The Conscious Traveller’s Guide to Portland, Oregon (on a Budget): Plantbased & Local

Plantbased Portland, eco travel on a budget

vegan food Portland, eco travel on a budget

Why visit Portland Oregon? It’s where young people go to retire! This forward thinking, consciously cultured city is the perfect place for the progressive-minded eco-traveller to hang out. And this list will help you make the most of your journey by the frugal-est of means!

**This post does NOT contain affiliate links.

Portland, Oregon: Vegan Food, Boutique Accommodation, Local Food, Craft Beer & Cider.

Looking for a cool, clean, quiet & quirky place to lay down your backpack, make a few friends, and feel free to be yourself? Me too! The core of any trip is always in the accommodation. That’s why I absolutely love:

The Travelers’ House

This boutique backpackers hostel is nestled in the best location you can find in all of the city: right smack dab between the Alberta Arts District & Historic Mississippi Area. Though the neighbourhood offers extensive local food, drink & shopping options, the house itself is just that—a big, bright converted character home on a residential street. Within walking distance of nightly music performances, happy hours, breweries & food carts, the Travelers’ House still remains a quiet refuge when it’s time to come home.

Take a tour of the hostel

The beds at TH are the comfiest I’ve ever stayed in, and the space itself is the cleanest hostel I’ve ever seen. All the cleaning supplies are naturally derived & biodegradable. The welcome tour includes an introduction to the recycling and compost bins. You are welcome to help out in the garden, just ask some of the staff, and come the right season, you can help yourself to multiple varieties of home grown berries, herbs & vegetables. The backyard also boasts a fire pit which can be used at anytime if you simply ask. (Pro tip: ask about the possibilities of marshmallows or even s’mores! It would not be unusual for you to get lucky in those departments!)

travelers house garden, eco travel portland oregon

Book here

Yoga mats are stored in the common areas, as are board games & guidebooks about local attractions. The entire communal space feels like stepping into an eclectically pinable Pinterest board in its laid back, urban & rustic charm. It’s warm & inviting. This is entirely the fault of owner/operator Grant. After travelling all over the world, leading youth groups & educating the next generation on how to be responsible global citizens, Grant collected inspiration from his best hostel stays and gathered them here; it is apparent in everything—from affordable pricing, awesome bike rentals, white noise machines in the dorms and even a jar of earplugs at the sinks—that this hostel has truly anticipated every travellers’ needs.

On top of all of this, it is super easy to get in & around from TH (I’ll explain how easy in the recommendations below). There is an endless amount of things to do in Portland, Oregon. Ask for Grant or Dan to get top notch recommendations; they are epically aware of the coolest stuff PDX has on offer.

Or better yet, book a tour with them! I couldn’t nominate better hosts to show me around PDX. They’ll show you what not to miss.

Confluence Tours

Best Places to Eat (Plantbased) in Portland: My favourite PDX Vegan Food

Gravy

A plethora of scrambles are up for grabs at Gravy, you won’t see it on vegan food blogs and I have absolutely no idea why! You can get scrambled tofu on any order. Not to mention they have some delicious local veggie sausage, fake-on bacon, daiya cheese and veggie gravy! $15 will cover a scramble fit for 2 people, a coffee and tip. The perfect way to wakeup when ooey gooey is exactly what you need. (The gravy is vegetarian, not vegan. Ask for some salsa instead, you won’t be disappointed.)

(Walking distance from TH)

Blue Star Donuts

Craft donuts with vegan options? Yes please! They’ve got daily changing flavours and new plantbased varieties every day. Need I say more? Skip the kitsch at Voodoo donuts and opt for a more sophisticated experience. Show up early, they sell out every. Single. Day. Then close up when they’re  through!

(Walking distance from TH)

Homegrown Smoker

Homemade smoked tempeh, soy curls, grits, hush puppies—the list goes on. And on. And on. I almost died (of pleasure) looking over the menu. I highly recommend building a plate (the first option on the menu) you get a few choices of proteins, sides etcetera. It’s pricier to get the big plates, but they are literally 2 meals. Have at ‘er. They have local beers and ciders on tap. Prices vary from around $7-$18 for food.

Day Trip: Combine food at Homegrown Smoker, Kombucha at SOMA & a show at St.John’s theatre.

(The #4 to St. Johns goes door to door from TH here)

Off the Griddle

Chilli cheeze fries, buffalo chick’n macaroni with blue cheeze, dank veggie leek burgers and Rainier in cans—it’s a bit out of the way but totally worth the detour. Plan to spend around $15 for a feast.

The Best Craft Beer, Craft Cider & Places to Drink in Portland

Red Fox Bar

Great patio in a tucked away spot, this place is great for quiet drink, and the music is usually pretty cool too. It’s a cool little hidden gem highly recommended if you’re staying at TH. It’s literally a block away. Tell them you’re staying at the hostel. If the owner is there, he’ll likely strike up a convo and entertain you with a bit of quirky (Portland) banter.

(Walking distance from TH)

Ecliptic Brewing

The best beer in Portland (imo). Local brewers call the head brewer here the “Santa” of Brewers because he makes such epic beers and has, you guessed it, a big white beard. The Capella Porter, chocolatey & coffee-ish, wins epic awards consistently. The Starburst IPA, fruity & bright, is quite possibly one the best known IPAs to come out of Portland. All day happy hour every Monday gets $1 off pints, which means you’re getting some of the best beer in the world for $5/pint (they’re full 20 oz pints too — like Europe or my homeland of Canada)!

