Planning a Fabulous Girls Weekend in Portland
Girls just wanna have fun, and that could never be more true than when you get a group of gals together to celebrate their friend who is about to get married. We tease, we gossip, we giggle. It’s all good fun. If we can do it in a rehabbed industrial city like Portland, Oregon than we know we are in for a festive time.
Portland serves up a colorful backdrop for a bachelorette party or simple girls getaway. There is no question that there is great food, but did you know there is also shopping (tax-free in Oregon!), and spa treatments that can make you forget your cares for an hour or two. It’s not easy to plan a large group girls weekend though. It takes extra thought, coordinating everyone’s likes and schedules, and above all, remaining flexible when plans (and moods) change. Hop along on the gal pal train as I dissect what goes into a great female-only escape to Seattle’s southern sister.
- If you have more than 2 friends traveling, put one person in charge. Everyone can have input, but one person can keep track and make sure all of the details are sorted before you leave.
- Know ahead of time if it is OK for everyone to wander off on her own, or in smaller groups, or if everyone should be sticking together.
- Plan for downtime, or the option for downtime. Some may want to sit in a coffee shop while others want to continue shopping or sightseeing
Apps for Planning and Sharing Expenses
- Tab (Free): Snap a picture of the bill and tag the items you ate/drank. Tax and tip are calculated for you. No more complicated math equations! Available on the iPhone and iPad.
- Receipt Ninja (Free): Figure out who paid for what, and how much is owed to who at the end of the weekend. Add in hotel, theater tickets, tips, etc. to the app and never have to “owe” your friends again. Available on the iPhone.
Social Media Fun
If you have a group of gals who are totally plugged in why not create a hashtag that you all use so you can follow each other’s photos and share with more friends and your family back home? #PDXGirlsGetaway or #PortlandGirlsWeekend are long but get your point across.
- Arrive in Portland
- Check into hotel or rental house
- Late night happy hour at Brassiere Montmartre
- Coffee and pastries at a local bakery (Helen Bernhard was pretty delicious)
- Mid-morning spa appointments at Dosha Salon & Spa
- Saturday Market and tax-free shopping downtown
- Lunch at a food cart or Saturday Market
- Afternoon at the Chinese Garden, or ice cream at Salt & Straw
- Freshen up and hit the theater OR plan for dancing later in the evening
- Happy hour or dinner at Little Bird Bistro or Gracie’s in Hotel deLuxe
- Dancing or head back to your hotel for a chick flick movie fest.
- Time to get out of downtown and explore the neighborhoods
- Brunch at Tasty & Sons (get your name in early!)
- Shop boutiques like Lark Press while you sip on a latte from Ristretto Roasters
- Head down to Noun in the Sunnyside neighborhood for unique housewares, jewelry and other trinkets you just can’t live without.
- Drive to the airport or back to your home city
Where to Stay
Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco: Spring for a suite for you and your gals downtown. The Hotel Monaco’s funky décor, evening wine hour, morning coffee bar, and boutique atmosphere make this the perfect home base for your girls weekend. Walk to shopping, great food, and plenty to keep your group entertained.
Irvington House via AirBnb.com: Spread out your bags in this 3-bedroom, 1.5 bath house in the Irvington neighborhood. It’s about an 8-minute drive to all of the downtown hotspots, and close to many of the northeast neighborhoods you will want to explore. At under $200 a night this is a killer pad for larger groups to stash their bags and crash after a long day of fun.
What to Do
- Visit Dosha Salon and Spa, 2281 NW Glisan (flagship store) or 500 SW Washington Avenue (next to Hotel Monaco). This spa is continually voted the best in the city and is very reasonably priced.)
- International Rose Test Garden, 850 SW Rose Garden Way.
- Lan Su Chinese Garden, 239 NW Everett Street.
- Shop the boutiques in the neighborhoods of Portland
- Portland Saturday Market
- Get lost in Powell’s Books
Where to Eat
- Food carts: breakfast, lunch or dinner, at Portland Oregon’s renowned food carts you can find something to please the whole gang.
- Breakfast and Coffee
- Helen Bernhard Bakery, 1717 NE Broadway. Pick up an apple turnover. Your welcome.
- Ristretto Roasters, 3808 N. Williams Avenue. While you wait for brunch at Tasty & Sons grab a cup at this neighborhood roasters. I love that you can buy one donut hole here to satisfy your sweet craving, but not kill your appetite.
- Tasty & Sons, 3808 N. Williams Avenue, Suite C. Put your name on the list for brunch and then wander around the neighborhood, check out the shops; this wait will last a while. Food combos make the wait worth it though. Bacon wrapped dates, fresh biscuits with honey butter, and Auntie Paula’s French toast were just a few of my favs.
- Kenny and Zuke’s Delicatessen, 1038 SW Stark Street. The perfect stop for a bit of breakfast or a filling lunch before tackling the endless shelves at Powell’s Books.
- Salt & Straw, 2035 NE Alberta Street. Very unique flavors grace the boards of this sweet and savory ice cream shop.
- Papa Haydn, 701 NW 23rd Avenue. Decadent cakes and tarts, macarons and ice cream topped yummies will have you swooning for more.
- Vault Martini Bar, 226 NW 12th Ave. Very inventive cocktails (like an almond joy) along with the classics you know and love. Small bites fill your stomach so you can try one more from the drinks menu.
- Henry’s Tavern, 10 NW 12th Ave. American (with a side of Asian) pub with more than 100 local and regional beers and innovative tavern fare.
- Little Bird Bistro, 219 SW 6th Avenue. Make a reservation ASAP for this Portland hotspot. The burger wasn’t as great as everyone claims, but there were enough other delicious treats to make up for it. Go for dinner, late night happy hour food was so, so.
- Brasserie Montmartre, 626 SW Park Avenue. Get the burger. Really. Get it. A fabulous spot for a late night happy hour with the girls, or an early dinner before a show.
- Oven and Shaker, 515 SW Clay Street. Don’t let the smaller menu scare you. This pizza joint serves up artisanal pies, small plates, and salads your whole party can enjoy.
- The Country Cat Dinner House & Bar, 7937 SE Stark St. Southern comfort food from the appetizers to the entrees.
- Gracie’s, 729 SW 15th Avenue (in Hotel DeLuxe). Locally sourced produce and meats in a 50’s supper club atmosphere. Don’t forget to indulge in that second champagne cocktail. It’s worth the calories.
- Deschutes Brewery Public House, 210 NW 11th Avenue. Order the beer sampler and anyone of the items on their starter and entrée menus. Our favorites were the French Onion Soup, Butter Leaf Salad, Grilled Washington Pear and Goat Cheese Flatbread, and Elk Burger. Don’t make the same mistake we did; save room for dessert!