why I love…

Continuing on with my “why I love” series on US cities, today I want to profile the great city of

I love Portland for many reasons, three of the main ones being these guys:

Besides those three pretty stellar reasons, Portland holds a place in my heart thanks to its diverse lifestyle, laid back atmosphere, bombin’ organic food market, and gorgeous scenery….sound good yet? Let me tempt you a little bit more…

I love Portland for it’s sense of humor. Yes, Portland can get a bad rap for being too “hippie-cliche”, yet the city lets all the snide remarks slide off its back like a eco-friendly, free-range duck, and even lends a hand in the roasting with the introduction of the new show Portlandia, created by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, which airs on IFC.

The show, shot entirely in Portland, portrays a wide range of characters, from a militant bike messenger to a feminist book store owner. Want to know the real Portland? Watch an episode! It’ll give you a peek into the eccentricities and comical behaviors of the city’s residents.

Check out some hilarious clips!

I love Portland for it’s health food initiative. It’s a city in which soaking up the outdoors doesn’t just mean taking a walk around Laurel Hurst Park. Portland takes pride in local farming, organic gardens, and natural foods. Local farming is also championed in many of the restaurants around town, and menus are chock full of words like “organic”, “free range”, “home-grown” and “pesticide-free”. Food is fresh, staying healthy is key, and cuisine options are plentiful. Your taste buds will always be happy in this town! Some favorites include:

Don’t have the budget for a full-on restaurant? Then try one of the many farmer’s markets or food carts sprawled all over the city. You are bound to find something to appease your budget AND palate!

I love Portland for it’s scenery. There aren’t many places in the country that can boast majestic mountains, gorgeous lakes, and close proximity to beaches like Portland.

You can ski, hike, swim, and stroll your way through the city year round. Outside of the city, the Oregon coast and Mt Hood are both only a two hour drive from town, making for perfect weekend getaways. Granted, the Oregon beaches aren’t all white, soft, Sandals Resort-style sand, but hey, I’ll take ANY kind of beach over here in landlocked Dallas! In and around Portland, bike trails, parks, and community gardens are about as common as a tattoo-ed vegan musician. 🙂 Laurel Hurst park is a favorite. Lush with trees and great pathways for pedestrians, you all get the added bonus of the beautiful homes that surround the park. The neighborhood is filled with unique homes, gorgeous architecture, and well-kept yards. My normal “people-watching” activity is trumped by “house envy-ing” at this park! Portland’s Rose Test Garden is another must-see. Considered the oldest test garden in the world, there are over 8,000 different roses available for your optical and olfactory senses.

There’s a reason why Portland is the “City of Roses”, and the proof is in the pudding garden! The Vera Katz Eastbank Esplanade is one of my other scenic loves. The esplanade is a 1.5 mile riverfront walkway/bike path that extends from the Hawthorne bridge to the Steel bridge. It also features an awesome 1,200 foot floating walkway, so if you were feeling the urge to walk on water, well, the Esplanade could make that dream come true :).

view of the Vera Katz from an early morning run 🙂

Finally, I have to mention Multnomah Falls. Ahhhh, the romantic hot spot for all young Portlandites. The scene of many a proposal. The backdrop of romance novels. It’s a magical place, no doubt, and one that shouldn’t be left out of any hiking trip. Nestled in the Columbia River Gorge, along the Columbia River Highway, Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon, and the impressive size does not disappoint.

oh.my.god.

You must see it, if not for the beauty aspect, but to at least scoop up a super cute souvenir at the gift shop! I mean, what’s the point of a vacation without a commemorative plate? Can I get an amen?

tacky...yet necessary!

Alas, I could not highlight even a fraction of the wonderous nature that surrounds Portland, or tantalize you with even a selection of the smorgasbord that is the culinary scene, or have you laughing out loud at ALL the ironic quips in Portlandia. Thus, I’ll leave you with a few sites that I find helpful when deciding what to do/where to go/etc. in this great city.

So whether you are hoping to get in touch with your inner eco-friendly tattoo artist, or experience the great outdoors and become one with nature, Portland can make that happen! Next time you’re there, have a vegetarian spring roll for me, will ya?

hearts and hippie hugs,

B.

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