Travel

Portland Specialty

Specialty neighborhood
Alder St. Food Carts
Alder St., between 9th & 10th Ave., Downtown Portland
Portland’s Alder Street food carts, which occupy an entire city block of space downtown, are emblematic of the city to the point that they’re one of downtown’s major tourist attractions. Don’t let that deter you, though—plenty of locals like to hang out here, too, and come lunchtime the entire parking lot is buzzing with vendors and customers. The lines themselves are usually the best indicator of where to find the best-tasting dishes, but we recommend Whole Bowl for veggie-centric rice bowls and Nong’s Khao Man Gai, which, as the name suggests, only serves khao man gai.
Blue Star Donuts
1237 SW Washington St., Downtown
While Voodoo Doughnut, with its long lines and anti-establishment atmosphere, is an important pilgrimage for foodies, locals head straight to Blue Star for delicious donuts and much more manageable lines. The vibe here is decidedly more buttoned up, with tall ceilings and subway tiled walls, and the flavors to match. You won’t find any cereal-themed donuts here—instead, opt for sophisticated flavors like brioche, lemon poppy buttermilk, blueberry bourbon, or the famous apple fritters. There are three other locations in Portland, in Northwest, Boise, and Sunnyside.
Blue Star Donuts
921 NW 23rd Ave., Northwest
While Voodoo Doughnut, with its long lines and anti-establishment atmosphere, is an important pilgrimage for foodies, locals head straight to Blue Star for delicious donuts and much more manageable lines. The vibe here is decidedly more buttoned up, with tall ceilings and subway tiled walls, and the flavors to match. You won’t find any cereal-themed donuts here—instead, opt for sophisticated flavors like brioche, lemon poppy buttermilk, blueberry bourbon, or the famous apple fritters. There are three other locations in Portland, in Boise, Downtown, and Sunnyside.
Blue Star Donuts
3549 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Sunnyside
While Voodoo Doughnut, with its long lines and anti-establishment atmosphere, is an important pilgrimage for foodies, locals head straight to Blue Star for delicious donuts and much more manageable lines. The vibe here is decidedly more buttoned up, with tall ceilings and subway tiled walls, and the flavors to match. You won’t find any cereal-themed donuts here—instead, opt for sophisticated flavors like brioche, lemon poppy buttermilk, blueberry bourbon, or the famous apple fritters. There are three other locations in Portland, in Northwest Portland, Downtown, and Boise.
Blue Star Donuts
3753 N. Mississippi Ave., Boise
While Voodoo Doughnut, with its long lines and anti-establishment atmosphere, is an important pilgrimage for foodies, locals head straight to Blue Star for delicious donuts and much more manageable lines. The vibe here is decidedly more buttoned up, with tall ceilings and subway tiled walls, and the flavors to match. You won’t find any cereal-themed donuts here—instead, opt for sophisticated flavors like brioche, lemon poppy buttermilk, blueberry bourbon, or the famous apple fritters. There are three other locations in Portland, in Northwest Portland, Downtown, and Sunnyside.
Cacao
414 SW 13th Ave., Downtown
Specialty chocolate has exploded in the last ten years, and this sweet little shop, which is somewhat of a requirement on any walking tour of Downtown, dedicates its shelves to the very best varieties from around the world. The knowledgeable staff will walk you through finding something that perfectly suits your tastes (or a friend’s, as this is a great place to shop for gifts). Kids will freak out over their decadent, creamy, house-made drinking chocolate.
Cloud City Ice Cream
4525 SE Woodstock Blvd., Portland
Bryan Gilbert made the commitment to revive his neighborhood ice cream shop by, literally signing the lease on it, the day after his mother passed away after a long battle with breast cancer. Today, he calls the business a tribute to her, featuring several flavors based on her famous desserts, like Bananas Foster, and her delicious cheesecake. The business also bears the mark of Gilbert's twin daughters—let's just say unicorns are a major source of inspiration.
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