How To Plan The Perfect Winter Weekend In Portland, Oregon

With temperatures around freezing point and few daylight views, the mood sinks slightly even in this time of the year. So why not like the Portlanders? Instead of lamenting the cold and dark, they’ve learned to adapt to Mother Nature and make the most of all four seasons.

Because while winter may not be the most pleasant or picturesque, per se, it does have its own unique advantages. You will have easier access to all of the City of Roses’ excellent restaurants, bars and cultural attractions; Hotel rates are lower and far more competitive; and the city will feel like your own without the usual tourists.

So ahead, how to plan an unforgettable winter weekend in Portland.

Where to sleep

No hotel channels in Portland hygge, the Danish term that describes a sense of homely comfort and contentment, better than the Kimpton RiverPlace Hotel. The 84 guest rooms and suites offer an earthy color palette and plenty of nature-inspired touches (think botanical art, branch end tables, canoe paddles) to let the outdoors in. If the snowy and rainy weather is getting to you, just look out your window to see Willamette River front and center – it will instantly soothe your soul. And under Executive Chef Alexander Diestra, the all-day dining restaurant, King Tide Fish and Shell, eschews the bland continental fare found in most hotels and instead concocts dishes inspired from around the world, from Japanese curried empanadas to kanpachi crudo with mit Blood Orange and Chili Vinaigrette.

Looking for a stay that captures the wonderfully quirky and inclusive spirit that Portland is famous for? Look no further than Next at Jupiter. With a prime East Burnside address — just steps from some of the best restaurants and bars like Canard, Kann, and Nong’s Khao Man Gai — this boutique hotel’s 67 rooms may be cozy but use space intelligently. The shower, for example, is partitioned off with glass instead of a wall, and instead of a bulky desk, there’s a long, slender, bench-like table perfect for working and storing your belongings. Even the headboards, stunning black and white photomontages by local artist Beth Kerschen, have been carefully considered. For unbeatable cityscape and mountain views, book a Next Level X room on the top floor.

Where to eat and drink

The Janken, located in the Pearl, is the elegant Portland restaurant that has deserved so much after the last few years. Executive chef Rodrigo Ochoa — who’s been at Miami’s hotspots StripSteak by Michael Mina and Komodo — assembled a world-class team (including Korean executive sous chef Juah Oh) for the menu, which borrows heavily from Japanese and Korean flourishes. While the traditional nigiri and sashimi is absolutely flawless — our waiter said the fish is flown in three times a week — it’s Janken’s original creations that really shine. Start with hamachi crispy rice topped off with peppery-lemon yuzu kosho and end with the house bingsu, an over-the-top riff on the humble Korean shaved ice treat smothered in berry sauce, cheesecake slices, and graham cracker crumbs.

A passion project in more ways than one, Grand Fir Brewing is the long-awaited brewery of beloved couple Whitney Burnside and Doug Adams. As Portland’s first female brewmaster, Burnside creates the regularly rotating beers, which range from the sleek Old Growth Pale Ale to the very nippy Tack Shack East Texas Lager, in homage to her Texas-born and bred husband. For dining, Top Chef’s acclaimed chef Adams has put together a compact menu of hearty bites to suit all appetites, like crispy potatoes with raclette beer cheese and the signature Grand Fir Burger. The description might seem fairly simple (two grass-fed beef patties, sauce, American cheese, the usual veggies), but it’s immensely satisfying and makes a total that’s far more enjoyable than its individual parts. Could this be Portland’s best burger?

Locals and out-of-towners still demand reservations at hotspot Kann by Gregory Gourdet, and with good reason, so here’s a tip: you can have just as much fun pairing fruity cocktails like the Falernum-laced Jean-Michel with imaginative cocktails like Zero -Proof drinks paired with Caribbean snacks — the doubles and chicken wings are particularly popular — at its sleek subterranean lounge, Sousòl. It’s dark, a little boisterous, and the perfect antidote to staving off the winter blues.

Lilia Comedor, discreetly tucked away on South Waterfront, is where Mexican-American chef Juan Gomez sends out bold, colourful, and hyper-seasonal dishes that are pleasing to both the eye and the palate. Although you can order botanas (snacks), platos fuertes (entrees), and postres (desserts), Gomez isn’t bound by traditional definitions and categories. Do yourself a favor and let Gomez’ culinary spell enchant you.

Alphabet City’s Alouette is run by a group of quick-witted and talented women, including chef Diane Lam and wine director Wei-En Tan. It’s a lovely neighborhood corner serving Vietnamese-French cuisine, including mussels steamed in a very hearty and subtly spicy lemongrass and tomato broth – all on charming vintage china to boot. The wine list is equally notable, with a strong presence from female producers and natural bottles.

What to do

The Portland Art Museum may claim the title of the West Coast’s oldest museum — it was founded in 1892 — but its progressive programming focuses squarely on what’s relevant today. case study? The current exhibition Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howeis a remarkable and stirring survey by the celebrated Yankton Sioux painter, known for depicting Native American traditions through a modern lens that is happily free of Western stereotypes and tropes.

Well before the Pearl became the city’s hippest neighborhood, Amy Adams founded Adams and Ollman in 2013, bringing together other artists usually neglected by the gatekeepers of the contemporary art world. Stephanie Chefa’s Projects specializes in provocative, challenging work by emerging artists, while Augen Gallery has set the standard for limited edition prints from art titans such as Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Andy Warhol.

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