Oregon in the Fall: Things to do in Silverton + Portland, Oregon

Last October we celebrated our four year anniversary in Oregon.  We found a deal through Travelzoo to stay at the beautiful Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton which was just about an hour from Portland.  Portland has been on one of my must see cities on the west coast so it was a lot of fun to finally visit the eclectic town.

Driving from Sacramento, we passed through the breathtaking view of Mount Shasta.  We have had the privilege of snowboarding there once while my sister in law was attending college.  It was the best snow we ever experienced. 

About 8 hours from home, we finally arrived at our lovely stay.  The Oregon Garden Resort had lovely features that created the feel of an upscale bed and breakfast but with all the modern amenities you would find at a new resort.  It was pretty perfect (and a killer deal!). 

One of the main features of the resort is their access to an 80-acre garden.  We enjoyed a view into the gardens at every meal, easily viewed at their quaint little restaurant.

It was not hard to fall in love with Oregon and their lush trees and flowers everywhere we went.  Just walking the grounds in between the rooms were picture worthy.  I can only dream of living in such a city this green year around.

On our first day there, we headed out to explore the 80-acres of garden.  We easily spent a few hours wandering around, taking pictures, and enjoying the sites.  I loved that we had the freedom to come and go through the gardens during our stay, providing a fun excursion without even leaving our hotel. The Oregon Garden can also be visited without a stay at the resort.

The week before our trip I had just finished the chapter on green living in the book Seven, so the green state of Oregon was very inspiring.  Look at that compost pile!  

Each section of the garden had a different theme and design providing much to look at.

Later that day we headed out to a few places around Silverton.  We set up a picnic lunch at the Silver Falls State Park.

We enjoyed our staple picnic meal--cheese, salami, crackers, chocolate, and Martinelli's all packed in my favorite little picnic tote.

After lunch we went on a little walk to the South Falls (which was recommended to us by the park ranger as a mild hike to the falls).  They had a darling little gift shop, bathroom amenities, and plenty of places to picnic.  It was like a hike and waterfall mini resort!

The walk was probably about less than a mile with a path to walk underneath the falls!

When we returned to our hotel, part of our Travelzoo deal included dinner.  So we got ourselves dressed for a celebratory anniversary meal.

The next day we headed out to Portland.  We planned our entire day to see as much as we could.  Our first stop was to the International Rose Test Garden.  If we had more time, all in the same area was an arboretum, children's museum, park, archery spot, and more!  It was like it's own little tucked away wilderness wonderland!

We anticipated since it was October, that the roses would not be much in bloom anymore.  But as one of the top rated places to visit in Portland, we thought we would give it a try anyways.  We were pleasantly surprised to see quite a few roses still in bloom.

Next up was downtown Portland.  I loved the fact that downtown was a quick 5-10 minute drive from wilderness wonderland.  I believe at the end of the trip I decided that Portland was my dream town to live in.  Morning hike plus a stroll downtown all in driving distance?  Yes, please.

We stopped in at Powell's City of Books.  Another must see.  This book store had multiple stories divided up by section.  It was a monstrosity of books to say the least.  A book lover could easily spend an entire day here.  

From there we decided to pick up lunch at a local food truck.  

Not sure what a saltado is but it was delicious.  It was like a Peruvian version of Adalberto's California burrito but in sandwich form.  Fresh potatoes, steak, and some finger licking good sauce.  Thank you Portland.

We then headed across the street to Voodoo Doughnut.  And there was a line at 12:00 in the afternoon.  Though no longer the only location of this tourist attraction, the Portland location was the first.

We had to go with the iconic voodoo doughnut but Brent's peanut butter Oreo version was quite possibly the best doughnut I have ever had in my life.

After filling our tummies, we stopped in at the Lan Su Chinese Garden.  This was our one spot where we had to pay admission but it was worth it.  I have a thing for flowers and plants so I thoroughly enjoyed this garden tucked away right in the heart of downtown.  

It is not as big as it looks from pictures but it has a cute little tea house and is about a 45 minute stroll.

From there we headed out towards Bridal Veli to see Multnomah Falls.  Driving there, this grouping of trees caught my eye.  It was the epitome of what I imagined Portland in the fall to look like.  I was not disappointed.

And the view of Mount Hood from the freeway was pretty unbelievable.  To imagine seeing such a site on one's daily commute blew my mind.  

We arrived at Multnomah Falls and Lodge (Which also could be viewed from the freeway!  Crazy!) for a hike to the top.

The view from the bottom.

We then headed up to the bridge.

The view down from the bridge.

From there we took the hike that was a little over a mile to the top.  For a person who is pretty active, the hike felt a lot longer than a mile long.  It was definitely a hard walk with a heavy camera bag hanging on my side.  But it was still well worth the workout. 

Though I felt like I was dying, the views were not bad at all.

