Update: This page needs to be updated. I just visited Portland and many of the places I loved closed down due to covid. Coava is still there, but hold tight, I’ll update with some new recommendations in a few.

Portland is probably my favorite city to visit. I usually travel there by driving from the Bay in my van. Park it around the Planet Granite at night and spend my days wandering the city. There is usually a pretty big Acro festival in October so I’ve spent several weeks there in total.

Time Spent in City: About 3 weeks over several trips

Coffee: Coava

Coava on Grand

Portland is a coffee city. While there are a ton of options, my favorite by far is Coava. They are a local Portland company, and their espresso is so good I’ve had dreams about it. There are several locations in Portland and I believe I’ve been to three of them. My favorite is the one pictured above (photo from their press kit), and is called Coava on Grand. The public roastery on SE. Main does NOT serve their espresso and so I would not return to this one.

I whole heartedly recommend their espresso. They are the most consistently tasty espresso I’ve had anywhere. Many people like their honey latte, but I felt it was slightly too sweet. Their pastries are amazing, if they have a chocolate scone, GET IT. If I’m in town I will usually go twice a day.

Stuff to Do

Planet Granite Portland

Full Disclosure: I’m an employee of Planet Granite, but I visited this place before I became an employee.

Planet Granite Portland is their newest gym as of this writing. The first PG to use Waltopia walls and the last one to built before the merger with Earth Treks. Other than the walls looking different, this feels very much like a PG facility. I’ve participated in their Battle for the Bolts as well as used their facility for showering several of the times I’ve been up in the area. Great staff, great walls, good sets, worth bringing some climbing shoes on your trip.

Powell’s Book Store

Powell’s is a Portland institution. It is takes up a city block and is wall to wall books. I’ve bought used and new books from this shop and when I’ve got a little extra time to kill, walking around the bookstore is always a joy.

What to Eat

Blue Star Donuts

Everyone talks about Portland and it’s donuts. Most people know of the two competing big ones, Voodoo and Blue Star. I honestly don’t know if I’ve been to Voodoo but I have been to Blue Star a bunch. While the company is expanding, the original is still my favorite. I guess I go at off hours, but I almost never run into the super long lines that everyone talks about. I don’t have a favorite, all are good.

Russel Street BBQ

This place was recommended to me by my friend Amy when I first went to Divine Play two years ago. Russel Street BBQ has great BBQ and great drinks. I believe they even have some really great tofu BBQ as well, but check the menu.

Brunch Box

This is a fun breakfast place that I went to several times in 2019 when I was in Portland for Teacher training. Not super quick, but very tasty. Warning: quite greasy.

Tilt Burger

Great tasting burgers. A little on the pricy side, but not bad considering that they don’t do the tip thing. The burgers are really big and very good. We did the nacho tater tots at one point, those were just okay, but if you stay to the burgers you won’t be upset.


Great Poke not to far from Powel’s and Patagonia. These people are quick and the food is good. My go to lunch place in that area of town.