You might have heard a lot about Portland, Oregon, located in the Pacific Northwest section of the United States, but you might not know why it is getting so much attention.
Here are the top 10 reasons why we feel you should add Portland to your list of must-see destinations.
Mt. Hood is often visible in the background looking east from downtown, and you might even be able to see Mt. St. Helens (the volcano that erupted in 1980 on a clear day. There are numerous parks that offer wonderful hikes, including a Forest Park which is inside the city limits. Visit the world-famous Multnomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge.
You can get local craft beer almost any place you want, most restaurants, barber shops, stores, food carts, and much more. The local hops are some of the best in the world, so the beer is excellent. You can also tour local distilleries, wineries, and hundreds of coffee shops.
Lots of bike tours, bike-friendly streets with segmented and color-coded bike lanes and vehicle drivers that are cautious and aware of bikes. This makes the biking experience ideal for tourists and locals. There is also an excellent public transportation system, with streetcars, trains and bus system.
A plethora of food carts is available all over town. Entire blocks are dedicated to carts in certain sections. The food, in general, is outstanding, and there are options for every type of diet. If you want locally grown, sustainable, organic, gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian options, this is the place for you. There is also a love of junk food in Portland, such as tater tots, macaroni and cheese, unique ice cream flavors, and doughnuts.
Some of the recent popularity has come from the TV show, Portlandia. The show is filmed in Portland, and many people tour around town to find the locations featured on the show, including residential homes, women’s bookstore, and local restaurants.
The most famous one is the Saturday Market, featuring food, crafts, gifts and entertainers, held every weekend downtown. There are also farmer’s markets in each neighborhood during the week.
Portland got the nickname “Bridgetown” for a reason. There are almost a dozen bridges that cross the Willamette River, separating east and west Portland. Some are drawbridges that allow boats to cross underneath. They are also accessible by foot, bike, car and train.
Summer time is filled with music, beer, wine and rose festivals. Portlanders passionately support their local sports teams, the MLS Timbers and the NBA Trailblazers. The International Rose Test Garden has hundreds of varieties of roses to check out. The Japanese and Chinese gardens are also popular attractions. Don’t forget to hike up to the top of Pittock Mansion for an amazing view of the city.
Other Places Nearby
Besides being close to the famous Mt St Helens, visitors also travel to the Oregon coast, heading north to visit Astoria (where the movie Goonies was filmed), then head down the coast to Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. Portland is also within 3 hours of Seattle, Salem, Eugene, Bend, and Corvallis.
Oregon is one of five US states with no sales tax, so you can save money when you shop. There are lots of name-brand department stores, along with niche local shops to meet a wide variety of needs. Portland is also famous for their bookstores, vinyl records collections, antiques, recycled items, and retro clothing. Check out the local sidewalk sales and farmers markets for even more options. Don’t forget your reusable bag!