And finally when we reached the top, the view down was intense.  We were very, very high.

After our hike to the top, we enjoyed a quite and restful dinner at the Multnomah Falls Lodge.  From one of the rooms you can even see a view of the falls!

We enjoyed a cozy room with a fireplace.  After a chilly and tiring hike, the warm atmosphere was perfect.

On our way back to Portland, we planned to stop at the Portland Aerial Tram after dark to catch the nighttime city view.  For $4 you get a round trip ride on the tram.

The view going up of the hospital/school the tram drops you off at.

We were told by the guy running the tram to head off to the right when we got to the top for a great view of the city.  He was right.

We may have not seen nearly anything close to all that we could see in Portland, but seeing the whole city like this gave me a little glimpse of all that the city has to offer.

We had one last spot to hit before heading back to Silverton.  On our drive we spotted this famous Portland sign.  

We ended our visit to Portland with a stop at Salt and Straw for some fresh made ice cream.  It was late for us...10:00 maybe...on a Monday night.  But there was still a line out the door.  And though I was so tired, it was well worth the last stop.

The sea salt with caramel was amazing.

We headed home the next day, with a photo stop at the Gallon House Bridge.

With just a short few days in Oregon, we experienced and saw so much.  Oregon is a beautiful state and I hope to make it back again soon.  People were friendly, cared about the earth, and everywhere you looked were face to face with the gorgeous view of nature.  A perfect location to celebrate another year of our love.


  1. I love Oregon! What beautiful pictures! My cousin lived in Astoria in the 90's. They recently retired from the Coast Guard and returned and bought a home just outside Portland. They said they are living the dream out there. We hope to visit them. I will definitely have to visit the falls! Wow just amazing!

  2. Ooooh I love it! What a fantastic vacay! I recently pinned Multnomah Falls and somewhere I'd like to go in the US. It's just gorgeous! {I've pinned your post too so that I know where to stay!}

  3. Lucky them! It definitely is one of the prettiest cities I have ever been to! You definitely should visit!

  4. A must see on the West Coast! I cannot wait for you to make it to my side of the world! After 8+ hours from home to Portland we were so close to Seattle and Canada! Both on my list of places to visit someday. Though I am sure that is very similar with Europe...so close yet so far! So many places to see, so little time! I guess being in California and the fact that it is so large, growing up, so many of our travels were in state. All this to say, I enjoy gushing over travel with you!

  5. I can gush over travel all day long! Ha! It's my greatest passion, besides my family! :o) So many places to see and so little time is right, too! If only I could find some way to make our life's work be travel - now that would be perfection!

  6. We went to Portland in May of '12. http://sundrenchedmoments.blogspot.com/search?q=portland As I read through I was hoping you'd gone to Salt and Straw!!! Soo good! Have you read Robin Jones Gunn's Glenbrooke series? One of the books has a scene that takes place at Multnomah Falls, just one of the reasons I was excited to visit them. They as well as the entire state of Oregon are amazingly beautiful and YES green!! So much more so than Colorado!! I loved every minute of our time there. When you go back, Le Pigeon is an excellent restaurant and very worth going to! I think we may have even been able to get a restaurant.com certificate to use there to make it more affordable. Totally worth it though!! You guys did things that we didn't do but we are planning to go back too so I'll have to keep them in mind! Kelly

  7. p.s. Crema is a GREAT coffee shop/bakery and we stopped at a bunch of the falls and took mini hikes all the way out to Multnomah - fantastic!!

  8. I have not read the Glenbrooke series but I was a bit obsessed with the Christy Miller series!!! Your trip looked like a lot of fun...and taking the train from San Francisco to Portland! How fun! Colorado is also on my list of to see places one day! I am sure it is so beautiful in person!

  9. Oh man...I know I have grown up being so close to Tahoe...but I would choose Portland over Tahoe any day! But I suppose you are a lucky girl to get to experience living in both! Just a tad jealous! ;)

  10. I loved seeing "my city: through your eyes! You went to all my favorites :) I love the fall in Portland: the colors, the weather, the coziness. What a great post! If I didn't live here, I would want to now!

  11. Portland is so amazing! It's the only other city I'd consider living in besides San Francisco. I could spend hours in Powell's, and Voodoo has the best vegan doughnuts ever. Your trip looks awesome!

  12. Yes, such a lovely place. You would do Portland well and add just a little bit more joy to their adorable town!

  13. Thank you! Glad I could make a local proud! I tried to research as much as I could to get the most out of our short trip!

  14. My husband and I did the exact trip you did and we live in Elk Grove.. In fact we bought another Travelzoo to do it again this March. Your pictures are great. I hope you make it back there again. we always stop in Grants Pass and stay at Motel del Rogue..It's just a funky, cool motel with wonderful owners. Happy travels.


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