I couldn’t help but have the Portlandia theme song repeating over and over in my head as we cruised into the ultra cool city of Portland, Oregon.
As we made our way from Portland airport, our super friendly Uber driver enthusiastically told us that Alberta Arts District was an awesome neighbourhood, and lucky, because that would be our home for the next four days. He gave us advice as to what to check out and after dropping our bags off at our AirBnB we went out to explore the neighbourhood.
Straight away you notice the Alberta Arts District is teeming with street art. Most murals are supported by a non-profit public art project, ‘Forest For The Trees’ (FFTTNW) whose goal is engaging the community in the process of art-making. The streets are a pleasure to stroll around and take photos.
We quickly discovered Alberta’s other charm; an endless supply of delicious food and drink options. Our immediate favourites were the very popular (and totally worth the wait for) Salt & Straw ice cream parlour, followed by Texas style barbecue at Podnahs Pit, Bollywood Theatre for Indian, and the delightfully ‘folk’ Sweedeedee for breakfast. For drinks, the best coffee in Portland we picked as Barista (with the iconic Stumptown a close second), and for a healthy kick start we regularly stopped in at Sip for our morning juice.
Oregon touts the highest micro-brewery per capita in the nation and there are at least 83 of them in Portland metro alone. So it was only fitting that we go on the Beer and parks cycle tour of Portland. With a sip here and there we found the bike ride became easier and easier as the afternoon rolled on.
We shopped hard in Portland, going back twice to open our wallets for the talented kids at Tanner goods and the “I never want to leave, buy everything” School House Electric. These two places were incredible and I highly recommend setting aside an afternoon to see them both (and taking a full wallet and healthy credit rating with you).
Downtown PDX offers plenty of day wasting opportunities, with Powell’s City of Books (no exaggeration), Ace Hotel (and its restaurant and cocktail bar Clyde Common), plus there are plenty of Barcades for grown up men looking to scratch that nostalgic arcade itch.
Sounds like a perfect city? Well Mark and I certainly thought so. And did I mention some of the country’s greatest forest hikes are less than an hour away by car? On our third day we headed out of the city to see what all the fuss was about. A must is the stunning Multnomah Falls (get there early), as well as hiking to Eagle Creek and the refreshing Punchbowl Falls.
Photography by Monique and Mark Welker.