Ari in Portlandia
If you follow us on Instagram (@honeyidressedthepug) you know how much we love colors and flowers. Ever since I saw dog-friendly tulip field in Portland, Oregon last spring, I knew we had to plan a trip this year. Sharing our experience and some of the places and things that we enjoyed in Portland. May be this will inspire you to visit with your pup next year :)
PLANNING THE TRIP
Since tulip field was one of the main focuses of the trip, we timed our trip around peak bloom. Of course, peak bloom depends on several factors and can change from year to year. I had called the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in advance to get their advise on what dates would be most suitable to see the tulips in order to plan our trip 3-4 months in advance. They advised that the first two weeks of April was a good time to visit. So, we timed our trip around Easter, 15-20th April. It turned out that Spring was late this year (which has been the case since a couple of years) and our timing worked out perfectly. We flew via United Airlines, Ari travels as my emotional support. If you’d like know more about this check out my previous blog post here.
For our stay, we collaborated with StayPineapple - Hotel Rose located in Portland Downtown. We have stayed with them previously in San Francisco and love how dog friendly they are! So, they made a perfect choice for this trip as they are conveniently located and make a great base to explore the city. As always, we were provided with all the basic dog necessities- dog bed, bowl, treats and poop bags. The room was very comfortable for my husband - Kash and me as well as Ari. I always love the fact that they have a really nice coffee machine and coffee/tea flavors left each day in the room. So, if you need a coffee/tea first thing when you wake up, then you have it right there in your room.
When we arrived late afternoon in Portland, it had started raining there. We were tired from the flight, so we decided to hang out at the hotel bar with Ari and get some food. We called it an early night, so we could start fresh next day.
Thanks to my post on Instagram, I got lots of recommendations from our followers on places to check out in Portland. I honestly hadn’t got a chance to do much research on anything else except the tulip field before we got there. But, I still ended up with a long list of places to check out!
We started the day in Alberta Arts Neighborhood with brunch at Tin Shed. Not only are they dog friendly and allow dogs inside the restaurant, but they also offer a dog menu. Of course, Ari was super excited to try it out! Kash and I are both vegetarians (but we eat eggs) and found plenty of options on the menu. We both got their Sampler Goodness, which kind of reminded me of a full English breakfast - Kash got Everything Nice and I got Everything Naughty (different from our real life personalities ;)) Their dog menu had a couple of delicious choices, Ari chose their house made doggie dessert - peanut butter and banana ice-cream with biscuit. The food was delicious and servers were super friendly! I would give them five stars for sure. While we were there we saw so many dogs go in and out, in fact people on both the tables next to us were dining with their dogs. Wish we had a place like this in New York!
After brunch, we decided to walk around and check out all the amazing street art that Alberta Arts District is known for. We walked along the main street and found plenty of colorful stores and street art everywhere. It had cute little restaurants and bars too. We loved the vibe of this highly Instagrammable and eclectic neighborhood.
“You are confined only by the walls you build.”
While walking we stumbled upon a really cute pet store - The Filling Station. Loved the layout and the amazing staff at the store. Ari got a lot of treats from them and walked out reluctantly, but not before he got a new toy.
On our way back to our hotel we stopped at Lucky Labrador for a couple of beers. As the name suggests - its a dog friendly bar. Although dogs are only allowed outside, they have a huge covered patio, perfect to hang out with your pup. After trying a couple of local beers, we were headed back to the hotel when we saw Kerr Bikes with some really cute bikes that we could ride together, just for fun. We chose the Single Surrey bike that sits up to three adults and two toddlers. It was perfect for us to ride at the back and Ari was in the front seat with his seat belt on. We went for a short ride just along the waterfront and drew a lot of attention :) Ari seemed to enjoy the attention and the views. Overall it was an impromptu fun experience! Ari was exhausted after being out the whole day, so we left him in the room and went to Pine Street Market near the hotel for a quick bite before calling it a day. We tried the veggie bibimbap bowls at Kim Jong Smokehouse. Kash really enjoyed his, I thought I had had better bibimbap bowls in Korea Town in New York City.
Finally the day that I had been waiting for since a year had arrived! We were headed to Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm to see the tulips!!! They are dog friendly and dogs are allowed everywhere on leash. I tried not to get too excited so I would not be disappointed later. Since, we had decided to spend most of our time in the city, we did not rent a car on this trip. Wooden Shoe Farm was 45 minutes away from our hotel. We were told at the hotel that both Lyft & Uber go there. So, we decided to call for a Lyft and got there pretty easily. Our driver was chatty and very friendly like most people we had encountered in Portland. We reached Wooden Shoe Farm at around 8:30am. They officially open at 9:00am for public, but if you want to go early for photos, then you can get the sunrise pass. The regular pass costs $5 and sunrise pass costs $15. Since it was almost 9:00am, we were charged regular pass rates.
We walked for about ten minutes before we saw the burst of colors, the field was much bigger than I had expected and way more beautiful in person! There were already a couple of photographers and bloggers shooting. All my favorite colors were here - Reds, lilacs, pinks, corals, yellows, white, deep maroon/black. I was trying to take it all in!! Walking around the field was a bit tricky as the ground was wet and muddy due to rain from previous night. We had worn regular sneakers, it would have been much easier to tread if we had carried rain boots. As i started taking photos, I realized that I had forgotten Ari’s treats at the hotel (talk about planning for a year!) and he does not pose without treats. Fortunately, one of our puggy followers from Instagram (@pugventureswithrosie) spotted us and came to say hello. Rosie was sooo sweet and so were here parents. We borrowed some treats from them before getting shots together and parting ways. We spent another couple of hours here. By the time we left, this place was completely filled with people, even on a week day. May be because it was the second last week before the end of tulip season.
