Photo Source: Flickr - Paul Kline
When asked to name some of the most desirable places to live or visit in America, you might fail to include the Emerald City, Portland, Oregon. The reasons are many, but you may picture a city that is grey and rainy, a typical stereotype that nearby Seattle also shares.
But guess what? Portland is definitely an up-and-coming U.S. city. It actually has lovely summers (perfect for growing roses, giving Portland its other nickname, City of Roses), and is known for its quirky vibe and growing population of young professionals.
Portland has also featured in pop culture recently, both in the TV show Portlandia and in the best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey book series.
If you still aren't convinced, though, here are four great reasons to visit Portland.
Food and drink
Portland has an impressive scene when it comes to food and drink. The city has a well-known farmer's market, and also claims to be the birthplace of the food truck phenomenon. You can find food trucks all over the city sometimes lining entire city blocks. You also may want to visit the famous Voodoo Doughnut, where you can get a pastry in the shape of, yes, a voodoo doll and so much more.
When it comes to drinking in Portland, again there is no shortage of places to go. The city has a district known as Distillery Row, which is home to several independently-owned micro-distilleries. And for beer drinkers? Portland is also known as a craft brew mecca, with more than 50 breweries and even more brewpubs.
A weird vibe
The city's unofficial motto is Keep Portland Weird; and it certainly tries to live up to it. Along with lots of tattoo parlors, fantasy stores, and funky fashion, the city also has a coin-operated 24-Hour Church of Elvis, a massive bookstore that requires a map to get around (Powell's World of Books), and Mills End Park, the smallest park in the world at just 61 centimeters across.
Visit during the summer months and you might also be in town to witness Portland residents participating in the annual World Naked Bike Ride.
Speaking of bikes, despite getting a fair amount of rainfall each year, the people of Portland love their two-wheeled transportation. The city is consistently ranked as one of the top cities in the U.S. for cyclists due to all the bike lanes and bike-friendly streets, and even the buses here have bike racks. As a visitor, you should have no problem renting a bike and taking to the streets or bridges for some urban exploration.
Close to nature
Lastly, Portland may be a larger-sized city, but you are never far from nature here. The city has the Cascade Mountains right on its doorstep, offering up views of snow-capped Mount Hood, along with skiing not too far away. For hiking enthusiasts, Forest Park with its miles and miles of hiking trails is just a short drive outside of Portland. Then there's also wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, and swimming at the oft-photographed Cannon Beach on Oregon's windswept and wild coast.
If it's city life with a touch of weird and a dose of the great outdoors that you're looking for, you can find it all in Portland.
Now is Portland on your travel bucket list?