I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Portland is a lovely getaway when you’re on the West Coast. Full of beer, bridges, hipsters, bikes and vegans, and zero sales tax!
Just one Amtrak Cascades train gets you to Union station, which is conveniently located in the heart of the city. Portland’s public transportation system is well-connected and user-friendly. All a visitor needs to do is purchase a day pass that’s valid for use on all city buses, MAX (TriMet), WES and Streetcars and you’re golden!
One of the first places tourists head to in the city is Voodoo Doughnut. It’s an independent shop that’s open 24 hours a day, and is famous for its unusual doughnuts and iconic pink boxes featuring the company logo and illustrations of voodoo priests. The shop accepts only payments in cash and its tagline aptly reads, “The Magic is in the Hole.”
Another famous city landmark is Powell’s Books. Located in the Pearl District, it claims to be the largest independent new and used bookstore in the world. Housed within four different floors, the store is a maze of books and other little knick-knacks.
Portland has a number of interesting food carts spread all across the city. They offer diverse cuisines, including Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Greek, Korean, Lebanese and Mexican; it’s the best way to experience the flavors of this fun city!
Another interesting experience in the city of Portland is an evening out at a movie brewpub. The one I went to was called McMenamins Kennedy School.
It’s situated in the Northeast neighborhood, and is essentially an old-school building, complete with its heritage décor and former classrooms, library, auditorium and gymnasium.
Almost a century later, the rooms have now all been converted into restaurants, bars with pool tables, one movie theater, brewery and heated swimming pool. It serves as a unique backdrop for an evening out with family or friends. The building also offers rooms for lodging, so guests can check in and rent rooms for days.
While exploring the heritage of the city, don’t forget to visit Pittock Mansion. It belonged to the family that owned The Oregonian newspaper, and was built in 1914.
The house creatively incorporates English, French and Turkish designs, and also features progressive inventions such as a central vacuum system, intercoms, an elevator and indirect lighting that were in use almost a century ago.
Downtown Portland is a famous tourist haunt. The Old Town in the Northwest part of the city is also a pretty area to walk around, with lots of quaint little shops.
Chinatown, which is in the same area, also has some Chinese shops and restaurants. It houses the beautiful Lan Su Chinese Garden, which is the most authentic Chinese garden outside of China.
It is like a window into Chinese culture, history and way of thinking. The garden also has its very own teahouse called The Tao of Tea, where you can choose from a variety of soothing teas and snacks while gazing at the magical garden.
Portland also has some quirky neighborhoods with some of most eclectic vintage shops I’ve ever seen. To experience some of the artistic counterculture, head to Alberta Street in the Northeast area.
There’s an interesting Indian restaurant here with a complete dhaba-like feel to check out called, Bollywood Theater.
The nightlife in Portland is unlike any other city. With a number of strip clubs and live music venues, people here are always up for a good time.
Barrel Room is a great spot if you’re looking out for a night of dancing. It’s located in the heart of the city’s entertainment district and offers the largest outdoor dance space in all of Portland.
There are lots of fun walks, activities and shopping to do while you’re in Portland. A beautiful Saturday spent at the market in the summer months is another great thing to do while you’re here, as well.
So if you’re in the west coast sometime, I would definitely suggest making Portland a priority.