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Every city has things they are known for, and this includes Portland, Oregon. Whether you have been there before or you have only heard of it in passing, it is always interesting to take a moment to consider things that make this place unique.
Portland is home to many breweries and there is no way that anyone should head to the city without sampling at least a few. This would be like going to Texas and refusing to eat BBQ. There are hundreds of craft beers available all over the city, so everyone should be able to find at least one that fits their taste.
Sure, it is not Seattle, but that does not mean that you cannot find a great cup of coffee within the city limits. The freshly brewed coffee is almost as abundant as the beer. Make sure that you try some of the special roasts if you are in the area.
3. Food Carts
There are several cities across the nation where you are likely to run into a great food cart and Portland is one of them. From Asian delights to German grub, there is no shortage of options. In fact, there are more than 500 choices; there is literally something for everyone.
4. Adult Entertainment
If you are in the Stumptown neighborhood, there are many adult entertainment venues there to hold your attention, if that is your idea of a great time. The dancers at these places are fully nude and you can order any type of liquor you want off the menu. This may seem like something less than savory to share about a city, but the people who live there do not think of it as a big deal.
5. Vegan Establishments
People who live a vegan lifestyle would be happy to know that Portland is a mecca for animal-free businesses. There are not only vegan restaurants located all over the city, but it is actually possible to find other kinds of businesses, like lodging and fitness centers that are completely vegan as well.
6. Powell’s City Of Books
This place is so huge that it deserved its own entry on this list. It is the largest independent bookstore in the whole world and it is located in Portland. With 9 rooms that are home to more than 1 million books, it is a reader’s paradise.
7. Ice Cream
There are many ice cream shops in the area and you can find typical flavors, like coffee and vanilla, as well as those that are more unique, like pear & blue cheese. If you are craving a sweet (or savory), cold treat and you are in Portland, there is no shortage of places to go.
As you can tell, there is so much about this city that makes it different from anyplace else. From great eats and drinks to finding every book title you can imagine to spending time at meat-free places, Portland offers treasures for all kinds of people.
Nestled in a lush green Pacific Northwest valley at the confluence of two major rivers—the Willamette and the Columbia—with the majestic white-capped Mt. Hood in the distance, Portland’s scenic landscapes are matched by its vibrant, artistic and beer-loving residents. Situated in the perfect spot an hour from both the mountains and the coast, Portland has ample opportunities for the outdoorsy, from great hiking and biking to kayaking to skiing. And, while outdoor activities abound, the cityscape itself is sure to impress with its gracefully arching bridges connecting the two unique sides of the river, offering visitors everything from high-end shops to edgy record stores and vegan cafes.
The two diverse sides of the river also offer guests unique and varied choices for Portland hotel accommodations, which range from high-end boutique hotels in the Pearl to chain motels and quaint bed and breakfasts. There are even a handful of hostels in Portland, where you can find adventurous and independent travelers escaping refuge in this northwestern utopia.
Repeatedly voted as one of the most livable cities in the nation, Portland is also home to friendly people who seem to love the great public transportation system, lots of parks, beautiful gardens, sustainable living, and green businesses. In fact, the city is so accessible without a car that visitors don’t have to worry about renting one after getting their flight to Portland International Airport (PDX), and will find ample ways to get around the city between the light rail Max, streetcar and extensive bus system.
The city is also chock-full of great local foods, which you can wash down with a fresh Oregon brewed beer, a glass of Willamette Valley wine or a good old Northwestern cup o’ joe. As a result of access to so many great, local products, the city is also burgeoning a dynamic and interesting culinary scene in which local chefs and restaurants are starting to receive national attention.
Portland: The Good & The Bad
If you’re thinking about moving to Portland, here are a few things that make Portland the best city around:
- 1 hour from both the breathtaking Oregon coast and majestic Mt Hood
- Over 200 parks, including Forest Park (the largest wilderness park within city limits in the US)
- bike lanes and bike boxes galore
- the gorgeous Willamette River crossed by 11 bridges
- recycling, green etc
- amazing farmers markets
- more breweries within city limits than any other city in world
- it’s hard to get a bad cup of coffee in this town
- Over 200 food carts
- cheap [brilliant] eats
- cheap pub theaters where you can get pizza and a beer and watch a $4 movie.
- artists/DIY scene – not like a major metropolitan city — Portland is more like Etsy to New York’s MoMA
- indie music heaven
- public transit options: MAX light rail, bus, streetcar, tram
- Oregon wine – yep we have that too
So you probably already knew all that. It’s why you want to move here. So what’s the downside to this gorgeous city?
Yes, Portland is the brunt of weather jokes. Ten years ago, if I said “Portland”, you’d have probably said “rain”. These days, you might mention one of the many reasons to love the city instead. Regardless, Portland rain is not a laughing matter. Some new residents underestimate how bad a little bit of drizzle can be, and if you’re coming from a climate that rain is either or a downpour or day or two of rain replaced with blue skies and sunshine, the rainy season may come as a bit of a shock.
So what to expect? Between November-ish and June-ish, Portland weather is “rainy”, which can mean fog, drizzle, downpour, cloudy, grey or all of the above. It’s not the typical rain you think of where the sky dumps a bucket a water and then resumes with it’s day — instead it’s just a general lack of sunshine, day after day after day.
Lack of diversity
Let’s admit it, Portland does not have the same multi-cultural diversity that most major cities have, even big sister Seattle. So while Portland continues to attract well-educated, young white professionals, the lack of diversity is definitely noticed by their non-white counterparts.