As the plane descended into Portland, I could see the snow-capped tip of Mt Hood majestically peaking through the billowing clouds. The first impression was a great one, and I couldn’t wait to explore and experience all the quirky, adventurous things Portland is famous for Portland (not to be confused with the one in Maine), the largest city in the state of Oregon, located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States of America.
With a population of over 600,000, the city boasts of being one of the greenest cities in America with its eco-conscious public transportations, farm-to-table dining and high rate of walkability and cyclability within the city.
During the time of my visit in late September, fall was just starting to set in and the weather was perfectly pleasant and crisp, and varied between 23-27-degrees Celsius. I took the MAX light rail directly from the airport to reach the Airbnb in the downtown area. The tickets are quite frankly pretty affordable at US$2.5 for an adult (approx. RO1) but it’s more economical to opt for the US$5 day pass. The commute was about 35 to 40 minutes and I chose to take an Uber from the station downtown.
The picturesque city is set among rolling hills and it’s a dream destination for nature lovers and adventurers alike. There are more than 10 national parks and several water falls within driving distance of Portland but for those looking to venture within the metro, there are plenty of historic trails, monuments, museums and amazing art and culture scene right in the city.
On my first night in the city, I walked about a mile to Powell’s Books – the largest independent bookstore in the world. It takes up a whole block and comes complete with a quirky cafe for the bookworms to delve into books from any genre your mind can comprehend. Portland is also home to many craft micro breweries and since the weather was so perfect, I settled for a nice dog-friendly local restaurant with outdoor seating.
Besides being environmentally-conscious, the cool city is also famous for its hole-in-the-wall quaint coffee shops and roasters. With a book in hand from Powell’s, I walked the tree-lined historic districts splattered with fall leaves and century-old homes and finally found a coffee shop to unwind in when it started to drizzle. A perfect time to soak in the friendly local culture. Due to its Northwest regional locations, Portland receives more the 64 inches of rain a year so the grey clouds constantly mask the city with a sombre mood. Once the skies cleared, I walked on over to a bizarre museum called the ‘Freakybuttrue Peculiarium and Museum’ – a uniquely creepy and weird museum for odd things.
As for shopping, you’ll be happy to know that anything – I mean anything – you buy in this millennial-friendly city or the rest of the state happens to be sales tax-free!
Museums, bridges and gardens are quite popular in Portland so make it a point to visit The Grotto, Washington Park and Portland Japanese Garden for sure. As for bridges, St Johns Bridge, Tilicum Crossing and Hawthorne Bridge are perfect to watch the pink-hued sunset by the Willamette River that cuts through the city.
Besides appealing to nature-conscious millennials, the burgeoning beautiful city oozes originality and keeps it simple yet authentic making it completely in sync with the city’s motto: ‘Keep Portland Weird.”