Sunday, June 2, 2013

Portland, Oregon, USA

By Rebekah Villon

Thanks to the popular TV show “Portlandia”, Portland, Oregon has become known as the place where young people go to retire. But visitors of all ages will find plenty to love in this compact, tree-filled city.

Urbanites will enjoy shopping (no sales tax!) downtown at the many upscale boutiques, followed by a
quick streetcar trip into the Pearl District. Don't miss light appetizers and hand-crafted cocktails at The Teardrop Lounge, then stroll over (yes, even in the rain, Portlanders walk everywhere) to Jamison Square while choosing from one of the many restaurants in the vicinity. If it's the first Thursday of the month, the Pearl District's dozens of art galleries will be open for walking tours, with art openings and street vendors and exhibitions every few yards. Or head back to The Armory for some theater, courtesy of Portland Center Stage.

Nature lovers will delight in hiking in Forest Park. Bordering the west side of downtown Portland, Forest Park is one of America's largest urban forests, and it's full of well-maintained trails through a peaceful wooded oasis, full of local trees, plants, and birds. Just adjacent is Washington Park, offering amazing city views from the Rose Garden, an authentic Japanese Garden, the Hoyt Arboretum, Oregon Zoo, and more.

While in Portland, set aside a day to visit the Pacific Coast. Just a couple hours west of the city, Oregon's beaches are owned by the public and freely accessible to everyone. The Oregon Coast is lined with charming little towns and home to dozens of parks and wildlife areas. However, due to the small mountain range between the city and the coast, check the weather forecast before you go: a sunny day in the city is often overcast at the beach, and vice-versa.

Speaking of day trips, a couple hours drive to the east will bring you to the Columbia Gorge, home of dozens of amazing wineries, adventurous wind and water sports, and breathtaking scenery.

Whatever your interests, make sure you visit world-famous Powell's City of Books in the heart of Portland. Powell's is a local institution, carrying every new and used book you could hope for, and (if you don't want all that bulk in your luggage) they'll ship your purchases to your home. Even if you don't want to buy books, it's a perfect spot to sip coffee and people-watch, just like the locals do.

Finally, you could vacation like a Portland native. Start your day off with artisanal Coava Coffee and read the local Willamette Week. Then ride a bike through inner SE Portland (even in the rain), visiting Ladd's Addition and Lone Fir Cemetery before stopping for lunch at one of our ubiquitous food cart pods. Then ride up to Laurelhurst Park or climb Mount Tabor and throw a frisbee, walk a dog, or just read a book.

Then, of course, you have to visit at least one brew pub. Portland is rightly famous for its beer. It has
more microbreweries than any city in the world, and is 3rd in the nation for craft breweries per capita. A good one is Amnesia Brewing in North Portland, but there are so many. After a few beers, head up the street to catch some live music at Mississippi Studios, or check the music calendar at Secret Society.

Wrap up your night at a strip club, in true Portland style. If it's Sunday, Devil's Point combines stripping and Karaoke for the best of both worlds. But Mary's Club downtown is always a favorite.

Portland is a laid-back city, full of people who appreciate good food, coffee, wine, and beer. We value our unique environment and clear water, and don't mind cloudy skies. Come discover that Portland is a way of life.

No comments:

Post a Comment