I had the pleasure of attending Sunset Magazine‘s newest gardens and outdoor test kitchen opening a few weeks ago at Cornerstone Gardens in Sonoma. It was beautiful and so inspiring! They had some amazing speakers and demos going on. So many fun vendors and activities going on a well. But underneath it all lies the gorgeousness of the gardens themselves. If you’re in the Sonoma area (wine tasting perhaps?) its definitely worth the trip.
Remember when I said I’d be posting more on my travels? Well, I’ve decided to start a new series called Designer Destinations. As you all know in my 36 hour posts, I like to feature places that are aesthetically pleasing. I make it a priority to visit places that are appealing to the senses, whether it’s a restaurant, boutique or hotel. I’d love to be able to share these fun spots with you guys!
The first place I wanted to share with you is the Farmhouse Inn in Sonoma County. I stayed there a few weeks ago with the whole family and it was just gorgeous. I know you guys would love it. They did a major renovation not too long ago resulting in some majorly gorgeous digs. I had serious house envy going on. It’s one of the very few hotels I’ve stayed where I felt like moving in. I really could have stayed forever 😉 Pretty idyllic right?
I was lucky enough to visit my old hometown of Santa Barbara a few weeks ago. I lived there for about 10 years before I moved back up to the Bay Area. It’s been years since I’ve visited and it was SO fun to be back. You’ve probably heard of it from watching movies like Sideways or It’s Complicated. and it’s really just an all around gorgeous place. I mean…beach + wine country = paradise, am I right?
It’s amazing how much it’s changed since my last visit. The Funk Zone was non-existent when I was there last, so it was great to be able to check it out for the first time. I created a fun itinerary for you guys with a great mix of some of my new and old favorites 🙂 Here’s two days in Santa Barbara, California for under $500.
It’s no secret that the travel bug has found me lately. You might have noticed my 36 hours in under $500 series – there are 6 different destinations now! And I’m going to be starting up a new travel-related series very, very soon. So keep you eyes peeled! It will have a different focus than my 36 hours series, but with all the feels that you know and love 😉 I’ll be visiting destinations of all types but keeping the visual appeal as one of my top priorities!
Now, if you’ve ever done a lot of traveling, you’ll know that there are plenty of tips and tricks to finding the best deals, destinations and times to go. Finding a reliable source of travel advice was absolutely necessary when I decided to expand my blog in that direction. It was important to me to experience the very best of wherever I travelled to, in order to recommend it to all of you. It’s all about getting the most bang for your buck. I’ve found a few go-to travel resources to help me on my adventures, but one site in particular is super useful for not only great itinerary suggestions and travel destinations, but great travel deals as well. That’s why I decided to partner with them on today’s post! Travelocity has really been ramping up their offerings lately and their newest Wander Wisely motto really strikes a chord with me.
Whenever I find myself in a kind of slump on where to travel to next, I end up googling…but as you can imagine, the results are overwhelming and not curated in any way. I’ve found that the Travelocity Inspire Blog is an amazing resource on not only cool and unique destinations, but great tips on what to do when you get there. I mean, would you have any idea where the best place to go off-the-grid in Mexico is? Or if you were visiting NY with kids, wouldn’t you want to pick the best tour to take them on? I especially love this article on the top 20 US cities to visit with kids, definitely adding a few of those to my bucket list. OR even better since summer is right around the corner: Summer Getaways the whole family will love! Man, I can’t wait for summer 😉 And more traveling…Luckily I have a few destinations coming up so I’ll be posting about them on the blog soon. What about you guys? What travel plans do you have this summer? I’d love to hear about them!
Okay folks I’m freshly back from Alt Summit and Salt Lake City. I wanted to share with you some of the great places I visited in case you find yourself in that neck of the woods. It was my first time in Utah and I’d love to go back, especially in the fall. I think SLC would be amaaaazing in the fall. So without further ado, here’s the next stop in my 36 hours series: Salt Lake City in 36 hours and under $500!
|NHMU | slc county building*|
|LA BARBA COFFEE | FINCA|
You’ve got to start the morning off on the right foot and this is the place to do it! $4
Okay you guys, two words for you here about Passion Flour: VEGAN CROISSANTS. I think the sun has a special ray of light that shines down on this place all. the. time. $6
natural history museum of utah
T his museum is a fun place to spend the day. This landmark building was built to look like a part of the base of the mountains. Great place to go with kids…or even with no kids. $13
I had a quick meal here and got the pesto pasta and a milkshake, both vegan of course. And it was delish! $15
If you’re traveling with kids, this is the place to be! $9.50
HYATT house salt lake city
This is one of Salt Lake City’s newest hotels and it was awesome. I stayed at a different hotel the first few nights while at Alt Summit and I had roommates. SO when I moved over to the Hyatt house it felt so luxurious to have my own suite. A kitchen, living room area and bathroom all to myself. Loved it. The bed was suuuper comfy and the TV swiveled around from facing the living room to facing the bed. Pure awesome. The customer service was top notch too. So helpful. They have this great list of equipment that you can “borrow” while there, from baby high chairs to curling irons. So cool right? Everything was brand spanking new and there was a fun lounge area to hang out in downstairs. Oh and free hot breakfast in the morning? Yes. Please. And can I just say, the price can’t be beat? I priced out the room at $100/night. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me! $100
Alice Lane is definitely one of SLC’s best home decor shops. A definite must visit!
