Portland is Oregon's largest city and the cultural hub of America's Pacific Northwest, with a whole host of incredible scenery on the doorstep. In town, venturing east of the Willamette River sees you in the equivalent of London's Shoreditch, with a similar number of hipsters and food-carts, plus added legal marijuana. Put another way, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein's satirical hipsters in Portlandia are pretty much bang on. Away from hipsterdom, Portland was also the location for the smash hit Twilight vampire movies (ask someone under 30), and near the city are some stunning winelands where
you can drink something red and delicious that doesn't require fangs. Particularly notable is the Willamette Valley, where you'll find pinot noir so perfectly balanced that you'll never set foot in the Burgundy aisle again. You wouldn't believe it of such a northerly cool climate wine region, but Oregon's winemakers are making exceptional use of the region's many microclimates. On the subject of things micro, you can combine wine, coffee and craft beer tastings in one day. The city's slew of microbreweries produce everything from hoppy IPAs to experimental stouts, and the quaint little coffee roasters on every street corner use their own unique bean varieties.
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The Pearl District, formerly an industrial hub, is now peppered with art galleries, handmade crafts and artisanal cafes. It's a mecca for young creatives, entrepreneurs and bearded baristas alike. Likewise, Hawthorne District is home to a plethora of quirky fashions, funky coffeehouses and eccentric bars. If you're visiting in February, drop by the PDX Festival for a much-needed shot of jazz in cool basement venues around the city.
Portland's gastronomic landscape is second to none, with a thriving locavore ethic of artisanal farm-to-fork restaurants, iconic craft breweries and vineyards galore. Bringing together all the best culinary moments is one of our favourite events in the city, Feast Portland, which takes place every September outlining a number of talks, testers and masterclasses from foodie creatives across the city.
Of course, the picture of Portland wouldn't be complete without a nod towards the great outdoors. The city itself is home to leafy parks (Washington Park and the Japanese Gardens are our favourites), while further afield are farms and ranches to visit for a stroll or lunch. Alternatively, visit the 80-mile long forested canyon in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area for walking and biking along well-marked trails. Come winter; skiing, snowshoeing and other adrenaline-fuelled snowsports take centre stage.