The 6 Best Things About the Real Portlandia

Portland, Oregon is one of my favorite cities in the world. Plus, if you watch the show Portlandia, I can assure you, all the stereotypes are true. It’s a hippie town through and through! Since it’s just three hours south of Seattle, we made the trek down there pretty often when we were living in there.

Here are my top six favorite things about Portland:

Delicious Food

The Pacific Northwest is known for fresh, locally grown, seasonal food, and Portland is the best example of this kind of eating. Seriously, I don’t think I have ever been to a bad restaurant in Portland. The best areas for finding good restaurants are the ABC District (also known as the Northwest District or 23rd), and the Pearl District, although I’m sure there are gems in every neighborhood.

Amazing Shopping


Image by Alex Abboud.

Portland is my favorite place to shop for a few reasons. One, there is no sales tax in Oregon, so coming down from Washington (where there is currently a 9.5% sales tax), this is a big difference. My favorite place to shop is on 23rd, in the ABC/Northwest District. This area is known as being trendy and expensive, but I actually think that’s a bit misleading. There are some pricey boutiques, but a lot of the shops are very affordable, and there are actually a lot of second-hand stores along this street too. Plus, most of the shops are in cute old houses, an unique touch I love!

I always end up buying loads of stuff in Portland, and it never seems expensive to me, especially compared to Seattle. For truly expensive shopping, check out the Pearl District.

Portland Saturday Market

I love the Saturday market in Portland. Set downtown with the river as its backdrop, this market is vibrant, colorful and full of amazing finds. I bought a lot of unique things at the market for my wedding–including my jewelry (which was made of antique buttons) and a vintage chalkboard. I love listening to the live music, checking out the crafts and antiques, and watching all the Portland weirdos.

Doughnut Heaven

It’s actually a little embarrassing how much I love doughnuts. What is it about fried dough that makes me salivate like a rabid dog?? Whatever it is, Portland provides it at the famed Voodoo Doughnuts. This place is so weird and so quintessentially Portland–you can get a wide variety of doughnuts, including a maple bar with a strip on bacon on it or a doughnut covered in fruit loops, plus, if you really want to you can actually get married at Voodoo Doughnuts. That’s right, the owners are wedding officiants. Top all of this off with the fact that they write dirty-sounding slogans on their boxes (“Good Things Come in Pink Boxes” and “The Magic is in the Hole”) and you can clearly see why this place is a gem!

Eating a 2 a.m. Voodoo doughnut at my bachelorette party.

Used Bookstore Mecca

Powell's Books

Image by Cord Rodefeld.

Matt and I are both giant book worms–some of our favorite things to do together include just sitting somewhere and reading our kindles, or wandering through bookstores. Portland houses one particularly amazing used bookstore: Powell’s Books. I can’t really describe Powell’s any better than they do on their website, so here it is: “Powell’s City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books.” 

You didn’t read that wrong. Truly, the store is a city block and it’s basically filled floor to ceiling with books. While that could be overwhelming, it’s actually meticulously organized, so finding a specific section or book is not a problem. I love spending hours wandering through Powell’s, exploring the sections I love and getting lost in new ones.

…and lastly:

The Sister

Sister’s on the left, I’m on the right: ready for some 80’s night dancing in Portland!

This pretty face is my number one favorite reason to visit this quirky and cool city. She’s always finding great new coffee shops, restaurants, stores and neighborhoods for us to explore, and just like Portland herself, she’s unique, gorgeous and always entertaining.

*P.S. Speaking of my sister, she and her beau will be coming to visit us in Korea in about two months. We are so excited!!!!


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About andreasherrodd

We're a couple of wanderlusters who love travel, food and adventure. Our goal is to see the world, and to inspire you to do the same. Follow our adventure at

13 responses to “The 6 Best Things About the Real Portlandia”

  1. literaryitinerary says :

    great entry. i love pdx too – for many of the same reasons. 🙂 hope things are going well for you guys in korea. we miss you at cusa!

  2. Rachel says :

    I’ve only been to Portland once, but I loved the donuts and Powell’s!

  3. Lori Finley says :

    Loved the pictures and description of Portland! Favorite pictures are the doughnut pictures and you and Jillian!

  4. Krista C. says :

    I love Portland!! I moved to Seattle over 5 years from Illinois but initially I wanted to move to the Rose City. I had someone to stay with in Seattle while I found a place to live and a job so that’s where I ended up. Portland is amazing, and even though I love Seattle, I think Stumptown is more me. I’m a huge book nerd, so Powell’s was one of the most awesome stores I have ever been.

  5. Jillian says :

    Only the best city ever! Some day I will convince you and Matt to move here!!

  6. The Adventures of Twins says :

    You would probably love Kensington Market – it has a similar vibe! Small shops in people’s homes filled with oddities and second hand items. -Anika

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