Hello Portland, Home of Hipsters, Foodies and Breathtaking Scenery

Beth Kaiserman

 

Aside from skinny jean-clad peeps wallowing around and being ironic, Portland has a lot to offer. And yes, people will say “Hi” to you in this town of trees, friendly folks, serious coffee and bounties of craft beer.

 

Nature, Please
Though not on par with Seattle’s rain, Portland often sees light drizzles that last a few days. The city also sees wet winters that include snow and ice. Avoid visiting December-March if you want to participate in outdoor activities.

Portland is known as the City of Roses. International Rose Test Garden is a great place for a romantic and/or leisurely walk. April through October is the best time to see thousands of rose bushes.

The Lan Su Chinese Garden is a lovely break from the hustle-bustle of the city. It features hundreds of China’s 30,000+ plant species. You can take a guided tour or relax in the Teahouse, with beautiful views just outside.


Forest Park is a fun adventure, with trails for hiking, walking, and running. Its Wildwood Trail (30.2 miles long) is part of the 40-Mile Loop system, which makes Portland’s wonderful natural lure accessible from various areas.

Sauvie Island, another outdoor escape, is 10 miles north of Portland. Sturgeon Lake is there for swimming and kayaking, and Walton Beach is the main beach area. There’s also Collins Beach, which is a mile long and has been partially a nude beach since the 70s.
 

Waterfront Park is also a relaxing place for a leisurely walk or run. Check out the Saturday Market, with local arts and crafts and food booths. It’s the biggest continually operating outdoor arts and crafts market in the country, according to its Website.



 

 

Coffee Talk

Stumptown Coffee Roasters has gained worldwide attention and is still revered as Portland’s best by many locals. The seeds are hand-picked, beans are roasted locally with precise care, and the cups are affordable. There are five locations in Portland and two in Seattle. Check out the one on Division Street to see where it all began. In 2009, they opened one in New York City, located on W. 29th St. The coffee is offered at various other establishments throughout New York City.

There are many other independent roasters worth checking out. Barista in the Pearl District, Heart Coffee Roasters, Water Avenue Coffee, Public Domain Coffee, Coava Coffee Roasters, and Ristretto Roasters are good ones to refuel and hang out.

World Cup Coffee is another gem, and has a location in Powell’s City of Books. Grab a cup and browse the store, which takes up an entire block and is filled with more than a million unique books, new and old.

 


 

Suds


With 31 breweries, Portland has become a craft beer mecca. You can take a brewery tour along Distillery Row or sip at any number of brewpubs, which brew and sell beer on site. BridgePort Brewpub, located in the Pearl District, is one popular spot.

Local breweries include Full Sail, Bridgeport, Hair of the Dog, Cascade, and Rogue in Newport.

Also check out the architecture of the Weinhard Brewery Complex, where the Blitz-Weinhard Brewery ran for 140 years. Grab a beer at Henry’s 12th Street Tavern, which opened in 2004 in the Brewhouse Building. Choose from over 100 beers on top, kept cold by a special ice rail on the bar top.

 

Come Hungry

NW 23rd Ave. is a great place for shopping and restaurants, but food knows no limits in Portland. Definitely a foodie town, here are some suggestions of places to eat.

Experience the legendary and infamous VooDoo Donuts, where you can eat one of 90 different donuts -- and get also married. Though in the past they had a NyQuil donut laced with Pepto-Bismol, the offerings are a little more sane these days. And yes, they hold wedding ceremonies with donuts and coffee included.

Le Bistro Montage, in the Central Eastside Industrial District, is one of Portland’s most celebrated restaurants, with a Creole/Cajun menu. Get the mussel shooters.

Another restaurant, now with locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, is Pok Pok. Southeast Asian fare can be found here in an informal setting.

Craving pig’s ears? It’s the signature dish at Aviary, and it’s served over coconut rice with Chinese sausage and avocado.

At Beast, unleash your wild side with food from Top Chef Master/James Beard finalist Naomi Pomeroy. The restaurant features a six-course tasting menu that changes weekly.

Watching films while dining is now the latest trend to sweep Portland. Enter movie brewpubs, a natural progression in the marriage between dining and entertainment. Food, a movie, and a house-made brew never sounded better. Check out The Kennedy School, The Mission, or The Bagdad for good food and cinematic viewing.

Recently ranked as Businessweek’s fifth best city in the U.S. (surpassing New York), Portland – and the Pacific Northwest in general – has been luring away the cache that California exclusively owned on the West Coast. Portland, along with Seattle, now ranks as not only a premier tourist hub, but a top-notch destination for those seeking the good life.

 

Author Bio:
Beth Kaiserman is a contributing writer at Highbrow Magazine.

 

Photos: George Miqquilena, Irisha Z, Sean Dreilinger (Creative Commons).

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