A dynamic food scene, a buzzing creative community, and an abundance of lush green space and fresh air — is there anything not to love about the vibrant city of Portland? Known for its quirky vibes, eco-friendly attitude, and young, progressive culture, there’s no wonder why this eccentric pocket of the Northwest has crept to the top of so many bucket lists and gained quite the following over the last few years. It oozes with excitement and adventure… and it’s calling your name. So, ready to start packing your bags? Below are five reasons why you too should experience the greatness Portland has to offer.
1. You can feast on worldly cuisine without depleting your bank account.
When it comes to Portland, there is no shortage of mouthwatering, delicious food. And the best part? You can chow down happily without worrying about zeroing out your travel budget, as there are so many amazing food/drink deals to take part in.
Take Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen for example. Every day from 5pm to 7pm, this popular eatery downtown offers a phenomenal happy hour special where you can feast on scrumptious dishes for $2 and $3, as well as sip on select cocktails for $6. Talk about a steal, right? And, if you’re in a pizza kind of mood, be sure to check out Life of Pie. At this artisan pizza joint, you can get your very own Margherita pie for just $5 every day from 11am to 6pm. Oh, and if you’re fancying a cocktail, make your way to the mid-century bar Aalto Lounge. This place serves up exquisite handcrafted cocktails for only $3.
Plus, don’t forget to grab a bite to eat from one of Portland’s 500 food carts scattered throughout the city. Trust me, no matter what type of cuisine your taste buds are craving — Thai, Indian, Mexican, Mediterranean, you name it! — there is no question you’ll find it here. As you can imagine, the toughest decision will be deciding where to even begin.
2. If you’re a coffee fanatic, get ready for the ultimate cup of joe.
From hand-roasted beans to double-decker buses, once you’ve arrived on Portland soil, it won’t take long to realize this city takes specialty coffee to a whole new level. Yet don’t worry about scoping out the best neighborhood for a cup of joe, as each quadrant is a coffee-lover’s dream.
3. You can broaden your beer-iverse and quench your thirst in the Craft Beer Capital of the World.
What better place to sip on a refreshing cold pint of craft beer than in the Craft Beer Capital of the World? At last count, there were over 70 microbreweries in Portland, and that number is continuously rising. So whether you’re a fan of hoppy or sour, British or Belgian, you can rest assured knowing the city’s brewmasters have covered all their bases.
Although you might not have time to explore all of them, Fat Head’s Brewery, Oregon Public House, and BridgePort Brewpub are great choices to start. Delicious food, tasty coffee, and a surplus of craft beer? Now do you see why so many have referred to Portland as the coolest city in the U.S.?
4. With a lively art community, you can let your creative spirit run wild and free.
Throughout the years, Portland has become quite the popular stomping ground for young artists and creatives. From live music and festivals to visual arts, dance, and theater, there are numerous opportunities to marvel in the creativity.
If you happen to be looking for ways to take a little piece of Portland home with you, don’t miss the incredible Portland Saturday Market. Serving as the largest continuously operated outdoor market in the entire country, this thriving arts-and-crafts market takes place every weekend and houses over 250 local vendors. Just don’t forget to leave some room in your carry-on for all these future keepsakes!
5. This Oregon oasis is a treasure trove overflowing with outdoor adventure.
Although the city center hums with excitement, what makes Portland so unique from other urban destinations is its gateway for outdoor adventure. Well that, and the fact that here you have the best of both worlds: majestic mountains and a calming coast.
If you’re craving mountains: No matter if you’re looking to do a bit of hiking, biking, and/or waterfall chasing, there are tons of trails awaiting your arrival. While Multnomah Falls is one of Oregon’s most recognized waterfalls (you’ve probably seen it a time or two somewhere on Instagram), it’s also incredibly touristy and can get quite crowded.
That said, if you’re looking to truly reconnect with Mother Nature, I highly recommend veering off the beaten path by embarking on the Larch Mountain Hike. This lesser-known trail features a handful of breathtaking, cascading waterfalls, and with a total distance of 14.4 miles, you will have plenty of time to clear your mind, nourish your soul, and become inspired by the lush evergreen setting… not to mention work those glutes!
Don’t forget to carve out time to explore the awe-inspiring Mt. Hood. While you can get a glimpse of this snow-capped mountain on most clear days from the city, nothing can compare to experiencing its magic up close.
If you’re craving the coast: If you have time to spare, I also recommend hitting the pavement and road-tripping a bit west to the coast. With 363 miles of sublime shoreline, the Oregon Coast is home to some of the most stunning vistas and surreal sunsets you will ever encounter.
One place in particular worth checking out is Cannon Beach. Otherwise known as one of the most beloved jewels of the entire Northwest, this corner of the coast is situated just a little over 80 miles west of Portland and is acclaimed for its natural beauty and serene atmosphere. If you find yourself in the area, make sure to keep your eyes peeled for Haystack Rock, one of the state’s most distinctive landmarks. But don’t worry, at 235 feet rising from the edge of the shoreline, it’s kind of hard to miss!