I had dinner at Finca during Alt as part of the Minted sponsored dinner. I was SO happy to be a part of it because Minted’s dinner was in high demand and spots filled up within 10 mins of being announced! The dinner theme was black and white and we were seated in the private dining room. Let me tell you it was GORGEOUS. The wall was covered in luscious black, floral wallpaper and Minted hung some of their art prints selection in modern gold frames. It was stunning. And to top it off Minted used some of their new home collection (napkins, table runners, etc) to outfit the tabletop. The menus and place cards (printed by Minted, of course) coordinated perfectly. No detail was left unfinished. It was a good night. Oh and the food, let me tell you, the food…was just as perfect as the decor. We had some tasty grub and plenty of it. I’ll definitely be going back! $60
Omar’s is a raw restaurant if you didn’t pick that up from the name already 😉 They serve lunch and dinner BUT I really want to talk about the dessert. Because…you guys, raw vegan cheesecake. Yep, you read that correctly, cheeeeesecake. Hello. $8
|PASSION FLOUR | BOHEM|
|capitol building* | sunset in slc|
|ZEST | PUBLIK COFFEE|
I had brunch at Zest on Saturday and it was one of the best ways to start a weekend. Hands down. I had the savory chickpea pancakes and man, they were tasty. One of the friends I was with got the buckwheat pancakes and highly recommended those too. I’d love to go back for dinner sometime, because I hear they have some crazy good cocktails. $20
LA BARBA COFFEE
Another tasty local favorite for coffee shop. A friend told me that the locally-owned coffee shops in Salt Lake are so good that Starbucks keeps open up shops and then closing them back down again. Pretty awesome, right? Shop local! $4
Iconic. Stately. Beautiful. Just yes.
Buds is 100% plant based. They have super fun things on the menu like BBQ jackfruit. I mean, come on, you’ve gotta try jackfruit at least once in your life right? $10
Salt Lake City has a great zoo. So fun for the whole family. $15
Hipsters paradise in Salt Lake City. This shop has all the modern goods that the inner artist in you, could ever want. Seriously inspiring and worth a peek!
I’ve heard you have to make reservations at this place at least 3 months in advance. Luckily when I searched for a spot the day of, they had one availability at like 8:45pm, but still. Tasty bites worth every penny! $90
You guys, you guys…this place has vegan Twinkies! I’m dying right now because I didn’t get to go to this place before heading home. But please, if you’re in SLC, go here and get a vegan twinkie (called a Dillo) and tell me how ‘mazing it is, mkay? $5
|Minted Black and White Dinner at Finca. Image c/o Amber Reverie.|
|The florals where gorgeous!**|
|Dinner conversation 😉 **|
|San Francisco Bay Area Bloggers: Rachelle, Sally, Jessica, me and Megan|
|Waiting to speak…do I look nervous? 😉 With Miranda and Alison.**|
I hope you enjoyed my little foray around Salt Lake City! I know I did and I can’t wait to go back…those vegan croissants and twinkies are calling my name! 😉
one℅ | two℅ | three | four | five | six
seven | EIGHT | nine℅ | ten | eleven
twelve | thirteen℅ | fourteen | fifteen
sixteen℅ | seventeen℅ | eighteen | nineteen
twenty | twenty one℅ | twenty two
twenty three | twenty four℅
As you can see a huge portion of my packing list is from Rent the Runway. They’re a lifesaver for someone like me, who likes to wear the latest styles when I dress up, but doesn’t want to pay full price if I’m just going to wear it once 😉 If you haven’t tried them out yet, you really, really should. I’ve been using them for years. You can get $20 credit (and so will I) if you sign up using this link. This post isn’t sponsored by RtR by the way, although I was able to rent the items above with free credit (happy dance)!
sponsor dinner with minted
The theme is black and white.
thursday night party
Theme is the night sky 🙂
friday night parties
And just for giggles here’s the last time I went to Alt Summit!
