Live an adventurous life of work + travel

5 things that make Portland my favourite city in USA

5 things that make Portland my favourite city in USA

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?


Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

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.

Keep Portland weird

Portland, Oregon

2. weirdness happens

Where else can you find a guy riding a unicycle while wearing a Darth Vader mask and also playing bagpipes with fire shooting out the ends?

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.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

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.

Portland Craft Beer Festival

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.

Portland food carts

Portland food carts

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.

What’s your favourite city in USA? Does Portland top your list? Share with us in the comments!


You might also like:

Ashlea Wheeler

Blogger & Photographer at A Globe Well Travelled
I'm Ashlea, an excitable Australian who loves photography and exploring the world. Find out more about me.

31 Responses to “5 things that make Portland my favourite city in USA”

  1. Dave Ceddia

    Portland is awesome! I was there for only a few days and yet it quickly became one of my favorite cities for all these reasons. It’s also super walkable, has good public transit (though the buses could come more often…), and it’s laid out in a grid so it’s easy to find things. Unlike some other cities I live near *cough* Boston.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Ooh yeah I love the walkability too, and the public transport was fabulous compared to basically every other city in USA. Poor Boston, it could probably do with a few improvements here and there 😛

      Reply
  2. Courtney

    I visited Portland a few years ago and I also loved it because the city was a little weird! I’m going to have to say that my favorite city is Charleston, SC but I’m also a bit biased because that’s where my parents live!

    http://thecourtneydiaries.com

    Reply
  3. Nancy

    We live 3 hours from Portland, and love to spend weekends exploring the city. Not tired of it yet, and we’ve been making this a habit for more than ten years! I am so glad to see that other people who have to travel a greater distance to visit Portland also value its charms.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Well, if 10 years of weekends trips to Portland haven’t made you tired of it, then I don’t think anything will 😛 In my opinion, it’s one of the most under-rated cities in USA!

      Reply
  4. Katie

    I REALLY need to revisit Portland! I only spent two nights there back in 2010 with my Dad and as we were in a camper, we stayed a ways out of town. I love craft beer and food trucks so I definitely need to get back there for that more than anything. One thing I did love about Portland when I visited was the Skidmore Market and the Japanese Garden. The Oregon Coast was definitely my favourite part of the State though – perfect for a nature lover

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Ahh I wish I’d had enough time to see the Oregon coast! There’s so many other things nearby I’d love to do as well – Mt Hood, Crater Lake, Multnomah Falls… the list is endless!

      Reply
  5. Hayley

    I LOVE Portland. It is most definitely in my top five favourite American cities, for the reasons you listed. I would also add Voodoo Doughnuts, because they blow my mind, and going to see a movie at McMenamin’s for the best Portland experience.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      So glad you agree on Portland’s awesomeness rating, Hayley! And I absolutely agree, Voodoo Doughnut is the best 😀

      Reply
      • Andrew

        I have lived in Portland for over ten years. Please try Blue Star donuts. Significantly better than Voodoo donuts.

        Reply
  6. Jacinda

    I’m regular Portland visitor…multiple visits a year. This is a rad city. Great coffee. Awesome food establishments (pokpok, Kenny+zukes, screen door, VooDoo, blustar, salt & straw, etc)…lots to see & do: the Portland Saturday Market, OMSI, Powells, etc. Weird and wonderful, I never turn down an opportunity to visit!!

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Oh the coffee! And the food! It’s all so good, Portland really has it all. I don’t blame you for going back so often, Jacinda!

      Reply
  7. Sandrine Photographe

    For sure, these are my reasons to love Portland and wish to spend more time there….

    Definitely where I belong, where I should be, and where I feel, indeed, people are nice and weird enough at the same time ! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Elizabeth

    I’m a Portland native and I thank you for your tourist dollars. Come, visit often, just don’t stay.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      I have to say, that’s a rather selfish comment, Elizabeth! I’m trying to promote tourism to your home town.

      Reply
      • PDX Dude

        That was an allusion to Tom McCall, the governor in the 70’s, who mostly directed that message at Californians. Look him up; great guy! Responsible for many of Portland’s progressive policies — including the Urban Growth Boundary and removal of the Harbor Drive highway through downtown to build Waterfront Park.

        Reply
    • Liz

      Haha! Elizabeth! I’m also a native Portlander. I have to agree…bring your tourism, but don’t move here after spending a couple sunny summer days here. I see it happening a lot in the last year or two. People are moving here sight unseen after watching Portlandia even. That’s like me moving to Detroit because my favorite movie it True Romance.

      Reply
  9. Roy

    There are beer festivals in Portland almost every weekend during the late spring and summer months, and even some in the fall and winter. You mentioned two of the larger ones but if you’re in town for them I also recommend the Portland International Beer Festival and the North American Organic Beer Festival.

    Reply
  10. Steve Jordi

    By far the most interesting and welcoming city in the US, and probably in the top 3 of the world.
    Portland is not only a city, it’s an experience! A milestone in a lifetime.
    First discovered the place in 1994 when invited to work in nearby Vancouver, WA on the other side of the city.
    Comes back 2-3 times a year, for pleasure, all the way from… Switzerland.

    I’ve been living in other places in the US, nothing compares to the Portland spirit. This latter is not a cliché, it’s real. And also, well, the outdoor… beaches, forests, volcanoes, mountains…

    Counting the days until the next visit (under 50, yeah!!!)

    Reply
  11. Alex Conomos

    Portland is top of my list! To date I’ve only been to the obvious big cities but San Fran is definitely one of my faves for its laid back vibe and delicious food. Points to Chicago too for an awesome speakeasy bar scene.

    Reply
  12. Melissa @ GirlTripping.com

    My hubs and I will be going through Portland in a few weeks. We are roadtripping the U.S. Right now and loving it all! Thanks for getting me even more excited for our adventure than I already was!

    ❤ Melissa “Mo”

    Reply
  13. Dale

    The Portland Craft Beer Festival was an amazing event. I was told that it was the first year of this festival. I loved having the ability to taste beers from all of the Portland breweries in one place. Found out that there are over 50 craft breweries in Portland! Looking forward to attending this festival next July.

    Reply
  14. Eric

    We have more than 2 beer fests here in Portland. Heck, in the summer, there’s practically ond every weekend.

    Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      So I’ve heard! From my research I thought there were just the two major ones. I stand corrected – Portland has many more beer-fanatics than I thought 😉

      Reply
    • Ashlea Wheeler

      Thank you, Megan! Portland is seriously such a fabulous city, I’ll definitely be going back again and again 😉

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS