Spend some time in this environmentally minded city with its vibrant cultural scene and wonderful natural setting.
Portland is a city with a strong, unique outlook. There's a huge focus on eco-friendly alternatives here – in fact, the city is globally known for its emphasis on all things green. Small and trendy businesses abound, and the beautiful natural setting helps a lot too. The central parks and verdant banks of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers make for a pleasant atmosphere in the city, with the sea and the surrounding mountains completing the effect.
Rent a bike and explore the city centre on one of the many cycle lanes in the Portland cycling network, which is one of the best in the U.S. The local streetcars and the MAX Light Rail service also offer high-quality, cheap public transport options.
One of the most distinctive of the city’s traits is its concentration on keeping things local – there are 50 micro-breweries within the Portland urban area, which is more than anywhere else in the world. Try a “Greg” beer – if you dare – from the Hair of the Dog brewery. This highly unusual blend is made from a number of types of squash. There are also plenty of independently run cafés, as well as natural food shops and restaurants.
The interactive Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has plenty to interest young and old alike and houses the last non-nuclear submarine made in the U.S.A. The Portland Art Museum exhibits early American art along with some of the most famous European painters. If you have an interest in history and architecture, visit Pittock Mansion for an insight into the city's past.
Portland is known as “The City of Roses”, and if you take the MAX service out to Washington Park you'll see why. This is where the International Rose Test Garden is to be found, as well as the Japanese Garden and Oregon Zoo.
Check out the largest independent bookshop in America at Powell's City of Books – it takes up a full city block, housing both new and second-hand titles. Live music is also a real strength here, with famous bands like The Kingsmen and the recently emerged Decemberists coming out of Portland.