Travel

Downtown

Establishment neighborhood
Pine Street Market
126 S.W. 2nd Ave., Downtown
This brand-spanking-new food hall downtown occupies the old United and Carriage Transfer building, offering more than 10,000 square feet of grab-and-go food concepts. Most of the stalls are offshoots of existing local restaurants, so it’s an excellent place to get a solid feel for the food scene if you’re short on time: Definitely hit Ken Forkish’s bakery/pizzeria, Olympia Provisions’ hot dog stand in the center, and Shalom Y’all, an Israeli concept from the Tasty n Alder group. There’s even a mini Salt & Straw.
Heart Coffee Roasters
537 S.W. 12th Ave., Downtown
Great coffee is in no short supply in Portland, but this café serves up some of the best—their experts roast the beans themselves as soon as they come in fresh from Central America, South America, or Africa. If you’re not into black coffee, their fresh, house-made almond, cashew, and hazelnut milks are a creamy, delicious alternative for those dairy-averse customers and go especially well with one of the flaky, buttery croissants, massive chocolate cookies, or fresh-baked brioches that are brought in from local bakers daily. There's a second location in Kerns.
The Nines
525 S.W. Morrison St., Downtown
Inarguably one of the more grand properties in the city, The Nines has a lot going for it, not least of which its central location steps from Pioneer Square. Inside the former Meier & Frank department store building, where the hotel’s sprawling lobby, rooftop restaurant, and 300+ guest rooms take up the top floors, the décor is kept elegantly comfortable with modern furnishings and soothing earth tones. During your stay, set aside an evening for a grass-fed, locally sourced steak at Urban Farmer, followed by cocktails at The Library—which, as its name suggests, is well-stocked with titles from Powell’s bookstore.
Sentinel Hotel
614 S.W. 11th Ave., Downtown
Housed within the terra cotta walls of this storied, century-old corner building is a quintessential Portland hipster hotspot, masquerading as one of the city’s most historic hotels. Much like the grand lobby, the guest rooms and suites are done in subdued jewel tones and come with all the expected creature comforts (plush bedding, blackout shades, and ample room to move around) and some unexpected surprises, too: a specialty pillow menu—yes, literally a menu of specialty pillows to choose from—and pet room service. Also cool: Your tea is likely to come with a side of Bee Local honey, harvested from bees that call the hives on the Sentinel roof their home.
Tasty n Alder
580 S.W. 12th Ave., Downtown
Tasty n Alder is not your typical steakhouse: after all, their Korean bulgogi strip steak is pretty much beyond. If you aren’t feeling up for a steak, you’ve got options: baja tacos, peking duck cooked on a Spanish-style plancha grill, and a variety of locally-sourced seafood. Their brunch menu is just as eclectic, offering everything from Korean bibimbap to classic steak and eggs. If you’re craving a change from the usual Bloody Mary or mimosa, indulge in their cognac-spiked chocolate milkshake.
Clyde Common
1014 S.W. Stark St., Downtown
Though it’s on the first floor of the Ace, Clyde Common doesn’t feel at all like your typical hotel bar. Jeffrey Morgenthaler is one of the city’s best bartenders, and happy hour is one of the best times to be here, when cocktails like the Southbound Suarez (a boozy horchata with tequila and Becherovka) and the Bourbon Renewal (a mixture of bourbon, lemon, cassis, and bitters) are $6 each. Not to downplay this worthy dinner destination—the menu is a very Northwestern celebration of unusual ingredients like nettles, spring alliums, burnt yogurt, and fiddlehead ferns.
The Ace
1022 S.W. Stark St., Downtown
This is the Ace Hotel’s flagship location, and the original is actually quite a bit different than the more luxury hotels the brand has come to be known for. For one, it’s set up like a hostel, so guests can sign up for shared rooms with bunk beds, and even solo rooms are likely to have a shared bathroom situation. The hostel-style accommodations make this one of the chain’s most affordable locations, which only contributes to the cool-kid vibe they’ve come to be known for.
Bamboo Sushi SW
404 S.W. 12th Ave., Downtown
Bamboo Sushi has four locations across Portland's quadrants: SW, NW, NE, and SE. Each location varies slightly; they all have a casual vibe and really good sushi (in addition to hot Japanese dishes). You can make table reservations, but seats at the sushi bar (always fun) are first-come first-serve. What makes Bamboo stand apart is their commitment to the sustainable way: they don't serve fish from endangered populations; their seafood is caught by fishermen who operate under environmentally ethical principles; and their grass-fed, hormone-free, and free-range meat comes from ranches in Oregon/Idaho. True to their word, Bamboo Sushi uses renewable energy sources, reusable teak wood chopsticks, biodegradable to-go containers, and so on.
Ruby Jewel
428 S.W. 12th Ave., Downtown
While it doesn’t garner nearly the lines of the more famous Salt & Straw, many locals argue that Portland's best ice cream is actually at Ruby Jewel. They have three locations (one in each major neighborhood, Downtown, in Boise, and Richmond, and while ice cream is as advertised, they’re really famous for their ice cream sandwiches, with flavors like lemon cookie with honey lavender, dark chocolate with fresh mint, and “The Chub,” their way-better take on a Chipwich.