Where Portlanders Go on Sunny Days, According to Lyft Data

Charley Locke - Feb 13, 2024

Lyft riders know: It’s easy to stay home, but it’s more fun to experience the world with friends and family. This guide uses aggregated rideshare data to find the restaurants, bars, and other destinations that Lyft customers love — and inspire your next trip out.

With clouds covering the skies about 80% of the year, Portland’s reputation as a drizzly city is well-deserved. But the rain cloud comes with a silver lining: In Portland, sunshine is worth celebrating. So where do Portlanders enjoy those rare rays? According to Lyft’s data, they go to beer gardens, ice cream shops, and expansive patios. Here are some of Portland’s most popular sunny-day spots.

Popular Portland destinations, by share of Lyft rides on sunny days

Get the (Ice Cream) Scoop: Salt & Straw and Fifty Licks

There’s a plethora of fresh, artisanal ice creameries in Portland — and every local has a personal favorite. Two top contenders are Salt & Straw and Fifty Licks

You may have sampled Salt & Straw at outposts around the country, but there’s nothing like tasting all the flavors at its hometown shops. Located on the edge of the lively Pearl District, the NW location is a perfect sunny-day stop on the way to Washington Park. Classic favorites include marionberry and sea salt, but the seasonal picks, from sour cherry pie in the summer to pinot poached pear in the fall, are worth sampling as well. 

On the East Side, head to Buckman neighborhood favorite Fifty Licks, which has a wide variety of unusual flavors — mango sticky rice, anyone? — and vegan options. (Less adventurous lickers can always stick to elevated classics, like Oregon strawberry or chocolate coconut caramel.) Warning: The smell of freshly pressed gluten-free waffle cones may prove irresistible, even for the staunchest cup-loyalist.

The Food Cart Obsession: Hawthorne Asylum and Cartopia

You want sushi, but your friends crave barbecue? Need chicken tenders for the kids but want shawarma for the adults? When variety must be on the menu, Portlanders head to the city’s renowned food carts. These carts (careful, don’t call them food trucks) don’t move but rather stick together in “pods,” which makes it easy to sample dishes from all over the world.

Hawthorne Asylum, centrally located in Buckman on the East Side, hosts more than 20 food carts, a full-service bar, and plenty of outdoor seating. Behind the barbed-wire walls, locals dine on noodle soup at Burmese Delight, savory waffle sandwiches at Smaaken, and poké bowls from Rollin’ Fresh. (Yes, the Asylum carts are particularly popular on sunny days, but the covered picnic tables and huge fire pit welcome diners whatever the weather.) 

For a beloved food-cart classic, head to Cartopia, located next to the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood’s charming rose gardens. It boasts lots of Latin options: Try a barbacoa burrito at El Brasero or the wood-fired wings with aji amarillo at Chicken and Guns. Don’t forget churros and fruit cups with chamoy at Krazy Cups for dessert.

A Pitcher in the Sun: 10 Barrel Brewing and Little Beast Brewing

If a sunny afternoon makes you yearn for a brew, head to one of the city’s acclaimed breweries. Two particularly popular options: 10 Barrel Brewing Co. in the Pearl District and Little Beast Brewing in Richmond, which both offer ample patio seating and a wide selection, from stouts to guava sours to a staggering number of IPAs. Little Beast’s kitchen partner, Lawless Barbecue, serves up chopped brisket and pulled pork along with your ale. 10 Barrel’s rooftop patio affords a beautiful view of downtown. (Heads up: If the Trailblazers, Thorns, or Ducks are playing, make sure to get there before 4 p.m., when the place fills up.)

Rooftop Vibes: Tope and Departure

Where better to enjoy a clear-sky sunset than a rooftop bar? Tope is an Old Town favorite, located atop The Hoxton hotel. Toast your view of the Willamette River with a tequila-based cocktail, like the house spicy margarita. The menu offers a taste of local flora and fauna, from wild mushrooms to Lan-Roc Farms pork chops. 

Located atop The Nines hotel downtown, Departure has a sleek rooftop scene along with an expansive pan-Asian menu (with a Portland twist — it’s possibly the only place in town to serve both Northwest oysters and dim sum). For the full Departure experience, opt for the three-course Experience Menu.

Warm Weather Tacos: Papi Chulo’s and Güero

What can we say? When the sun comes out, Portlanders start jonesing for Mexican food. Papi Chulo’s (in the Pearl District) and Güero (Kerns) are beloved neighborhood joints with outdoor spaces. 

Papi Chulo’s is a classic taqueria that specializes in birria, a Mexican meat stew made with blended chile peppers. Try an order of birria tacos or a birria burrito, or opt for other favorites, including grilled shrimp or poblano peppers.

Güero is known for its tortas, or sandwiches, including the Jaliscan classic ahogada (pork, habanero slaw, and cilantro) for meat-eaters and the tasty refrito (refried beans, greens, poblano crema, cotija cheese, and a slew of toppings) for veggie-lovers. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, don’t miss the house horchata — or stroll two blocks down to Fifty Licks for a scoop of ice cream afterward.

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