Planning Your Time
Portland isn’t like London or San Francisco, cities filled with loads of top-notch destinations that serve as pilgrimage sights for every visitor. Aside from a handful of unique institutions and sights, Portland is more a city that you explore for its way of life. To capture Portland’s potent allure—to “get it”—you need to do some serious hanging out.
The point is that it’s the fabric of life in Portland that makes it such a unique city. Portlanders are actively engaged with their city, and there’s not a big distinction made between high and low art, lesser or greater lifestyles. As a visitor with a few days to spend in Portland, pick out a local coffeehouse to frequent—you’ll soon be chatting with new friends and hearing about hot new bands or private dining clubs that are by invitation only.
Go to a reading at Powell’s Books and find yourself amidst the local literati. Spend an afternoon on Alberta Street or Mississippi Avenue, the trendy gallery and restaurant areas, and you’ll hear the stories of entrepreneurial young idealists who have come to Portland—like so many before them—to pursue their dream at the end of the Oregon Trail.
There aren’t six degrees of separation here; everyone knows everyone else. To make your own entrée into the grid, get just a little bit involved and you’ll be surprised how quickly the doors open. Chat with your waiter about art galleries, ask for dining advice from an art-gallery owner, get to know someone at a brewpub, and soon you’ll find yourself holding the keys to unlock the city’s doors.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel