By Margot Bigg
With miles of bike lanes, vibrant arts and culture, and a riverfront setting framed in the distance by snowcapped Mt. Hood, this pedestrian-friendly metropolis ranks among the nation’s top culinary destinations. You’ll discover countless purveyors of craft beer, single-origin coffee, artisanal kombucha, dry-hopped cider and outstanding wine, which you can sample at the city’s growing collection of wine bars and urban wineries.
You don’t have to drive all the way out to the Willamette Valley — simply head over to Amaterra, a hilltop vineyard and winery just minutes from downtown. Come for an afternoon wine tasting and then stick around for dinner, served in an open, airy space with floor-to-ceiling picture windows and hill-and-forest views for miles. Back downtown, The Crick PDX pairs bold wines with a fantastic playlist of new and old-school hip-hop tracks. A few blocks away, Portland Wine Bar & Winery Tasting Room specializes in small-batch wines from Pacific Northwest wineries. Just over a mile away in Northwest Portland’s Pearl District, Erath Winery offers tastings and a winemaker-for-a-day experience, where guests can blend their own Pinots. For something out of the ordinary, head across the river to Teutonic Wine Company to taste locally produced wines inspired by the terroirs of Alsace and Germany’s Middle Moselle Valley.
You can’t leave Portland without trying out its famous food carts. Downtown has the highest con-centration, with spots such as the Third Avenue Pod and the Cart Blocks, while inner southeast has some of the biggest and best-known pods, including Cartopia. For the ultimate Portland fine-dining expe-rience, don’t miss out on the wood-fired Haitian fare served at Kann, run by Gregory Gourdet of “Top Chef ” fame. The bar-style seating in front of the live-fire kitchen affords lucky diners the best views in the house. While you’re in town, head to Afuri Izakaya, where ramen, robata and rolls are served alongside a fabulous selection of sake and Oregon wine. Downtown’s Mucca Osteria does a spectacular job of marrying Italian food and wine, with a 19-page wine list of predominantly Italian varietals and a food menu that extends far beyond pasta.
Many of Portland’s most visit-worthy attractions are situated right in the heart of the city, from the Portland Art Museum — with its large collection of regional and global art and artifacts — to Powell’s City of Books, a gargantuan new and used bookstore that’s spread over multiple stories and an entire city block. Take advantage of Oregon’s lack of sales tax at some of the higher-end boutiques in the Pearl District and along Northwest 23rd Avenue. Just west of downtown in Washington Park, you’ll find the International Rose Test Garden, the Portland Japanese Garden and the Hoyt Arboretum. Find great hiking and fresh air at the 5,200-acre Forest Park, among the largest urban forests in the nation.
As the name subtly suggests, down-town’s Hotel Vintage pays tribute to Oregon’s wine industry, with subtly wine-themed decor and eve-ning wine tastings in the lobby — even the hotel’s Bacchus Bar borrows its name from the god of wine. Housed in a converted department store a few blocks away, The Nines is about as glam-orous as it gets in Portland, with a massive light-filled atrium and rooms filled with faux gilt and velvet. The rooftop terrace offers some of the best views in the city, though the Willamette River-facing rooms at the Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel are close contenders. For a quirkier alternative (this is Portland, after all), check into McMenamins Kennedy School, where old-timey classrooms have been converted into cozy guest accommodations.
WINE TRAILS PDX Urban Wineries
If you prefer to stay in the city, it’s easy to walk, bike or take a rideshare or public transportation to a number of tasting rooms right in the heart of Portland. Make sure to call before you visit, as hours vary and many are open by appointment only. Within a couple of miles, check out Enso Winery and women-owned Hip Chicks Do Wine, pioneers of the urban wine scene, now two decades old. In the Northwest industrial district, stop into Boedecker Cellars Winery, Tasting Room + Bottle Shop. pdxurbanwine.com/the-wines
This article appears in the 2023-24 Oregon Wine Touring Guide. Order your free copy today.