November 13, 2015

Portland/Oregon 2015

Yes, I've managed to get my butt in the air again and to a new place that I've never been to. This past October, I decided to make a trip out to Portland, OR, which also included a day trip up to Seattle, WA.

I never really had considered Portland to be a place worth visiting; Seattle? Yes, but not so much Portland. After having a not-so-short layover in Seattle, earlier this year on my way back from Hawaii, I didn't feel content enough to leave Seattle without exploring it properly, so I vowed to return some day. I knew of Portland, of course, but I didn't know too much about it. After seeing many internet posts about the kind of people in Portland, and yes, even getting myself into the show Portlandia, I knew I had to add it to my list of cities to see. I figured I would make a trip of Seattle as well, since it's only about a 3 hour drive north of PDX. I also had purchased tickets to see one of my favorite bands, MUTEMATH, who had a stop in Portland on their tour, so I had to make a trip of it!

I started my first full day by exploring downtown Portland and all it had to offer. I started off by visiting the Lan Su Chinese Garden. It was absolutely beautiful! It was also really neat to see such a green space in the middle of a city.

Portland is a very small city, compared to a metropolis as Toronto, where I'm from and where I go to work. It was honestly a nice change of scenery as I found that the hustle and bustle of a big city, was almost non-existent in Portland. It could have also been the west coast vibe, but it was a still just a nice place to be.

I did as many touristy things that I could in Portland: I visited the "Keep Portland Weird" sign, skipped out on the tourist trap Voodoo Donuts (opted for Blue Star instead!), got lost in Powell's City of Books, sat in the Pioneer Courthouse Square, and so on and so forth. It was pretty simple and quick to see these spots in a day. I'd say you wouldn't need more than 1 or 2 days to see this city.

For those wondering, the city is known for their love of food trucks, and believe me, there are a LOT of food trucks. I only ended up visiting one of them since I stayed in the Alberta Arts District in the North Eastern quadrant of Portland. Portland is also known for their love of craft beer, hipsters, hippies, and strip clubs. I can confirm all of them. The atmosphere and people are super friendly and super amicable. The city seems a little rundown than what I'm used to, but it has a charm and character that's very appealing, in my opinion.

I also got the chance to see one of my favorite bands of all time—MUTEMATH—in this new city. I had such an amazing time and encourage any and everyone to listen to them or even go and see them live. It's worth every penny!

One thing that I absolutely love as well is the accessibility to nature! Portland is part of the Pacific Northwest and if you know anything about the PNW, you know it's a nature lover's fantasy! I love all things mountains, trees, winding roads, lakes, oceans, etc. I did my best to see/do as many nature things as I could without having access to a car. I only ended up renting a car for one of the days that I was there and drove out to the Oregon Coast. My trip took me through Washington State, back into Oregon to reach the northern most part of the coast. The weather wasn't the greatest so I didn't spend as much time as I wanted to, to see what I wanted. In retrospect, I'm kicking myself for not stopping in Astoria, Oregon as I found it absolutely beautiful while driving through.

I made an attempt to find the Shipwreck of Peter Iredale, and failed. My next stop was Seaside, OR that has a nice beach, boardwalk and promenade. Again, because of the wet weather, I couldn't see or do much there.

My last stop was Cannon Beach. It was the one stop that I had hoped out of all the stops I made, would be the best, and it was! The weather calmed down just enough for me to make the windy walk out onto the beach and towards the absolutely stunning Haystack Rock and the Needles.

I made my way back to Portland after this stop, but I was just absolutely blown away by the gorgeous scenery of my drive in both Washington and Oregon. It's absolutely breathtaking and beautiful. I'm glad that I made it while the leaves are still turning colors. The roads are lined with gorgeous evergreens and other trees that had leaves turning colors. So even though the weather wasn't the greatest (I did get some periods of the sun coming out from the clouds though), the drive alone made the trip worth it.

I spent the remainder of my trip just wandering around and not really doing too much. I definitely wished I had rented a car for the entire week so I could have seen either Mount Hood or the Columbia River Gorge, etc., but that just means that I have to go back some day (:

On my last days of trips, I like to give myself some sort of "send off". I decided to make my way downtown to the Portland Aerial Tram for a different view of the city. The sun had finished setting by the time we got to the top, but we were all greeted with a gorgeous, massive, full moon. My kind of send off~

In all, Portland was a nice city and it'd even be one of those places that I could potentially see myself living in, but probably not any time soon. It's relaxed, the people are good and friendly, the transportation is amazing and done right, the food was good, plus they even have a bit of a music culture there, which is something I love and value. I would definitely recommend it as a stop for anyone doing the west coast. I wouldn't suggest needing an entire week there though as you can get through it fairly quick. It's a nice little gem of the PNW and I was happy to call it my home for about a week.

If you'd like to see more pictures from my trip, you can find them here.


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