There are plenty the best-of list of favourite roadside stop on the L.A.-to-S.F. Drive. But in current years, countless NorCal occupants are decamping not to SoCal, but to the Pacific Northwest.

You are watching: Driving from san francisco to portland oregon

The Portland Tribune reports the 40,000 Californians move to Oregon every year, when 20,000 Oregonians relocate to California. That’s an mean of 164 civilization per day moving their lives between the two states. Countless do for this reason by driving the quickest, many convenient route—namely, interstate 5, or I-5.

I experienced this borne out in actual life when I moved from mountain Francisco come Portland critical August. The freeway to be lousy with moving trucks, trailers, and cars through California bowl overflowing v cardboard boxes.

I-5 phibìc of the only Area is one underreported stretch that freeway, possibly because it’s a bit an ext remote, much more mysterious than the well-trodden stretch in between L.A. And also San Francisco, i beg your pardon is usually one gigantic farm. The journey from mountain Francisco to Portland is much much more interesting.

The roadway north takes friend on fairly a ride—through one of the premier olive-growing regions of the world; past crumbling, volcanic mount Shasta and the red financial institutions of Lake Shasta; and through the valley about Yreka, quirky hippie mountain towns that haven’t adjusted in decades, and also the only town in the country whose economic climate revolves about live theater—before you ultimately get come Portland.

Historically, this big of floor was known as the Siskiyou Trail. Indigenous Americans sculpted out a series of footpaths, which ended up being increasingly worn as soon as trappers wound through Oregon to California. Currently that i am officially a Portlander after ~ a decade in the Bay, that seems favor just about every other person I meet came below from California. Our route is well-trodden indeed.

I’ve bring away this drive at the very least seven times now, taking note of the ideal eats and also quirkiest stops follow me the path from the Bay to Portland.

1. Olive Pit: Corning, California

2156 Solano Street, Corning, CaliforniaI-5 leave 631168 miles north of mountain Francisco466 miles south of Portland



Photo: Keith Spencer

The many billboards that note one’s method to Olive Pit might lead girlfriend to think it’s a traveler trap. That is, but it’s a really wonderful one.

Olive Pit has actually the biggest selection of olive assets I have ever encountered, and I spent a month in Italy. The selection ranges from stuffed and brined olives come martini-specific olive juice mixes to few of the many unusual infused olive oils; locally created offerings are specially marked. Ns stan the blood orange–infused olive oil as one of the best seasonings I’ve ever before used, and I do a point to buy a couple of bottles every time ns pass through.

Olive Pit likewise has a café and also restaurant with American food (sandwiches, burgers) and desserts. The sandwiches are simply slightly over average — although there is an olive bar, naturally, to boost them — yet the milkshakes space the actual star the this stop. The chefs will certainly mix many olive oil and also vinegar infusions into milkshakes. Girlfriend can get a lemon olive-oil milkshake, a blood orange olive-oil milkshake, or — my favourite — a white balsamic vinegar milkshake. One server told me the blood orange olive-oil milkshake is a bestseller.

2. Evergreen Coffee Shop (and Hotel): Redding, CA

2085 pine Street, Redding, California I-5 exit 677216 miles north of san Francisco420 miles south of Portland



Photo: Keith Spencer

Evergreen’s look and also feel must be familiar to any type of city slicker. It’s acquired the Instagram-aesthetic minimalist interior you’d view in any café in any type of gentrified neighborhood in mountain Francisco or Portland, and the clientele has actually that telecommuter-on-a-Macbook look that feels the end of place in Redding, which is much more of one outdoorsy, religious town. (There space three religious schools in the city, which absolutely colors the culture.) The coffee is excellent and the food menu, which has a details locavore vibe, is an excellent as well.

There’s an enclosed hotel above, but I haven’t discover that. However, if you’ve ever been to ACE Hotel in L.A. Or Portland, it must be familiar.

3. Bogbean Books and also Music: Redding, California

1740 California Street, Redding, CaliforniaI-5 departure 678218 mile north of mountain Francisco420 miles southern of Portland


This underrated provided media store is choose a living archive the 40 years of the layout wars. It has actually books, VHS tapes, records, DVDs, video game systems and games, and old electronic musical instruments. The selection varies, yet the shop is full of obscure or hard-to-find media for fifty percent the price you would certainly pay in san Francisco. As soon as I was there a couple of months ago, I discovered a complete DVD collection of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s acclaimed Berlin Alexanderplatz for simply $60, i m sorry is a steal for a 15½-hour cult film. Delightfully, the rarities are blended right in v mass-produced, advertisement noughties artifacts—think The Matrix DVDs and Armageddon on VHS.

4. Lake Shasta roadside stop

Turntable just RoadI-5 departure 692229 mile north of san Francisco405 miles south of Portland

Photo: Prayitno/Flickr/CC by 2.0

Come on, were you serious going to journey over that beautiful lake, and those red-banked shores the bleed into the forest, there is no stopping? Drive gradually down the road, walk to the shore, skip part stones, and skinny-dip; she in California, for God’s sake. The lake is very warm lot of the year, and also it affords some great vistas and also photo opportunities.

5. YAKS on the 5: Dunsmuir, California

4917 Dunsmuir Avenue, Dunsmuir, CaliforniaI-5 departure 730267 miles north of san Francisco366 miles southern of Portland

The sidewalk entrance to YAKS top top the 5. Photo: Keith Spencer

This might be the most reviewed restaurant in between Sacramento, California, and Eugene, Oregon; the has an ext than 2,500 reviews split between Google Maps and Yelp. That a quirky little burger spot v a an extremely sweet staff, and also the peculiar decor offers it a bit of extra charm to put it over the top.

6. Any type of convenience store in Weed, California

I-5 exit 747 toward central Weed284 miles north of mountain Francisco350 miles south of Portland

I’m encouraged Weed’s economic situation is constructed on novelty T-shirts v marijuana puns. As well as the pun-based entrepreneurship, there are a few decent breweries in the area: i make a allude to protect against at a convenience store and pick up part to-go beers from Mt. Shasta unavoidable Company.

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And yes, Mt. Shasta Brewing company is in town and is a an excellent pub, yet I cannot in an excellent faith support that friend stop and also get drunk while you’re in the middle of a roadway trip.

7. The Growler Guys: Ashland, Oregon

345 Lithia Way, Ashland, OregonI-5 leave 19284 miles south of Portland350 miles north of mountain Francisco