P O R T L A N D :: A Brief Guide to the City of Roses

While most of our time is spent in the wilds and woods, we do love a visit to the city every now and again.  Portland tops our list of fun places to visit, explore, and wander and indulge. While the list below is brief and far from exhaustive, these are the places that stuck in my mind.  Portland is truly spilling over with fabulous food to delight in, creative folks to celebrate, art to enjoy, and Nature to immerse yourself in.  It is a city we hope to continue to cultivate a relationship with -- home to many of the  friends and teachers we hold dear.  My only wish is that we could have seen and connected with more of the special Souls who make their home here.  we promise to be back, sooner rather than later.  In the meantime, we hope you'll be inspired to visit and enjoy some of the gems which brought us the most pleasure during our all to brief time in the City Of Roses.

D R I N K 


527 Southwest 12th Ave

I wandered in here on my first night in Portland, right before a really good ramble through Powell's Books.  This, I do and do not recommend.  Go to Powell's, but depending on how many of Kask's fine beverages you've already enjoyed, maybe don't buy anything just for the moment.  You may wonder at your choices later.  But I digress. This place has stupidly good drinks and a great ambiance.  It'll make you feel like you are cool in exactly the kind of way you'd hope to --  at least momentarily -- while in Portland.  It glows and beckons from within and the folks behind the bar are just darling. If you love a well made cocktail--I mean, a really well made cocktail--come here.  I ordered the Alexander Wept and the Penicillin.  Both excellent and very distinctive.  These folks know what they're doing.

3267 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard

We recommend stopping in for a cool moment of surrealist refuge on a hot afternoon. This lounge feels to me, like LA in the nineties in the best way possible. Although, I have only been to LA once, and that was in 2008. It is like something out of a Weetzie Bat book -- all dark vinyl and tall windows, surfer types and business men.  A dreamy soundscape punctuates the strangeness of an early afternoon cocktail, complete with all of the interesting characters you might expect encounter while indulging in such a thing. Let's just say, they were playing Moby and Air at one in the afternoon. And I loved it. Order the Blood Orange.  It's a ruby-hued delicate little drink, complete with a succulent and moist hibiscus blossom afloat amidst its mildly sweet and tart few precious sips.   After you've emptied your glass, you'll feel the psychedelic haze of adolescence wash over you, and be re-inspired to continue your exploration of Portland's many wonders. Go next door to Altar for a moment of magic, post-cocktail. 

4001 North Mississippi Avenue

There are apparently multiple locations, but the one I am pointing you toward is located on Mississippi and conveniently adjacent to the neighborhood of [relatively] quiet dead end streets where I spent many a night parked in my camper during my weeks in Portland. I love this coffee shop. It feels like a place that has remained largely unchanged amidst the wave of hip that has subsumed most of the city in recent years. I ventured here for quiet moments of internet access and electricity, the opportunity to use an actual bathroom, and of course their Nitro Cold Brew on tap. When I was in Portland seven years ago, I ran into an acquaintance of mine from the Mountains of Colorado. It's that kind of place. Old Austin Vibes and cute baristas whose style may or may not be ironic. Dig it. 


2029 Southeast 21st Avenue

This is, by far, one of the sweetest co-ops I ever did see.  They have bulk everything, incredible local produce, an astonishing selection of kraut and other fermented foods, kombucha on tap, and a commendable selection of dried herbs rivaled only by Mendocino's Corners Of The Mouth.  Visit the co-op for a full on epicurean shopping experience or stop in for simple trip to pick up some kale and nectarines.

2240 North Interstate Avenue

This is the breakfast spot I have always longed for, but never though existed.  Super cozy,  it is honey-lit and wood scented, and my ideal spot for a quiet and hearty weekday breakfast.  Go here with your lover on a cloudy morning to snuggle up with hot coffee and delicious food.  I ordered the corned beef hash with two eggs [perfectly cooked] over easy and some kind of crispy potatoes that I enjoyed so much, I can only assume they were cooked in Heaven.

5202 North Albina Avenue

Everyone will probably tell you to go here.  It's simple and very, very good, and it is oh so Portland.  I don't have much to say that has not already been said, but Sweedeedee is a sure thing.  They offer great coffee in even better ceramic mugs, there are truly kind people behind the counter, and a haze of vinyl sounds warms the already a bright space.  This is an ideal spot to admire all of the Portland people. I made it in twice for breakfast, but hope to return for dinner very soon.

I have been fantasizing about the hazelnuts I bought here last Summer -- All Year Long.  You may not know how to handle yourself here. It is really, really amazing.  Wild mushrooms, fresh salmon, peonies spilling from their buckets, the sweet scent of naan and thai chilis cooking, and -- did I mention? -- all of the beautiful Portland people.  This is one of my favorite markets in the country.  Make space in your fridge and clear your schedule to spend the rest of the day preparing dinner from the magnificent produce you won't be able to resist taking home.

S H O P 

319 Northeast Wygant Street

Maria, the proprietress of this low-key, one-stop magic shop, is one of the most incredible shop owners I've had the pleasure of meeting. As generous as she is knowledgable and intuitive, her shop is an unassuming hub for community, safe space, and radical magical healing.   Sea Grape tops our list of boutiques to visit in Portland. A visit to the store offers an incredible opportunity to follow your nose and follow your heart toward the medicines which will serve you best. It is worth a stop for a moment of olfactory revelry alone. Keep an eye on the evolving schedule of classes and events offered by some of the most grounded and gifted PNW herbalists, witches, and generally knowledgable folks. Be sure to carve out enough time to stop in at the other shops on the block, appropriately nicknamed -- the Mystic District.

315 Northeast Wygant Street

Located right next door to Sea Grape, Sugar Mountain Vintage offers a singularly groovy vibe that that I couldn't resist. A desert daughter through and through, Hannah's collection of vintage turquoise, silver, and coral beckoned me inside. The laid back feeling of the shop will make you want to sneak in and camp out on a Sunday morning wearing your favorite gauzy caftan, lounging in the dreamy interior. Oh, and let's talk about the music which fills this time capsule cool space. When I dropped by, Hannah was listening to something I'd never heard before.  It was at once psychedelic and folkloric, hauntingly beautiful and familiar though it was my first listen. This is a very magical place to find your new favorite treasure in the form of the perfect pair of vintage levi's, 1970's huaraches,  or in my case, the  Silver + Coral ring of my dreams... 

3731 North Mississippi Avenue

This small shop offers most of my favorite things under one roof.  Salt + Chocolate + Bitters + Fresh Flowers.  This place really does speak for itself.  The people who work there are very knowledgable and samples are available.  Go.  Buy your mom something nice.

3279 Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard

When I walked in to Altar, I immediately understood why so many folks had pointed me toward it. These ladies get it. The aesthetic is dark + sparkly, smelling of moss and old wood and quartz. I loved the in-house clothing and jewelry they design as well as their enchanted collection of crystals and lingerie. Definitely a sweet place to indulge yourself and get lost in a moment of shadowy fantasy. Stop next door at Gold Dust Meridian before or after, to complete the experience. 

1005 West Burnside Street

This Portland Institution seems to me, such an essential part of the city itself, that I almost neglected to include it here. But duh y'all -- go to Powell's! Go to Powells and turn off your phone and don't tell anyone where you'll be for the next four hours. Go to Powell's and drink in the scent of wisdom + pages beloved. Go to Powell's and listen to where you are drawn, a sort of divination practice and bibliomancy.  I don't think I could ever get tired of being ensconced in the shelves of this heavenly place.

801 North Killingsworth Street

You will straight up wish you lived here. Alea Joy and her incredible team of radical babes have conjured some photosynthetic magic that is a force of nature all its own. This place is House Plant Heaven.  Floral Valhalla. All your Botanical dreams will come true at once as you step foot inside the spacious shop which seems to glow from within, and you'll know you have arrived somewhere wonderful, indeed. Verdant as can be, this lovely corner serves as both a retail shop and workspace for the epic floral beauty these incredible folks are known for.  It was such a treat to offer our Medicine Of The Rose workshop here during our time in Portland and we look forward to more collaborations still to come.  Be sure to venture the few blocks toward Peninsula Park after you visit the shop and go have a heart to heart with the Roses.

