Nourishing Cities: Portland Edition

Hello, my name is Haley, and I am a student at the University of Washington interning at Moonlit Skincare this semester.

Following Oahu, Hawai’i, we are bringing it back to the PNW for Portland, Oregon. Whether you’re in Portland for a midday adventure or a weekend road trip, here are a few places that will take you through all the wonderful spots the city has to offer.

1. Tom McCall Waterfront Park

The Waterfront Park is a 1.5 mile park that houses waterfront restaurants, shops, boat watching, and most importantly: views. This is a must-see spot that is great for a stroll through the park or a bike ride. If you are visiting during the spring, the cherry blossoms create a picturesque view, making it the perfect place for a sunset picnic. 

*Moonlit Tip: There is a Portland Saturday Market, which is the largest arts and crafts fair in America. Although it is only open March through December on weekends, I recommend stopping by if you’re visiting during that time. 

Cherry blossoms at Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland

Picture via Pinterest

2. Powell’s Books

Powell’s Books is the largest new and used bookstore in the world located in the heart of the city. It is home to millions of books and the perfect place to find a good read for the trip back home. There are nine rooms available to the public, encompassing categories such as literature, children’s and young adult, mystery, romance, health and wellness, entertainment, gardening, and so much more. 

*Moonlit Tip: If you like to collect valuable books, there is an impressive collection of rare books such as autographed first editions and other antiquarian books. These collectable volumes range from the first edition of The Lord of the Rings to a signed novel by Albert Camus. Visit the Rare Book Room in the bookstore for this collection! 


girl browsing books at Powell's Books bookstore

Picture via Embrace Someplace

3. Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden is a haven filled with streams, walkways, and a tea house. Founded in 1963 as a symbol for healing during World War II, the place serves as a place of harmony and peace. There are five separate garden styles, each creating an intimate, sensory experience.  

*Moonlit Tip: If you would like a more in-depth experience, there is an option for guided tours at an additional cost with admission. The garden also hosts frequent events such as autumn moon-viewing nights, which feature tea, live music, and seasonal Japanese dishes. 

antique gate at Portland Japanese Garden

Picture via Travel Portland

4. Voodoo Doughnut 

Your trip to Portland is not complete without a visit to Voodoo Doughnuts. From their unique flavors to their quirky interior, this doughnut shop attracts thousands of people daily. The line wraps around the block as customers come from near and far to get their hands on the freshly-made bakery goods. 

*Moonlit Tip: My greatest guilty pleasures to order are the “Oh Captain, My Captain” and the “Apple Fritter”. The “Oh Captain, My Captain” includes a layer of Cap’n Crunch cereal on top of vanilla frosting. The “Apple Fritter'' is a great vegan option that has apple chunks and cinnamon covered in a glaze.


Voodoo doughnut against brick wall with Voodoo Doughnut sign

Picture via Pinterest

5. Cheese & Crack Snack Shop

Cheese & Crack is a local restaurant that started as a neighborhood truck but is now recognized on a much larger scale. The restaurant carries various cheese plate options, sandwiches, and ice cream. If you’re a foodie looking for an instagrammable place, this is the place for you! 

*Moonlit Tip: I highly recommend the Sampler Plate and the Classic Mac & Cheese. The Brie Brûlée is a game changer when it comes to cheese plates. This is also a great place to get inspiration for your next cheese board creation.

cheese plate with assortment of cheese, meat, and condiments

Picture via Cheese & Crack Snack Shop

6. Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen

Luc Lac offers authentic Vietnamese dishes at an affordable price. They are known for their pho made from their grandmother’s secret family recipe. They also offer a variety of dishes besides pho such as banh mi, salads, and vermicelli bowls.

*Moonlit Tip: Visit during their happy hour (4-7pm) where you can try anything on their small-plates menu for $2! This is a great way to try new dishes while experiencing the wonderful Vietnamese flavors.

chopsticks holding up pho noodles

Picture via Luc Lac