Portland, Oregon: a Strange, but Beautiful City on the River

Who thinks of going to Oregon? Yeah, me either. Portland is the largest city in Oregon and has roughly 650,000 residents. Named after Portland, Maine, the city covers 145 square miles and is seated in the Willamette Valley on the Western coast of the United States. This city became popular near the 1830s, due to its involvement with the Oregon Trail and its unique water access for the pioneers. This city is known for its environmentally conscious residents, large biking community, great public transportation, amazing public parks, overcast skies, and homeless people- there’s a LOT.

By the way, did I mention that Marijuana is legal there?

My Experience

Truth be told, I was NOT happy the first day I arrived. Leaving Atlanta, Georgia with sunny skies and 90 degree weather to 50 degree weather was almost TORTURE. (And guess who had a 3 hour flight delay…me!) But after settling into my nice hotel room at the Residence Inn, I slowly was put to ease upon arrival.

Driving around the city the following day made me feel, fresh. The green trees, brisk wind, and unique roads, really evoked a weird feeling in me. I am not sure what it is, but you just feel “different” in Portland. Needless to say, I had a BLAST (yes, I said it). Although I was only there for three full days, the city was captivating and had a nice sense of bustle while also maintaining its calm. Honestly, I had thoughts of going to Portland before, but never pulled the trigger. Everyone that I have talked to that previously visited the city told me that it was “Nice and Cool”, and I agree. The city offers a unique mix of San Francisco, Maine, Seattle, and mountain man vibes. With beautiful homes and buildings built into the mountains and rivers flowing through the city center, it’s definitely a picturesque city…if the sun is out.

Tips:

  • Traffic is strangely bad in Portland. If you want to go to dinner or to across the city, try to leave your destination by 4 PM. If not, you may get stuck in traffic for 2 hours!
  • It can be COLD…and rainy. Make sure to look at the forecast before packing.
  • Although I felt very safe and did not encounter any issues, don’t walk around the city by yourself. There are a lot of homeless people and some very “interesting” characters. While I was in town, there were at least two mass murders, 2 suicides, and some other super natural situations.
  • Oregon is a sales tax free state, so shop ‘til you drop. Also, Adidas, Nike, and Columbia are headquartered here, so check out their employee store and ask if your company gets discounts (50%!)

What to Eat

Due to the city’s residents, Portland has great, FRESH food. I honestly cannot say that I did not have one good and unique meal. While most of my meals were predetermined due to my meeting, I was able to sneak my way out to the following places:

Olympia Provisions- Food, Wine, and Charcuterie: this place, is awesome! The restaurant offers a Spanish, hipster deli feel and some unique dishes. I would recommend the Spanish ham and cheese board and the octopus. It was the BEST octopus that I’ve ever had!

Backyard Social: this super comfortable restaurant offers Portland made beers while providing a venue that literally makes you feel like you’re in a friend back yard. The food is good, and the prices are reasonable. Tips:

  • Try to order small plates so that you can try different dishes. It’s hard to envy what another table has ordered when you have a full stomach.
  • If you like desserts, try VooDoo Donuts. They are delicious!

Where to Party

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Portland isn’t really know for its great “party” scene. It appears that most people like to spend their nights drinking beer in a bar (or smoking Marijuana), than dancing is a club. However, me being the dance machine that I am, I was able to find some really amazing spots!

Breweries/Bars to check out:

Ecliptic– is a modern style brewery that serve seasonal food along with a variety of craft beers

Century– A chic sports bar that offers two unique bar experiences and a great patio for outdoor drinking. (One section of this bar actually looks sports arena, and has raised stadium seats.)

Places to Dance:

FORTUNE– please, please, PLEASE go to this place. This venue almost reminded me of one of my favorite places in Atlanta called Sound Table. The bar is intimate and allows you to speak with locals, while also have a great time with your friends and a nice drink. The music is perfect to dance too, and the drink are reasonably priced. (Music: hip hop, rap, reggae, dance, EDM, soul, house, jazz)

TUBE– this place, unfortunately, requires a $5 entrance fee, however, it’s a very unique venue. Made to look like a train in space, this bar offers a great playlist and an interesting crowd. (Music: hip hop and rap)

Tips:
If you are looking for places to go, ask your hotel bartender. Be SPECIFIC or you may end at the wrong place
The second day that I was in town, I went on a two hour river cruise. I think this was the best way for me to view the city and take some great pictures. Plus, it was one hell of a party.

Sights that I Wished I’d Seen

Due to the “lack of Sun”, extremely low clouds, and my short trip, I was unable to go out and really explore most of the city and its surrounding wilderness. Portland is truly a metropolis in the woods, so try to make time to hike and walk its amazing trails. The following locations are within 30-120 minutes away from the city center, and it’s worth it to go if you are able:

  • Mount Hood
  • Columbia River Gorge
  • Wine Country (yes, please)
  • Oregon Coast
  • Large rivers and hiking trails

Final Thoughts

Yes, Portland might be in everyone’s recent headlines for all of the crazy murders, suicides, and the hate crimes (yikes), but one has to remember that every large city has its ugly side. I really enjoyed my time in Oregon. The mountain, the sky, and yes, even the cold temperatures really brought out new senses that I never felt before. I immediately felt like hiking, kayaking, or breakdancing. Although, I could never live there (because I love the sun too much), I will definitely be back.

Portland…you surprised me.

Travel Girl- Ilea

 

(All photos and content created by the Girls Point of View Team ©2017. All Rights Reserved.)

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