We Heart Portland

Author: Shirley Wong

Moja Coffee
On our 11th stop in our Search for Vancouver’s Best Coffee, we discover the amazing local roaster Moja Coffee in North Van. Review posted next week.


“All the roads you took came back to me
So I’m following the map that leads to you.”

-Maroon 5 (from “Maps”)

Vancouverites are lucky. We can make a run for the border, leave town to escape the daily grind and literally be back home in a few hours.

We loved checking out Portland last weekend. Admittedly, it’s not a lazy day trip like Bellingham, Lynnwood or Seattle. Think long, traffic-choked drive across Washington state on the I-5. Then exhale, finally crossing the state line into Oregon.

We have yet to take the scenic route along the Oregon Coast because we are simply hell-bent on just getting to Portland ASAP.


Driving to Portland OR
The weather driving from Vancouver to Portland was clogged with traffic and had crazy West Coast weather – sun, hail, rain – that would change every mile


Boyd's Coffee
Canned coffee? This Portland truck drove by us in Bellingham, WA.



West End Bikes
Portland is known for it’s amazing variety of bike shops to appeal to its broad spectrum of cyclists. Our trip always includes a tour of road bike shops. It’s fun to check out what’s new, even if we’re not leaving with a $10k bike.

Trader Joe's
If there’s one thing we love about travelling in the US, it’s the chance to shop Trader Joe’s. Canada doesn’t have one, which is too bad, but it keeps our visits to the US special.


The Canadian dollar has been weak, so we skipped Portland last year. But it stands out as one of our favourite places to visit. So this year, a dangling carrot in the form of tax-free shopping – crappy dollar be damned – and a chance to get out of town changed our minds.


Portland OR
A unique florist display in Nob Hill, Portland



Portland OR
A charming retro clothing store in Nob Hill


Starbucks machine in Portland OR
The wonder of a mechanized barista. We saw this in our hotel at Crowne Plaza and were pretty stunned that this Seattle based company has reached this point. If you’re wondering, we saw several people try out this machine – it makes several types of Starbucks drinks including latte.


Does anyone else feel like Portland checks boxes of a sister city? Hippy, environmentally-conscious and casual locals – check. Cyclists – check. Typical wet weather – yes. Obsession with good coffee and food – tick both boxes.

But there’s enough of a difference between both cities to make the trip interesting. From the staggering number of Beautiful British Columbia license plates seen in Portland, we always feel at home.

The lure of tax free really appeals to us so we often check out Portland kitchen stores for some great deals


Nob Hill, Portland OR
Love Nob Hill’s charming stores that occupy houses in the neighbourhood


Nob Hill, Portland
Some artsy parts of Nob Hill are reminiscent of Vancouver’s own Commercial Drive


Portland OR
Tongue in cheek sandwich board

We’re psyched to be able to share what we experienced in a series of future posts in our “detour” series. For now, enjoy flipping through some photos from our trip today.

Have a great weekend!

Mike & Shirley

Portland OR
A creative planter built into a street bench in Portland

Portland OR
One of many sweet looking Nob Hill shops that beckon an afternoon of investigating


Portland OR
This city is gold at marketing their local shops


Portland OR
We couldn’t stop smiling on this trip. The friendliness of locals and their unique stores always equal an amazing trip.

Apple Store Portland OR
The gigantic Apple store in downtown Portland is made of frameless glass

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2 thoughts on “We Heart Portland”

  1. I feel like I went to Portland with you. I love their store displays and oh that Statbucks machine is cool. Thanks for capturing the unique cute things about Portland. I could live there.

    1. Hi Marie, Thanks we really enjoyed our trip and hoped that would come across. Sometimes the weather in Portland is rainy like Vancouver, but we lucked out and it was warm, sunny. That seems to set everything on the right foot because we think was our best trip to the city yet:) Shirley

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