you people watching from a window seat.
Located in the Alberta Arts District, Barista is welcoming hip spot to caffeine up on your girlfriend getaway. The rich walnut bar and dark wooden wall panels combine with the Pacific Northwest décor for a perfect tip-of-the-hat to the roaster’s hometown roots. There’s plenty of seating available for large parties, so bring along the girls and enjoy spending hours sipping on their signature coffee or an exceptional craft beer.
Coava Espresso Bar
Coava’s has two café locations: one on Hawthorne and one on Grand. These beautiful spots serve up the perfect cup of coffee. Coava’s focus is creating exceptional coffee roasts that deliver an exquisite espresso experience, but their expanded menu includes a tea program built around Jasmine Pearl Tea, Coconut mochas, and house-made Madagascar vanilla. If you are craving a bite, they carry locally made pastries.
Portland is packed with iconic hikes and strolls you’ll want to experience with your friends. Here are some you can fit in while you are IN the city.
Mt. Tabor is a dormant volcano located in SE Portland. It is a beloved spot for runners, hikers, and families with kids (there’s a park near the top). Comprised of more than 190 acres of beautiful Douglas Fir forest Mt. Tabor features several relatively easy routes to the top. There are forested trails to wander through as well as paved options. There are several old reservoirs filled with water that add to the area’s beauty. There’s quite an incline, but once at the top, you get to enjoy an incredible view of the city.
The largest urban forest in America, Forest Park features trails, creeks, and wildlife. With almost 100 miles of trails within the park, your crew has plenty of options to choose from. There are short, easy routes that take you along tree-lined paths, or you can catch views of the city on a trail that takes you up to a historic mansion and museum (Pittock Mansion). The best way to find the perfect trail for your girlfriend getaway is by checking out AllTrails, or one of the many local guides, like this one.
Another extinct volcano, Powel Butte offers a stunning forested hike with a 360 view of Portland. Providing nine miles of hiking trails through cedar forests, above underground reservoirs and up through sun-soaked grasslands atop the butte, this is a local favorite. At more than 600 feet tall, Powell Butte offers spectacular views of Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens, along with glimpses of Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, and Mount Jefferson on a clear day.
Portland is packed with fantastic eateries. Here are some of our favs.
This colorful spot is located in the NE Portland area right off Burnside. If you have a craving for some southern cooking, Tapalaya serves up a menu full of contemporary Cajun/Creole dishes. The food is delicious! Enjoy deep fried oysters, popcorn shrimp, Jambalaya, fried tofu, and perfectly creamy grits in a celebratory setting adorned with New Orleans art. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch live music in the evening.
This is one of my very favorite spots. This Japanese restaurant serves a blend of modern and traditional Japanese dishes. From handmade ramen noodles to incredible sushi rolls, squid, gyoza and more—there’s so much to choose from, and I have yet to try something I haven’t liked. But let me be completely honest, one of my favorite things about dining at Maru, is enjoying one of my favorite cocktails: the Godzilla! If you love Japanese food, you don’t want to skip this stop.
¿Por Qué No? Taqueria
If you need a little vacation from real life, dining at ¿Por Qué No? will make you feel like you are in Puerto Vallarta, Cancun or Sayulita on the best girlfriend getaway ever. I’m partial to the location on SE Hawthorne, though I have girlfriends who say they love the Mississippi location. With indoor and outdoor seating and an authentic atmosphere, there’s simply no better spot to dine on a variety of tacos, delectable ceviche, and chips and guac! Be prepared to wait in a line to get in. But don’t fret, it moves fast AND you can enjoy a margarita while you wait.
Do you have a vegetarian or vegan in crew. This spot has some of the best vegan slices of pie you’ve ever had. Get ready for a wide variety of pizza options. The Meatball + Chevre Pizza tastes a whole lot like a traditional pie. The margherita is sure to be a favorite. They even serve skillet mac and cheese and mac and cheese on pizza! But pizza isn’t all this spot has to offer. You can get full-flavored, creamy ice cream sans milk. Choose from a list of options that includes bourbon Vanilla, Chocolate, Salted Caramel + Chocolate Pretzel.