Last month I had an amazing opportunity to check out a new boutique hotel line by the Hyatt called Hyatt Centric. Hyatt Centric hotels are focused more on the modern traveler and are located in popular, urban locations. The decor leans towards modern and it will fulfill all of your hipster fantasies 😉 Also their concierge is knowledgeable in all of the latest, trendiest places. So places that your average tourist just doesn’t hear of. Does this sound amazing? Yes. Yes, it does. And it’s totally my kind of traveling. So when I got offered the chance to check out the new Hyatt Centric The Loop, it was an emphatic YES, please 🙂
|NATIVE FOODS | HYATT CENTRIC THE LOOP ||
|HYATT CENTRIC THE LOOP | AIRE|
|ART INSTITUTE | JENI’S ICE CREAM|
COFFEE + breakfast
do-rite donuts and coffee
I wanted to start my first morning in Chicago off right, and what’s better than donuts and coffee? I love hitting up locally-owned coffee shops and Do-Rite was even better because it had DONUTS. And just any donuts…they even had vegan donuts! I bought a vegan blueberry cornmeal pancake donut with maple buttercream. ZOMG so freakin’ good you guys. And yes, my soymilk Dark Matter latte was the perfect pairing 😉 $7
architectural walking tour
After a morning pick me up, it was time to walk around the town a bit and get to know it. I met up with Chicago Greeter, Maureen who walked us all over the downtown area sharing fun tidbits, gossip and facts about Chicago’s most well-known architectural landmarks. She was a fun little firecracker of a lady and so completely entertaining and enthusiastic about her adopted city. Her stories were a delight and her British accent made them even better. Definitely one the best ways to get to know a city I tell you. AND huge bonus, it’s FREE. Yes, that’s right, totally free. And amazing. So do it 😉
HOWELLS AND HOOD
Try to end your walk near the river and then it’s just short jaunt over to Chicago’s Tribune Tower (a historical landmark) and a gorgeous feat of architecture with its notorious flying buttresses. On the ground floor you’ll find a great place to stop for beer and lunch. And actually its the place to be if you’re a beer aficianado, because it’s has the most beer on tap in Chicago. Pretty impressive. I ordered the beet salad which was perfectly filling, but not to much to weigh me down. Places to go and people to see and all that…$25
CHICAGO BOAT TOUR
After lunch head back across the river and down to the riverwalk and hitch a ride on Chicago’s First Lady. I sat on the top deck and got a great view of the river front. I’d definitely recommend a warm jacket that cuts the wind. And a hat! Be prepared 🙂 It was great seeing all of Chicago’s famous architectural feats by boat. And it was a lot easier to get a good view of them rather than on foot. The tour guides on these tours are volunteers as well. It’s so great to see the enthusiasm, the locals have for their windy city. $40
HYATT CENTRIC THE LOOP
It was quite the day already, so I decided to check in and take a minute to recharge (and warm up) at the hotel. I walk into the lobby and impressed right away with the amazing artwork in the lobby. The paintings are by the super talented Francine Turk, and were custom made for the hotel.
The hotel itself is housed in a historic 1927 art-deco building right in the heart of the loop. One on the best places to be in Chicago because you’re pretty much dead-center to everything. The building used to be offices but has been converted quite successfully into modern chic hotel rooms. When renovating they kept most of the historical touches, for example the presidential suite is completely walled in original wood paneling and is jaw-dropping.
The rooms themselves are all different, but were created with a minimalist-style that I admire with an eye to efficiency and…luxury. The rooms are “smart” as in they know if you’re in the room or not and adjust the thermostat accordingly. The beds are super comfy and the linens are high quality. They even embroidered my initials into my pillowcase. What the…how awesome is that?!
There’s a lounge area on a lower floor that has tvs, games and free snack foods available at all times. I found myself down there quite often grabbing an apple or snack mix. They even host beer tasting and other fun events there. So fun. $180/nt
After unpacking and a bit of relax time, I realized it was perfect time for happy hour. I decided a trip to the Hyatt Centric’s roof-top bar, Aire, was in order. This place is the perfect after work happy hour destination. And actually seemed like a locals’ favorite. It was busy without being too crowded. I enjoyed some bubbly perched in front of a fire pit and got to watch the sun go down. Ahhh. $15
After spending most of my time downtown, I wanted to venture a little farther out of the box. Perfect opportunity to hop into an Uber and do some window shopping. I’d been jones to visit Humboldt House after seeing all of the eye candy on their Instagram account. Destination decided. And this place lived up to my expectations. Old and new mixed together with locally-made artisan items ranging from beauty products to home goods. A total feast for the eyes.
