Where: Portland Oregon
Length of stay: 3 days
We went to Portland for the gardens. Coming from the midwest, we were used to well groomed yards stocked with tame bushes and run-of-the mill flowers.
In Portland, the front yards seem almost carelessly vibrant. Succulents and roses twist up freely, bushy lilacs slump onto the sidewalks. There is just enough room two walk up from the street to the front porch, where a cat will calmly wander out to greet you. You reach down to pet her, only to dirty your hand. She’s covered in dust from the road. She rolls around in it, lazy and safe. In the back yards there are chicken coops tucked away. Three tawny hens will cluck hungrily at you.The neighborhoods we saw were Alberta, Irvington, Hawthorne/Belmont and Division.
Even the whole neighborhood smells fresh. If you walk long enough in any direction you’ll come out on one of the bustling streets that slice through these burrows. There you’ll find plenty of bars and chic restaurants, and when you’ve had your fill, those quiet jungles will be waiting to welcome back.
We also went downtown, which was perfectly fine if not particularly memorable. We walked across the Hawthorne bridge, which holds a great view of the Columbia river. This city is known for its breweries, and we stopped at three of them. The Japanese tea garden was pleasant and the best spot for a view of Mount Hood.
Portland is a wonderful city, but if you’re looking for transcendence, breeze past the tourist traps, the local haunts, and take a walk through the neighborhoods.
How to get around: Public bus, uber, or just walk
Where we stayed: One night in the Alberta Arts District, two nights on the South East side
Restaurants: ¿Por Que No?, Whiskey Soda Lounge, Sizzle Pie
Breweries: Rogue, Base Camp, Hair of the dog
Doughnuts: Blue Star (forget Voodoo)
Bars: Doug Fir Lounge (best atmosphere), Aalto Lounge (2 dollar cocktails at happy hour!), Hedge House (biergarden)