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Three Perfect Days: Portland

America’s hipster capital is home to world-class dining, dozens of microbreweries, a quirky arts scene and some of the most beautiful parks and natural landscapes in the country. Other than that, it’s pretty nice here.

Author Justin Goldman

A few of the 11 bridges that cross the Willamette River in downtown Portland / Daniel Cronin

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Portland has more than its share of nicknames—Stumptown, Brewvana, Bridgetown, PDX, Rip City, the City of Roses—but odds are you haven’t heard many of them. Despite being home to iconic indie artists like Gus Van Sant and Elliott Smith, not to mention some of the best microbreweries in the world, to most people Portland is just a small Pacific Northwest city that gets a lot of rain.

Recently, though—due in part to “Portlandia,” the IFC comedy that lovingly lampoons hipster culture—Portland’s public profile has been on the rise. The city (motto: “Keep Portland Weird”) has become a magnet for creative types, drawn to its bookstores, record shops, music venues, public artworks and tattoo parlors. As Fred Armisen puts it on “Portlandia,” it’s “a city where young people go to retire.”

But you don’t have to be a clued-in 20-something to enjoy Portland. Thick with public parks and surrounded by pristine forests and mountains, it’s a dream locale for outdoors enthusiasts. The damp climate and proximity to first-rate farms also provide the thriving restaurant, winery and brewery scene with an abundance of fresh ingredients. Those seeking traditional cultural outlets, meanwhile, can avail themselves of Portland’s museums and art galleries, many of which have taken over industrial spaces across the city.

Today, the national media’s appreciation for the city has become so ardent that locals refer to the blitz of coverage as “stalking.” But Portlanders remain exceedingly friendly—you shouldn’t be surprised if one offers you a ride into town from the airport and regales you with recommendations the whole way. People are especially cheery in the summer, when the clouds part, brewpub patios hum, and cycling becomes the only acceptable form of transportation, be it to an art fair or an organic grocery.

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7 Responses to “Three Perfect Days: Portland”

  1. Cara Tobias Says:
    July 1st, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    And there is SO much more to do in the Portland area in a week! Regarding fashion , “Project Runway ” winners and select vintage that compelled a white house visitor to fly in to buy her gown for the inaugural.And then there is NIKE world campus on the way to one of the best loved coasts in the world. Thanks for the LOVE!

  2. Sue lang Says:
    July 16th, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Thank you

  3. Cornelius Cornhagen Says:
    July 29th, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    The second-person narrative is kind of creepy. Are they ordering me to do this stuff? Are they presciently forecasting my future? Is the author having an out-of-body experience?

  4. Mary Says:
    August 23rd, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    Good advice if you’re a rich alcoholic inclined to get a tattoo. Pretty small demographic for this article.

  5. Julee Jackson Says:
    September 1st, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I was born and raised in Portland and vicinity. I now live in Florida. Returning to Portland for a few days vacation and LOVED this article. Will check out most of places this article refers to. Thanks, downloading it now. Having trouble finding a way to download the iPhone app though.

  6. Nonya Says:
    November 6th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Where are these world class restaurants you speak about? I can’t find good food anywhere when in the area. It rains non stop, people stare at you if you wear clothing other than fleece and the down town has zero nightlife. One of the worst cities ever been to. No culture, no food, no entertainment and not a whole lot of sunshine. PASS!

  7. Karen Nelson Says:
    October 31st, 2015 at 2:18 am

    Soggy Portland is cold & depressing. It also has snowy winters. But some people like that. I guess all the rain keeps it green. Bring your Birkinstocks, woolen socks, down vest, and extra Vitamin D!

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