Earlier this month I visited Portland for the first time. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of a place that prides itself in being “weird”, but it definitely exceeded whatever implicit expectations I did have. The thing that made the biggest impression on me was how amazingly friendly everyone was. On our first day, a bus driver gave us day passes for free and showed us exactly how to get to where we wanted to go, and that was just the beginning. Everyone else from hotel staff and waiters to strangers on the street, was as just warm and helpful. Even though people in the service industry are supposed to be friendly, I really felt like everyone in Portland was genuine. Nice is just how they are, not what they’re trying to be.
Another thing that stood out to me about Portland was how green it is. There were trees and meticulously planned city parks all around the city, making it even more inviting and comfortable.
Of course, what’s a trip to Portland, or any city for that matter, without trying good food? For our splurge meal of the trip, we walked to a popular restaurant called Veritable Quandary (VQ), a zagat rated intimate restaurant with great ambiance. We both loved the food and I’d love to go back one day. For brunch, we ventured across the river to try out Cafe Broder, which was cozy and had Danish inspired dishes. For coffee and dessert, we tried Portland essentials Stumptown and Salt and Straw. I liked how even though both businesses have gotten extremely famous, they were enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. While we walked by Voodoo Doughnuts, I wasn’t about to put up with the crazy line, especially when there were so many other options available. Instead I tried a tiramisu donut from Blue Star Donuts, which was delightful.
Some other sites we visited include the Japanese Garden, the Pittock Mansion, and Powell’s City of Books. I really enjoyed them all and despite the scorching hot weather, the city was easy to navigate because of its size and efficient public transportation system.
Even though our visit to Portland was short, I feel like I got a really good flavor of the city. It’s welcoming, hipster yet authentic, full of life yet peaceful. I envision it to be a great place to live and I can’t wait to visit again.