I Fell In Love With Portland! (Photo Diary & Recap)

Oh em GEE! I just got back from Portland and I'm having serious post-vacay depression. While I originally thought it was going to be a casual getaway, I ended up never wanting to leave. 

My boyfriend Andrew and I didn't really have a major reason to go to Portland. Usually when traveling, it's either because we're attending an event, visiting someone, or because they have something we can plan our trip around. 

Portland, however, was an out-of-the-blue choice. We went into this knowing very little about the Portland scene (you know, besides the stereotypes from Portlandia) so it was beyond exciting!

Because we weren't going in with any expectations, our main intention for this trip was just to relax and let loose with one another. No stress, no responsibilities, just going on adventures and making memories. And that's exactly what we did! Instead of trying to pack our day with touristy activities and an over-the-top itinerary, we just sort of ate, wandered around within nature, tried to absorb the vibe, and enjoyed each other's company. 

While it's hard to put it into words, this trip was a real game-changer. It taught both of us so much about ourselves, our relationship, and just what we want and need out of life. When you live in smoggy, dry, overpopulated California, your soul can easily be filled with useless clutter. But Portland really gave us the opportunity to reflect on everything.

To recap our ethereal trip, I thought I'd do a photo diary a recap! If you're more into food, I did a separate post for my favorite vegan eats in Portland.

In the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty of PDX!


We arrived in Portland in the late afternoon, eager to wander but also out-of-this-world exhausted. After we got our rental car, we quickly dropped our luggage off at our ADOOORABLE AirBNB. Take a look at the cuteness for yourself:

While we typically use AirBNBs as more of a crash pad, this one was more of our aesthetic. Because of the cleanliness, coziness, and overall attention to detail, we never wanted to leave the apartment! 

She had Netflix, Hulu, and an Apple TV with over 250 modern movies downloaded onto it. After a long day of adventuring, we found ourselves taking advantage of that. 

Every morning we woke up to the faint sound of birds chirping, cars lightly passing by, and white noise. The comforter was thicker than four of our at home comforters combined, making us feel like we were wrapped inside a burrito every morning and night. 

All over the apartment were the cutest details that I really believe captured the essence of PDX. From the sea green and blue walls, to the old books, to the greenery all over the place: it really made us feel at home.

Honestly, I'm so happy we got the chance to stay at this AirBNB! For just a few days, we felt like we were locals. 

Most of our days were filled with immersing in the greenery of the local forests and parks, which turned out to be exactly what we needed. Like, there's literally no greenery in California.

We actually ended up taking a pretty decent selfie on our new camera too, which is practically impossible considering it's so detailed!

While most people think of me as more of a city gal, I felt like a forest fairy on every hike we went on. 

When hiking through Forest Park, we stumbled upon "Witches Castle," an ancient, allegedly haunted castle in the middle of the woods. It was a great photo opportunity for me to show off my Unique Vintage dress, but it did have an eery vibe!

Most of our best outings came from us just embracing the unknown. When driving to and from Multnomah Falls (huge tourist spot), we got off at random exits to explore small towns, barren campgrounds, and secret paths. It felt so freeing, to be quite honest with ya! 

One of the places we ended up was "Wyeth." It's so unknown that there's not even one picture when you go to the location on Instagram! It was a fishing spot that looked sort of spooky at first, but once you kept driving, you got to see this beautiful view without anyone getting in your way:

Stunning, right? The thing is, that's literally the ENTIRE state of Oregon. While most states have a few beautiful parks, Oregon is just in a constant state of beauty. Everywhere we went was absolutely gawwwwgeous. 

We came across so many little woodland creatures.

I'm talking caterpillars, doggies, squirrels, tadpoles, kitties and even lizards! 

And while most Pacific Northwesterners can't stand the constant rain, it's worth it. SOOOO. GREEN.

Here are some more stunning pictures of the forest adventures we went on:

But don't be fooled by the greenery. Downtown Portland is extremely lively and has so many must-go-to spots! 

One of them was Powell's Books.

Considering it's the largest independent bookstore in the world, we knew it was bound to be breathtaking. It's open late, has a coffee shop inside, and the best part? You can get books for super cheap here! They sell both new and used books of all conditions, so you never have to empty your bank account while you're here. It was the biggest bookstore I've been in and I wish I got the chance to experience it on a rainy day.

I loved how everything in Portland was so close to each other. Want to go downtown, to the suburbs, to a forest, and to a rural area all within a few hours? You can do exactly that. Because of this, it was so convenient to relax and hit all the spots we wanted.

On our last night in Portland, we saw the Rose Garden. And all I have to say is, "just wow." We got the chance to see acres of roses of every color and name, which sent shivers down my spine.

It was so romantic but also so heartbreaking. As I was admiring the beauty of the roses, I knew I wasn't ready to pack my bags and head back to SoCal. 

Now all I'm left thinking is, "When is my lease up? Can I move to Portland ASAP?" In the meantime, I'll be attempting to make the best of my life now.

I hope you liked my Portland recap and be sure to check out my "Vegan Eats In Portland" post!

Maria Elena

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