Portlandia: The City of Roses and Beautiful Oddities

Portland is a place that has so much character and uniqueness to it that it oozes individuality, taste, and creativity. You would think that after Vancouver, where people blatantly pretend they don’t know you when you cross paths, I would have been creeped out by strangers who smiled and said hi to you. Don’t get me wrong, this is not so much a dig at Vancouver as it is an example how authentic and friendly Portland can be and feel. The city of roses and originality truly runs on creativity and perhaps, positivity.

Of course, I unjustly compared it to Seattle as I was strolling the streets and meeting the people of Portland. One of the things that stood out to me the most was that Portland is not as densely populated as the home of the space needle, but it has just as much energy and is just as politically and socially progressive.

By the way, Seattle may have the original Starbucks, but Portland has Stumptown (ruined me for the coffee I make at home). In fact, coffee is undeniably crucial in Portland, which is evidenced by its +800 coffeeshops.

The juxtaposition of a diverse culture, progressive politics, and its unique and creative social dynamic makes Portland one of the most prominent cities in North America, nay, the world. If the city’s goal to keep Portland weird is making this happen, then by all means, please “Keep Portland Weird.” Indeed, the norms that apply to the majority of North American cities usually don’t apply to Portland.

Another aspect that makes Portland fantastic is that you don’t pay a nickel of sales tax. One of the things I notice every time I visit Portland is that not only Portlanders seem happy and friendly most of the time; even servers at restaurants seem to be enjoying what they do. While one may question their sincerity, I am not keen on doing so as I have not had one unpleasant experience at any of the establishments I have visited over the years. I may go as far to suggest people who work in the food industry in Portland seem very content because their patrons can afford to tip them more generously as they are not held back by sales tax.

Of course, Portland is also a place where the statement “I’m bored” is not justifiable. As far as the attractions go, there are many, but you really can’t say you have been to Portland without visiting Powell’s Books, the International Rose Garden, and the Japanese Garden. The statue of Portlandia is also very much worth seeing as it will simply inspire you. What’s more, if you’re into food and booze as much as I am, PDX will make you abundantly happy in that department, too.

This is one city that doesn’t need much promotion. Portland, Oregon is nature sculpted into a one-of-a-kind metropolis: a city built in an enormous forest, parts of which are now beautiful parks, like Forest Park in the North, the Japanese Garden, and the International Rose Test Garden in the south. Surrounded by fine wineries and filled with critically-acclaimed restaurants, Portland is certainly one of the musts of the Pacific Northwest.

 *Originally Written for VineAdvisor.com
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