Plethora of Coffee
There have been countless times when I’ve been out of town and it seemed like the only options for coffee and espresso were at a mediocre coffee chain. In Portland you can’t swing a Nike backpack without hitting any number of local shops brewing handcrafted coffee drinks. Portland isn’t only home to dozens of coffee shops, but many of these places also roast their own beans to deliver the freshest cup of brew. Barista, Floyd’s, Water Avenue, Heart, Courier, Extracto, and so many more—there’s always going to be a well-made brew within your immediate reach. There’s a stereotype that we’re coffee snobs, but it’s more that we know what we like because we have so many choices.
Tax-free Shopping and Dining
I challenge you to name five other states that don’t have sales tax. I’ll give you a hint: you can’t! And especially when Portland has one of the nation’s leading dining and sportswear scenes, who wouldn’t like coming home to tax-free shopping? Try to grab a pass to shop at the Adidas Employee Store (much easier to get into than the Nike Company Store). Besides the obvious and commercial Pioneer Place and Lloyd Center malls, there are also lots of great local shops and restaurants to support on NE Alberta and N Mississippi, local chains and boutiques on NW 23rd, and stellar thrifting on SE Hawthorne.
Legal Recreational Reefer
Not only is it legal here, it’s affordable and stupid accessible! The number of places to buy weed is so off the hook I could cry. There’s no weed like Oregon weed. Use Leafly app to find a pot shop selling recreational weed near you—there are probably lots! But if you’re in these areas, check out Brothers Cannabis on SE Division (Portland’s oldest dispensary) or Nectar on N Mississippi (one of Portland’s most popular pot shops), which is known for selling one-gram pre-rolled joints for as low as $3.50 and $2 edibles. Just remember: it’s not legal to use cannabis products in public, despite the fact that you’ll see many Portlanders doing it.
Enjoy the Flourishing, Green Outdoors
Speaking of green stuff, I definitely miss all the trees and gorgeous plant life when I leave this place. Portland is literally a city in a forest! There are so many hikes and paths and nature trails in Portland—and in Oregon in general. Forest Park is the most accessible hike from downtown Portland. Go west on NW Upshur and you’ll be heading toward a gorgeous wooded entrance to Forest Park. The park is gigantic, so you’ll really want to come here multiple times to experience it all. Go look at a house previously owned by super-rich white people (Pittock Mansion) or take a jog through the International Rose Test Garden, which is connected to Forest Park.
So Fresh and So Clean Air
Nothing compares to Oregon air. Shout out to trees and water one time! Portland is one of the few cities where it feels completely healthy to just step outside and take a deep breath. There’s no evidence of smog (California), no overwhelming humidity (Atlanta), no god-awful sewer stench (New York). Just the smell of freshly dampened soil and thriving fauna.