THIS IS ONE OF THE MORE INTERESTING LITTLE COMMENTARIES I’VE FOUND REGARDING MY CITY YOU WILL SOON SEE… wanted to share:
CLICK HERE for the full portland, oregon guide after the jump!
Hello, design*sponge readers! I’m so excited to be here, and can’t wait to share a little (okay, a lot) about the best Portland, Oregon has to offer. I’m Becki Singer, I write a little style blog called ShoppingsMyCardio, and I’ve lived in Portland for, wow, about two years now. Since I tend to write about fashion and accessories every day, I’m thrilled to be able to chat a bit about my other passion, home design, and to share my favorite shops and sights in the City of Roses. Thanks so much for having me, Grace!
Portland is one of those cities everyone seems to have an opinion about, whether they’ve been here or not. “It rains all the time there!”, “The city’s full of hippies, right?”, and on it goes. So, before you come to visit, let me clear up a few things. We do have rain, but it’s less than you think – winter is definitely gloomy, but our summers are the reason people live here: it’s gorgeous and sunny from June through October. As for the hippie thing, well, that one’s sort of true. We do have our fair share – though I’m going to get hate mail for admitting it. Most locals love their yoga, their bikes and their alternative medicine. You’ll get glares from fellow patrons if you forget to put your biodegradable coffee cup in the compost bin, and I’ve never lived somewhere with so many options for vegetarian, vegan and raw diners. We also tend to be an outdoorsy bunch (okay, that’s a metaphorical “we”…outdoorsy is one thing I’m not) – Portland is heaven if you’re into camping, skiing, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing…really anything that involves installing a Thule rack on your Subaru.
All that said, there’s oh-so-much more to Portland than rain and recycling. In fact, in the last ten years, this city has turned into a hip, artistic, and thoroughly cool city. If you’re into art, you’ll be amazed by the sheer number of galleries in the city, and the fact that Portland is home to all sorts of artists you already know and love (Matte Stephens, Amy Ruppel, and Jill Bliss come to mind). The indy music scene here is legendary – the Decemberists hail from its ranks, and there’s always a hot new band (or ten) to check out on any given weekend at one of the dozens of local concert venues. And the food…as a transplant from San Francisco, I take my foodie credentials seriously. The culinary scene in Portland is simply amazing, and so much less expensive than comparable spots in bigger cities. Local chefs pride themselves on sourcing the best from organic farms and free-range ranches, and doling out dishes built to make the ingredients the star. Of course, if you’re more swayed by liquid refreshment, don’t forget about those legendary Oregon Pinot Noirs, the very serious coffee bean scene, and the fact that we have more microbreweries per capita than any other city in the US.
Now that you’ve decided to visit, it will help if you take a moment to get the lay of the land. PDX is divided into quadrants: the boundary of the north and south sides is a street called Burnside, and the boundary between east and west is the Willamette River. The scene definitely changes depending on which side of the river you’re on. While it’s a gross generalization, I tend to think of the west side of Portland as the more metro, urban, hip and trendy side of things. The east side, on the other hand, is what I think most people “expect” from Portland: it’s a little more unkempt and alternative – definitely cool, but with nary a hipster vibe to be found. It’s easy to get “stuck” over on the west side. Downtown is in the SW quarter, and most of the tourist spots and upscale shopping are on the West side. But on the east side, you’ll get a feel for what really makes Portland unique and quirky…in a good way, of course. To make life easier, and to convince you to venture east, I’ve divided this guide into neighborhoods (sometimes loosely), but also listed the quadrant for each.
While you’re here, remember that PDX takes its local, homegrown businesses very seriously. Take advantage of the fact that this city nurtures independent retailers and abhors the strip mall (our mayor’s biggest campaign promise was to keep Wal-Mart out of the city), and you’ll be rewarded handsomely: we have some of the best, most uniquely curated boutiques you’ll find anywhere. Oh, and did I mention there’s no sales tax? Just in case you needed another excuse.