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5 reasons we heart Portland

Published July 23rd, 2014

America’s hipster capital. Rose City. Beervana. PDX. Puddletown. Rip City. Stumptown. P-Town. Whatever you want to call Portland, there’s no denying the Oregon city’s got game. At least the local NBA team, the Portland Trail Blazers, does.  But it’s also a hotspot not afraid to fly its freak flag with ‘Keep Portland Weird’ bumper stickers - the slogan is said to be the city’s unofficial slogan. And while the reality may not veer too far from fiction in the sketch comedy, Portlandia, what we really wanna know is: is the dream of the ‘90s still alive in Portland? Here’s the top 5 reasons we heart Portland.

 

A bicyclist pauses to admire a mural along N. Mississippi Avenue
Photo: www.travelportland.com

 

1. Keep it wheel

Have fixie, will travel in Portland; the cycle city has over 500 kilometres of bike lanes to pedal your way around from A to B plus the highest amount of bicycle commuters in the US and the most cyclists per capita. Hipsters can feel the breeze through their artfully coiffed strands sans helmet, as the safety gear is recommended, but not mandatory here. There’s no public bike hire scheme, but you can rent a two-wheeler at heaps of spots around town. If you are going to drive (a hybrid, of course)? Gas stations are full service in Oregon – it’s the law! Retro-tastic!

 

 

2. Keep on truckin’

The meals on wheels phenomenon show no signs of slowing down in Portland. While culinary carts populate many a global hipster hotspot, Portland is the heirloom cherry on top. Fresh and organic is a given, with food portmanteaus and innovative edibles at almost 600 carts grouped into pods around the city for grazing ease. Our picks?  Potato Champion for Belgian frites topped with poutine (Canadian-style cheese curds), Koi Fusion’s Korean-meets-Mexican eats, and Nong’s Khao Man Gai where there’s only one item on the menu – Thai chicken and rice, including a vegan version – that claims a cult following. Get in our bellies!

 

Portland dresses up for the holidays #UglySweaterPDX
Photo: www.travelportland.com

 

3. Put a bird on it

The Portlandia artisans couldn’t go past adorning items with avian motifs and spawned an enduring tagline in ‘Put a bird on it’. Style-wise, flannos and hiking boots hark at Oregon’s lumberjack origins (before being appropriated by those pesky grunge types). Want to buy local? Columbia Sportswear, Danner boots and Pendleton woollen clothing are all manufactured here alongside anything from Land – a store festooned with Portland-centric and bicycle –related prints on clothes, cards, accessories – you name it.  No sales tax in Oregon is also music to our ears - ka-ching!

 

Oregon Brewers Festival
Photo: Torsten Kjelland/ www.travelportland.com

 

4. Smells like Beervana

Remember that beer ad where sweet harp music serenades a pristine land where pure unadulterated ale and unicorns run free? While Portland is not quite Oompa-Loompa land for grown-ups, it more than lives up to its nickname, Beervana, as the craft beer capital of the world with over 50 microbreweries. For ale aficionados, know this: Oregon is the second largest hop-growing state in the US, so fresh hops (harvested within 24 hours) are there for the picking. There’s also a hearty swig of beer festivals throughout the year from the Malt Ball to Biketobeerfest.

 

Voodoo Doughnut's Tex-Ass Challenge donut
Photo: www.travelportland.com

 

5. D'oh donut!

Another entry about food? Sorry, we hadn’t noticed. We were too busy deciding on whether to nom on the Bacon Maple Bar donut, the Triple Chocolate Penetration donut or the giant Tex-Ass Challenge donut that’s bigger than your face! Who are we kidding? We’ll take the lot. For fried fusion yumminess, Voodoo Doughnut is a Portland institution. A 24/7 portal (there’s two handy locations) where locals and tourists line up to inhale the doughy goodness. The fact the original Old Town location also does legal wedding ceremonies is meaningless. You had us at donut wedding cake!

 

If this blog has whet your appetite for more of the USA (or just the food trucks!), check out our awesome deals on Portland hotels!

 

Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.