PORTLAND, OR – Food Truck Mecca

PORTLAND, OR – Food Truck Mecca

Visiting a city while on a budget is hard, but you can always find cool things that don’t cost money! I’ll admit, my only impression of Portland, Oregon, before going there was whatever I had seen from random episodes of Portlandia.  I expected hipsters and probably cool thrift stores around.  

What I did not realize until shortly after doing more research – was the amount of food trucks they have in Portland!

They are freaking everywhere!

Infamous ‘Keep Portland Weird’ wall

So when we found this out, we basically decided Portland would be more of a splurge day, which was pretty much revolved around food.

Nom nom, let’s go.

First, we stopped at Stumpton Coffee, which we heard was #1 in Portland.  It was pretty delicious!  Love me a warm bev.

Powell’s Books

After coffee, we went to the infamous Powell’s Books , which is PERFECT if you are:

  1. A book lover
  2. Cheap/Don’t want to spend money
  3. In need of a free bathroom
  4. Needing to kill some time

They have soooooo any books, all organized into great sections divided by whole floors.  They have all the books, man.

Just one of the many floors and aisles

Check it out – expand that brain!  They have something for everyone!

Voodoo Doughnut

After paroosing around a bit, we started our food journey at Voodoo Doughnut.

They make all sorts of different gourmet donuts, along with Gluten Free options.  We decided to split the Oreo peanut butter one that was named – Old Dirty Bastard lol.  Sooooo much nom.

Powell’s Books and Voodoo Doughnut are in walking distance of one another, so we walked around a bit after to digest.

The Witch’s Castle

Still not ready for more food trucks, we then drove to Forest Park where we had read on Atlas Obscura (see here) there was a hike that takes you to an abandoned witch’s castle. We were down.

As you can see, our Portland day was a bit of a rainy one – but…

“If you only walk on sunny days, you’ll never reach your destination.”


The Witch’s Castle was a great chill zone while we digested and escaped into nature for a moment.

Alder Street Food Cart Pod

Next, we wanted to go to the prime food truck location and see what was going on.  While walking, we had already seen soooo many, but we heard there the largest was Alder Street Food Cart Pod.

While going to that food pod, we walked by two other streets that basically were parking lots with food trucks along the outside.

Then, of course, there are too many options, so we walk around all the food pods a couple times before choosing.  

I had an urge for falafel that day so we split a plate and a Thai dish at another food truck.  Both were delicious!

In terms of food truck variety, I found it to be mostly Thai, Mexican, or Middle Eastern didshes.  Of course, there were your outliers – some Indian, some Japanese.  

If I were you, I would do your research and try to find a super unique one to stop by. This website seems to list a lot of interesting ones! Remember to tip! 😊

Portland Street Art Areas

My friend, Sofie, who lives in Portland told us of a couple of cool walking street areas with art and shops. The first one we went to was:

The Hawthorne District,

SW Hawthorne Street, between 30th-50th Aves

Once we started walked, I immediately was smiling all over, as there was street art everywhere!  God, locals just give the best advice with where to go!  Thank you, Sofie!

Like, all of this though.  Come on.  Why can’t all streets have art?

And then, when I thought I had seen it all, we go to:

The Alberta Arts District,

NE Alberta Street, between 15th-25th Aves

And my eyes oozed some more from all the street art! Both of these streets were killer if you want to experience the city, be stimulated, but not necessarily spend money anywhere.

We then met my friend at The Station, in the arts district, which was perfect for getting a few drinks and catching up.

And the final stop on our Portland food journey was going to Salt and Straw, an ice cream place that I had only heard stories about.  So many unique flavors! Don’t even remember what I got, but that shit was fiiiire.  

Where to sleep?

We explained to Sofie that we were car camping, looking for a place to park and sleep not too far, and that we were going to drive the Columbia River Gorge the next day.

She suggested that we go to Troutdale which was northeast of Portland, and go on Old Historic Highway Road to try to find a pull off.  

So we tried this.  Actually we tried a few things.  

Including almost sleeping in a Jack in the Box parking lot because the sign only said “Jack in the Box Customers Only, No RV’s.”  Ponyboy even tried J in the B for the first time because I thought it would look better if we had proof we bought something on the dash.  I ended up changing my mind again, being paranoid about towing (even though there was an RV also clearly parked there).  Sorry about that man, but thanks for taking one for the team. 😅🙏🏼

We ended up car camping on the street in front of Camping World, outside of Portland.  We read they allow overnight parking on www.freecampsites.net, and it looked like there were people sleeping in their RV’s/vehicles there.  I think he read that they ask you to please be gone during their business hours though.

And great success!  Slept throught the night!

Hope this helps & happy travels! ✌🏼🌆

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