Five Things to Do in Portland in 48 Hours

by Julie Cohn
Five Things to Do in Portland in 48 Hours

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Portland has many fun things to see and do, but what if you only have a limited amount of time to do everything?   This was our dilemma when my son and I recently traveled to Portland.  We were in town to visit a college, so that was our main focus, but also had a little extra time to see the city…48 hours to be exact.  Here are tips for Five Things to Do in Portland in 48 Hours and know you will enjoy them too!

Five Things to Do in Portland in 48 Hours

Blue Star Donuts

Blue Star Donuts

Portland is known for great donut shops, but having been to several of them, there is only one worth visiting when you have limited time.  I know, I know…most people will tell you to go to “another” place, but the long lines are not worth the donut at the end. Blue Star donuts are fluffy, not greasy, and the glazes are made from real fruit and taste like it.  Trust me, you will love these donuts!

Blue Star Donuts is located at 1237 SW Washington St.

Powell’s City of Books

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When they call Powell’s a city of books, they are not kidding.  The main location on Burnside Street is a full city block, with four floors of wall-to-wall new and used books.   If you are a book lover (and who isn’t?) Powell’s is the mothership.  My son almost cried when he walked in the door, and walked out with a handful of classics from Isaac Asimov, Willa Cather, Albert Einstein, and Orson Scott Card, books he would never have found at our local bookstores.  Bring a large tote to carry all your books or purchase one of the many cute ones they sell in the store.

Powell’s City of Books main location is 1005 W. Burnside St.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

Stumptown Coffee Roasters

I am the first to admit that I am a coffee snob.  I’ve had many a cup of coffee over the years and (think) I know good coffee.  Stumptown is one of the best cups of coffee I have ever had.  Plus, I’ve never been to a coffee shop with its own DJ booth, yet Stumptown does! I had a latte, but also tried one of their famous Nitro Cold Brews, an iced coffee infused with nitrogen.  The tiny bubbles in the brew create a perfect coffee crema with the texture of a beer–the ultimate iced coffee.

Stumptown Coffee Roasters downtown location is  128 SW 3rd Avenue

Mother’s Bistro


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There are many great places to have breakfast or brunch in Portland, but if you only have time for one, Mother’s Bistro is the place to go, and not just because it’s the hottest place in town…the food is ‘oh my gosh” good!  Mother’s Bistro does not take reservations, so you will have a wait, no matter what time you go, but they put your name on a list and text you when your table is ready (with a 10 minute window to return).  Stumptown Coffee is right around the corner, so we hung out there during our 90 minute wait.  It was 1 p.m. before we sat down, so my son opted for lunch (a delicious pulled pork sandwich), but I had one of their signature breakfast dishes, Migas (scrambled eggs with peppers, onions, cheese, and fried corn tortilla strips.).  It was to die for and I was so full, I could not eat the roasted potatoes and toast that accompanied the dish.

Mother’s Bistro is located at 212 SW Stark St.  They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Moonstruck Chocolate

Moonstruck Chocolate

I have been a fan of Moonstruck Chocolate for a long time, and since it was right before Valentine’s Day, I had to stop in to get my husband some of their incredible chocolates.  Even if it is not Valentine’s Day, Moonstruck Chocolate is a must-stop.  They have chocolate truffles in unique flavors such as honey vanilla caramel, huckleberry truffle, Italia espresso, and Clear Creek Pear Brandy.  The Sea Salt Cajeta (caramelized goats milk) is to die for, and the Oregon Distillery truffles aren’t just pretty, they feature the added kick of liqueurs from Oregon’s best distilleries.  The Moonstruck Cafe we visited also features coffee and espresso drinks, decadent milkshakes, and dessert treats such as macarons.

Moonstruck Chocolate has several locations in the Portland area.  We visited the downtown location at 608 SW Alder Street.

The one place we did not get to visit was Salt & Straw, but have that on our list for next time!

More Ideas

Need more ideas for Portland?  Here are some recommendations from several fellow travel bloggers:

  • Keryn from Walking on Travels likes Bacon, Asparagus, and Eggs at  Tasty and Sons
  • Jen from Vacation Gals suggests hiking Forest Park
  • Marilyn from Urban Bliss Life loves Levant Restaurant

What are your Five Things to Do in Portland in 48 Hours?  I’d love to hear some of your favorite must-see places, as we will be back to explore more of Portland in the future!

Want to know how to get around Portland without a car while traveling?  Read our Four Ways to See Portland Without A Car!

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