My third favorite city in the U.S., Portland is one of those awesome hipster cities that has exploded in growth over the past few years. It bears resemblance to cities like nearby Seattle, San Francisco, and Austin. Some of the awesome highlights for me were the music scene, food scene, and surrounding nature. People are super friendly and it’s interesting to see the diversity in neighborhoods throughout the city as it expands and changes. Portland is one of those cities where you can just be yourself. There are tons of outdoor activities within, and just outside, the city. Really the only thing that keeps me from moving there is the weather, being dreary for about 9 months out of the year like Seattle. That said, summer/fall is gorgeous. The best saying I heard while visiting, “Portland, where young people go to retire.” I think the TV series Portlandia seems pretty accurate in its depictions. For anyone interested in tiny house living, Portland, and other parts of Oregon, make it a solid choice as the state seems pretty tolerant of the lifestyle.
See & Do
- Pearl District. Popular, trendy shopping district.
- Division St. Hipster neighborhood on the east side.
- Hawthorne. Hipster neighborhood on the east side.
- Bellmont. Hipster neighborhood on the east side.
- Alberta Arts District. Arts and music.
- Mississippi Ave. Area for live music.
- Powell’s Books. A staple known not only in Portland but around the country.
- Mount Tabor Park. Spend a leisurely afternoon at the park.
- Japanese Garden. Who doesn’t love a Japanese Garden.
- Rose Garden. It’s nice, easily added to your itinerary of nearby things and earn some points with your girlfriend/wife.
- Columbia River Gorge. Beautiful nature area for hiking.
- Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. What a find, this hosts the world’s largest aircraft, the Spruce Goose, an SR-71 spy plane, fighter jets, and a host of other cool stuff. Less than an hour from the city.
Food & Drink
- The Observatory. Wonderful food with interesting, creative dishes.
- Mojo Crepes. Crepes and bubble tea.
- Juniors Cafe. Hip, funky, vegetarian and vegan options. It was here I ended up having breakfast with a Swedish fellow who introduced me to the concept of tiny houses, though at the time I had no idea what he was talking about.
Music & Nightlife
- Mississippi Studios. Well known live music venue. I got to see The Next Waltz, a tribute to The Last Waltz which was The Band’s farewell concert, a collection of local musicians who join the main band as guests. Great musicians and all around great music at a super cool venue. Though it hadn’t been done before when I saw it, I believe this is now a regular concert fundraiser.
- Alberta Rose Theater. Fortuitously happened that Eilen Jewell was playing during my visit. Outstanding singer, songwriter.
- Bar Bar. Right on Mississippi Ave.
- Jupiter Hotel. I had read about this cool, chic, hipster hotel and decided to spend a night or two. Was great, but ultimately moved to an AirBnB to save some money (though it’s not super expensive or anything). Definitely worth checking out. Be aware it’s pretty social and also next to a music venue. Which can be cool if you’re in the mood or not so cool if there’s a lot of noise, like on a weekend. I don’t remember having any issues, but I think I stayed during the week. Just take note.
- Weather. Beautiful June-Sept, dreary otherwise. Temperature always seem to be relatively mild and I don’t believe it ever snows (at least if it does it’s rare and probably doesn’t stick around).