As uniquely appealing as it namesake on the east coast, Portland is a North American city that has accomplished the mean feat of distinguishing itself from the popular tourist magnets upon the Pacific Shoreline.
It's a city more concerned with green energy and preserving neighbourhoods than skyscrapers and neon, but you'll still find thrills to compete with anywhere else in the USA, but with a decidedly laid back twist. Craft beers and independent coffee houses are the order of the day, even with the 600,000 people wandering the leafy boulevards of Oregon's capital.
It's the third largest city in the northwest, but it has still magically retained the air of small town Americana that is often lost in the urban sprawl of other cities. Considering its size, you'll probably be shocked to learn that from the centre of the city, you need only drive 12 miles to experience the splendour of the Oregon countryside. This is a corner of the Pacific Northwest you'll never want to leave once you arrive.
Sightseeing in Portland
Pioneer Courthouse Square
This is the heart of downtown Portland, and a magnificent place from which to embark on a wider tour of the city. It's the most visited public space in the whole of the centre, with locals coming from all over town in order to sunbathe on its grassy knolls and lunch on its fringes. There are events going on throughout the week, with concerts, festivals, rallies and farmers markets all hosted in the main square.
The beauty of this park is that it truly lives up to its name. Over 5000 acres of rainforest are set out in the very heart of the city, with all the hiking trails, wildlife and rare plant life you would expect from much more remote climes. 4 miles of pathways wind through the entire forest area, so it's the perfect place to while away a sunny afternoon. A highlight of the park is the Pittock Mansion, which rests on a verdant slope overlooking the grand vista of the surrounding trees.
International Rose Test Garden
The gardens which gave Portland its nickname of the Rose City are spread out over five acres, filled with flowerbeds, sculptures, and pristine lawns. There are over 500 varieties of roses grown in the permanent gardens, and in spring you can enjoy the incredible experience of seeing this cornucopia of colour in full bloom.
Shopping in Portland
Canoe is a fantastic place to shop if you're looking for curios, especially those with a modern design bent. You can find beautifully crafted jewellery, ceramic and accessory pieces in store, along with not a few surprises, like first edition books and antique birdcages.
Eating out in Portland
Laurelhurst Market is perfect for both a sit-down meal and a casual bite to eat, with a menu that caters for meat-lovers in a huge way. Expect grass-fed steaks, delicious briskets, and mussels served to perfection, as well as seafood platters which are absolutely ideal for sharing.