parlor pizza bar
What’s a visit to Chicago without pizza, am I right? This is a fun new place that’s not your typical Chicago-style pizza, but just as tasty and reasonably priced. Their wood-fired pizzas offer local ingredients and is always super fresh. Their specialty pizzas are fun and sometimes a bit adventurous. Example? A guacamole pizza! Great scene at night too. $25
|HOWELLS AND HOOD | GATHER|
|HYATT CENTRIC THE LOOP | CHICAGO BOAT TOUR|
|HYATT CENTRIC THE LOOP | COCHON VALANT|
I’m always one for breakfast in bed. I decided this morning was the perfect opportunity. The Hyatt Centric offers room service a little bit differently with their knock-and-go style service. The restaurant in the lobby, Cochon Valant provides the food from the room service menu. With knock-and-go, basically you place your order and when it’s ready the bring it up to your room, they knock on your door, place it down and go. You’re free to open the door in your pjs snag your food and run back to bed 😉 I ordered the vegan muesli cereal and it came looking like a work of art with the way the fruit and cereal was arranged. Loved it! They have great coffee too, so if you feel like a coffee before a coffee, they have your back 😉 Cochon Valant offers a great lunch and dinner menu as well. $16
Time to head out to explore some more. And one of my favorite neighborhoods is Wicker Park. An easy trip on the “L” and you’re in hipster central. I’d say it’s time for another latte. Wormhole is hipster coffee at its finest 😉 $4
GLAZED AND INFUSED
After getting my caffeine fix squared away, it was time to window shop. Wicker Park is full of fun shops and restaurants. Walk down Milwaukee Ave and pass by the Glazed and Infused window. If they still have donuts (they tend to sell out super early) buy a few of those puppies and enjoy a mid-morning snack. Those extra calories are WORTH it! $3
Right past Glazed and Infused you’re going to want to turn left on North Ave. Keep walking until you see Gather. Then walk in and just enjoy. Another great shop like Humboldt House, you’re going to find unique home goodies and fun apothecary items. I spent a good half hour in this small shop and enjoyed every minute of it.
While walking around Wicker Park I stumbled onto Native Foods Cafe. It’s actually a vegan food chain, so not a locally-owned place, but tasty and reasonably priced vegan food nonetheless. I ordered the chicken, bacon, avocado club with lemon dill potato salad, a lemonade and a vegan carrot cupcake. Deliciousness! $18
ART INSTITUTE or Lincoln Park Zoo
Time for some adventure. I’d recommend either the Art Institute or the Zoo. The zoo is a little bit closer to Wicker Park if that helps. I decided to hit up the Art Institute this time around though, and it was beautiful and inspiring and pretty-much everything you’re imagining. Definitely a must-see. $29
Back to Wicker Park we go! I wanted to hit up this super, fun and trending taco spot. They have a tasty-looking taco selection, I tell you. I’d highly recommend the habanero popcorn too. Grab a margarita while you at it and enjoy. $25
jeni’s ice cream
Desert, oh, desert! Do yourself a favor and swing by Jeni’s. You won’t be sorry! Everyone loves ice cream! $5
Since you in the neighborhood, who not swing by this institution. One of Chicago’s most popular bars, this is a fun one folks. AND it’s not just fun, their drinks mean business. They have a James Beard Award-winning bar program and offer a seasonal cocktail list that changes with the season. $15
I hope you enjoyed this peek into the less touristy, more aesthetically-pleasing side of Chi-town 😉 Let me know if you’ve visited any of the spots I mentioned OR if there’s any cool spots I missed. Would love to swing back around and visit them next time!
You can also view my google planning map here.
Carmel is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s actually one of the first places that comes to mind when thinking of a weekend getaway and one of my favorite Northern California locales. So it was only natural that I come up with one of my 36 hours travel guides for my this chic little beach town.
Carmel-by-Sea is filled with art, antiques and….dogs?! Yes, that’s right, the city is super dog-friendly. In fact some of the restaurants even have a dog-menu. AND another fact? It’s against the law to wear high heels downtown. Yasss, my kind of place 😉 Coupled with the fact that there’s great food and it’s right on the beach, I really can’t imagine anything better, can you?
|CARMEL BAY COMPANY | DAMETRA CAFE|
|CARMEL BELLE | COAST CARMEL|
|THE GRILL | THE CHEESE SHOP|
|HEAVEN | EXPOSED|
|HOLMAN RANCH TASTING ROOM | CARMEL VALLEY ROASTING CO|
CARMEL VALLEY ROASTING CO
This great coffee house serves tasty locally-roasted coffee. It’s housed in an amazing space right on Ocean Ave and has this great minimalist-vintage vibe that I totally dig. $4
I’ve talked about this amazing place before, and I’ll say it again: This is my favorite food in Carmel, with its organic and local fare. Everything is super fresh and so tasty. The prices are a little hmmm, but SO worth it. I’m going to recommend the crazy-good open-faced avocado toast. This isn’t your average avo-toast you guys, it’s off-the-charts. The coffee here is scrumptious as well! $8
CARMEL BAY COMPANY
Oh Carmel Bay, what can I say? This is my favorite place to stop when I’m shopping in Carmel. It’s kind of like a hipster slash tourist store. Great locally-made products combined with tastefully curated items. It’s a fun place to browse around and spend awhile. And don’t forget to check out the 2nd floor!
