I’ve lived in Oregon for most of my life and feel like I have seen a lot of this wonderful state, but I always feel like there is so much more to discover. My friend and blogger, Brittany (pumpsandplaid.com) has also spent most of her life in the Pacific Northwest in Washington. We started talking and quickly realized there was SO much of the Pacific Northwest we truly haven’t explored and we wanted to see more. We began researching other areas outside of Portland and Seattle to explore. Our first stop was McMinnville Oregon.
Wine tasting is a huge part of the Willamette Valley, and I’m SO happy about it. I always ended up in McMinnville after a lovely day of wine tasting. After my trip, I realized this humble city has SO much more to offer. McMinnville lies southwest of Portland (about 1 hr drive) at the edge of the Willamette Valley. It’s a quaint small town community, but with big city quality restaurants, events, and attractions. Brittany and I connected with the team at Visit McMinnville to learn more about McMinnville and all the amazing things it has to offer. Even if you’ve been to McMinnville before, go back and visit some of the incredible businesses in McMinnville, you will LOVE it.
Food and Drink
I’m a self-proclaimed foodie, and to be candid, that’s often my biggest drawback of small towns- lack of great restaurants. I’m here to say THAT IS NOT THE CASE in McMinnville. We had INCREDIBLE food. Truly, some of the best meals I’ve had in quite awhile. We didn’t try every restaurant, but I can’t wait to go back to try more! (note: wineries are in their own list further down the post.)
Community Plate: If you are in search of a beautiful Instagram worthy, cozy coffee shop- this is your spot. Not only is the coffee and vibe amazing- so is the food. I could have spent hours in this amazing little spot. I wanted to try more of the menu, but the breakfast burrito with smoked pork was excellent. Don’t miss the coffee and baked goods as well. Great spot, great food- a must try.
Valley Commissary: The team at Valley Commissary are food geniuses. The innovative, fresh, local menu is outstanding. We ended up ordering quite a few things because we just couldn’t choose. I ordered a delicata squash salad with fried egg. (are you drooling yet?) and it was one of the best things I’ve had in a looooong time. The team at Visit McMinnville also said we should try the cheese curds- SO good. Stop by Valley Commissary for an excellent meal.
The Barberry: If you are looking for something a bit upscale for dinner, the Barberry is your place. I appreciated the local seasonal menu items. I had a beautiful Salmon dinner that was a perfect representation of the Pacific Northwest. We also had the oysters and bone marrow appetizers- we really went for it lol! Everything was classic, timeless and of course delicious.
Flag & Wire Coffee: If you are just looking for a high-quality coffee, Flag & Wire is for you. This coffee was SO delicious. The menu is simple, straightforward yet perfected. This would be a great spot for a coffee shop work session and your perfect cup of joe.
The wine industry is such a huge part of the culture in McMinnville. I’ve heard that there are over 600 labels in the Willamette Valley! You could go wine tasting once a month and still have years to try them all. There are some beautiful tasting rooms up on the vineyards themselves, but also tasting rooms in town you can walk to. These were some of my favorites.
Coeur de Terre Vineyard: This vineyard is located in what feels like a private valley about 10 minutes outside McMinnville. Driving up to the vineyard is a beautiful drive as well. The tasting room is a cozy, warm and inviting space. Brittany and I kept saying we felt like we were wine tasting in our dream living room. The tasting room also has a beautiful porch overlooking the valley. Finally, the wine. If you like light, clean, classic Pinot Noir- this place is for you. I loved all of the wines we tried, but the 2014 Heritage Reserve was my favorite.
Elizabeth Chambers: This tasting room is right in town, located inside a renovated power plant. I am obsessed with the industrial yet cozy feel. They also had a HUGE patio, twinkling lights, and fire pits. I think this will be my new go-to summer spot! The wines were also incredible. If you like wines from all areas of the Willamette Valley, you will love the selection at Elizabeth Chambers.
R. Stuart & Co: I don’t think I could ever say no to a good glass of bubbly! R. Stuart had some AMAZING sparkling wine. Their Bubbly label was delicious, I actually went back to pick some up for the holidays. The cute little tasting room is located in the heart of downtown McMinnville. Stop into R. Stuart, sit by the window and people watch as part of your perfect day in McMinnville.
Where to Stay:
There is one place that stands out above the rest in this list, especially if your goal is spending time in McMinnville. I’ve added a couple others that are worth thinking about but may take a bit more driving in your weekend adventure.
Atticus Hotel: If you are staying in McMinnville, this is truly the best option. The hotel perfection! It’s quintessentially Pacific Northwest. I honestly, can’t say enough good things about this place. The rooms have SO many thoughtful details. Local coffee, and tea, local artwork, etc etc. All the rooms have high-quality materials and you will feel so cozy in front of your fireplace (which every room has!). The lobby is also a dream. Stop in the Atticus and stay for the perfect weekend away.
Salishan: I wrote about my stay at the Salishan this summer, and this hotel is located about 1hr away from McMinnville. That said, if you are planning a weekend at the coast and the weather isn’t cooperating, a day in McMinnville would be perfect.
Overall, McMinnville has SO much more to offer than I originally thought. I had visited about 5-6 times before and never explored enough. Staying there for a weekend really opened my eyes to how special this little town really is. Next time are looking for a weekend away or even a day trip from Portland, try McMinnville. You will love the great food and drink, friendly people, and walkability of this charming Oregon town.
A huge thanks to the team at Visit McMinnville for hosting us! Even though this trip was sponsored, the thoughts and opinions are my own.