Portland is a city that keeps me optimistic about the world. Environmental and social justice are deeply embedded into their culture, and it seems like local businesses are truly committed to doing the right thing. The reusable container sharing startup called Go Box is striving to fight the single-use plastic problem, and is available at 80+ restaurants and food trucks throughout the city. Zero Waste PDX is a valuable resource for learning about sustainable shops, restaurants, and businesses in Portland. Portland may be weird, but it is truly paving the path towards a more fair and sustainable world.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love how easily accessible nature is in the Portland area. It is truly the perfect marriage of urban and outdoor living. Dozens of miles of trails make up Forest Park and Washington Park, and many Portland locals spend their free time hiking, biking, rock-climbing, and finding other ways to stay active.
Whether you’re a coffee snob, a tea connoisseur, a wine lover, or a beer drinker; whether you’re a committed vegan or a mindful meat-eater; someone who likes to go out in the wild, or someone who’d prefer to stay indoors for an eco-friendly spa treatment and non-toxic pedicure, I’m confident you’ll find a reason to love Portland.
Coffee & Tea Shops
Tao of Tea is a Portland-based tea company selling organic, sustainably farmed teas. They have two teahouses in Portland- The Original Teahouse on Belmont Street in Southeast Portland, and Cosmic Reflections which is located inside Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland. Access to Cosmic Reflections is included in your admission fee to the Lan Su Chinese Garden. The Original Teahouse is an interior design dream, mindfully built from reclaimed wood, copper, and stone.
Belmont Tea House | 3430 SE Belmont St.
Cosmic Reflections | inside Lan Su Chinese Garden
3158 SE Division St.
Dapper & Wise is a coffee company that puts quality, relationships, and sustainability as its overarching values. I love that they use eco-friendly, compostable packaging for their coffee beans.
Heart Coffee Roasters sources green coffee (un-roasted coffee beans) from Central and South America and Africa, then roasts the beans to perfection in-house. At their Woodstock location, you can have breakfast all day to go with your coffee. The menu is seasonally inspired and includes porridge, chia pudding, and toasts, with vegan and gluten free options.
Third wave coffee afficionados have all heard of, and probably tasted, Stumptown coffee. They are simply one of the best and one of the most revered coffee roasters in the country (maybe the world). And guess where the company comes from… Portland! Stumptown Coffee Roasters has been around since 1999 and it’s safe to say that they really know what they’re doing. There are several locations throughout Portland, and all of them have a selection of locally made pastries (vegan options included). Every Friday at 2 PM they offer public tastings at their headquarters on SE Salmon Street, which last 60-90 minutes. You can sign up for that here.
Townshend’s Tea Company is committed to serving the highest quality teas through their direct-trade partnerships from around the world. Their teahouses are intended as gathering spots for locals to share in a daily ritual. You can order a traditional hot tea, as well as boba tea, kombucha, and tea lattes. You may have even seen their kombucha company, Brew Dr, on the shelves at your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Their sustainability efforts include composting all organic waste, recycling as much as possible, and utilizing renewable wind energy to power the teahouses and kombucha brewery.
Where to Eat & Drink
1125 SE Division St
This casual southeast Portland establishment serves plant-based Israeli fare, like hummus and pita, shawarma plates, falafel, and other veggie-centric dishes.
1011 NE Alberta St
Bye & Bye is a plant-based bar and restaurant serving creative cocktails and internationally-inspired dishes in a fun, laid-back environment. Happy Hour specials are offered on weeknight from 4-7 PM. Enjoy a cocktail, a kombucha, or a local beer out on their porch during the summer months.
Bamboo is a sushi restaurant that is committed to sustainability and social justice. Every ingredient is thoughtfully sourced, from foraged seaweed, to non-GMO short grain rice, to sustainably-caught seafood. They have a selection of both vegetarian and gluten-free options on their menu, and seafood that is MSC-certified and ASC-certified is clearly marked. Check out one of their three locations throughout the city for sushi you can feel good about.
2816 SE Stark St.
This is the perfect place to go for a quick, casual, healthy breakfast or lunch, and their menu includes smoothies, fresh juices, salads, and hearty bowls.
1403 SE Belmont St
This upscale, farm-to-table vegan restaurant offers multi-course meals utilizing local, seasonal ingredients. All of their grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds come from the Pacific Northwest, most within a 105 mile radius. They are open for dinner every Wednesday through Saturday, and reservations must be made in advance. You can reserve your spot right on their website.
