Shannon Did What / Travel + Lifestyle Blog

48-hours in Portland

TravelShannon GuerreroComment

Oh the challenges of working and wanting to travel.  Cue the weekend.  Yes, the two days of the week of freedom.  Granted now that I don’t work a corporate nine to five, I don’t necessarily have as much of a constricting schedule.  Since I don’t want to travel solo though, that means I travel with friends who do have those nine to five jobs.

Anyway, weekends.  How do you travel in just two days and two nights?  Well, it is difficult, but it’s not impossible.  Here to prove this, is my 48-guide to visiting Portland.  Fly in Friday night and grab a late flight out on Sunday.  Friday you probably can grab a late dinner, but be prepared to make the most out of the full day Saturday and Sunday.

There is a lot to see and do in Portland and while renting a car could be fun, but for the amount it is, you definitely can still get around without having to rent a car.  Besides the sightseeing, the two best things about Portland: beer and food.

SATURDAY


First things first - get up early.  I think it’s way easier to get up and get going early when you’re traveling because you don’t want to miss out on all the things you can do and see.

VOODOO DOUGHNUTS - The other advantage to getting up early is beating the crowds and getting in line to try the infamous Voodoo Doughnut store.  Their doughnuts are not only legendary but very popular having originated in Portland, Oregon.  You’ll sure be tempted to get a whole signature pink box worth’s of donuts because they all look delicious. 

KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD SIGN - Looking back I realized I was going to grab a photo of this iconic sign after I ate a donut (or two) but I think I forgot because I might have been in a food coma.  When you visit, don’t make the mistake I did, grab a picture before you fall into a doughnut coma.  It’s really easy because it’s right across the street from Voodoo.

MULTNOMAH FALLS - The main thing I wanted to see when I was planning my trip to Portland was to see Multnomah Falls.  The only problem is that it is a good hour outside of the main Portland tourist area.  

I found the best way to not have to rent a car while still getting to see Multnomah Falls and it's called the Columbia Gorge Express.  And guess what? It’s crazy cheap!  These luxury buses actually stop at Rooster Rock State Park, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks and Hood River.  An all-day pass online will cost you $12 - that’s a round-trip, hop on and off ticket.  Just a round-trip ticket to the falls is $5.  Grab your tickets ahead of time, here

PORTLAND SATURDAY MARKET - After you visit nature, head back to the city to grab some lunch.  The Portland Saturday Market is much like Food Pod Carts that I’ll tell you about later.  There are so many different areas of food to choose from and shop a little if you’d like.

10 BARREL BREWERY - You’ll probably be a little burnt out by now, so head on over to 10 Barrel Brewing for drinks at their rooftop bar.  If it’s a pretty day out, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by this rooftop.  Grab a flight of their beers - they offer everything from light and cidery to dark and stout.

ALDER ST FOOD CART PODS - Really you don’t have to head to these pods as there are food cart pods literally at every other corner in Portland.  This one just happens to be the largest collection of pods downtown.  What I absolutely loved and was so surprised about was the diversity of foods.  I saw carts serving food from Egypt, Mauritius and even Iraq, as well as, typical staples like Thai, Mexican and Middle Eastern.  Don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to one cart either.  Sharing is caring! My friend and I got one dish from 4 separate carts to share and it was the best decision ever.

SALT AND STRAW - If you saved any room in your stomach (which you should), head over to Salt and Straw.  This Portland staple may be located in more places outside of Portland but grabbing some ice cream from the original is a must.  The freshly baked treat smell when you walk in will make you want a giant scoop of everything.

 

SUNDAY

CHERYL’S ON 12TH or TASTY N ALDER - Grab a real sit-down breakfast today at one of these delicious spots.  They’re actually a block away from each other, so take your pick.  Full disclosure, we intended to grab a bit at Tasty N Alder but they had over an hour wait so we walked down the block to Cheryl’s.  I had the french toast with lemon curd and blueberries and let me tell you it was amazing.  Ask for extra lemon curd! 

PEARL DISTRICT/POWELL BOOKS - Take a stroll after breakfast around the Pearl District and through the famous Powell Books.  This bookstore literally takes up a whole street block and claims to be the largest bookstore in the world.  There are also multiple other great shops in the Pearl District.

PORTLAND JAPANESE GARDEN/INTERNATIONAL ROSE TEST GARDEN - I’m grouping these two together because they are literally right next to each other.  After your breakfast head over to stroll through some beautiful gardens.  We grabbed an uber, but you could rent a bike, if you wanna work more of that french toast off.  Biketown is a great way to do this and they're sponsored by Nike which is located in Portland. The awesome thing about the Portland Japanese Garden is that is is considered the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan.

The International Rose Test Garden is also a beautiful place to walk around.  It’s free, unlike the Rose Garden.  It also features around 650 varieties of roses. 

