By Lauren Loutzenhiser
Since moving to Portland almost a year ago to join the MIM program, I have had so many opportunities to explore the city and discover what it has to offer for both those who live here and those who are visiting. Portland is truly an amazing, quirky, beautiful and unique city. Here are a few of my favorite things to do in the city:
Enjoy a Local Brew
Portland is home to over 50 breweries! My frequented favorites are Hopworks Brewery in East Portland and Bridgeport Brewing in the Pearl District. Oregonians love their beer and Portland is home to some of the most unique and expansive collections of beer recipes, such as Bridgeport’s Chocolate Cherry Stout or Cascade Brewing’s Vlad the Imp Aler Sour. There are hundreds of interesting and delicious brews to explore in Portland. And, I can’t forget about the beer festivals. Portland has almost as many beer festivals as it does breweries! Almost every month, there is a beer festival somewhere in the city where you can taste all kinds of local brews from every corner of Oregon.
Hike in Forest Park
Between studying and class, sometimes it can be hard to get outside and enjoy seeing all the green that Oregon is famous for. Luckily, Portland is home to Forest Park, one of the country’s largest urban forest reserves. With over 70 miles of trails to run or hike on, it is the perfect place to get away from the downtown bustle and to get out and enjoy nature. It is also just west of Downtown Portland, less than 10 minutes from Portland State University, making it really easy to catch a run after an afternoon class or to explore on the weekends.
Eat at a Local Restaurant
Portland is known for its breadth and quality of food choices. From the food carts around the city to happy hour at local restaurants, it’s easy to try new foods in Portland. You may be surprised how fresh everything is! Portland relies on local farmers, food artisans, and chefs to create a unique and incredible blend of local cuisines. Besides food, most restaurants in Portland have incredible and unique drink menus. Don’t be surprised if the place you try has specialty cocktails you’ve never heard of. I have enjoyed trying many new drinks and dishes while out with friends and family in downtown.
Hike in the Columbia River Gorge
The border between Oregon and Washington, or the Columbia River Gorge, has over 80 miles of beautiful canyon and tons of hikes for sunny days in Oregon. I love to get out and enjoy the beautiful summer weather, so I try to take every opportunity to hike in the Gorge during the summer months. My favorite hike is Dog Mountain, located just a little ways out of Portland.
Visit the Saturday Market During the Summer
Not only can you enjoy Portland’s beautiful weather during the summer, but also take advantage of shopping for local foods, art, and crafts at Portland’s summer Saturday market by the Waterfront. This has been one of my favorite places to ride my bike to during the summer, visit the vendor booths, enjoy street performers, and my favorite—people watching! There’s a reason why you see bumper stickers and signs around the city with the slogan “Keep Portland Weird,” and you will be sure to understand this after a day at the Saturday Market. In addition, if you want to experience some amazing views of Portland’s bridges and the Willamette River, take an afternoon walk up and down the Waterfront right next to the market.