X No Thanks

My favourite things in Portland

by Karen Viehoever on 26 February 2014, 10:02AM

I moved to Portland from the eastern part of the USA in my early twenties, and delight in the wisdom I showed at that early age!  I still love to visit the East Coast, but Portland, Oregon is where I want to live.  Why?  Here are a few of my favourite things…


Everyone is welcome.  Portlanders can’t help it.  We are friendly.  Strangers talk to each other and be warned; visitors brandishing maps will be accosted by well-meaning residents who want to help.  Not everyone looks the same, either.  We have hippies and hipsters, people with politically incorrect nick names and identifying initials, like L G B T Q.  So what?


The outdoors is everyone’s playground.  Granted – Portland is a vibrant city but part of the charm is the ease of going outside and playing in Nature.  From Forest Park (one of the country’s largest urban reserves) to the Columbia River Gorge or the Oregon Coast or Mount Hood, it is no big deal to go for a hike or a pedal or a paddle, like kayaking gentle waters in the Willamette or Columbia, or rafting through the rapids on the Clackamas River.


It is a region of small businesses, which are more apt to act like collaborators rather than competitors.  How else did Portland get to boast over 50 breweries?  It’s not because we drink that much beer, it is just that instead of one or two really big breweries, we have a bunch of creative beer lovers who love to brew.  They share their knowledge and secrets while encouraging each other, believing that variety of the spice of life here.


We have also got an abundant wine country. Excellent growing conditions have fostered the rapid emergence of Oregon as one of the world’s finest new wine regions. There are wineries in Portland itself as well as in the wider the region.  These tasty wines are award-winning and certainly challenge the old world wines. And even if you don’t want to drink the wine, you can get drunk on the views of the vineyards set against gentle, rolling hills with old red barns and whitewashed farmhouses and lazy dogs… I think you get the picture?


Portland is very walkable! Which means you really can walk pretty much everywhere, and people certainly do.  They also ride their bikes a lot.  More people commute to work by bike in Portland than any other city in the USA, even though we do actually have hills.  Most people wear helmets, some wear spandex, but most just wear whatever they want, that fits with where they are going.  Like work, the theatre or the supermarket.


Good food is certainly available!  But it is confession time as I am not really a foodie.  I look at some menus and need a dictionary.  But I do love to eat fresh, locally grown, sustainably raised food. I appreciate creative chefs who focus on the seasonal bounty and put food on a plate that comes out looking like a piece of art.  The proof is in the tasting and we have awesome food here.  There is white-linen, fine-dining with James Beard award-winning chefs de cuisine.  But there are also food carts that feature versions of everything from Thai street food to that old American favourite; the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Even the fast food burger joints feature Oregon raised beef, locally made cheese and seasonal strawberry milkshakes.  In Portland you can eat well for $5 or for $50.


The range of cultural offerings is astounding.  From punk to jazz to blues to symphony to opera, the challenge is trying to figure out what you are okay missing (because you just can’t do it all).  Visual arts range from really funky to classical beauty, and from Portland Art Museum galleries to street art.  If someone says they are bored in Portland, it must be because they want to be.


Oh!  I’m forgetting shopping!   There aren’t many places in the US where there is no sales tax, but that’s the case in Oregon.  As a result, we have awesome shops, which range from local boutiques to internationally recognised name brands.  We have crafts markets and farmers markets, funky shopping streets, as well as traditional shopping centres with your favourite department stores.  And of course the Woodburn Premium Outlets; the largest tax-free shopping centre in the West.  Regional guidebooks suggest that visitors should plan to bring or purchase an empty suitcase.


Did I tell you that the weather is awesome in Portland?  Spring, summer and autumn are all beautiful, and winter is pretty mild.  It rains a bit, more so in winter, but the air feels crisp and clean. If it wasn’t for that rain, we wouldn’t have the incredible green lush surroundings we do from April through October.  Our roses are so happy they bloom into December.  Portlanders just don’t let the rain keep them from living their active outdoor lives.


Did I mention the wider region of Oregon?  The coast will take your breath away (but it will give it back).  Mount Hood has snow on it all year round.  It is very cool to throw snowballs in July.  And if it happens to be raining in Portland, just go over the mountains to the sunshine in Central and Eastern Oregon.  Explore alpine mountaintops and raging rivers to endless national parks and bustling town. Try your hand at digging for dinosaur bones in the John Day Fossil Beds or paddle down Lake Billy Chinook in The Cove Palisades State Park.


So these are just some of my favourite things.  When you visit, let me know some of yours!

For more information about holidays to Portland, click here

All images courtesy of www.travelportland.com.

Author bio: Karen Viehoever spreads the gospel about her adopted home of Portland, Oregon.

6 Places to Celebrate Lunar New Year

Read More

A Hop Around the World’s Beers

Read More

Top 10 Things to do in Vancouver

Read More

Antigua: Paradise at the Right Price

Read More
Post of the month
by Tourism Australia More

Email sign up

Register to receive holiday offers, cheap flights deals, hotel offers and more.

Travelbag Travel/Leisure London

01 Jan 00:00 Read More
Travelbag's Twitter
Common Tags
24 Hours 48 hours in 5 Reasons Abu Dhabi Activities Adventure Holiday Africa Alaska America Antigua Argentina asia Auckland Australasia Australia bahamas Bahrain Bali Bangkok Barbados Beach Holidays Beaches beer Bolivia Bora Bora Borneo Botswana Brazil California Cambodia Campervan Canada Cancun Cape Town Caribbean Central America Chicago Chile China City Breaks Colombo Colorado Cook Islands Costa Rica Cruise Holidays Cruises Cuba culture Dining Dominican Republic Dubai Ecuador Europe Family Holidays Festivals Fiji Florida food Food Trip Gold Coast Grenada Hanoi Hawaii hiking Ho Chi Minh City Hoi An holiday reading holidays Honeymoon Hong Kong India Indian Ocean Indian Ocean Luxury Holidays Indonesia Jamaica Japan Jordan Kenya Koh Samui Krabi kuala lumpur Langkawi Laos las vegas Latin America Literature los angeles Luxury Holidays Macau Malaysia Maldives Mauritius Melbourne Mexico Miami Middle East Montreal motorhome holidays music Myanmar Namibia Nature New England New York New Zealand North New Zealand Northen Territory Oman Oregon Orlando Penang Perth Perth Beaches Peru Phuket Qatar Quebec Queensland Queenstown Rail Travel Ras Al Khaimah Reading on holiday Road trip Safari San Francisco Scuba Diving Self-Drive Seychelles Shanghai Sightseeing Trip Singapore snorkelling South Africa South America South Australia South Carolina South New Zealand Southeast Asia Sri Lanka St Lucia Surfing Sydney Tahiti Tasmania Tennessee Texas Thailand Things To Do Tokyo Top 5 Things to Do Toronto tour trekking UAE United States USA USA Roadtrip Utah Vancouver Vietnam Vietnam Beaches Virginia Washington DC Western Australia whale watching Wildlife Wine Winter Sun
Please Wait...

We use cookies
Read more

Cookies: We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our website, you are agreeing to use our site cookies.
See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Would you like a call back from one of our experts? X
chat with our experts
0871 703 4698
Call us until today

Schedule a call back


Please Select a Date


Please Select a Time


Please supply your First Name


Please supply your Surname

Phone Number

Please Check the Number and Try Again


Please Select a Destination


Dear , our experts will call you on , on to chat about your trip. In the meantime, feel free to explore our site for inspiration