Wander 2016 City Guide: Portland the Playful
It may rain a lot in Portland, but it doesn’t mean that Portlanders don’t have fun in the great outdoors. Dynamic yet mellow – Oregon’s largest metropolis is surrounded by impressive natural beauty but at the same time has a vibrant downtown with a progressive atmosphere that celebrates the arts, a culture of great food, artisan coffee, beer and wine.
At first Portland may have a small town feel, but visitors quickly figure out that the city is culturally diverse and politically charged as well as being a haven for eco-activists, cyclists, grungesters, hipsters, tree huggers, vegans, gardeners, dog-lovers – the list goes on and on!
We love that Portland is an up and coming destination, which is why we choose this friendly – but at times zany – city as one of the places that we would like to visit in 2016. Read on to hear about all the fun things to do in Portland!
Explore Forest Park. Forest Park flanks the hills on the west side of the city, just 10 minutes by car from downtown, and overlooks Portland's main waterway, the Willamette River. This natural getaway, which is the largest wooded urban park in the United States, is filled with more than 70 miles of walking and hiking trails.
Check out Lan Su Chinese Garden, right in the middle of downtown. History has it that Portland’s official sister city in China is a place called Suzhou, not far from Shanghai, where some 65 workmen came to Portland in 1999 to build a 40,000-sq.-ft. Suzhou-style garden. They brought huge pieces of wood and rocks from the homeland to make sure it turned out just so.
Don’t miss the Portland Saturday Market – the largest open-air craft market in North America. Several hundred local craftsmen set up shop in the historic Old Town District offering exotic foods, unique souvenirs, art, clothing, toys – you name it!
According to the Oregon Brewers Guild, Portland has more microbreweries than any other city than the world (31 to be exact!) Therefore the beer scene is amazing and you can get a good sense of it by touring local pubs such as BridgePort Brew Pub, MacTarnahan's Tap Room or one of the many McMenamins pubs around town.
One of Portland's nicknames is the City of Roses. The climate for growing these flowers is ideal so in in 1917 the International Rose Test Garden was born, and lives on as the oldest official, continuously operated public rose test garden in the United States. If you visit from April through October you can walk among 7,000 luscious rose bushes; June is when they're most bountiful.
Bonus track: Don’t miss the avant-garde donuts at Voodoo. The namesake Voodoo Doughnut is shaped like a voodoo doll and oozes blood red jelly!