I’ve made it known that Portland is one of the cities I’d go back to in a heartbeat. And it still stands.
Even after my second visit, I’d go back again, and again.
It’s not that I don’t like any other American cities. On the contrary! I’m currently in NYC, and am in the process of falling in love with it. I’ve also seriously enjoyed many other places in this country and I can’t wait to explore some more of it over the next few years.
But when people ask me why I love Portland so much, it’s hard to give an answer. Of late, I’ve been pondering this question: What is it exactly that makes Portland my favourite city in USA?
1. Maximum hipsterism
I can see many of you rolling your eyes as I point out that the hipster culture is what makes a city quote-unquote “cool”, but I’ve been living in the most hipster area of Sydney for the past two years, and well, this culture has become a part of me.
There’s nothing I love more than spending a weekend wandering through vintage clothing stores, checking out what’s in the vinyl special bins (even if I don’t currently own a record player), and gorging on a gourmet veggie burger served by a girl with a million tattoos and an outfit that would have looked appropriate in the 50s.
2. Weirdness happens
Where else can you find a guy riding a unicycle while wearing a Darth Vader mask and also playing the bagpipes with fire shooting out of it?
The streets are filled with people dressed in crazy ways. You get used to seeing people with spacers in their ear lobes that you could fit an apple through, or coming across people attending a non-conformity conference (the very reason for my last visit!).
If you’ve ever seen Portlandia, you might get what I’m talking about in regards to the weirdly wonderful things that happen in Portland.
3. The nicest people you’ll ever meet
You know those people who will stop and ask if you need directions to anywhere, because you’re standing on the street looking lost? Or that chat to you about what a nice day it is while you’re waiting at the bus stop? Or that pick up your accent while you’re at the grocery store and ask where you’re from, getting into a deep and random conversation about travel?
Yes, all of the above things happened to me on one day in Portland.
4. Craft beer galore
I didn’t even like beer until about 2 years ago, but now I love the stuff. Put a craft beer from a nearby microbrewery in front of me, and I’ll be a very happy lady.
Oregon currently has 194 brewing companies, 61 of which are in Portland. Every pub serves a different local brew; you could quite easily try an new beer every day of the year if you wanted to.
Portland also has two festivals dedicated to the love of beer, the Oregon Brewfest and the Portland Craft Beer Festival. You can attend either (or both) of these events in July and taste every craft brew in the surrounding states. It’s like heaven for beer-connoisseurs.
5. The food carts. Oh, the food carts.
Never have I been to a city with such amazing street food. Portland is packed with food carts serving an insane variety of cuisines. Want some Georgian, Columbian, or Ecuadorian food? No problem! One of the food carts is sure to have it.
And you get your money’s worth. Unlike the ’boutique’ (read: flippin’ pricey) street carts in many other areas of the world (I’m talking to you, Sydney), you get a decent portion size for what you pay. No need to depart with your stomach still growling.