This drizzly, cold Portland weather is getting me down. I was ready to break out the flip-flops and spring skirts when winter weather returned with a vengeance. Freak snow storms aside, there are redeeming qualities about Portland. I just need to remind myself what they are.
1. Forest Park – I had no idea when I moved here that there was a runner’s Disneyland right down the street. It’s technically a city park but it isn’t so much a park as it is a gigantic maze of dense forest and dirt trails. Its limitless possibilities for getting muddy and exhausted are not to be missed. The main road has 1/4 mile markers and the main foot trail Wildwood will kick your butt.
2. Stumptown Coffee – Coffee beans are coffee beans unless they’re from Sumptown.
3. Whole Foods Lunch Counter – A great people-watching location. Ideal for meeting people with wacky eating disorders.
4. PaRaDox Cafe – One of the many fine breakfast establishments on SE Belmont, this restaurant is 100% pure distilled SE Portland.
5. 24 Hour Fitness in the Pearl – OK, so this isn’t one of my favorite places, but I get a kick out of watching muscle-filled men parade around in front of each other while trying to look like they aren’t parading around in front of each other.
6. Steel Bridge – In a city full of bridges, this one is possibly my favorite. It’s big and it’s badass and it dominates the skyline.
7. Blue Moon McMennamin’s – They have a firepit inside the restaurant!
8. Ken’s Artisanal Bakery – They make the best lattés in the entire galaxy.
9. The Waterfront with the Gigantic Made in Oregon sign – Perfect for lunch time runs, or pre-work workouts, I always feel an overwhelming sense of “Wow, I LIVE here!”
10. Keep Portland Weird. – Finally, what would Portland be without it’s crazy mix sub-cultures, counter-cultures and counter-counter cultures. As a friend once pointed out, each neighborhood in Portland has not only a distinct vibe, but its own dress code and geographic focal point. And it’s true. NW Portland has 23rd St. The Pearl district has Johnson St., Hawthorne has SE Hawthorne and Belmont has SE Belmont, the University area has the North Park blocks. It’s a city made of of little cities with a big gaping river dividing the two sides. It’s not unlike Paris if you think about it.