Portland is a city I don't visit often enough. It's eclectic. It's got great food. It values green space. I love it when I'm there.
The best part of my Portland experience was the weather! I've managed to plan this trip in the middle of a cold snap that has brought sunshine and blue skies.
I felt so lucky to be wandering around bundled up sipping delicious coffee!
In the land of Megan, sunshine, coffee, and a camera are great day essentials. I felt like I won the Portland game before it began!
If you asked me what kind of touristy attractions there are in Portland I wouldn't be able to give you a single activity. When I'm in the city (which isn't very often at all) I just wander around. That's my favorite thing to do. I wander around and, I try to do it slowly.
With good weather and good coffee you can wander around this city for hours but, when I'm here I always wander in one direction. Towards Powell's. Always. I don't think I've ever missed Powell's on a trip to Portland. In fact, if I know I'm heading to Portland I think of random obscure books that I'd love to find. Last time I was there I found Salt-Water Poems and Ballads by John Masefield. Winning.
I cruised around for a bit - one city block of book wandering folks - and then I sat down in the cafe to catch up on life. I needed to send some thank you notes, my dogs were barkin' and, I wanted to play with my phone (obviously).
I ended up plopping down next to this dude who was making these killer paper flowers. I was mesmerized. I stared and stared until he was finally uncomfortable enough to look my way.....and then I blurted, 'canitakeyourpicture?!'. He just shrugged his shoulders so I took his picture and then he said, 'do you have somewhere you could take one of these flowers to keep it safe?' and I felt so, so, so sad that I had to say, 'no I don't but I really, really wish I did.' Then he said, 'if you think these are pretty you can see some really nice photos of them at world-paper-flowers-dot-com.' so I scribbled it down to check out later.
Portland's got a great vibe but, as I walked around I kept thinking to myself, 'is this real life?'. That thought would quickly be followed up with, '....so maybe the show Portlandia isn't that far off the mark....put a bird on it?'. Portland in my opinion is almost surreal. The homeless man aggressively panhandling while dressed head to toe in carhartt with his dog who's wearing a jacket. The sweater bombed beaver statue. The hipsters. It just makes me wonder, 'is Portland like this every day?!'.
Friends, Portland is worth a visit. If for no other reason to look around and think, 'people seem pretty happy here'. People ride bikes. People read books. People view coffee as a sacred art form. People listen to street musicians. People (as in everyone) say 'thank you' and 'have a nice day' to the bus driver when they exit at their stop. People buy things if there's a bird on it. Plus, Portland isn't as gritty as Seattle. It's a little softer around the edges. Its buses are clean. It's downtown is compact and walkable. There's no sales tax. These things are heavily weighted pros. (you know, in case you were making a list...)
I've decided I like Portland because indeed its carhartt-y bums, bearded hipsters, sweater bombing ninjas, and kick butt coffee (ahem, stumptown) is indeed an everyday phenomena. Plus, Portland is home of stripperaoke. Sign.me.up.