SHOP | KIDS
STAR CHILD + heaven
This children’s clothing boutique has some of best selection of unique and chic options. The owner actually has two children’s clothing boutiques, Star Child and Heaven. You can’t go wrong with either. I found that Heaven is a little bit more on the formal side and Star Child has more daily-wear. Super adorable finds. I bought Arden a cute Chanel-style purse and bracelet when I was there, I just couldn’t resist.
5TH AVE DELI
A great traditional style deli with all the fixings you can imagine. There’s a variety of specialty sandwiches to choose from or you can make your own. Great place to stop and pick up a picnic lunch for the beach 🙂 Sandwiches are decently priced here, starting at $5!
Northern California beaches are gorgeous. I mean, all beaches are beautiful, but Carmel beach is just rugged and gorgeous in this perfectly raw way. It’s such a treat. If you’re in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the beach is just a quick jaunt away. Do it!
I stayed at an adorable Danish-themed inn called the Hofsas House in the perfect location, just a couple of blocks away from Ocean Ave. It reminded me of Solvang, CA with it’s quaint, homey and Dutch-influenced decor. It’s family AND dog-friendly with different sized rooms to suit every need. The owner is so warm and welcoming and it carries over to the hotel itself. It was such a great place to stay because it’s within walking distance of everything! I highly recommend it as a budget-friendly option in Carmel. $170/nt for a king with a view.
I had a blast at the Caraccioli tasting room. Good wine, great people and fun conversation. $10/flight
After sipping some wine, it’s an easy walk over to the Grill on Ocean Ave. The atmosphere here is friendly and boisterous. The service is impeccable and the restaurant itself has some great windows for people watching on Ocean Ave. I had the Halibut with avocado salsa with roasted vegetables and I about licked my plate clean 😉 As a starter I had their wild mushroom ravioli – omg so good. I didn’t even have room for dessert which was kind of a tragedy. $70
the cheese shop
I thought it would be fun to do dessert Euro-style with a tasty cheese plate. So you’re going to want to hit up the Cheese Shop. It’s synonymous with Carmel; a must-visit. Seriously. You walk in and immediately cheese samples of all sorts appear like magic 😉 My favorite last time was Koko’s Coconut Gouda – coconut cheese! Fun right? $10
|CARMEL BELLE | CARACCIOLI CELLARS|
This is a great little hidden gem. I love sampling local coffee houses and this one didn’t disappoint. Strong coffee and a good selection of veggie food items. $4
I’m just going to say Carmel Belle again here folks. It’s my absolute fave and I crave it all the time. You can’t go wrong. I’d recommend the stone-cute oatmeal, super tasty! $6
This fun store is right in the center of town. It has a great selection of clothing from Ella Moss to Patagonia. They even have some great home goods!
SHOP | KIDS
The quintessential toy shop full of every kind of toy you can imagine. It’s amazing how many toys they fit into this space! And you have to see the huge K’nex Ferris Wheel up close, it’s like whoa!
shop | art
Carmel is known for having some amazing art galleries, over 100+, actually. I really loved this teeny, tiny space. It’s small and straight to the point. The artwork is edgy and modern from a younger point-of-view than you’re average art show in Carmel. Super fun and worth a look-see!
This Mediterranean restaurant is the talk-of-the-town here in Carmel. It’s arguably the tastiest restaurant in town. Try the Greek combination platter for a taste of everything. Oh and the best part? Complimentary baklava! My favorite! $25
After a fun morning of shopping in Carmel-by-the-Sea I thought it would be nice to venture out to Carmel Valley. First stop is this seriously-inspired spa, Refuge. And what a refuge it is. There are 10 different pools set on this 2-acre retreat, along with relaxation rooms, hot saunas and steam rooms. It’s boggles the mind. They recommend what is called their “Refuge Thermal Cycle” which consists of relaxing in either a sauna, steam room or hot pool for 6-10 mins. After that you plunge your self into one of their ice cold pools for about a minute – talk about refreshing!!! Then settle yourself into one of the relaxation rooms or warm pools for a nice long relax sesh. And then repeat! While I was there I think I took advantage of every pool, sauna, room, lounge chair and hammock they had to offer. It was an amazing treat you guys. I’m adding this to my must-do list every single time I’m in the area. I’m serious. It’s so worth it – complete luxury relaxation at a great price! Next time I’m there, I’m booking a massage as well! I can’t wait! $44
After a nice, long, relaxing visit at Refuge, what could be better than filling your tummy with organic fruits and veggies? Earthbound farms is a huge purveyor of organic produce here in California. You’ll see them in every grocery store. So it’s definitely a fun time when you get to stop by their farmstand. Not only can you get super fresh and organic produce…BUT there are a ton of fun activities for kids. While you’re here don’t forget to tour their gardens!
