Portland, Oregon, is one of the most amazing places to visit because of the sheer character of the city. Surely you've seen at least an episode of Portlandia, the sketch comedy series with Fred Armisen (formerly of Saturday Night Live) and Carrie Brownstein (formerly of a band called Sleater-Kinney). And if you haven't, you should; but if you really haven't, you at least must be aware of the reputation this town has in the hearts and minds of Americans. The weather in Portland might not be great, but even people on vacation to San Diego, widely considered one of the sunniest places in the country, occasionally encounter a solid week of "May gray" or "June gloom." In other words, the weather isn't a guarantee anywhere, so why not forget about it and head to a city with heart, soul, and a lot of fodder for your social media account. And you never know--you might end up with some of that rare, sunny weather you don't hear so much about when you hear about the Pacific Northwest.
Visit The Roxy, an Eclectic 24-Hour Diner
The Roxy's motto is "Keeping Portland Weird Since 1994," so if that appeals to you, head downtown to 1121 SW Harvey Milk St. and wait to be seated. The meals are served in large portions, with names based on actors and B-movies. The Steve Buscemi Breakfast, for example, is a couple of eggs, hash browns, toast, and corned beef hash. If you ordered the Lord of the Rings, you'd be served a plate of cheese fries with beef chili and onion rings on top. The Lou Reed is a cold turkey and cheddar sandwich, the Robin Williams omelet is served with Tillamook cheddar cheese, and the Soylent Green omelet comes with spinach, mushrooms, and cheddar. But the food is only a small portion of the appeal at The Roxy. Get your smartphone camera out, and get ready to have a memorable experience.
Have an Amazing Craft Beer
Portland is home to some of the most sought-after craft brews in the world. Visit Great Notion Brewing if you want to try one of their glorious pastry stouts, sours, or hazy IPAs, and be sure to post pictures on your Instagram so the beer lovers in your life can express appropriate envy. Then head over to Cascade Brewing for one of any number of interesting, esoteric styles made with local fruit and wine barrels. This brewery has been part of the "sour beer renaissance" for nearly 15 years, and their beers are renowned all over the world. And don't forget pFriem Family Brewers (yes, that's spelled correctly). This brewery is known for making craft beers so beautiful and true to style that your pallet will be refreshed after all of the crazy ales you've tried at Great Notion and Cascade.
Take a Tour at Bob's Red Mill
If you're a health food nut or just a fan of old fashioned oats, stop by Bob's Red Mill in Milwaukie, Oregon, about 15 minutes outside of Portland. You can take a tour of the facilities and see how grains are milled and packaged. There's also a restaurant and bakery on the premises, called the Whole Grain Store, and you'll find fresh baked goods, an espresso bar, and all kinds of organic groceries. There's even a gift shop with souvenirs for the most die-hard Bob's Red Mill fans. And if you're lucky, Bob will be there, and he might even play you a piano ditty!
Have a Donut at Voodoo Doughnut
Here's another 24-hour establishment for your Instagram account, and the line is known to wrap around the block at certain times of the day. We should point out that at Voodoo, they want us to return to the traditional spelling: doughnut instead of donut. You can order stuffed "cannolos" or one of many infamous varieties of doughnuts, including the "Oh Captain, My Captain," with vanilla frosting and Cap'n Crunch cereal; the Voodoo Bubble, with vanilla frosting, bubble gum dust, and a literal piece of bubble gum; the Bacon Maple Bar with maple frosting and actual bacon on top; a doughnut called The Homer with strawberry flavored frosting and sprinkles; or the Maple Blazer Blunt, a doughnut rolled into the shape of a blunt, dusted with cinnamon sugar, and dipped in maple frosting and red sprinkles.