The story is that this is Portland’s oldest restaurant and the very spot where the Spanish coffee first came to be. I don’t know about all of that, but I can tell you that the Spanish coffee is not only a delight to drink, the bartender puts on a fantastic show in the making of it. If you are in the mood for American fare, you’ll find what you are looking for here. Hubers is known for its traditional turkey dinner and you can order the roast young tom turkey dinner, which is served up with sage dressing, mashed potatoes or yams. Other options include the baked sugar-glazed ham and the roast turkey drumstick. All of this in a classy downtown location.
Portland City Grill
Housed on the 30th floor of the Bancorp Tower in downtown Portland, the Portland City Grill is a must-experience spot. Offering customers sweeping views of the city and surrounding landscape, your girl squad can enjoy a variety of seafood and steak dishes along with delicious cocktails. If you want a real treat, hit their happy hour for incredible bites and sips at amazing prices. Along with one of the best views in town, the Portland City Grill has a piano bar for an extra classy touch.
Who doesn’t enjoy a tiki bar? Located in NE Portland, this sweet spot transports you across time and space with the rumbling sounds of erupting volcanoes, strobing lights, a smoking atmosphere and equally intriguing drinks. Order a Mai Tai, Zombie Punch or the popular Volcano Bowl for the full experience. This stop is sure to be a memory maker as you pre-funk your way into the night.
Bible Club PDX
Located in the SE, this Antiques-filled speakeasy serves inventive and classic cocktails made from the finest spirits along with small bites. Sit back and enjoy your cocktails served in antique crystal glassware. Only the best for the girls!
Located in the popular SE Belmont area, this is a sleek wine and cocktail bar with midcentury décor. Enjoy wines by the glass, a nightly DJ and a back patio. Bonus: this spot is walking distance from a variety of cool spots to hop to.
Had to the NW for this local favorite where you will find classic and creative cocktails made with top-shelf spirits. You’ll enjoy being served by some of the most talented mixologists in town in a chic and fun atmosphere.
This LGBTQ spot is a favorite! Cool and kitschy, you can order up some cocktails and American food menu items while attending one of their many events including drag and burlesque shows.
Bar of the Gods
I’m not going to lie, this is one of my favorite dives in all of Portland. Located on SE Hawthorn in an area that’s fondly referred to as the Barmuda Triangle, the drinks are affordable, the music is just loud enough and the celebration never ends. Dark and moody, (a little like some of the regulars), BOG is the place where everybody knows your name…even if they don’t. You’ll be shooting jello and saying, “Cheers!” as the night comes to a close if you don’t keep an eye on the time. If you girlfriends get too boozy to go far, not to worry, there are plenty of bars stumbling distance away, if you feel you need a change of scenery.
If you like an inside/outside venue, you’ll love this artsy cash-only bar. The inside area features a pool table and a cozy seating area. But it’s the large plant-filled patio, with its fire pit that’s a really draw. If you want a little privacy there are nooks you can grab inside and out.
Shanghai Tunnel Bar
What would a trip to Portland be without a trip to the Shanghai Tunnel? This classic underground spot is a bit punk rock and carries imported beer, features a creative cocktail menu and, serves noodle bowls and Korean tacos late into the night. You won’t get bored here, pool and pinball are available for those who need a little fun and games with their drinks.
Whether you want to go dancing or catch a show, these venues should be the first places you check out:
Music & Dancing
Mississippi Studios and Bar
A renovated church houses this intimate live music spot where you may very likely find your favorite musician’s playing. If you work up an appetite you can fill up on burgers and drinks in the adjoining bar.
Revolution Hall is located in the Historic Washington High School in inner SE Portland. It is a beautifully renovated, state-of-the-art performing arts center where you can catch a show or grab a drink and burger. Visit the website to see what’s playing while you are in town.
