Portland, Oregon by bicycle: Things to do (and famous things to avoid)

Portland is one of the best cities in the world to ride a bike, and Portland native Joel Shupack runs one of the coolest places you can rent bikes from.

Based near NE Alberta St in the hip arts district of Portland, Everybody's Bike Rentals can recommend how you avoid the tourists in the "bike capital of the US".

To give you a head start, here are five things Joel recommends you don't do in Portland, and the five things you should do instead.

1. SKIP: Voodoo Donuts

Joel: "Yes, everyone probably told you to go to Voodoo Donuts. And yes, they have donuts in the shape of a d**k. If that's your thing, maybe this article isn't for you."

GO TO: Tonalli Donuts


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"For the rest of you, Tonalli is an old-school donut counter that looks like it hasn't changed in a generation. It's refreshingly no-nonsense despite being in the heart of the Alberta Arts District. The donuts are cheap and great. They even sell cheeseburgers, though something tells me they may be a little suspect…"

"Also check out Pip's Donuts for their fabulous tiny donuts with several varieties of house-made chai."


Tonalli Donuts, 2805 NE Alberta St; find them on Facebook

Pip's Donuts, 4759 NE Fremont St, also on Facebook

Line up at Voodoo Donuts at 22 SW 3rd Avenue, Portland, voodoodoughnut.com

2. SKIP: Stumptown Coffee

GO TO: Extracto Coffee

Joel: "Extracto is the coffee you want. They specialise in single-origin pour-over that will rev you up and delight your tongue with rich, complex flavour.

"Don't miss Ville Velo right around the corner for excellent pastries. If you get a little too revved up, Kings of Canna is a great pot store (it's legal here)  that will certainly mellow you out."

Extracto Coffee, 1465 NE Prescott St, extractocoffee.com

Stumptown Coffee, all over Portland  but importantly, now with a location at the airport; stumptown.com

3. SKIP: Gawking at Multnomah Falls

GO TO: Silver Falls

Silver Falls.

Silver Falls. Photo: iStock

Joel: "Multnomah Falls is probably the most iconic waterfall in Oregon. It's visible right off the highway and most tourists just drive up, park, take a bunch of pictures and turn around.

"Instead, get a good look at Multnomah Falls on a postcard in any gift shop then drive down to Silver Falls. It's a little further from town (1½ to 2 hours drive) but the park has a gorgeous 14-kilometre hiking trail that passes 10 waterfalls, with one you can actually walk behind. It's a fairly flat hike with options for a shorter loop. They also have campgrounds and cabins you can rent out.

"There are also tons of great hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. Eagle Creek, Angels Rest, Hamilton Mountain are a few favourites".

Silver Falls: Silver Falls State Park, near Silverton.

4. SKIP: Tasty n Sons


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Joel: "OK, who are we kidding, Tasty n Sons is incredible. But if you're looking for weekend brunch, you had better bring a good book because you'll be waiting in line for a while.

GO TO: Seastar Bakery

"Seastar Bakery is an adorable new bakery that specialises in what they call 'advanced toasts'. Think homemade bread with all sorts of delightful toppings: fried egg with garlicky steamed greens & white cheddar or maybe peanut butter, Egyptian dukkah, raw honey and sea salt. So good."

Seastar Bakery,1603 NE Killingsworth St, seastarbakery.com

Tasty n Sons, 3808 N Williams Ave C, tastynsons.com

5. SKIP: Powell's Books

Joel: "Nothing compares to Powell's Books. Just go there."


5. SKIP: Salt & Straw Ice Cream

GO TO: U-Pick Berry Farms


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Joel: "Now this is admittedly quite a stretch, but instead of waiting for an hour to sample strawberry balsamic black pepper ice cream, go easy on the diabetes and head straight to the source.

"Sauvie Island is a large island just north of Portland that is mainly idyllic farmland (not to mention a nude beach). It'll take you just as long to drive there as it would to wait in line for Salt & Straw.

"On many of the farms you can pick your own berries which is super fun and delicious. My favourite is Blue Bee Farms who offer no-spray blueberries late June to August. Also, Kruger's Farm has summer concerts on Thursday evenings with all sorts of bluegrass and Americana groups."


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"Then you should come back to town and try Salt & Straw. We hate them but their ice cream is actually unbelievably good."

U-Pick Berry Farms, Sauvie Island, Portland; bluebeefarm.net; krugersfarm.com 

Salt and Straw have various locations around Portland; saltandstraw.com

If you want to find out more about the coolest places the tourists don't go in Portland, take a tour or rent a bike and explore Portland independently using Everybody's excellent and often humorous online tips, which mean you'll be hitting the most unique, quirky and often delicious places, that only the locals know about.

They'll also provide special bike maps to guide you around Portland's streets, which have been specially designed for cyclists.

pdxbikerentals.com; contact pdxbikerentals@gmail.com

The writer travelled as a guest of Travel Portland and Travel Oregon