3632 SE Hawthorne Blvd
“Fresh conscious cuisine” that both vegans and meat-eaters will fall in love with. Their food strikes the perfect balance between health and comfort food. Their superfood smoothies and fresh juices are good for the cells, while hearty plant-based dishes like mushroom stroganoff and biscuits & gravy are good for the soul. The interior is furnished with a mix and match of antique furniture, making you feel right at home.
8638 N Lombard
Head here for vegan BBQ and Southern-inspired comfort food- things like grits, collard greens, hush puppies, and a burrito that’s stuffed with macaroni and “cheese.” ‘Cause sometimes you just have to live a little.
With several locations sprinkled throughout the Portland area, Kure Juice Bar serves superfood smoothies, cold pressed juices, and other healthy snacks. They are 100% plant-based, but they certainly don’t compromise on taste. Kure is on a mission to show the world that in addition to being overall better for the planet, plant-based can be both fun and healthy too.
This vegan food cart serves healthy, vegan bowls using organic, local ingredients, like tofu and soy milk from Ota Tofu and soy curls from Butler Foods. They also participate in Go Box PDX, so you can enjoy a zero-waste lunch to-go.
3928 N Mississippi Ave
The popular Seattle-based No Bones Beach Club has made its way to the Portland area, serving tasty vegan eats and tropical cocktails in a tiki-inspired environment. If you like pina coladas…
432 NW 11th Ave
Organic, raw, vegan cuisine without GMO’s, soy, gluten, or refined sugar. Pixie Retreat is passionate about food that is both good for you and good for the planet. On their menu you will find super healthy items like kale salad and grainless bowls, plus a selection of naughty-but-nice items like chocolate chip cookies and almond butter cups.
Yoga Pearl | 925 NW Davis St
Prasad East |21 NE 12th Ave
With two locations, one inside a yoga studio and the other inside a rock-climbing gym, Prasad serves tasty plant-based food that’s intended to fuel (or re-fuel) your day. They have a variety of breakfast items, juices, smoothies, soups, salads, and superfood bowls. Their menu is organic and 100% gluten-free.
3326 SE Belmont St
With the same owners and a similar menu to Northeast Portland’s Bye & Bye, Sweet Hereafter is Southeast Portland’s gathering spot for vegan food, cocktails, and a convivial atmosphere.
1628 SW Jefferson St.
If you’re vegan and you miss cheese, you’re really gonna want to check this place out. Just sayin’. Vtopia specializes in raw, aged plant-based cheese, and their all-vegan restaurant serves cheese plates, macaroni and cheese, soups, salads, and sandwiches.
110 SE 28th Ave
Nature nerds and crystal collectors will love this tiny boutique whose store mascot is a dove named Paloma. The greenery-flooded space is filled with a delightful hodge-podge of rare stones and crystals, potted plants, sea shells, and terrariums. Every Tuesday and Thursday you can join them for “Happy Hour” and create your own botanical perfume or terrarium over a glass of wine.
421 SW 10th Ave
Backtalk houses a variety of independent, emerging designers and curated vintage fashion in their beautiful downtown Portland retail space. The store has the essence of an art gallery, with its crisp white walls and abstract paintings on display. They make a point to offer ethically-made, slow fashion, with affordability and accessibility in mind.
2710 N Interstate Avenue
A carefully curated assortment of home decor, jewelry, beauty products, and vintage goods, many of which are designed and/or made in the Portland area. This is a great place to come and browse quality-crafted goods in a space that you’ll probably just want to move in to.
1408 NE Alberta St
I love how this retail shop and ethical fashion company bridges the gap between sustainability and affordability, with styles that are intended to be flattering on a range of different body types. They focus on natural, sustainable fabrics like tencel, modal, linen, and even cork. You’ll find cozy and casual fashion items that can be dressed up or down, plus a variety of shoes, hats and accessories.
40 NW 10th Ave
MadeHere showcases design-focused products that are manufactured locally in Portland. Their gift shop is a great place to shop for a Made in Portland product, and they have a diverse product assortment that includes apothecary items, jewelry, clothing, art, home goods, and much, much more. Their vendor community includes over 250 makers, so there is truly something for everyone here.
2712 NE Glisan St
Pop into this chocolate shop for dairy-free chocolate truffles in a variety of interesting flavors, like Earl Grey, Elderberry, and Local Lavender. Missionary Chocolates was started by a Naturopathic Physician, and these chocolates are just about as healthy as chocolate can get. They also have sugar-free chocolate bars and even CBD infused chocolate truffles. It’s just what the Doctor ordered!
