Every city you go to has a restaurant or some type of store that totally embodies its nature. If I were to choose a place that truly embodies the weird, corky, and forward thinking of Portland, that would Voodoo Doughnuts.
One of the best Doughnut shops in the whole world, I’m not kidding. This doughnut shop was built by none other than Portland’s own Tres Shannon and Cat Daddy, in 2003. Their original location is Old Town, Portland or what some like to call it, “the crotch”. They soon became a huge hit and opened up another location right across the Willamette River. One of my friends, Josh who owns a moving in Beaverton company, actually showed me Voodoo Doughnut back in 2005.
When Voodoo first started out they quickly became known for the strange doughnuts they served. One of their doughnuts that actually ended up getting band by the health department was glazed in Nyquil and sprayed with Pepto Bismol. If this is your first time hearing about Voodoo, don’t worry they actually serve delicious doughnuts. Voodoo doughnut’s logo is in the shape of a voodoo doll with blood red jelly oozing out of it. Also, if you are ever looking to get married, Voodoo Doughnut is more than willing to provide that service for you. They now have six locations around the world, three in Portland, one in Eugene, Oregon, Austin, Texas Denver, Colorado, and believe or not I found this out today they have one location in Taipei, Taiwan. So if you are ever in any of those cities make sure you stop on by and try their maple and bacon doughnut.
For those of you who may not know it, we have a lot of bridges in Portland, Oregon. Hence the nicknames city of bridges or bridgetown. When you have a large river that runs through the middle of the city like the Willamette does, its bound to have a lot of bridges. Some may think that this makes for an eyesore or weird looking city, but being the wonderful city of Portland, they have managed to make the bridges look very nice to where its an addition to the overall aesthetic appeal of the city. There are eight bridges downtown total connecting both side of the river. Many friendly Portlandians (local natives of Portland) like to think of the bridges as a sign of the city holding hands. Many of these bridges are unique in their design and age. Among them is the Steel Bridge, a telescoping double-decker vertical lift bridge, which is the only one of its kind the whole world, and then theres the Hawthorne Bridge, the oldest operating lift bridge in the city. Portlandians love their bridges and it can be very exciting the first time your car is lifted into the air for a boat to pass through. And then before you know its your tenth time and you are in a hurry, wish the boat would pick up the pace.
If you are ever in Portland I highly recommend stopping and taking look at our lovely bridges. The best way to fit in and experience the bridges is by bicycle, just like a true Portlandian would. 6% of Portland’s population commutes by bike. According to a 2013 Census Bureau survey, the city is listed as one of the top bike town’s in the country. There many bike tour companies downtown such as Portland Bicycle Tours, that is more than willing to show you around, but honestly, if you wanted to rent a bike and explore the city on your own thats totally fine.
Due to Portland’s large number of high quality microbreweries it has also been dubbed the name Beervana. According to the Oregon Brewers Guild there is a total of 31 microbreweries operating in Portland alone, thats more than any other city in the world. The beer scene in Portland is crazy, to get a good sense of it you can visit a variety of brew pubs, bars, and clubs around town.
Oregonians or more like Portlanders are probably the most satisfied and coolest city inhabitants in the whole U.S. Here’s a tip if you want to fit in, (like me): love local coffee shops, being different (weird), go against popular name brands, and learn to love shopping at second hand stores, which is actually my favorite because you can find unique clothing for an awesome price.
Also, be prepared to love the beautiful weather we have 300 days of the year, I’m being sarcastic when I say that. Most of the time it’s overcast, drizzling, or raining. If you are lucky the weather will be really bipolar and do all three through out the day. Then a few days in the summer temperatures will reach 100 degrees and you will be begging for the rain. But all in all its actually quite lovely here, you learn to enjoy the rain and appreciate the sunny days. What ever you do never bring an umbrella out with you because that will be like holding a big sign saying I’m from out of town. Besides an umbrella here is pointless because most of the time we have bipolar weather so it will only rain for an hour then stop then go again. So a light rain jacket, hoodie, or hat will suffice.
Portland is really popular for being a city full of open-minded tree huggers. Wherever you go you will see lushes green trees waiting for your love, I just can’t get enough of it. One of the best and most convenient places to enjoy nature is Forest Park, which is ironic. Many Portland natives love to use this Garden of Eden for their morning jogs, dog walks, or bike rides.