McMenamins Crystal Ballroom
This iconic Portland spot is where you and the girls can catch a show or get some dancing in during your girlfriend getaway. The Crystal Ballroom, originally built as Cotillion Hall, is a historic building in Portland built-in 1914 as a ballroom, and dance revivals were held there through the Great Depression. Now you can grab a drink and play pool on the first floor or head upstairs for a concert or an evening of dancing.
Doug Fir Lounge
This is one of our favorite Portland spots out for catching a show, enjoying a drink by an outdoor fire pit, or simply enjoying a cozy meal. The interior sports futuristic log-cabin décor and the restaurant features an eclectic diner menu and bar. Best of all, if you are looking for one of the coolest places to stay in town, the Doug Fir is attached to the Jupiter Hotel. See below for description.
It’s no secret that Portland is known for having a variety of spots for a sexy adventure. It’s no secret that we support women exploring their sexy side, so it would be remiss for us to leave these options out.
If you are looking for a relatively tame first experience, Club Privata is the way to go. This upscale spot features a fun dance club with a full buffet. There is a dress code and a high priced tag to curate a specific clientele. You have to go to specified areas to experience the sexy stuff. The higher you climb, the less clothed people are. There are three floors of fun to be had if you’ve got a mixed level of curiosity in your crew. Check the website for themes and pricing.
The Velvet Rope
The Velvet Rope is the longest-running on-site social club in Portland. Located in SE Portland, you can escape the business of the downtown area. This spot boasts 10,000 square feet of play space. It is both body-positive and sex-positive, but you best be prepared when you walk through the doors, things get sexy fast. There are hot tubs, dance floors, and multiple bars. Both private and open rooms are available, and you are sure to get an eyeful of something new and interesting…or confusing. Check the site for themes and prices.
This spot focuses on the LGBTQ+ community and promotes both sex and body positivity. It is smaller than the other venues, but still has a dance floor, bar, open seating, and playrooms. You will see everything.
Kit Kat Club
This Portland venue is more than a strip club, the performers are athletes. Get ready to see next-level performances by women who are gymnasts, athletes and incredible dancers. You are sure to leave impressed
This Portland club puts on a show so amazing, The Guardian had to cover it. That’s right. The ladies at this join are well worth taking time out of your schedule to support. Their famous Sunday Night Stripparaoke draws all kinds of folks looking to sing and laugh and sip on cocktails. Vegas has nothing on Portland!
Feeling a little swanky? Then this is the hotel for you. Located in the heart of Downtown Portland this spot is within walking distance of lots of fun attractions. It features crystal chandeliers, gold key concierges and a palm court lounge. You’ll love the luxurious rooms when you crash at the end of a long night.
Kimpton Hotel Vintage
Located in downtown Portland this boutique hotel features a graffiti-inspired cork art, a lobby that doubles as an urban tasting room, and a game lounge for adults. Each floor of the hotel is dedicated to a different Willamette Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area) and each room to a local winery. Expect plenty of bit luxury and a whole lot of Portland-inspired décor.
The Jupiter Hotel
Connected to the Doug Fir, The Jupiter Hotel offers fun, modern accommodations. The rooms feature unique local art, mid-century modern style furnishings, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen tv, complimentary coffee in the lobby and chalkboard doors that allow you to leave your own welcome messages.
McMenamins Kennedy School Hotel
The biggest problem with this venue is that you could spend your whole stay inside of it. With multiple bars and restaurants onsite, a heated soaking pool, a movie theater and lots of live entertainment there’s plenty to do. The rooms in the main school building include original chalkboards and cloakrooms. Each are decorated in literature-inspired themes. Be prepared, most rooms share bathrooms or have not bathroom at all. Guess use communal facilities.
As a guide to a girlfriend getaway in Portland, we feel we must do our duty and mention the standard touristy attractions for your stay:
OMSI: Portland’s famous science center museum.
Voodoo Doughnuts: Feel free to stand in line for hours for a sweet bite.
Portland Japanese Gardens: You could easily spend an afternoon wandering through the stunning gardens.
feature photo: Ian Sane via flickr