Like many places Oregon feels the weight of new people. The higher demand for housing and the shift in economy sometimes makes it difficult to be happy about inbound people in our fine state. Plus there’s the concern that the base niceness of Oregonians will be reduced by all the newcomers who don’t understand that it’s worth waiting in the rain at 3am with no cars in sight rather than cross against the light. You can spot an Oregonian because they will scowl at jaywalkers. You can spot out-of-staters because they scowl at Oregonians who will stop a lane of eight cars to wave in one car that isn’t even ready to go yet.
As a native Oregonian I feel the trepidation. As the daughter of two people from out of state I am grateful to every person who welcomed us. And isn’t part of being kind also being welcoming? So here it is, welcome to Portland.
You’ve probably heard of Powell’s City of Books. If you haven’t I am happy to hold this post while you go to the main location at 10th & E Burnside to peruse this delightful collection of new and used books for as long as you need.
If you like to sew you must go to Fabric Depot. For knitters there are a ton of little shops all over town though I like Happy Knits on SE Hawthorne topped only by Twisted on NE Broadway. While you’re on Broadway do stop by Costello’s Travel Cafe which not only is generally amazing but also has really over the top amazing gluten free donuts (and other treats).
Brunch in Portland is very important and if you don’t get to your favorite breakfast place before 9:30 you’ll end up waiting an hour at least for a table. May I suggest Zell’s, Tin Shed, Wild Abandon, Pig N Pancake, or Mother’s Bistro. There are more. There are innumerable more. A restaurant in Portland can be open only for brunch and do quite well.
For pho I like Pho Van but almost anywhere on 82nd in east Portland will be good. Same general area for dim sum with Wong’s King being the most dim sum palace and Ocean City being the most dim sum joint. There are also some good Asian food marts out on 82nd but it’s worth traveling to the west side into Beaverton to go to Uwajimaya.
Yes, I am decidedly East Side, as is most of this list. East and West is the biggest dividing line in Portland and really in Oregon too. Eastern Oregon might as well be it’s own state, same for Southern Oregon. Then there’s the Coast and the Valley and Portland. That’s Oregon.
If you live in Oregon you should really buy your tires at Les Schwab. The customer service is over the top.
Portland is full of amazing food. Going out to dinner or late night snacks is never a problem. Just walk around the corner and you’ll find something. I don’t need to point you anywhere on this. You’ll find it. It is pretty fun to go to the Rheinlander just for the Sound of Music decor, accordian players and singing wait staff. Just in case you like that sort of thing.
Live theater is overflowing with amazing good stuff. Go see whatever you can wherever you can, it’s all worth it. I try to get to at least one play by Portland Center Stage and at least one by Artists Repertory Theatre every year. There’s a site that lists events for the big five of Portland’s performance venues. In case you don’t feel overwhelmed by culture consider OMSI, the Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden. The Pacific Northwest is full of good theater and great gardens, as well as hiking and natural beauty. Check your local guidebook.
Beware of going to concerts in Portland. The audiences are frustratingly stiff, don’t seem to understand how encores work, and are quick to leave for the parking lots. Dancing is minimal even at the best shows. It’s sad to watch great performers not get much out of mediocre audiences. It’s worth driving to Seattle to avoid the lack of showing on the part of the audience in Portland.
Meetups and pub culture with quiet conversations and studious quiz nights are solid here. And there’s a thriving weird culture still if you know where to look.
When it snows don’t drive, nobody around here knows what to do in snow and it shows right down to not having the right things to get snow off sidewalks and streets. Most schools and businesses just close. It’ll melt in a day or two anyway.
I know I have more places and things to do and try around here but this is a good start. Feel free to add your own advice for enjoying Portland and/or Oregon in the comments.
And welcome to all the new people.