“Keep Portland Weird.”
When a city has an official slogan encouraging weirdness, it has to be a city worth a visit. So I did—for one month.
I think this skit from the show Portlandia is a better introduction to Portland than I could ever write:
“Portland is the place where young people go to retire. In Portland, you can put a burn on something and call it art.” Hahahaha!
My month in Portland expired this week. I left the rain and grey skies for the sun and heat of Austin, Texas.
If you’ve ever been curious about Bridgetown/City of Roses/PDX, this post is for you.
Here are my top 10 reasons to visit Portland (in no particular order):
In Portland, you can have purple hair, ride a unicycle to work, and show your love for whoever you choose in public, and nobody will look at you twice. That video above is hilarious, but accurate. And I like that. It’s the same reason I love Montreal and Melbourne. More cities could benefit from a lesson in how to be more open-minded.
The craft beer scene in Portland is full on. They take their beer seriously which means a lot of great beers to be found. IPAs and hipsters go together like peanut butter and jam. I indulged in chocolate porters, chili pepper-infused ales, and extra-strong pilsners. They were all good. And even better during Happy Hour when they knock a buck off the price!
This was one of the biggest stand-outs for me. People pass you on the sidewalk and say “Hello” all the time. People thank the bus driver when they exit a bus. And when a pedestrian crosses a street, even if it’s not at an intersection, cars will stop for you. Portland is one of the friendliest cities I’ve ever been to, without question.
If you’ve read my past couple posts, you’ll know that yoga was a big part of my visit. I went to yoga 5-6 days a week and I’d never done yoga before. Final verdict: I loved it. It was a nice combination of physical and mental exercise. Although there’s no shortage of yogis and studios in Portland, Drishti Yoga was awesome. I can’t say enough about the staff there.
Montreal needs to take a lesson from Portland. I love food trucks, and in Portland they’re everywhere. The city has over 500 trucks at any given time and many are organized into “pods” which is a cluster of several food trucks at one location. Bon appétit!
Look at a map of Portland and notice the massive green space just north of downtown. That’s Forest Park. It’s pretty amazing to have a 5,100 acre urban forest reserve with over 70 miles of recreational trails right in the city.
If Forest Park isn’t enough, not far from Portland you’ll find hundreds of hiking opportunities and natural beauty. You can climb Mount Hood or slide over to bordering Washington State and tackle Mount St Helens. The Pacific Ocean is a couple hours to the west and there’s desert to the east. Portland has it all for outdoor enthusiasts.
Back home, it would seem rude to me if I was a guest at someone’s house and didn’t flush a pee down before the next person used the bathroom. In Portland, I learned the hard way that it’s socially acceptable to leave pee in the toilet without flushing. Ultimately, it’s a good thing. Water conservation is important…but so is being nice to people who don’t know any better!
Wherever you find hipsters, you know you can find well-made lattes, cappuccinos, and espresso. Unfortunately, at $5-6 Canadian a pop, I didn’t drink many of them. But still, I like a city that appreciates how to make a proper cup of coffee. The coffee-snob in me approves!
Either Portland is in love with beards or the city has the highest number of wizards per capita in the world. Makes no difference to me. I grew mine and women still looked at me with smiles. Or did I just have food stuck in it again?
There it is. My Portland Top 10.
Until the next time…
Stay weird, Portland!