Our downtown Portland concierge’s Top Picks
At Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland, we’re lucky to have our very own ambassador to the city in resident concierge Ryan Lettier, one of only two Les Clef d’Or members in Oregon. From shopping or sightseeing, happy hours or hiking, whatever you desire, Ryan is ready to create an epic itinerary for your visit.
Planning a special occasion or have a burning question for Ryan? Stop by the concierge desk, email, or call 1-503-228-1212.
Local tips for Portland visitors from Ryan:
Where are the best areas for shopping?
My favorite go to area for boutique and local shopping is NW 23rd St. also called Nob Hill. The entire street is lined with a great mixture of local and national retailers. It’s also a nice mix of men’s and woman’s shopping. I can’t help mention that the NW 23rd St. also has some excellent places for dining, or grabbing a cup of coffee.
Where are nice places to hike?
If you have access to a car, the best place to hike is the Columbia River Gorge, which is a 45 minute drive from Portland. The Gorge offers dozens of trails and all different skill levels. On a hot summer day, you cannot go wrong hiking the scenic Oneonta Falls. Another close second is Angel’s rest. If you do not have access to a car, Forest Park and Washington Park both offer scenic hikes and are much closer to the city.
What are the best live music venues nearby?
There are no shortage of places to see live music in Portland. From rock to underground, it’s here. Some of my personal favorites:
- Doug Fir - for that real Portland hipster vibe and local Portland talent
- Dante’s - best karaoke bar in Portland, and only place you can sing with a live band
- Crystal Ballroom - from grunge to 80’s several different levels of music genres
- Wonder Ballroom - attracts local talent and bands coming onto the music scene – true Portland vibe
What are the best nearby restaurants?
We are fortunate to be in an excellent location for some great dining options. While Portland is no stranger to good food, some of the best is just outside our front door. Some personal favorites:
- Q - Romantic atmosphere serving Pacific Northwest cuisine, also offers an extensive Oregon wine list
- Southpark Seafood - Locally owned, menu updated daily, and contemporary atmosphere with outdoor seating
- Tasty n Alder - American menu that changes seasonally with industrial chic atmosphere (no reservations accepted)
- SuperBite - Small plates, farm to table tapas menu with inventive cocktails, and lively atmosphere
What’s the best brewery?
A short distance from our front door are the Brewery Blocks. Home to some of the best breweries in Portland. This makes it easy to stumble from one great brewery right into another! Some of the more popular spots within the Brewery Blocks are: Fat Heads, 10 Barrel, Deschutes, Rogue and Kells Brew Pub.
Best day trips from the city?
My absolute favorite day trip is to the Willamette Valley. I love that in about an hour you can be out of the city noise and completely surrounded by rolling hills, never ending rows of trees, various mountain tops and some wonderful Pinot Noir. Some of the best Pinot in the United States is just an hour away! It’s a day trip that never gets old and you never have to visit the same winery twice.
What’s one thing I should not miss out on while I am in Portland?
One thing I found that Portlanders are very proud of are their bridges. On a nice day, stroll down to the riverfront and you will see various bridges stretching across the Willamette River all in different architectural styles. It’s fascinating to see how the architectural styles changed over the decades as modes of transportation did as well, from the days of trains, to ships to cars. A personal favorite of mine is the Steel Bridge. The Steel Bridge is a pedestrian friendly bridge that allows you to get up-close and see history firsthand and the detail put into it.
Where should I walk my dog?
Located one block from the hotel is a small concrete pocket park. If grass is a requirement, the park blocks are a short walk from the hotel. Ask your concierge for detailed directions. Don’t forget to see the front desk for doggie bags, just in case!
Best coffee in Portland?
Just like wine, beer and rain, there is no shortage of great coffee shops. Some of my personal favorite spots around Portland are: Barista and Heart. I love getting a grab and go cup of jo at Barista, and if I have time to sit down and enjoy it, Heart is the place to be. I love the overpowering odor of coffee beans the moment you walk in! It’s also a great place just to bring a book or check your email. The constant flow of patrons, makes for excellent people watching.
On a rainy day, what are the best things to do?
There are no shortage of rainy days in Portland. I find the best way to stay dry and occupied is to take a trip to Powell’s. Powell’s is the largest independent chain of bookstores in the world. Four levels and a city block wide. If it’s in print, it’s at Powell’s.
Best family-friendly activities in or near Portland?
The OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) is a short distance from the hotel. Having visited it myself, OMSI is not just for the kiddos, adults are sure have a great time too. However, if you are traveling with kids, the streetcar is a great way to get to OMSI. Not to mention the kids get a train ride along the way. On the opposite side of town is the Oregon Zoo, and Japanese Garden. Both destinations are fantastic for all ages.
Where’s the best place to rent a bike?
The hotel has a select number of PUBLIC bikes that guests can check out free of charge. Portland also participates in bike share programs like other cities. These bikes are always available to rent for a small fee. As a very bike friendly town, many of the streets have dedicated bike lanes. My favorite area to ride is along the riverfront away from traffic. Washington Park also is a nice spot, just be warned there are hills involved with going up to Washington Park, but very much worth it, once you reach the top.
For more great recommendations, be sure to stop by the concierge desk during your stay to make the most of your visit. Also, be sure to check out these articles Ryan was featured in:
These Hotel Employees Are Here to Help You Catch a Buzz - Supercall
What is it like to be a hotel concierge? - HCareers
Exclusive Interview with Les Clefs d’Or Concierge Ryan Lettier – The Concierge
Hotel Vintage Concierge’s Guide to Portland, OR – Huffington Post