MISSISSIPPI AVENUE - This area is a little north of the main downtown area but is super hip and up-and-coming.  It is filled with eateries and bars literally at every corner.  Here are a few of the places we stopped at on Mississippi Avenue:

  • STORM BREAKER BREWING - The cute open and outdoor patio of Stormbreaker Brewing was the perfect place to spend an hour or two to grab some beers after a long touristy morning.  They even make their own potato chips that are oh so good and giant, might I add.
  • BLUE STAR DONUTS - Another Portland original and staple, Blue Star donuts shouldn’t be missed.  I will say these donuts are often compared to Voodoo but I think they are different.  Blue Star is more cakey with different flavor combinations while Voodoo’s are more doughy and have different flavored icing.  You should try them both for yourself.
  • INTERURBAN - After a beer, or two, and some snacks along the way, we stumbled into this gem of a place.  Head to their quaint covered patio in the back complete with a fire pit.  We enjoyed a good 10 minutes out here before it started pouring on us even though it was blue skies and sunny that morning.  Never the less, Interurban was a great place to have a drink and hang out.

LUC LAC VIETNAMESE KITCHEN - I have to say I was greatly impressed with the food here at Luc Lac.  I actually really loved that you order at the front and then have your food brought to you.  I always feel like I get my food faster this way.  Perfect when you’re hungry from touring around all day.  They have a great selection of small plates but if you’re hungry, go for the combination vermicelli bowl.  It has pork, chicken, shrimp, nom neon and crispy rolls.  My friend had it and it was so freaking good.  

I know, I know - there are so many places I missed or could’ve eaten at because let’s face it, this blog post really should’ve been “where I stuffed my face during 48 hours in Portland”, but there’s only so many meals a day you can eat.  The only other highly recommended restaurant we were going to eat at but didn’t get a chance to was Pok Pok. I don’t regret forgoing it though because we were tired from afternoon drinks on the 10 Barrel rooftop and decided to grab from 4 different food cart pods instead.  I think we still won in the food department.  

I hope you get to experience Portland soon if you haven’t.  This was actually my first trip and I definitely want to plan another trip back.  You know to eat more there.

 

Yours Truly // Shannon

 

PS if you're looking for a great place to stay, check out the Hi-Lo hotel.  It's the perfect mix of luxury and hip design right in the center of downtown.  It's walking distance from so many of the locations I listed in this post.  Check them out, here.

Weekend Guide to Sacramento

TravelShannon Guerrero8 Comments

I’ll be the first to admit that a trip to Sacramento was never really on the top of my bucket list.  My main reason to go to Sacramento was to visit my best friend.  I went into my stay thinking there would be no way I’d write a blog post on Sacramento.  I sure was wrong.  

Hannah and Greg - this one’s for you.  You guys were absolutely right about Sacramento being completely blog post worthy.  

Here is a guide to all the things you should eat, see and do while in Sacramento or is just reasons why you should visit this lovely city.

EAT

SPINNERS CINNAMON ROLLS - Head to Spinners Cinnamon Rolls to grab yourself a sweet treat to start your morning.  Don’t be fooled by its location at the gas station, these cinnamon rolls are melt-in-your-mouth good.  You can grab an original or even one stuffed with apples.

I’m a sucker for a great story and this mom and pop place has a great one.  Watch the story behind this 30-year business, here.

TEMPLE COFFEE ROASTERS - Not only is this place super cute and well designed, their coffee is delicious. Temple Coffee is also specific to northern California so get it while you’re there!  The best thing about this shop?  The floor is made entirely made up of pennies.  Yes, pennies.  It's quite the sight to see.

FEDERALIST PUBLIC HOUSE - I love a place to eat with great ambience and Federalist has just that.  It’s got a really cool laid back vibe complete where you order at the counter, can play corn hole and they make their own housemade Sangria.  Their pizza is also hot and fresh out the oven.

ANDY'S CANDY APOTHECARY - I’m a sucker for a good old timey feeling candy store.  Well I'm just a sucker for candy.  Andy’s Apothecary is just that.  They’ve got all the gummies you could want and a cute little boutique in the back.

DELILAH'S MARKET CAFE - If you’re a fish lover, this place is for you.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to order poke from any place more than at Delilah's.  Their poke is already pre-mixed with killer flavors like furikake bomb ahi, sweet oyster ahi or sweet chili salmon.  Sample them, trust me.  They’ve also got multiple types of spam musubi - need I say more?

SELLAND'S MARKET CAFE - Selland’s is great for healthier tasting comfort food.  They’ve got a full case of salads and sides, soups and even a full service bakery.  Doesn’t hurt that the interior and decor is super ‘gram-worthy.

