‘Keep Portland Weird’: Hipsters, Music Junkies and Craft Beer enthusiasts
Carry Brownstein and Fred Armisen’s Portlandia, a sketch comedy television series released on 2011, is a hilarious caricature of Portland’s eccentric personalities and culture which has strengthened the image of Portland as a modern friendly city with an endless opportunity of exciting and interesting things to do. If you are planning to visit the city and indulge yourself in some of its myriad offerings, here is some useful information about the city and its magic.
Portland’s heart is beating to its own unique rhythm and the slogan “Keep Portland Weird” seeks to promote the city’s individuality, eccentricity and creativity. Famous for its liberal and countercultural attitudes, it ranks 8th as the most desired American city people want to live. Being a walkable city, with many people choosing to cycle and a local food movement, Portland is an eco-friendly metropolis. Called the city of roses for its temperate and ideal for growing roses weather, Portland has rainy winters, with January being the coldest month (average temperature 41°F, 5°C) and long dry summers with an average temperature of 81°F, 27°C in August.
Flights and Hotel
A return ticket for a 15 day stay in July, travelling from Cyprus or the UK to Portland, Oregon, will cost you €1,190-1,667 (£984-£1378, $1,314-1,841). A basic shared single room with a queen bed in one of Portland’s super cool and creative hotels like Ace hotel, a favourite among musicians, will cost you around $ 267 (€242, £202) a day; for 15 days that will set you back around $4,000 (with the current exchange rate, this will be £3,000, €3,621). But there are more reasonable options ranging from €70-100 a day in inns and hotels in Downtown Portland.
The pound hit a 31-year low against the US dollar after the Brexit vote but is slowly bouncing back. The dollar and yen remain a sanctuary and the chosen currencies against which both the euro and sterling have been posting losses. If you are a British citizen traveling at the moment compare exchange rates and try and get the best deal for your money.
Food and Drink
From expensive eateries with Thai, Lebanese, Italian and Japanese cuisine to the variety of inexpensive food tracks offering American delicacies, the food scene in Portland, their organic produce and inquisitively inventive cuisine, make it a mecca of culinary pleasure. The mixture of artisanal, local or vegetarian food with unpretentious ethnic influences and well-crafted concoctions, make Portland’s restaurants and food track scene a foodie magnet. Voodoo Doughnut offers the craziest doughnut flavours Bars offering craft beers, exotic tiki or karaoke bars, and kitschy hideouts serving you colourful cocktails decorated with paper umbrellas and plastic animals are some of the variety of flavours, old fashioned and new, that you can slurp as the sun goes down. The vintage atmosphere of Multnomah Whiskey library with more than 1,100 choices of whiskey, Apex’s brews or the lavender infused cocktails of Voicebox are just a few of the wonderful ways to find bliss.
Things to Do
There is the International Rose Test garden to see and Forest Park’s wildlife to explore, flea and farmers’ markets, brewery and wine tours, book and comic stores, sophisticated offbeat shops populated with students, activists and hippies, and of course the Portland Art museum. Mississippi Avenue offers quirky, craft and artsy shops with books, second-hand clothes, taxidermy, tea bars, gourmet sea salt, and handmade jewellery. Peculiarium museum is a shop that sells ephemera and all sorts of weird and rare paraphernalia to capture the imaginations of young and old: from a life-size Bigfoot to an alien autopsy scene, to glass bottles stuffed with peculiar potions this emporium is a mad glimpse into the darkest recesses of Portland’s weirdness.
Portland has also been the first city with the most strip clubs per capita in the country, with Casa Diablo serving vegan food and Acropolis Steakhouse, T-Bones. More eccentric, but also more fun—depending on which side of the stage you’re standing—movie brewpubs are another of Portland’s weird offsprings. With comfortable sofas, house-brewed beer and delicious meals, as well as a new movie costing you only $3, this is a great concept!
Portland is the hometown of Courtney Love and the place where she formed her first band Sugar Babylon. The famous Satyricon, a nightclub that operated from 1983-2010, is also credited as the place where Love firstly met Kurt Cobain, Nirvana’s frontman, at a Dharma Bums concert.
In Mississippi studios you get to see live music for only $10, while Aladdin theatre is a rock venue to satisfy the classic rocker. Holocene is an electro dance club to elevate your spirits, but then if you prefer to crawl into some grungy hole, then hanging out with anarcho-punks in The Know while enjoying a $1 burger might be just your thing. Edgefield is Portland's largest outdoor venue featuring famous bands, but Crystal Ballroom steals the spotlight with its history and haunting sightings. Since it first opened its doors in 1914, it has hosted jazz dances, classic rock musicians, square dancing, beatnik poetry readings, and dance lessons. It is said that here James Brown fired Jimmy Hendrix in the middle of a concert. Its high ceilings, antique chandeliers, murals, balconies and restored mechanical floating floor, are some of the building’s original features.
Like Portland’s strange brew, so its buildings and streets exude the charm of old and new strangeness. If you are planning to indulge yourself this summer or the coming winter, this magical city will not disappoint.