Although a lot of tulips had already bloomed and it was beautiful as is, it wasn’t peak bloom yet. Since spring had arrived late this year, they extended the festival by a week in the hope that visitors could see peak bloom. One thing I was disappointed with, was hot air balloons. I had seen so many photos from last year with hot air balloons in the background. But, this year the weather had been rough and so the balloon companies were not operating.
We grabbed a bite at the food court, ordered a Lyft and headed straight to the hotel to get all the mud off of us. It was a beautiful, colorful and dreamy morning! Seeing a tulip farm for the first time was an amazing experience an a dream come true!
Later in the evening we walked to Powell’s City of Books, they claim to be one of the largest used and new books store in the world. It was very peaceful walking around the different rooms and seeing all categories of books. Definitely recommend a visit. Its located in Burnside neighborhood in downtown, where you’ll find some good bars and restaurants too. Later we walked to Voodoo donut near us to see what the hype was all about. We tried two flavors - Old Dirty Bastard and The Homer. We were very very disappointed. We have had way better donuts in New York city. This place for me was just all hype, I wouldn’t line up for them for sure. After getting a drink at Henry’s Tavern, we got an Indian takeout from Gandhi restaurant near us and ate in the room since we were quite exhausted from our day.
We started the day with breakfast in bed. Hotel Rose-StayPineapple has a great breakfast menu and food overall is amazing there. The weather was beautiful, so we decided to stay out most of the day. We started with International Rose Test Garden, but it wasn’t rose season yet, so we didn’t see much. But, the area surrounding the garden was nice too. We saw some really cute houses there and it was a peaceful walk surrounded by lush green trees. From there we walked to NW23rd district also known as Nob Hill. We walked along NW23rd Ave, which was filled with cute boutique stores, restaurants and coffee shops. Cherry blossom was blooming everywhere and there was wisteria too. The houses were so colorful, they reminded me of Alamo Square in San Francisco. We had some a really delicious pizza slices (don’t remember the name of the place) and then just spent some time walking along the street and checking out the stores. We found a really cute pet store Hip Hound, some of our favorite brands were stocked there. Portland definitely has great pet stores!
We saw a lot of people passing us with ice-cream in their hand, so we walked in that direction and found Salt & Straw. Definitely one of the best ice-creams I have ever had. I got the Rhubarb Crumble W/ Toasted Anise and Kash got a scoop of Chocolate Rose Petal topped with a scoop of Double Fold Vanilla. Both were delicious!! Ari got a few licks of vanilla too.
We later headed to Pittock Mansion to check out some breathtaking views of Portland. The last stop for the day was SE division to check out some bars and have dinner at the famous Thai restaurant Pok Pok. We had a few drinks at the dog friendly bar Olympia Provisions Public House before dinner. Most bars here allowed dogs outside on the patio. Our dinner at Pok Pok was great, it totally lived up to the hype. They had one dog friendly table outside and we were lucky enough to not have to wait for it. Usually there is always a wait at Pok Pok. Overall SE Division was one of our favorite neighborhoods in terms of the vibe and restaurants/bar scene. If we were to move to Portland ever, we would love to stay here :)
It was our last day in Portland, we were flying back to New York at night. So, we checked out left our bags at the hotel and headed out to explore some more. Today’s agenda was to eat :) For breakfast we went to a food cart pod in downtown, food carts are everywhere in Portland. I had read about Fried Egg I’M In Love, we tried Yolko Ono and Sriracha Mix-a-lot (fun names right!). All their sandwiches can be made vegetarian or vegan, we had the veggie versions. They are just Uh-mazing!!!! If you go to Portland you have to get a sandwich there!
We then headed to the Pendleton downtown home store, it’s one of my favorite brands and I absolutely loved seeing their gorgeous designs and fabrics in person. Next stop was Tea Bar, they are dog friendly and have some amazing Boba teas. I tried their Lavender flavor Boba Milk Tea and Kash tried the Taro Milk Tea, both were so refreshing and good!
Our last stop for the day was Bollywood Theater in SE division. My husband and I are both originally from Mumbai, India so of course we had to check out and see how authentic this place was. I had missed drinking Pimm’s cocktail every since we moved back from London. I was happy to find them at Bollywood Theater. The restaurant allowed dogs on the patio. The decor inside was really cool and quirky with Bollywood movie posters from back in the 70’s and 80’s. They had some really delicious street food from different parts of India along with some mainstream Indian dishes. Most dishes were pretty authentic and we were surprised that they actually didn’t have an Indian chef. But, the owner had lived and trained in India, so they got it quite right. Some of the dishes I recommend are - Vada Pav, Pav Bhaji, Gobi Manchurian, Bhel Puri. The only dish that was a huge miss was Kati Roll, it was nowhere close to an authentic Kati Roll but more like a veggie wrap. So would avoid that. But, pretty much everything else that we tried on the menu was awesome!
After an amazing meal, we picked up our bags and headed straight to the airport. All in all five days is a lot of time to spend in Portland city. In hindsight, we could have rented a car and ventured out of the city to see Multnomah Falls and some vineyards. But, overall we wanted this trip to be relaxed, so we didn’t come back feeling tired and needing a vacation after a vacation. So, it worked out perfectly for us. If you are looking for a full packed trip, then I would recommend visiting Portland for just 3-4 days or if you had more days then rent a car and plan some activities outside the city.
To sum it up, here’s what we recommend from our experience in Portland.
Hotel Rose - StayPineapple
Eat & Drink
Tin Shed, Pok Pok, Bollywood Theater, Tea Bar, Fried Egg, Salt & Straw, Lucky Labrador, Olympia Provisions Public House, Henry’s tavern.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm, Pittock Mansion, The Filling Station, Alberta Arts District, Rose Garden, Powell Book Store, SE Division, Hip Hound Pet Store.