10 Ways To Experience Portland Like a Local

Hip. Authentic. Funky. Beautiful. No matter how you describe Portland, Oregon, the people are what make the city great. Discover what the locals love most about this unique city.

1. Drink Really Good Coffee

In Portland, Oregon, roasting, brewing, and drinking coffee is an art. Baristas pride themselves on delivering the best -- and often most innovative -- cup of joe. With four locations around the city, the Barista coffee shop is a quintessential example of Portland's coffee culture. 

2. Eat from Food Trucks

There are hundreds of food trucks operating in Portland. There's something to fit any craving -- if you can find them! The trucks tend to gather in pods so hungry pedestrians can stroll among the veritable smorgasbord. Not sure where to begin? Try a Food Cart Tour where locals take you on a walking -- and tasting -- tour of of the city's best food trucks. 

3. Ride a Bike

Biking is an integral part of Portland. From a sustainability standpoint, it is certainly more energy efficient than driving. It's also convenient -- even for tourists. There are public bike sharing programs, such as BIKETOWN for quick trips. For longer treks, many bike shops, such as Waterfront Bikes, rent bikes similar to what you ride at home. A few hotels even offer complimentary bikes during your stay.

4. Shop Local

Head to Mississippi Avenue to find a street lined with darling small shops. Browse vintage guitars, trendy clothing and accessories, and pet supply stores. You'll also find a host of restaurants, breweries, and a tea bar. Yes, the city of coffee also has love for tea drinkers. 

5. Listen to Live Music

Musicians play a big role in upping Portland's culture. Scope out venues such as the Wonder Ballroom and Dour Fir Lounge for their ever-changing lineup of live performances. Portland also hosts a number of music festivals. Attend and you're instantly upping your cool factor.

6. Check Out the Art Scene

If you're an artist, love viewing art, or just want an authentic souvenir from your trip, head to the Pearl District in Portland. This area is home to amazing art galleries, live performances, trendy restaurants, and boutique shops. On the First Thursday of each month, art dealers bring their wares to the streets for a big, beautiful, and sometimes boisterous street fair. You can also find several good happy hour deals at surrounding bars and restaurants in The Pearl. 

7. Bring Your Dog

It's Bring Your Dog on Vacation Day every day when you're in Portland. No, seriously, bring your pretty pooch along! Pet-friendly hotels, such as the downtown Westin Portland and waterfront River Place Hotel allow up to two dogs to stay in your room for no additional charge. And you don't have to leave them behind when you go out; there is a lot of green space to explore and a number of restaurants that allow dogs in their outdoor seating areas.

8. Sample a Microbrew

There are more than 60 breweries in the Portland. Even if you aren't looking for it, it's hard to miss the city's craft beer vibe. If you're seeking a hoppy pint or two, there are great options at Ecliptic Brewing, where they're testing the creativity of the brewmaster. For a broader perspective of the beer scene book a beer tour.

9. Get Out of Town

Well, technically, you'd still be in Portland. The urban Forest Park Conservancy is a 5,200-acre wooded wonderland that reminds city-goers that they are still in the majestic Northwest. And, oh, the trails! There are miles and miles of trails to explore on foot, by bike, or on horseback. 

10. Hang Out in Old Town's Ankeny Alley

Hit the pedestrian-only Ankeny Alley in the morning for legendary Voodoo Donuts and coffee from Caffe Vita. Enjoy them both alfresco at one of many picnic tables. There are great eats available all day in Old Town. In the evening, Ankeny Alley is a hot spot for nightlife.

Photos courtesy of Travel Portland. 

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