Portland, OR – It goes without saying that everyone’s hometown is unknowably cool… except to them. In that spirit, there are plenty of reasons why Portland, Oregon has acquired “It Town” status over the past few years, and its my absolute pleasure to share some of my personal favorites that are sure to guarantee a lasting impression.
Although the International Rose Test Gardens are worth a look, Washington Park’s Japanese Gardens are truly one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan. This 5-1/2-acre monument to Zen is composed of five distinct landscape styles and features transformative views of Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, and the entire cityscape of Portland.
In a town besotted with food carts and Voodoo Donut-style lowbrow cuisine, Carey has exploded on the scene with a collection of top-shelf, award-winning restaurants. Visitors have the opportunity to experience gourmet dining at Bluehour, farm-to-table meals at Clark Lewis, and Pacific-Asian delicacies at Saucebox. Surprisingly, Portland is famous for having more restaurants per capita than anywhere in the U.S., so the choices are endless, but believe me…Carey delivers on the promise to deliver the finest ingredients available, ranging from local produce and fresh seafood to all natural beef.
Whether you’re an avid reader or not, a visit to Portland should definitely include a visit to the single finest bookstore in America. Covering an entire city block, this 68,000 square foot store houses more than 1.5 million books, covering every possible subject you can imagine. Perusing through aisles of new, used, rare, and hard-to-find copies of books and magazines is half the fun…aside from people watching in the coffee shop.
With more than 30 breweries operating in Portland and more suds than any capital in the world, it’s not surprising to discover a section of town where micro-distilleries are springing up monthly. Distillery Row in Southeast Portland is home to a Saturday full of tasting events and should be added to your visiting schedule. This is the home of House Spirits, producers of Aviation Gin, and Deco Distilling’s small-batch coffee rum, which is made with locally roasted Arabica beans. But whether you’re visiting on a weekend or weekday, a tour through these facilities is an eye-opening experience.
For those who are familiar with Portlandia, a critically-acclaimed television show that affectionately lampoons life in one of the countries most unique cities, you are sure to find an array of “bird” art, funny hats, food trucks and urban gardening tips under the bridge in downtown Portland in the Chinatown area. Here you will also find remarkable crafts and original creations by emerging artists who have developed their talents at schools like the Oregon College of Art and Pacific Northwest College of Art. But if art isn’t your thing, venture a few blocks down and enjoy a stroll along Tom McCall’s 37-acre waterfront park, where you will truly get a sense for what makes Portland so special.
Now please understand, this is just a small sample of this fun-filled, bustling, diverse city that continues to grow in popularity, as demonstrated by our shortage of housing. The only way to truly appreciate what Portland has to offer is to take a chance by visiting and experiencing this crazy city first hand.
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