304 NW 11th Ave
This company was one of the pioneers of ethical and sustainable fashion, when it was established in 2007. They are well-known for their high-quality outerwear and their timeless basics. They are constantly pushing boundaries and finding ways to use the newest advancements in sustainable textiles. They design for function and performance, using fabrics like hemp, organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled down, and linen, and all of their animal-derived textiles are ethically-sourced. Check out their flagship store in Downtown Portland to test drive some of their products in person.
1005 W Burnside St
A visit to Portland isn’t complete without a trip to Powell’s Books. It is a book-lover’s Utopia, with two stories and just about any genre of books you can imagine. The whole bookstore offers a mix of new and used books, so you can find some really great deals. They also have a cafe on site, serving espresso drinks and locally made pastries.
319 NE Wygant St
This quirky little shop in Northeast Portland is where you can pick up natural beauty products, herbal tinctures, essential oils, and other fun new-agey gifts.
315 NE Wygant St
Right next to Seagrape Soaps is Sugar Mountain Vintage, a treasure trove of second-hand and vintage fashion goods and home decor, for amazingly reasonable prices.
3435 SE Hawthorne Blvd
This eco fashion boutique in Portland’s hip Hawthorne neighborhood is a great place to pick up comfortable and fashionable sustainable fashions from brands like Groceries Apparel, Indigenous Designs, and Mira Blackman.
935 NW 19th Ave
The Yo! Store is a women’s, children’s, and lifestyle boutique with a curated mix of both vintage and new designs by independent and emerging designers. The space is light and airy, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find something fun and unique to take home with you.
Things To Do
Portland’s Parks and Trails
Opportunities to get outside and enjoy the fresh, PNW air are aplenty. You could spend days out on the trails of Portland and still not see it all. Forest Park stretches nearly 10 miles up the western side of Portland, and just to the south is Washington Park which is home to the Portland Japanese Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, and the Oregon Zoo. Choose a trail, lace up your running shoes, and get lost in nature.
Coffee aficionados can enjoy a guided tour of some of Portland’s most beloved and important third wave coffee shops with Third Wave Coffee Tours. Tours last about 3 hours and are offered Wednesdays through Sundays. Want to kill two birds with one stone? E-mail and ask about their “coffee and running” tours, where you cover 5 miles with several coffee stops in between.
Lan Su Garden “Garden of Awakening Orchids” offers tranquility and a dose of Chinese culture in the heart of downtown Portland. The garden was built by artisans from the Jiangsu province of China, and is one of the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. They have daily programming that includes tours of the gardens, plant walks, live music, and calligraphy demonstrations. After strolling through the botanical gardens, you can unwind with a cup of tea and a snack in the Tao of Tea Teahouse.
Portland Japanese Garden is a place to experience Japanese culture and appreciate the beauty of the natural world, with 12 acres of gardens, Japanese style buildings, a tea room, and a gift shop. The Cultural Village was designed by the world-renowned Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (who also designed the stadium for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo). The Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation Courtyard hosts seasonal performances and demonstrations, and you can learn about ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) and tea ceremonies at the Jordan Schnitzer Japanese Arts Learning Center. Daily public tours are available during the summer months. Plan to spend at least a couple hours exploring the premises, although you could easily spend an entire afternoon here.
Blooming Moon is “Portland’s favorite eco-friendly spa,” offering a range of services including massage, facials, mani/pedis, and body treatments. They use organic and cruelty-free products for all of their treatments. Portland locals can take advantage of their monthly memberships, which includes discounted spa treatments and retail products.
Love Hive is a community yoga studio with a mission to make yoga accessible and affordable. They run donation-based classes every Saturday and offer “Travel Passes” for those with plans to be in Portland for 2 weeks. They have three beautiful studios in the Portland area.
This Finnish-themed sauna studio and spa is the best place to relax and unwind. You could spend a whole day here, between getting a massage, a facial, and spending time in and out of the sauna. For under $50 you can spend 2 hours in the sauna and relaxation area- complete with wooden lounge chairs and magazines- plus use of Evan Healy beauty products like a body scrub, face mask, and foot soak. The occasional pampering shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, and Loyly is proof that everyone deserves to be spoiled. You can check out either of their two locations, one in NE Portland and one in SE Portland.
It’s like yoga for your brain. Book your cushion at this “modern meditation” studio, where you’ll be led through meditation and mindfulness techniques. If you’re thinking “why would I pay to sit in silence?” I assure you that the instructors at Pause are just as passionate about educating people about meditation as they are guiding you through it. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.