On the northern Oregon-Washington state line is the laidback, eco-conscious city of Portland, a place famed for its beautiful botanicals, from roses to rhododendrons, along with elegant parks like the Lan Su Chinese Garden. The Portland Farmer's Market and forested nature trails nearby continue the green theme, but Portland's just as renowned for its trendy vintage wardrobe, labyrinthine book stores and epic beer scene. Get into the city vibe by biking across the bridges over the Willamette River, hanging out at arts hubs like Portland Art Museum, and dropping in at Stumptown Coffee for a taste of the other kind of local brew.
Portland is known as the beer capital of the world or even “Beervana” to some. Thirty-eight local breweries serve an assortment of fresh beers sure to excite your taste buds, and tours let you glimpse the inner-workings of how they are created. From amber ales to lagers to fully organic beers, and America's first Hefeweizen, tastings are a treat here. Try Hair of the Dog Brewery or Cascade Brewing Barrel House, and time your visit during the World Beer Cup—usually in the spring—if you feel like truly indulging.
The Rose Test Garden is one of the twenty-four official testing sites for the AARS (All-America Rose Selections), where they test new varieties of roses and give awards to the best of the best. The test roses are judged by color, fragrance, vigor and eleven other categories. The Rose Garden Store is also located at the test garden, where visitors can choose from a huge selection of gorgeous roses for themselves or a special someone else.
Get prime views of the city and its mountainous surrounds from this hilltop vantage point, and gaze up at the grandeur of this Continental pile, designed with the elegance of a French chateau, and boasting enough rooms and pristine outdoor acres to thoroughly lose yourself in for an afternoon.
More than just somewhere to buy your fruits and veggies in the morning, this collection of weekly markets dotted around the streets is a source of local pride, as well as a source of the best in orchard fare, fresh fish, baked goods, chocolates and many other unique offerings. Both regional and international in flavor, try Wednesday's Shemanski Park market Downtown for everything from a doorstep sandwich to a Middle Eastern feast.
A growing trend in America today is the gourmet food truck, and Portland has many of them; more than 600, in fact. These aren't your typical purveyors of greasy lunches and late-night snacks, but dish up a variety of delicious foods from around the world, made to order in compact kitchens located within the truck. Whether you're in the mood for American, Hispanic, Asian, seafood or just love bacon on everything you eat, these trucks have it. The food trucks of Portland combine great food with speed and creativity to please the bellies of locals and travelers alike.
Portland hotels are located throughout the city, but areas in Downtown or near the Willamette River have an incredible view of the lights and sounds, as well as strong transport links at the Portland Transit Mall which connects the city through various buses, streetcars and light rail. Board the MAX rail within this zone and you can ride for free.
A youthful district of the city, head to 23rd and 21st Avenue in the Northwest for some chic wining and dining. Over on the Northeast side, Alberta Street is home to boutiques and tucked-away coffee houses; expect live pop-up gigs on the street and galleries that double as music venues, and stick around if you feel like staying up late.