A Day in Portland





Continuing with details about my trip, the second stop on the trip was Portland. I flew into Portland late at night from San Francisco. I waited until the last minute to book a hotel (ten minutes before boarding the plane), so I ended up staying in Jentzen Beach at Oxford Suites outside of Portland. The room was just ok, but the staff were exceptionally helpful and included in the price was a shuttle during the daytime, as well as breakfast and a cocktail at night. The morning after arrival, I ate breakfast at the hotel and then one of the staff members drove me to the closest MAX rail stop. For an all-day pass to ride public transportation, it only cost $5 (!!!).





I got off at Pioneer Square which seemed to be the center of the city. There were SO MANY great food options and unique shops. My first stop was Stumptown Coffee to get a caffeine fix. As a cold-brew aficionado, I was thrilled to see they had a whole cold-brew menu. Vodoo Donuts was close by, but the line was wrapping around the building. I had read a few reviews online that said their donuts weren’t very good, so I skipped them and continued wandering around the Pearl District. Eventually I did stop for a donut, but at Blue Star. I picked the blueberry bourbon basil version and it was hands down the best donut I’ve ever eaten. It had a ton of flavor and wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet.



With sugar and caffeine fueling me, I ambled through Goose Hollow, which is a part of Portland that felt like a suburb. From there I went to Washington Park, one of favorite parts of Portland. At the park, you get sweeping views of the city plus Mt. Hood in the distance. In case you didn’t know, Portland is called the Rose City, and hundreds, if not thousands, of rose varieties are grown in Washington Park. It smelled heavenly.   



From there I took public transportation to the Mississippi neighborhood, which came recommended by several locals. I wasn’t overly impressed by the neighborhood itself, but there were a lot of delicious food offerings. I went to a food cart “pod” and had Homegrown Smoker Vegan BBQ. Because of my indecisiveness, I ordered the combo platter that included a seitan BBQ burger, smoked soy curls, hush puppies, sweet potato fries, and vegan mac and cheese. It was incredibly delicious, but I was so stuffed I could barely move comfortably. I walked through some of the shops along the main street and worked up a thirst. After such a big lunch, I should have just ordered water, but no, there were too many tasty options, so I chose a smoothie from Moberi instead. The smoothie was packed with kale, ginger, maca root, hemp seeds, almond milk, and a few other fruits and veggies.


Food coma hit me hard, so I took a bus to the Alberta Arts neighborhood. I liked this neighborhood much better and I wish I could have ordered food from every little cafe I passed. At this point my belly said no more. To satisfy my desire for more Portland eats and not upset my stomach, I bought some Townshend's kombucha to drink later in the evening. I headed back to the hotel for some much rest and relaxation, including an invigorating swim to burn off some of the day's caloric overload. That night when I reflected on my brief time in Portland, these are the pros and cons I saw for living in Portland.

Pros

-Affordability (Could live downtown or buy a house comfortably)
-AMAZING food
-Easy to get around, public transportation worked well
-Natural beauty (trees and mountains visible on all sides)
-People were very friendly
-Felt comfortable on my own downtown (read: it was safe)

Cons

-High rate of homelessness
-Some neighborhoods were dirty/gritty (similar to Philadelphia)
-Air wasn't as fresh as San Francisco
-Cannabis is not my thing and it's everywhere there
-One of the aspects I love most about living in a city is that a large majority of the population is educated and more cosmopolitan in their views. That wasn't the case here.    

{Had a Fifty Shades fan girl moment stopping by the Heathman Hotel. Unfortunately no Grey sightings}

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