(Walking distance from TH)

Hopworks Urban Bikebar

Great beers and a great vibe at this bicycle powered satellite site for Hopworks Brewing. Rent a bike from TH to get here, the patio is amazing, but be warned—come happy hour the place fills up with young families on bikes and there are good little kids running around the playground setup on site—I thought it was charming, some others in my group were perplexed (lol).

(Bikeable from TH)

EX Novo

This not-for-profit brewpub has excellent decor, high exposed beams, some really good beers and who could complain when you’re giving to charity by drinking??? This stop is awesome on the way to the city centre or to Reverend Nat’s hard cider (next on the list). Grab a bike cruiser from TH and get charitable!

(Bikeable from TH)

Reverend Nat’s Cider Taproom

I love this place. Another semi-hidden gem, Rev Nat’s has an epic selection of craft ciders, a really quirky & comfortable vibe, plus super reasonable—and varied— flight options. Bring a friend, get a few flights to share, and make no apologies. These are excellent ciders! Highly recommend checking them out.

(Bikeable from TH)

 

reverend nat's hard cider, local cider portland oregon

McMenamins Backstage Bar

You have to see this place to believe it. If you’ve ever wanted to have a local craft beer or cider in a 1900s style theatre—BACKSTAGE—please check this one out.

(The #4 SE Hawthorne from TH drops you off right here.)

Pro-tip: Don’t miss the Cider taproom (next) a literal hop, skip & a jump from here!

Portland Cider Company

I get giddy every time I walk in to this place. Way too many ciders on tap to try all of them, especially because they’re constantly changing! If you like cider, don’t miss this taproom. Like a lot of places in town, they have local artists showcase their work on the walls. However, the quality & style of work I’ve seen here has been consistently a cut above thoughtful, unique & engaging.

(The #4 SE Hawthorne from TH drops you off right here.)

Pro-tip: Don’t miss the Backstage Bar (previous) a literal hop, skip & a jump from here!

Want Something Non-Alcoholic to Drink?

Albina Press

If the free coffee at TH wasn’t enough, or you need a little bit of that Portland coffee culture, this little cafe is located within blocks of TH. It’s an airy & earthy, exposed beams & wood floors kind of spot exquisite for focussing and getting some work done or gapping out and people watching.

(Walking distance from TH)

albina press, where to drink coffee portland

SOMA Taproom

Follow the stairs down to the basement, leave your shoes at the door, and sink in. This little kombucha bar is self-serve, comfy as all heck—with cushion seating and ground level tables—and it conveniently has free wifi. The whole experience, from descending the stairs underground, connecting your feet to the earth, then never having to talk to another soul, is ridiculously zen. Don’t expect to get much serious work done, as the fresh kombucha and the vibe will make you pretty high, but you can definitely count on investing some high quality energy into being creative in this space.

(The #4 St. John’s from TH will drop you off within a block.)

Day Trip: Combine food at Homegrown Smoker, Kombucha at SOMA & a show at St.John’s theatre.

Fun Things to Do in Portland Just Because

Sunset at Skidmore Bluffs

Probably one of my favourite things to do in Portland, locals gather along the Skidmore Bluffs overlooking a working train yard to watch the sunset everyday. Grab some takeaways from one of the local places I’ve suggested and bring a blanket. The walk there is pretty special in and of itself. The gardens in this neighbourhood wax intriguing with interesting plants like 6ft artichoke flowers (they look like enormous thistles) and a rope swing hanging from a tree n the curb right before the turn to the bluffs. Ask staff for directions.

(Walking distance from TH)

St.John’s Cinema

The first living room theatre style place in Portland. Grab a beer & some snacks to settle in for the show

(The #4 St. John’s from TH will drop you off within a block.)

Day Trip: Combine food at Homegrown Smoker, Kombucha at SOMA & a show at St.John’s theatre.

Soaking Pool at the McMenamins Kennedy School

The most excellent place to be in the spring or fall. When it gets chilly grab a pint of craft beer or local cider & have a soak in the Roman-bath style soaking pool! You have to use plastic cups, so try to bring your own. It’s $5 to get in and happy hour is everyday between 3-5pm. 

(Bikeable from TH)

Pro-tip: spend sometime exploring the whole of Alberta street (if you’re lucky you’ll catch a Last Thursday) then take a left to ride down to the Kennedy School as the sun fades.

mcmenamins kennedy school

Related: Why is Portland the Spot for Young People to Retire?

Feeling Fancy ’n Frugal?:

Happy Hour at the Portland City Grill

High atop the tallest building in Portland (playfully nicknamed “the Big Pink” for its rose granite exterior) this piano bar has a happy hour everyday between 4-7pm, 9-close & all day Sunday! Enjoy a 360 degree view of the city, Mount Hood and the Willamette on a comfy couch near the wallof windows. The craft pomegranate margarita is to die for. Live piano accompaniment starts at 8pm (request some Seattle grunge, I’m serious).

(The #4 SE Hawthorne from TH takes you almost to the door.)

Other Cool, Free & Awesome Stuff in PDX

Saturday Market: The Saturday market also runs on Sunday (ironic, I know, welcome to Portland) which means you can catch both markets on Sunday to make a day of it (Head to the Farmers Market first as it shuts down earlier than the Saturday Market).

Farmers Market at PSU: I have never seen so many varieties of mushroom and I come from local food, farm country!

Last but not Least: Cooking at the Hostel ECO Friendly Style

Cherry Sprout: Local food and produce is on sale in this little shop, just around the corner from TH.

I hope you enjoy Portland as much as I do. These are my honest reviews and I get no commissions or anything —  just my honest to good ness opinion! Give me a comment below and tell me what your favourites are and what I should add to this list!

Peace.

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