SEE

CAPITOL BUILDING - I think I’ve always kind of wanted to see the California State Capitol building.  It seemed as a native Californian like something I should eventually go to see, but I didn’t realize how beautiful this building and its grounds would be.  Let’s just say, I was pretty blown over by how grand and impressive it really is.  I only wish I could’ve seen the inside.  You can get a tour of the building every hour or just wander inside to check out the beautiful rotunda.

TOWER BRIDGE - The Tower Bridge was another landmark I was super impressed with.  The coolest part about this bridge is that it doesn’t lift like traditional bridges.  The center section of the bridge lifts vertically, like a elevator.  It’s also just a cool bright yellow color.

COLORFUL WALLS - Like most cities, this up-and-coming city has some cool colorful walls to 'gram.  Here are where these 2 are located - We're All in it Together + Wal Public Market.

VICTORIAN HOUSES - On a stroll through East Sacramento’s Fabulous Forties district, you’ll find all the pretty Victorian houses.  If you’ve seen the movie Ladybird, the actual blue house exists here near the corner of 44th and M street.

DO

WAL PUBLIC MARKET - Located on the ground floor of artist lofts in midtown, is the Wal Public Market.  Come here for boutique and vintage shopping, great food and an awesome outdoor seating area.

OLD TOWN SACRAMENTO - Go back in time and experience the quaint vibe of old town Sacramento.  This is the home of California’s first thriving business district.  Take a stroll along the river waterfront, stroll the shops and even learn a little more about California’s history.  Here’s your heads up for old Sacramento parking, make sure you pay the meter.  I might be speaking from experience...

COIN OP ARCADE - If you’re a fan drinks and games, this place is for you.  It’s like a cooler old-timey version of Dave and Buster’s.  All of the games are vintage and operated by coins thus the name Coin-Op.  There’s also a great outside patio area to enjoy drinks with friends.  If you’re like me you’ll be at the basketball game challenging all the bystanders.

 

I hope this guide inspires you take a trip to California's capital.  It's just a quick drive from San Francisco.  I know you'll enjoy your time as much as I did!

Yours Truly // Shannon

Staying at All Inclusive Overwater Bungalows

TravelShannon Guerrero2 Comments

Have you ever wanted to stay at an overwater bungalow? Ya me too. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, have you seen pictures or video of those beautiful villas on stilts over water in Tahiti or the Maldives or Jamaica? Well, these over water villas can run in the thousands per night. I know, you’re thinking there’s no way that’s ever going to be a possibility, right?

I found the perfect place and the most affordable way to experience sleeping in an over water villa. This particular place is called the Avani Sepang Goldcoast Resort and it is by far the best option to stay in cheap overwater bungalows.

I first saw it when browsing through Facebook showing the most beautiful footage of the Avani Sepang as the largest over water resort in the world. Good thing I was in the midst of planning my Asia trip because I immediately sent it to my friend and, well, the rest is history.  It is truly one the most beautiful places I've ever stayed.

The Avani Sepang from an aerial perspective is shaped like a giant palm tree. The trunk being the long breezeway to the center of the branches where the infinity pool, spa and multiple restaurants are located. This infinity pool, by the way, is one of the most picturesque views you’ll see. Just imagine the water cascading into the blue water of the ocean just beneath the horizon.

This giant palm tree is actually so large that the most efficient way of getting around is by bike or golf cart.  They actually call golf carts buggies which just makes it sound even more fun.  We decided to take bikes around most of the time, but I'm not the best bike rider.  Word to the wise, don't bike down the path of an overwater bungalow because you could crash and your phone could also then go flying into the ocean 20 feet down.  True story.

I think I’d think of this resort as an all-inclusive resort.  You can definitely choose which level of inclusiveness you’d like when booking your stay though.  Ultimately, we chose to do breakfast only included. I’m glad we did since only one restaurant out of like 6 or 7 is the designated restaurant of choice.  Eating at one restaurant for an extended period without trying other options wouldn't be my first choice.  Thus, the breakfast only option.  I also say this is more or less all-inclusive because when you stay here, you don’t really need to leave the property nor is there much around outside of the grounds.

One of my favorite activities the resort provided was a fire show on the beach.  I don’t know if it’s because fire shows are incredibly mesmerizing or the fabulous guys dancing to all the pop queen songs, but it was wildly entertaining.  If you stay here, you most definitely will get wrangled into stopped by for the show.

Like I said the Avani Sepang is basically all-inclusive meaning there are lots of things to do and places to explore on the property.  Theres everything from beach activities, laying by the infinity pool, biking around and lots of eating options.  You can also book multiple activities and sightseeing adventures through the resort doing everything from venturing into Kuala Lumpur to a boat tour down the river.

If you didn't notice the theme to most of the pictures in this post is purple and pink.  This is undoubtably because the sunsets here are the most epic you will ever see in your life.  Hoping the Avani Sepang is now on your bucket list especially if you're interested in having the experience of staying at an all inclusive overwater bungalow.

Yours Truly // Shannon