Spotlight :: Portland

portland spotlight

[trip style = urban]

Following last Friday's ode to the Ace Hotel Portland, I wanted to unearth more of Portland's mysteries beyond its no sales tax fame.

No Comparison

Portland is in a category of its own. Sure, I could compare it to other places, but that wouldn't do the river-side city justice. Just like the colourful tattoos adorning the extremities of almost every 20- or 30-something I came across, the city's arty urbanism is displayed on every street corner. Beyond Portland's gritty-fabulous facade, a few things stood out: Indie - it seemed like the epicenter of everything and anything independent, from music to movies; Vintage - although there's been a lot of new development, the city has maintained a vintage feel in its art deco-inspired architecture and thoughtful preservation of old buildings; Authentic - from people's attitudes, to restaurant food, to decor, there wasn't a hint of fake.

Smell the Roses

Aside from the overwhelming friendliness of people in Phoenix and Scottsdale {maybe it's the desert sun?}, Portlandites are among the most humble, understated and sincere people I've met in any US city. This quiet, friendly confidence is even more impressive given the climate is similar to Vancouver's on-again, off-again weather. Given Portland's affectionately known as the City of Roses, maybe stopping to smell the roses has something to do with the culture of nice?


Walking everywhere wasn't just reserved for tourists. Each day and night we walked from city centre to river-front, cafe to restaurant and shop to shop. Other than one Container Store-induced jaunt into the 'burbs {by car}, we were able to pound the pavement in any direction we pleased. On a busy US Thanksgiving weekend, surprisingly, the city centre didn't show a hint of excessive traffic. Portland's transportation norms embrace walking and riding the street car.

Bacon Maple Doughnuts & Other Delicacies

I should have guessed Portland's foodie scene would be incredible based on its well known street food scene. Although I'm sad to say I didn't taste any of the street carts' delicacies, I was blown away by the bacon-maple doughnuts, bistros, coffee shops and restaurants. Aside from one hurried and greasy meal at a popular restaurant which shall remain nameless, every spread was sumptuous and each restaurant's atmosphere was the perfect compliment to the food.

portland dining pics



Dinner :: Gruner, Irving Street Kitchen, Clyde Common

Brunch :: Tasty n Sons

Coffee/Doughnuts :: Stumptown, Voodoo Doughnuts


Bookworms :: Don't miss the massive Powell's Books.

Other :: Walk along the Willamette river, visit the Saturday Market, catch an indie flick at the Living Room Theatres

Get There

Car :: six hours from Vancouver, 3 hours from Seattle

Train :: 8 hours from Vancouver, 4.5 from Seattle via Amtrak Cascades {now with wifi}

[photos by @tripstyler & @nate_fri]