707 Northeast Fremont Street

I haven't actually been here in many years, but not for lack of trying.  On this trip I seemed to be forever arriving just as they closed, or driving by when I really, actually, had to be somewhere else.  I still remember the dress I bought here eight years ago though, and periodically grieve the fact that it vanished into thin air.  Re-Run is a totally great and affordable place to find used clothes, furniture, and stuff.   You know, if you like that sort of thing.  Located conveniently across the street from Irving Park.

R E L A X 

3525 Northeast Martin Luther King Boulevard

Treat yo self.  Löyly is one of those places where no detail goes unnoticed.  You will feel instantly soothed upon entering the space. However, it is not a spa where the staff is stiff or judgmental in the least.  Rather, it is a welcoming place where I felt totally comfortable showing up just as I was -- a bit road weary and most certainly overdue for some self care (and let's be real y'all -- just overdue for a shower in general).  I opted for their monthly special which included a foot soak, face mask, hour long massage, and up to two hours enjoying the sauna.  It was really, really lovely.  The space is delightfully simple and clean, warmly lit, refreshingly spare.  If I lived in Portland, you'd find me here often.  Hydotherapy y'all.

2917 Northeast Everett Street

The Everett House is a great low-key place to take a steam + sauna and lay in someone's backyard naked while you pet a cat in the afternoon sun.  Or something... We recommend going during the daytime hours to take full advantage of the bare skinned, sunlit opportunities which await you.  Sip a seriously subtle and spot on Soma Oak Cask Jun after you've sauna-ed, soaked, sunned, and showered.


Peninsula Park 

North Rosa Parks Way + North Albina Avenue

I basically lived here while I was in Portland.  Portland is a city rich in parks and green spaces to sprawl out, move your body, and generally get weird.  This is my favorite of them all.  A Rose Lover's paradise, if come during the Summer months you will not be disappointed.  There is also a certain kind of sacredness which resides in the places where the paths intersect and a tree grows on each of the four corners.  Go there.  Drink it in.

Council Crest Park

Also called The Bluffs, this is the perfect place to watch the sunset and reflect on the goodness of the day.  Bring a blanket and a friend and a bottle of hard cider for best results.  Be respectful of the residents who live on the street leading up to the park and leave your vehicle further back in the neighborhood.

Mount Tabor Park

Y'all -- this place is amazing.  I rode my bike to the top and sat in an ancient Maple, my heart afloat with love and levity.  Then a woman wearing purple fairy wings situated herself at a big white piano nestled in the trees just down the hill and started flawlessly playing Yann Tiersen's scores from the film Amelie.  I almost cried from the sheer perfection of the moment, as the familiar sounds filled the forest, and whispy fluffs of some faraway seed drifted through the shafts of light which poured in through the leafy limbs above.  Also, literally everyone who was not me  or my companion or the woman playing the piano was glued to their phone, looking for Pokemon, I think.  So, there was that...

Irving Park

7th Avenue + Fremont Street

This is the best place I found to stretch and move and generally work it out.  I'm also pretty sure I saw the dad from Actual Conversations With My Two Year Old on the playground with his kids the first time I stumbled into the park.  On a separate visit, I was at once delighted and perplexed to find a casual kind of festival happening amidst the maple shade, complete with incredible DJs spinning vinyl and beautiful folks dancing on the verdant lawn.  The music was really, really good. It sounded as though it was emanating from the trees themselves, pulsing up through the grassy knoll beneath me as the day faded to dusk and I stood triumphant and calm in Natarajasana, my body settling ever deeper into its recently remembered sense of strength and balance.

Where and what top your list

of Portland highlights?

Let us know where we should make

time and space to visit next time we
are lucky enough to find ourselves
in the City of Roses . . .


  1. I think a couple good additions to the list would be The International Rose Test Garden and Hoyt Arboretum. As well as Fettle Botanic Supply and Counsel.

  2. So lovely! Those roses are really beautiful.