HOLMAN RANCH TASTING ROOM
Time to stop into Carmel Valley and do some wine tasting! I love a good Pinot so I’d highly recommend the Holman Ranch tasting room. Holman Ranch wines are herbicide and pesticide-free and are also certified organic and sustainable. So very cool. I was in town for an event at Holman Ranch and got to see their extensive vineyards as well as their wine caves. I even got to taste some wine straight out of the barrel. I visited during crush and it was entertaining to see the winery workers crushing grapes the old-fashioned way…with their feet 🙂 Such a fun place! Unfortunately Holman Ranch isn’t open to the public usually, but it’s a drop-dead gorgeous event venue. Highly recommend it. Some friends of mine got married there a couple of years ago and it’s was just so beautiful. $10/flight
This restaurant is a Carmel Valley staple, it’s been around since the late 50’s and is known for its rustic decor and huge steaks. It’s a classic. Even though its rep is for huge servings of meat, I had a great vegetarian meal. It started off with the vegetable broth based french onion soup! First time I’ve ever had that, usually french onion soup is beef based. Next I had the goat cheese ravioli, which were SO good. I was tempted to order another helping instead of eating dessert 😉 $65
You can view my google planning map here! This post is brought to you in partnership with Hofsas House, Holman Ranch, The Grill and Refuge. Thanks for supporting Copy Cat Chic and our generous sponsors.
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Last week Arden, my Mom and I took a girls’ trip to Portland, Oregon. I haven’t been to Oregon before and I heard they’re having some amazing weather this summer. So I thought it would be the perfect addition to the 36 hours series.
I’ve had a crush on Portland for awhile now, so a visit has been a long time coming. I think it’s unofficially the hipster capital of the US 😉 But is also known for amazing coffee, micro-breweries and eco-conscious living just to name a few. For veg-centric eaters (like me!) Portland is a wonderland of amazing vegan and vegetarian eateries. I’ve had a couple of friends move there recently and the reasonably-priced housing market has been calling my name. I was pretty excited about the trip and went on research overkill, lol. Luckily I hooked up with Travel Portland earlier on in my planning process and they were able to help me plan my trip – such a great resource when planning a trip to Portland by the way.
Portland’s classic coffee brewery, Stumptown has been around for a long time and is a huge favorite among locals and tourists alike. I grabbed an almond milk latte for $3 and then walked a couple of blocks over to…
blue star donuts
Blue Star Donuts aren’t quite as famous as Voodoo, but they have a loyal following almost as large. I loved that they had vegan flavors as well. We got an orange olive oil cake donut and a glazed blueberry cake donut. Both were vegan and oh, so tasty! $3
After breakfast we walked about 8 blocks over (FYI blocks in Portland are about half the size of a usual city block.) to Jamison Square where they have a great fountain to play in. Arden had a ton of fun running around in the water since it was almost 90 degrees! I couldn’t resist wading around either.
All that water play worked up a bit of an appetite, so we walked a couple of blocks and hit up Prasad. Wow, so. much. healthy. tasty. food! I got the the Dragon Bowl with quinoa and jalapeño cashew cheese for $9.50, Arden got the Littlest Dragon Bowl with rice and garlic tahini sauce for $6 and my Mom opted for the Chipotle Black Bean Chili with jalapeño cornbread for $6.50. Oh and the Super Greens Lemonade might look a bit scary but it’s so refreshing! It was all so good, I want to go back so I can sample more of the menu.
After lunch we walked a couple of blocks over to Powell’s for some good reading material. Powell’s if famous for being the largest independent bookstore in the world. It has both used and new books and is worth a stop and shop.
After browsing the book store for awhile it was time to check in at the hotel. The Ace is only a block away from Powell’s. If you’ve never stayed at an Ace, it’s minimalist chic at it’s finest. Furnished only with the necessities, but those necessities are of the highest quality: super comfy (and firm) beds, organic sheets and towels, danish-style street bikes in the lobby to borrow for free…All situated in a historic building. Such a fun place to stay. The mezzanine above the lobby houses books to borrow, iMacs to use and an antique library card catalog where you can write a little note and leave it for others to discover. $255/nt
PEDAL BIKE TOURS
After checking in we decided it was time to check out the river front. We walked over to Pedal Bike Tours and rented a bike with kid’s trail-a-bike attached to it at Pedal Bike Tours. They were super nice and also had the best prices in town! We rode down on the waterfront and across a couple of bridges. Arden loved it! $14/hr for both bikes.
