Famously known as a city filled with culture, eccentricities and cool details, Portland will delight visitors.
It has a unique temperament and wide array of menus to feast on. This city’s adopted slogan is perfectly appropriate: “Keep Portland Weird.” It is also a city where people are warm and social, nature is everywhere and the cool hangouts are not exclusive.
See the City by Bicycle
I was advised to rent a bike for the morning and see the downtown district. I headed over to Pedal Bike Tours for a convenient rental, and took off to explore Waterfront Park. It was a beautiful sunny morning and many people were out jogging, biking and doing yoga in the park. Outdoor activities are truly valued here, and the city creates the space for its residents to enjoy all of the natural beauty. I love how bike culture is so predominant in Portland, and cruising through the unique neighbourhoods is the best way to experience the city like a local.
Bikes in downtown Portland, Oregon
Portland’s Craft Brewers, Shopping and Music
My next stop was Hopworks BikeBar, located on North Williams, a perfect spot to enjoy some local brews and ciders. This whole neighbourhood is fun to explore. I took my time enjoying lunch, some great stouts (my personal favourite) and then enjoyed leisurely shopping on North Williams.
Another great spot for craft brews is StormBreaker Brewing on North Mississippi Avenue, a quick stroll or bike ride from North Williams. This whole section of Portland is all about foodie fun, bars, music and awesome shopping. Check out Mississippi Studios for some great live shows, mixology and a cool little outdoor lounge with a fire pit. Another favourite street to see in the area is Northeast Alberta, where an epic street fair and art show is held on the last Thursday of every month.
For some more traditional shopping, there are many options downtown, including the Pioneer Place shopping centre and many local, national and international retailers. Portland has plenty of great opportunities for visitors to enjoy a classic shopping experience with the added bonus of tax-free savings.
Endless Foodie Options
The best way to describe Portland’s food scene is that it is abundant with options. Whether you want to experience farm-to-table concepts or greasy-spoon breakfast bliss; fine dining with views and ambiance, or picnic-style barbecue, the city boasts flavours and scenes for all. Stop by the food cart pod on Southwest Ninth and Alder where an array of options is before you. The famous little donut shop Voodoo Doughnut is also located downtown, and the impressive line around the block where customers patiently wait for a yummy treat is a sight to see.
Beyond those must-visit spots, three of my favourites were Broder for a decadent, thoughtful brunch in Swedish foodie fashion; Cannon’s BBQ for authentic Southern love, where the BBQ is delicious and the gumbo made with heart; and Departure at the Nines Hotel downtown for chic cocktails, small plates and a gorgeous view of the city.
Portland is a city of warmth, contrast and eccentricities. Among its passionate lovers of food, brews, wine, culture, nature and music, you will be constantly entertained and inspired.
Food cart pod in Portland, Oregon