Take a Portlandia Tour of Portland

Eat, drink and keep the '90s alive and well in Portland on a Portlandia pilgrimmage that would make Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein proud

Credit: Lisa Manfield

Rose City got its three seasons of fame with Portlandia’s sketch comedy portrayal of its West Coast eccentricities, and it’s made the city even more attractive to visitors

Portland was already a pretty loveable place before it got to play Portlandia on TV. But then SNL‘s Fred Armisen and Sleater-Kinney’s Carrie Brownstein came along and made it truly irresistible in all its nerdy, West Coast glory.

Think coffee-drinking, brunch-loving, organic-food-eating, bike-peddling, feminism-pushing Pacific Northwest Coasters, and you’ll get an idea of the characters you can’t help but love. Because you’ll recognize them. In yourself. And you will want to experience the Portland they live in.

So, come along on a Portlandia tour of Portland, where the ’90s are alive and well!

Above: As seen in the show’s intro, the Portlandia sculpture located in downtown Portland, is the second-largest repousse-style copper sculpture in the U.S. after the Statue of Liberty.

Credit: Lisa Manfield

Stay at the Hotel deLuxe

In season 3, Armisen and Brownstein’s characters decide the future is in children’s entertainment, and follow kiddie performer Squiggleman to Portland’s gorgeous Hotel deLuxe.

While the characters get a lesson in acting like children (yes, some bouncey bouncing on the bed goes down), you’ll get a lesson in old Hollywood. Art Moderne and Art Deco styles influence the hotel’s decor, and every floor is framed with iconic Hollywood characters – the rebels, the masters, etc. – in more than 400 photos.

The Hotel deLuxe’s Pilgrimmage to Portlandia package gives fans of the show everything they need to enjoy the city the way Fred and Carrie would, including a $75 gift certificate to the Gilt Club (hint: order the local organic chicken like in season 1), a welcome basket stocked with Olympic Provisions charcuterie, a jar of Portland-made Moonbrine Pickles (yes, we can pickle that), and a copy of Fred and Carrie’s book Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors.

Credit: Lisa Manfield

Have Coffee with the Mayor at Oblique Coffee Roasters

One of Portland’s charming eccentricities is that it’s divided into five “quadrants” (riddle me that, Batman). Head south of downtown across the Burnside Bridge to Southeast Portland and within a few minutes you’ll find yourself surrounded by charming old homes and leafy green trees.

Oblique is located in a restored Victorian home that was slated for destruction before its owners gave it a new lease on life in 2006. Portlandia then gave it the mayor’s stamp of approval, for the scenes where Carrie and Fred meet up with Portlandia’s kooky mayor, played by Kyle MacLachlan. Okay, you might not see the mayor in this charming coffee house, but if you grab a java on a Sunday, you will get to enjoy tea-worthy tunes by DJ Herbal Tea.

Credit: Lisa Manfield

Stroll the Waterfront

The view along the waterfront might inspire you to dance and sing about how the ’90s are alive and well in Portland, as this is the spot where they filmed the show’s notorious intro. Or you could rent a bike and peddle along in tribute to the show’s spiteful biker Spike.

But if you’d prefer to blend in a little more, head there on a Saturday and wander through the market – it spans several blocks and is full of fanciful finds. And here’s a fun game: see how many birds you can spot on things. I guarantee it’ll keep you busy for hours.

Credit: Lisa Manfield

Go to Voodoo Doughnut

It’s a Portland institution, and rightly so. The doughnuts are delicious, and over-the-top ridiculous, and yes, they’re worth the hour-plus wait in line.

In Portlandia, Fred and Carrie stop at Voodoo Doughnut during a treasure hunt and must eat their way through doughnuts to find the treasure. And I have to say, after trying the famous voodoo doll doughnut, with its sweet, creamy raspberry centre, I would happily eat my way through a few of those – with or without the promise of treasure!

Credit: Lisa Manfield

Have a Cocktail at Mint/820

It may be located in Portland’s elusive fifth “quadrant”, in an industrial neighbourhood underneath a bridge, but Mint/820 promises to reward you with the best drink you’ve ever had.

At least it did in Portlandia, when Carrie encounters a sexy bartender (played by SNL‘s Andy Samberg) who makes her the best drink she’s ever had before disappearing to California. While she decided to follow him, you won’t want to leave after just one drink. Sidle up to the bar for a couple of its house cocktails, or stay for a full meal.

Credit: Lisa Manfield

Try a Food Cart

You won’t find Portlandia‘s Stew’s Stews, but you will find practically any type of food you can imagine, from peanut butter and grilled cheese sandwiches, to popcorn, to classic options like Indian and Mediterranean.

Hundreds of food carts congregate in pods throughout Portland, making the options almost endless. Here’s a guide to some of Portland’s best food carts.

Credit: Lisa Manfield

And, finally, before you head home…just one word