Portland is a great visiting town. Plan on riding transit (or getting a bike share) or walking around for the best experience. It may be rainy in November, but not terribly cold. Bring layers (like a scarf and hat in your bag) and a solid raincoat with a hood, and you should be just fine. Waterproof shoes are important, too, and I often keep a spare pair of socks on me for the end of the day. Here are some of my picks.
Food: any food cart pod is great, but there’s one I like a lot on Division and 12th, and on 28th and Alder. Try the Sabich sandwich at Wolf and Bear, or the curry poutine at Potato Champion. Other favorite cheap eats are Stella Taco (Alberta or Division), Boxer Ramen (downtown or Alberta), Cuban bowls at Cubo de Cuba (Hawthorne), or lentil soup and hummus at Dar es Salaam (Alberta). Hot chocolate at Alma is spectacular. If you find yourself near a New Seasons grocery store, the hot food is quite good, and there is always a place to sit.
Depending on how spendy you want to be, some good choices for nice dinner include Xico (fancy mexican), Accanto (nouveau Italian), and Eleni’s Philoxenia (delicious Greek!) or Bamboo Sushi (sustainable, wild caught etc.).
All the parks are great — consider the Sunday market at King School (still open in November?), where you can get a breakfast burrito, and there’s a playground nearby. PSU Farmer’s market is also amazing, both for fresh and prepared foods on Saturday morning. Laurelhurst park is lovely, and just a bit further afield, you can walk on Mount Tabor, which has lovely views of the city (and is an extinct volcano!!) If you have time (and a car!) on Friday or after the conference, take any trip into the Columbia River Gorge for hiking or just viewing, but know that weekends can be very crowded depending on the weather. A closer option is Forest Park, where you can go hiking and be back in the city drinking a coffee in no time.
Our big literature festival, Wordstock, will be taking place while you are here. Sneak away from the conference to the art museum, check out world class authors, and buy some books! See if there are any events also at the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) — very Portland. They even have a zine library!
Walk around Alberta street (from 15th to about 33rd) and get Salt and Straw Ice Cream (there’s one on Division too). Go ice skating in the Lloyd Center mall and eat popcorn. Wander around on Hawthorne street and go to the small Powell’s branch. Check out the bougie stores in the Pearl or on NE 23rd. Rent bikes and ride down the riverfront, or kayaks (if you feel very hearty).