loyly spa

Photo: Courtesy Kurt Hettle

Löyly Spa

WE PORTLANDERS know how to do a lot of things well: eat, drink, and—as it turns out—relax. Yup, the Rose City ranked as the fourth most relaxed city in America, according to Forbes magazine’s 2010 stress survey. But just in case the hectic holiday season has left you temporarily frazzled, we’ve mapped out a few surefire paths to peace of mind. Fifty of them, in fact, from soul-soothing comfort foods to knot-melting massages and good old-fashioned retail therapy. So settle in with your coziest sweater and a cup of nog, and indulge in an exploration of Portland’s best ways to unwind. (And, no, wearing a Snuggie is not one of them. Ever.)

1 Grown-Up Mac and Cheese
In the pantheon of comfort foods, nothing says home quite like the gooey warmth of mac and cheese. Victory Bar ratchets the Kraft classic up a notch with a German-inspired version: a bowl of tender baked spätzle doused in gruyère cheese with crispy fried shallots sprinkled on top and a house-made pork sausage on the side. Danke, Deutschland!
3652 SE Division St; 503-236-8755; thevictorybar.com
Cocoon Trench

Photo: Courtesy Nau

#3 Nau’s Cocoon Trench: the chic answer to cold

2 Sweet Steams
Sweating doesn’t always require a workout, and Löyly’s modern steam retreat ($15 per hour) is the proof. The traditional Finnish dry cedar sauna eases your muscles while the steam room revitalizes your skin, lungs, and mind in an opaque fog of herbal scents. And because silence is strongly encouraged, you can enjoy your sweat session without interruption. 2713 SE 21st Ave; 503-236-6850; loyly.net
3 Get Down
When it comes to winterwear, there are down jackets, and then there’s Nau’s Cocoon Trench ($300). More sleeping bag than coat, this new masterwork from Portland’s green-leaning outdoor apparel company is a sharply tailored envelope of quilted 650-fill goose down. Wherever you go, you’ll feel like you’re bunked down in the coziest cabin on the mountain. available at lizard lounge, 1323 NW Irving St, or nau.com

Modern Man

#4 The $42 shampoo, shave, and haircut at the Modern Man (not pictured: cigars and scotch)

4 Shave and a Haircut … and Scotch
Scruff is often a symptom of stress. Banish both with an invigorating trio of services at the Modern Man Barber Shop & Gentleman’s Supply, a new retro-masculine barbering house tucked just off of NE Alberta Street. Forty-two bucks will get you washed, clipped, and clean-cut (or if you’re part of Oregon’s unemployed 10 percent and have a job interview, they’ll shear your head for free). Start with a complimentary beer, whiskey, or scotch; finish with a slap of cologne and cigar. Better already! 5018 NE 22nd Ave; 503-284-6008; themodernmanpdx.com
5 Super Soaker
Visit any of the Portland salon and spa mini-empire Dosha’s five locations, and you’re guaranteed to walk out looking, feeling, and—thanks to their liberal use of herbal Aveda products—smelling better. But only the Hawthorne location offers you free access to a gorgeous slate soaking tub. You’ve got to book either a body treatment or facial to earn entrance to this lavish land of calm upstairs, but it’s well worth it. After your pampering, rinse off in private showers big enough to turn somersaults in, then indulge in the steam room before heading straight for that tub … and jets so strong you might not even need a massage after all. 3490 SE HAWTHORNE BLVD; 503-228-8280; DOSHA.ORG
6 Candlelight Yoga
Mellow music, candlelight, and a room for 15? Make a date with Corepower Yoga, complete with flattering lighting. Monday through Thursday evenings the seven-year-old yoga studio’s NW Quimby Street location transforms its space with a dozen LED candles for an hour of beginning to intermediate yoga ($18) guaranteed to help you stretch your way to serenity (chocolates and flowers not included). 2277 NW Quimby St; 503-226-9642; corepoweryoga.com
Hotel Vintage Plaza

Photo: Courtesy Hotel Vintage Plaza

#7 A room with a view at the Hotel Vintage Plaza

7 High-Rise Hot Tubs
Plenty of hotels in town have in-room jetted tubs, but the Hotel Vintage Plaza is the only place we know of that affords a private al fresco soaking experience … nine stories up. The chic downtown hotel’s little-known garden suites (there are only three, starting at $289) come with cedar tubs on private balconies overlooking the city lights. Frankly, we can’t think of a better reason to spend a night away from home. 422 SW Broadway; 503-228-1212; vintageplaza.com

8 Hands-Free Housecleaning
If the impending arrival of your relatives has you sweating the shape of your house, let Scott Anderson help. Just supply Anderson, a full-time family man and professional housecleaner, with your cleaning supplies and let him do battle with your dust bunnies ($20 per hour) while you focus on things that really matter—like ticking off items on that gift list. 503-989-3640; dadshousecleaning.com
9 Mug Shop
Sellwood’s Cypress Beauty & Wellness spa menu boasts not one, not two, but 11 facials, from a 40-minute fast fix to the Platinum Age-Defying facial, a 75-minute time-rewinder that uses customized microdermabrasion and oxygen infusion to erase age’s footprint. Whatever you choose, by the time you emerge from Cypress’s beds, you’ll be wishing you could kiss your own face. 1616 SE Bybee Blvd; 503-236-4654; cypresswellbeing.com
10 Throw Punches
Pound out frustration on the pads this winter with one of Portland’s growing fitness trends: krav maga. This Israeli self-defense technique combines punching, kicking, and grappling into hourlong workout sessions sure to leave you breathless. Get a taste at the newly opened 360 Krav Maga, where head instructor Erik Knoedler (one of only two graduate level 5 instructors in the country) teaches free introductory classes by appointment. 11774 SE Jennifer St, Clackamas; 971-925-6210; portlandkravmaga.com
11 Snug Sipping
Portland’s coziest new watering hole comes courtesy of a local dream team: Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson, former Clyde Common and Olympic Provisions chef Jason Barwikowski, and former Laurelhurst Market bartender Evan Zimmerman. The aptly named Woodsman Tavern is a dark-wooded, heavily wainscoted nook on SE Division Street, with walls covered in framed paintings of woodsy scenes and tables lit by antique sconces. In short, this is exactly where you’ll want to crawl into a corner booth, bourbon cocktail in hand, and melt into the dark. 4537 SE Division St; 971-373-8264; woodsmantavern.com
12 Family Face Time
Soften up the in-laws, literally, by booking them a room at the Nines Hotel (from $192). The luxe boutique retreat recently partnered with the Pearl District’s Aequis Spa to develop three guest-only treatments. If your mother-in-law doesn’t love you after the Elegance 9 Facial ($299), she never will. 422 NW 13th Ave, 503-223-7847, aequisspa.com; 525 SW Alder st, 800-325-3589, thenines.com
13 Trigger Happy
Unleash your inner Dirty Harry and a little of that pent-up aggression at the Place to Shoot, one of the only indoor ranges in Portland where you can take target practice ($35) without being a member of an exclusive gun club. If you’ve never shot a gun, the Place to Shoot provides gun safety and handling courses, too. Catharsis never felt so, er, explosive. 904 N Hayden Meadows Dr; 503-283-1995; theplacetoshoot.com