An interior shot of BREW with counter, tables and people

It doesn’t take long to notice the sense of community at the heart of Independence. Restaurants pride themselves on serving locally sourced meals, hotels make every effort to showcase the best of the region, and shopkeepers are all too happy to make recommendations—whether about what to buy or where to grab your next meal.

So if you want to soak up that community-driven spirit that’s a hallmark of our city, we’ve put together an overnight itinerary that showcases the best of Independence—where you’ll browse some of our best-loved shops, nosh on fresh cuisine, and explore the natural beauty in and around town. Here’s how to make the most of your next overnight getaway to Independence.

Day One

Midday: Arrive in Independence, Hit the Town

Get a feel for Independence’s charm by exploring the town—and sampling its wide range of attractions.

Start with some quick shopping at a pair of boutiques in downtown. Same As It Never Was Vintage boasts a mix of handcrafted goods and upcycled items, along with furniture that can be customized to meet your needs and suit your unique taste. The shop’s selection ranges from accents and knick-knacks (pillows, candles, jewelry, and artwork) to refurbished furniture (including armoires, tables, dressers, and more).

A visit to Same As It Never Was Vintage pairs well with antique shopping at The Picken Chicken nearby. The antique store specializes in antiques and vintage items—couches, chairs, retro bicycles, and all manner of bric-a-brac (like tea sets, decorations, table lamps, and so on).

This error message is only visible to WordPress admins
There has been a problem with your Instagram Feed.

Hungry? Treat yourself to a scoop or two at the old-timey Independent Ice Cream Shop—where nearly 30 flavors range from chocolate and strawberry to huckleberry, cotton candy, and watermelon.

Across the street, Ovenbird Bakery dishes coffee, sandwiches (on fresh-baked bread), and a variety of mouth-watering pastries—such as croissants, cookies, scones, Danishes, cinnamon rolls, and more.

Two kids enjoying a scoop of ice cream from Independent Ice Cream
Pink children's wristband on wrist holding pastry from Ovenbird Bakery
overnight experience, city of independence
wineries, city of indepedence

You’re in the heart of the Willamette Valley, so this is a good time to sip your way through some of the more than 20 award-winning wineries within a 20-minute drive of town. A few of our favorites include the women-owned-and-operated Airlie Winery, boasting balanced wines that showcase the vineyard’s unique characteristics; Emerson Vineyards, a family-run winery whose offerings show off the natural flavors of the grapes and the Coast Range foothills they’re grown in; and Redgate Vineyard & Winery, a family-owned winery producing small-lot wines just one mile from the Willamette River.

Evening: Enjoy Locally Sourced Fare, Check Into The Independence Hotel

Territory fried Cornish hen

It’s only dinnertime, and you’ve already had a great day in Independence. Unwind with Pacific Northwest-inspired cuisine on the patio (boasting views of the Willamette River) or the chic rooftop bar at Territory. The restaurant’s menu includes steaks, salads, greens, and other fresh dishes.

Need a nightcap—or to sate your sweet tooth? Just a three-minute walk away, the decadent dessert menu at Jubilee Champagne and Dessert Bar includes lemon tarts, tiramisu, cupcakes, lemon bars, cheesecake, brownies, and more.

If you’re ready to call it a night, check into your room at The Independence Hotel on the Willamette River waterfront. (Does it feel like you’ve been here before? Territory is located in the same building.) The Independence is the only boutique hotel on the Willamette River—and prides itself on amenities to make guests feel at home, from free Wi-Fi and in-room bike storage to 49″ 4K televisions and locally made bath products. Kick your feet up; it’s been a busy day, and you have plenty more to look forward to tomorrow.

Day Two

Morning: Ease Into the Day and Explore the Independence Outdoors

Start your second day with a relaxing stroll on the Willamette River Trail—which leaves from Riverview Park directly to the north. The 3.3-mile, paved and soft-surface trail loop follows the Willamette River, darting in and out of riparian forests along the way. (Keep an eye out for osprey, bald eagles, and other wildlife!)

If you worked up an appetite on the trail, the Pink House Cafe serves light, yet filling breakfast dishes; the restaurant (which, yes, resides within a converted historic, late-1800s gothic home that’s painted a pleasing shade of pink) is known for a breakfast menu of upscale, thoughtfully prepared American fare, with French toast, bacon and eggs, fruit, and more.

National Wildlife Refuge

We’re heading out of town for our next stop: Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge. The dairy farm-turned-wildlife refuge is home to a variety of habitats—prairies, wetlands, and riparian woodlands among them—that make it an ideal stop for native and migrating birds. In all, more than 200 species have been spotted around the refuge; keep your eyes peeled along the Pintail & Egret Marsh Boardwalk, which ends at an observation blind where you just might spy bald eagles in winter.

Midday: Grab Lunch for the Road With One More Outing in Independence

Your time around Independence ends with lunch at a Mexican market and a couple quick shop stops on your way out of town.

Refuel at Carnicería Mi Casita, a grocery store selling a variety of Mexican food items—including fresh meat and produce alongside some of the best tacos, tortas, and burritos around; hungry diners can choose among a mammoth list of 11 proteins when ordering tacos. (We’re partial to the birria.)

If you’re still looking for that perfect gift or souvenir before returning home, head into another shop (or two!) before hitting the road.

Since 1993, the remarkably well-organized Second Chance Books has been buying and selling used titles—paperbacks, hardbacks, audiobooks, kids’ books, and so on—in the heart of downtown. And if you’re looking for an art piece to take home, River Gallery showcases a wide range of works—paintings, sculpture, photography, jewelry, ceramics, and more—from more than 50 Willamette Valley artists.

The shops make a fine coda to a trip that’s packed a whole lot of community into one overnight outing. There’s a good chance one of the shopkeepers suggested visiting one more outpost before heading home, your server recommended a dish or dessert you hadn’t considered, and that a friendly birder at one of our nearby national wildlife refuges helped you identify a rare species. However you connected, we hope you’re ready to share that community when you return.

City of Indepdendence symbol