After biking I met up with a couple of friends that live in the area for some happy hour fun. Downstairs in the Ace Hotel is Clyde Common. It’s a like a tavern mixed with a trendy restaurant. Great place for drinks or for dinner. There are communal tables and a great beer and cocktail menu. We shared the popcorn (yum!) and the grilled padrón peppers. I had the Bittersweet Symphony drink as well as some tasty local beer. Great happy hour prices too! $15
In the evening we headed over to the Northwest district for some sushi! Bamboo Sushi is known for their sustainable fish and menu. The food here was super fresh and very, very tasty. The service was great too. It can be a bit of a crush and they don’t take reservations. It worked out though because we put our name on the list and headed next door for dessert first 😉 The prices are really reasonable too, we spent around $50 for two adults and one child.
Salt & Straw
Right next door to Bamboo Sushi is Salt & Straw, Portland’s infamous ice creamery. You can’t miss it because the line goes out the door and around the corner. Fortunately the line moves fast and the ice cream is every bit worth the wait. We got a scoop of Petunia’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie (vegan) and it was so creamy and delicious. Easily the best vegan ice cream I’ve ever had. $4
|POWELL’S BOOKS | LÖYLY|
|JAMISON FOUNTAIN | STUMPTOWN COFFEE|
|CLYDE COMMON | PÉPÉ LE MOKO|
It’s hard to compete with Stumptown in this town, but if anyone can do it, it’s Heart. Super sleek and modern this coffee shop is stylin’. Seriously. I wish I could live there 😉 I also adored their house-made almond cashew milk. So tasty in my morning latte! $4
After getting my caffeine fix squared away I walked across the street this inspired home goods shop. So. much. eye candy. Wow. Every display is perfectly curated. So fun.
kenny & zuke’S
Headed back to the Ace and hit up this stereotypical deli for a tasty bagel with lox. Those bagels are amazingly tasty and the lox was scrumptious too. $3
Bellies full we craved some fun, so we visited the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. We could have spent all day here. There are so many fun exhibits for kids and adults. The submarine tour was my fave, but I think Arden like the science playground area the most. Tickets $9.50+
tidbit food pods
The OMSI actually has a really good-looking (and healthy) cafe, but we wanted to sample some more Portland fare. We traveled down the road to Portland’s newest food pod, Tidbit. There’s something for everyone here and in such a unique and fun environment. $15
After lunch I decided it was time to slow the pace down for a bit. When research Portland, I stumbled upon this great Scandinavian sauna/spa and knew I just had to check it out. I wasn’t disappointed. I’m usually not the biggest fan of a hot sauna (preferring a steam room or hot tub) but the sauna cycle at Löyly was so relaxing. I really recommend trying it and they have an amazing weekday special of only $19! I’d definitely recommend their spa services as well. A massage here is definitely a good way to treat yourself 😉
This is a brand new restaurant by the same chef as the supremely popular, Portabello. The chef, Aaron Adams decided to follow his passion for fine dining and service and open up a restaurant that reflects that….And Farm Spirit was born. They have only one seating a night (7pm) and can only fit 14 diners, so as you can imagine, it books up fast! The menu was so unique, with every detail thought out. The menu is plant based showcasing local and in-season fruits and vegetables. The chefs preparing the meal were meticulous in their preparation and presentation – I felt like I was a judge on Top Chef with all of the care put into each dish 😉 Oh and by the way, they are 9 courses. Each course is matched with thoughtful wine pairings or you can go the non-alcoholic route and taste their delicious homemade juices. Hands-down the best meal I’ve ever had. $65
I needed childcare while dining at Farm Spirit. It’s a little nerve wracking being in an unfamiliar city and needing a babysitter, let me tell you! So I turned to Urban Sitter. I’ve used Urban Sitter in the past locally and am such a fan of the ease of use. I love that you can read reviews on each sitter (and leave them in return). Urban Sitter also lets you filter sitters by different skills, background checks, certifications, etc. Also it’s super easy to use the website or app. You can easily book jobs by viewing sitters’ schedules and openings. It was a no brainer to use them while traveling.
back to eden
Three words: vegan soft serve. Yummmm. Not to mention all of their other vegan goodies. This place is pretty close to Farm Spirit and is a vegan dessert lovers paradise 🙂 $3.50
bye and bye
Time for after dinner drinks maybe? The Bye and Bye is the perfect choice. It definitely veers towards hipster without going overboard 😉 And yes, it’s a vegan bar! Mind blown, who knew those even existed?! Their cocktails are so fun including beet infused tequila and cucumber gin. Tons of imaginative cocktails for your drinking pleasure. $8
|CLYDE COMMON | CANOE|
|FARM SPIRIT | SALT & STRAW|
|OMSI | HEART COFFEE|
|PEDAL BIKE TOURS|
A tasty vegetarian restaurant that serves a 4 course prix fixe meal for $45. They offer vegan and options as well. I had dinner here one night and was blown away by the creativity and playful menu 🙂 I stuck to the vegan (lefthand) column and everything was super fresh and tasty. One of my Portland faves, that’s for sure!
pépé le Moko
I didn’t get a chance to visit this little speakeasy in the basement of the Ace Hotel. I heard it serves some amazing drinks and is a fun place to sip on the latest trendy drinks. Definitely on my to-do list for next time!
