Portland beyond Portlandia

21 August 2015

Years before I moved to Portland I had, of course, seen the hit show Portlandia. The humor was right up my alley and I watched every episode that came out.

Now that I actually live in Portland, friends ask me if it's like the show at all. There are certainly exaggerations and spoofs of the city but the one thing I found to be most true was the "No You Go" skit.

While one friend was visiting me, we were walking around my neighborhood and chatting. At one point we were standing by a street corner when a car pulled up to the intersection, stopped (despite not having a stop sign), honked, and very aggressively waved us to cross the street. We hadn't even been facing that direction and had no intention to cross but we were so confused that we did it anyways.

"Oh my god," my friend said, "That was it. That was just like that episode of Portlandia!"

Yes, the tropes are abundant.

On my first day of work I walked into the lobby to find four pictures of bird silhouettes titled "Put a bird on it." I asked my coworker if that was a play on one of Portlandia's most infamous sketches to which she replied "No, that is the genuine title of the pictures and the artist had no idea about Portlandia."

But there's so much more to Portland than just how it's portrayed on a comedy television show.

First and foremost, we gotta talk about the food.

Portland, Oregon | Driftwood and Daydreams

For a food lover such as myself, Portland is a dream city. When my friends visit and ask what to do my suggestions go a bit like this: "Well, down the street there's Little Big Burger, which has the most amazing truffle fries and then across from that there's Blue Star donuts (which is better than the over hyped Voodoo Donuts) and then you can go over to Salt & Straw and get the freshest ice cream in unique flavors like carrot watermelon, and then across the river you can eat... Oh wait, you wanted suggestions besides food?"

Oregon | Driftwood and Daydreams

Then of course we've got to talk about the amazing natural beauty that surrounds Portland. Just 30 minutes east you can drive into the Columbia Gorge and see magnificent and huge waterfalls. The iconic, double-tiered Multnomah Falls can be found here but my personal favorite is Latourell Falls.

Oregon | Driftwood and Daydreams

Drive an hour west of the city and dense forest suddenly becomes beaches. My favorite spot is Cape Kiwanda, where you can climb sand dunes, enjoy a beer at Pelican Brewery, and watch the sun set over the seastacks.

Portland, Oregon | Driftwood and Daydreams

Within the city, one of my favorite spots to hang out is Cathedral Park under the St John bridge. It's a gorgeous spot for enjoying the summer weather and swimming in the river.

Portland, Oregon | Driftwood and Daydreams

One thing to remember when visiting Portland is that it is a city of neighborhoods and each one has a unique energy from other parts of town. I live in the NW 23rd district and, while it is a bit more costly, I love it. I can take the street car and be downtown in 10 minutes but I usually spend my days off in my neighborhood, enjoying the local restaurants, beer halls, and boutique shops.

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