One of the major predicaments I run into when traveling in a metropolitan city is expenses. Hotels, and even Airbnb are spendy if you want to be in a fun city or hip neighborhood. When Matthew and I moved to Portland we didn’t have a lot of money and we were constantly looking for ways to get out of the apartment without spending anything. So for all of you out there with travelers hearts and lean wallets here’s a list of activities in Portland you can do for under $10!
Portland Saturday Market is a totally free event and its worth the visit. It runs down Naito Parkway, along the Willamette River waterfront and the Ankeney Arcade, stopping at the railroad tracks. There is a flea market on the other side of the tracks that tries to be part of Saturday Market but it’s technically a separate entity. The entry to the Saturday Market is totally free. The Saturday Market is made up of local artisans. In order to be part of the Saturday Market the proprietors of the shops MUST show that they are the ones making the products. So literally everyone at Saturday Market makes their products from scratch. The market is excellent for just window shopping or getting small souvenirs. On of my favorite things in the world is a ring made from an old spoon that I got from the Saturday Market.
I’ve been all over the world and I have never been to a Farmers Market like the one that takes place at Portland State University. Its about 3 blocks long and has over 200 vendors. Its amazing! It’s a great way to spend a morning, tasting your way through artisanal cheeses, cured meats and locally grown fruits and vegetables. Entry is totally free and you can grab breakfast there for well under $10.
3. Wiz Bang Bar
Many people know of Salt and Straw, which you should absolutely check out, but many do not know about Salt and Straws cool younger sister Wiz Bang Bar. Located on NW 2nd Street its in the middle of a specialized food court. Its almost an indoor food cart village. You can stop in to get a tasty treat for less than $10.
(Photo credit Google)
4. Food Carts
Portland is famous for its food carts. The city has food carts all over the place in “Pods.” The best Pods in my opinion are located in the St. John’s neighborhood and on SE Belmont. The St. John’s food carts have a covered and heated beer garden so it’s great for year round visits. They also have a fire pit which is a lot of fun. My favorite cart is “Chowdah” I like to get the sandwich and soup combo for $6. It makes a perfect lunch.
5. Mt. Tabor
Portland is huge on outdoor sports and activities. We have several large outdoor parks including Mt. Tabor. Smack in the middle of popular neighborhoods like Hawthorne and Montavilla is literally a mountain. There are no parking fees or entry fees. It makes an awesome hike and you could easily spend a day there exploring the trails. If you happen to travel with furry friends there is a 2 acre fully fenced dog park on Mt. Tabor which is essentially doggy Disneyland. I recommend packing a picnic and sitting on the grass overlooking the water reservoir from the top of the mountain.
(Full disclosure: Not my photo pulled from Google, photographer unknown but, this IS what it looks like in fall, its amazing for pictures and city views.)
6. Coffee Shops
Portland is a coffee town. You can check out my post on 5 must visit Coffee Shops in Portland OR to get some inspiration. My favorite part of traveling is finding local cafe’s to cozy up in and they are abundant in this city. At an average of $1-4 for a cup of coffee or a latte, Coffee shops are a great local activity for under $10.
Powells books is a Portland institution. Literally one of the best book stores in the world. Its massive and you could spend a whole day there lost in the shelves. Heck, I know I have! Because Powells buys and sells used books you can easily grab a good read for under $10 and stop in at their coffee shop and grab a chai tea, coffee or local pastry!
(Photo credit google)
8. The Grotto
The Grotto is actually a property owned by the Catholic Church. It’s got beautiful gardens and great views of the city! They also put on a fabulous Christmas show and light display if you’re ever in the city for the holidays.
(Photo credit Matthew, my husband)
9. Thrift/ vintage shopping
OK I LOVE thrifting. It is one of the great joys of my life. Portland is absolutely riddled with vintage and thrift stores. My personal favorites are Artifact on Division and Vintage Pink on SE Hawthorn. Honestly you could just start at SE 12th and Hawthorn and walk up the street. There must be half a dozen thrift stores on Hawthorn a lone. I will put together an official list of thrift and vintage shops later. For now I really recomend checking a few out. I’ve found SO many treasures just perusing the hole in the wall stores in my neighborhood.
(Photo above is of Artifact they have lots of gorgeous and quirky items for under $10 my friend Morgan bought that white hand shaped bowl for $6)
When I first moved to Portland mapquest was my friend. This city is laid out as if a two year old scribbled on a peice of paper and that’s how they decided to plan the streets. Naturally, I let my phone die one day and had to navigate home from the office without my map. I stumbled upon signs for a tea shop and decided to follow my whimsey. That’s when I found Jasmin Pearl. Jasmin Pearl is an artisinal tea shop in one of the east side’s more industrial neighborhoods. They have hundreds of currated tea blends and you can taste them for free! Their staff is AMAZING! So knowledgeable and just genuinely exceptional. For less than $5 you can get a pot of tea for two and another $3-4 will buy you a few ounces of their artisanal blends.
Drop a comment and let me know if this is something you’d like me to do in every city I visit? Would you like to read more of these 10 under $10 posts?
If you’re a travel blogger I’d love to hear your 10 under $10! If anyone from another city would like to compose a 10 under $10 list and want’s to do a cross posting or collaboration please reach out! I’d be excited to share affordable activities in other cities and help promote your blogs too!