This great kids art studio just opened up this month. We didn’t get a chance to visit, but it sounds right up our alley with their focus on the creative process and sensory play for kids.
This park is a little out of the way if you don’t have a rental car. We would have loved to see it, but didn’t make it there. There’s a nature-based play area that sounds amazing!
Did you guys know that Schoolhouse Electric is based here? I wanted to stop by their store, but didn’t get a chance to.
We had an evening flight out of Portland, so on our last day we decided to venture out of Portland proper. We had to visit the iconic Multnomah Falls. then we continued on and visited…
Hood River is a quaint little town settled right next to the Columbia River. Lots of fun little shops and boutiques. It was a beautiful day and the river was filled with kite surfers 🙂
You can view my google planning map here!
|MULTNOMAH FALLS | HOOD RIVER|
Grab a Belgian Bomber (iced coffee and sweet hazelnut mix), a fresh baked pastry, and a photo in front of the iconic “I love you so much” mural at the South Congress location to get your day started on a high note.
BARTON SPRINGS POOL
This public pool is unlike any other with its fresh spring water (68 degrees!), natural river bottom, and rotating cast of only-in-Austin patrons. Soak up the sun until you’re ready for a plunge, then enjoy a quick trip off the diving board for a truly refreshing experience.
Let’s face it: when in Austin, you’ve got to eat tacos, and you’ve got to eat at a food trailer – this ever-popular spot checks off both musts. Don’t forget a side of queso and a bubbly Topo Chico.
Learn through play at this innovative children’s museum, which features a range of delightful exhibits for all ages. $9 per person (infants under 2 free).
Gorgeous furnishings and textiles abound in this one-of-a-kind gem. Small treasures like local jewelry and paper goods make perfect souvenirs.
This Italian eatery’s standout is, not surprisingly, their pasta! I love to people watch from their sunny patio while enjoying a glass of wine or a cappuccino.
Cool off with a scoop or two of the inventive flavors at this darling gelateria. If you grab a cone to go, there are lots of cute places to explore along South 1st street – be sure to grab a photo at the Austin postcard mural!
Seeing as Austin is “the live music capital of the world,” it’s only fitting to enjoy a cold glass of beer, cider, or wine at this cool and casual south Austin venue
We are blessed with many a gorgeous (and uber expensive) boutique hotel here, but this downtown gem has been the place to stay since 1886 and will give your visit to Austin a dose of historic Texas style.
|MOCKINGBIRD DOMESTICS | DOLCE NEVE*|
|ENOTECA VESPAIO | POLVO’S*|
WALTON’S FANCY & STAPLE
The pastry case is certainly enticing, but it’s the savory breakfast options that are the real standouts here, especially the shrimp and grits or the biscuits and gravy.
TEXAS ROWING CENTER
It’s a treat just to walk around beautiful Town Lake, but this boat rental company takes the experience to the next level. Take a kayak, canoe, or SUP (stand up paddle) board out for a spin to cool off and get one of the best views of the Austin skyline.
ELIZABETH STREET CAFE
Austin has no shortage of delicious Asian cuisine, but this Vietnamese spot is a perpetual favorite, not only for its cute atmosphere but for its amazing food. Fuel up for the rest of the day with a banh mi and a sweet Vietnmaese coffee.
JM DRYGOODs | SPARTAN
These fabulous shops are located right next door to each other and both feature items too beautiful to miss, from leather goods to delicate jewelry.
Whether you’re flying a kite, riding the Zilker Zephyr train, or just enjoying the view of downtown from a shaded picnic blanket, Zilker park is a fabulous, quintessentially Austin place to be.
Venture over to the wonderful east side of Austin for a cocktail at this hip spot. If you’re into Mezcal, there’s a whole bar dedicated to it upstairs!
Authentic interior Mexican food (and lethal margaritas to boot). Enjoy fajitas or a chile relleno at this hoppin’ south Austin favorite.
Their slogan is “Big. Fat. Donuts.” and they mean it. With classic and crazy flavors, everyone is sure to find something they’ll love to devour. Be sure to visit the trailer location!