You can’t visit the Pacific Northwest without a solo trip to Portland. After traveling solo in Seattle, visiting Portland is only an Amtrak ride away. For those who love good food and the outdoors, Portland has both. Plan your visit for a month to enjoy it!
Unlike my other solo travel guides, I worked remotely more than sightseeing on my solo trip to Portland. Yet these recommendations would be great for a lovely, solo weekend in Portland. Here’s what you should know when planning your visit.
Where to stay in Portland as a solo traveler
Lolo Pass became one of my top five favorite hostels in the U.S. It leans more hotel-like in the private rooms, yet they do have dorms. The showers have gentle water pressure with big beds to match the comfort in the private rooms.
I also fell in love with the first floor. Lolo Pass is one of the best choices for remote work. They offer a cafe and bar, making it easy to go from work to happy hour. Both food and drink options are reasonably priced for my budget and solo female travelers.
How to get around Portland traveling solo
Per most of my solo travel guides, I walked and used public transportation or rideshares to get around. However, since I have a friend in Portland, she did drive us to the waterfalls (keep reading below). But for the most part, I got my steps in and caught Ubers.
I quickly learned that you need a car to reach the more nature-based things in the Pacific Northwest! So if adventure activities are on your list, I suggest renting a car for your solo trip to Portland. The alternative is booking a tour on Viator or Airbnb Experiences to get to those destinations with a tour operator.
Where to eat and drink in Portland
Get wings for lunch at Fire on the Mountain
The chicken wings from Fire on the Mountain came highly recommended by the hostel staff – and they did not disappoint. There are multiple flavors and combinations to choose from, including Jamaican jerk, lime-cilantro, and bourbon chipotle. Fire on the Mountain also offers sandwiches and vegan options for solo travelers who do not want wings.
Be a plant-based foodie at Mama Dut
Plant-based foodies need to eat a meal at Mama Dut on their solo trip to Portland! They provide plant-based and vegan Vietnamese dishes that are savory and delicious. The chikn fried mushroom banh mi was my choice!
Go to happy hour at The Matador
On a Friday or Saturday night, The Matador is the place to be for drinks and small Mexican plates. The margaritas were my favorite, and I went to happy hour for the best deals. Reservations are necessary unless you want to wait 30 minutes or more.
Indulge in a savory or sweet brunch at Kingsland Kitchen
During my solo adventure to Portland, one of my favorite meals was brunch at Kingsland Kitchen. Located in downtown Portland, Kingsland’s brunch made my mouth drool. I ordered the fried chicken eggs benedict and a fellow Black solo female traveler I met ordered the french toast. If I had the room, I would have eaten them both.
Chill with outdoor patio vibes at Bar Dune
Bar Dune was a welcomed surprise on one of my walks near my hostel. One night I tried a spicy tequila and cucumber mixed cocktail and a mezcal flight another night. It has the 70s, groovy vibe and atmosphere that is great for a girl’s night if you meet other solo travelers on your trip to Portland.
Food truck hop at Hawthorne Asylum
Hawthorne Asylum needs to be on your list for solo travelers who love food trucks! As a food truck court, you can find a dish to fit any appetite at one of their 21 options. Solo travelers can choose from Thai food, drink boba tea, sushi, Korean cuisine, Philly cheesesteaks, etc. So come hungry and sit outside to enjoy the atmosphere too!
Large pizza slices reign supreme at Sizzle Pie
Within walking distance from Lolo Pass is the pizza spot Sizzle Pie. Vegans and vegetarian solo travelers can also find some pizza slices for their dietary restrictions. Even though I ordered pizza, the garlic knots at Sizzle Pie stole the show. And the chocolate chip cookie was a sweet dessert to top it off.
What to do on your solo trip to Portland
Take in the Multnomah Falls
Outdoor adventurers will love Multnomah Falls, which is 30 minutes from Portland. To experience Multnomah requires a bit of walking but not any extreme or extraneous hiking. I rode with a friend who lives in Portland. However, the Columbia Gorge Express is an option for solo travelers who do not rent a car.
Visit the Japanese gardens
Another highlight is the Japanese gardens. This is one of the most calming things to do in Portland. It costs $19, and tours are available by appointment. I would love to return to see it in the summer!
Hang out at Concourse Coffee
Are you looking for a little respite during your solo trip to Portland? If so, head to Concourse Coffee. One of the few Black-owned coffee shops in Portland, Concourse Coffee is a laid-back cafe. It is also ideal for solar travelers who may also be remote workers. So get a nice pastry with a cup of coffee or tea and chill out or bring your laptop to work.
Get lost in Powell’s City of Books
A bibliophile’s dream is brushing their fingers along the spines of Powell’s City of Books. It is the largest bookstore globally, with over one million used and new books. Honestly, I could have spent days here as a book lover myself. But, instead, I think it is one of the best things to do alone in Portland!
Safety as a Black solo female traveler in Portland
I would be lying if I didn’t admit I had some hesitations about visiting Portland. While it is more liberal than other areas of Oregon, its history is not known for being welcoming. In addition, the population is very white, no matter how “inclusive” they claim to be now.
Thankfully, I had no issues traveling in Portland as a Black solo female traveler. While this does not mean racism doesn’t exist in Portland, it can be an option for other Black travelers. I even met another Black solo female traveler when I stayed at Lolo Pass. I don’t believe in letting racism stop me from traveling, and neither should you!
Solo traveling in Portland isn’t too bad at all!
My solo trip to Portland was at the end of my 4-month adventure around the U.S. I would love to go back and visit for longer, or even take a trip in the summer. It is one of those U.S cities where the weather does indeed matter. There was a mix of rain, sleet, and a hail storm when I visited in April.
However, I still think it makes for a great U.S solo trip! The food scene is doing all the right things, especially with brunch and Asian cuisine. I would love to go back and try more of the restaurants and visit more markets.
Seattle is so close to Portland! Add it to your itinerary and read my solo travel guide for Seattle here.