The most stylish city I've ever walked.
I've had the massive privilege of walking the streets of a few of the greatest cities. Among my top three certainly have to be Madrid, Manhattan, and the capital city of my first home, Kingston, JA. However, Portland, Oregon (PDX) has easily crept its way to my number one spot. Bye, Manhattan.
We could get into the woes of Portland: not much diversity, housing prices, gentrification written all over it. Sure, there's all that. Some might not be able to overlook those things for reasons valid. However, in the case that you're not validating a city based on culture and community, but ease of liveability, infrastructure, and accessibility, Portland is a solid start. However, a marriage of both is personally sought after.
Within the first few hours of landing in Portland, I actually landed on a bus to hop one town over to Seattle, Washington. On my wait, I spoke with a Portland native. She confirmed much of what I was seeing, growing housing prices, potential economic gap widening. In that moment I shared that it's something happening in large scale across almost every city I've experienced for a durational period. From Istanbul to Atlanta, the value when creating a cityscape seems to be about wealth. This is a sad and unavoidable truth.
With this grounding, I want to make clear my evaluation of Portland is not an ignoring of these more complex facets of what makes a city, a city. Furthermore, I will not be remisced to admit that yes, the most hipster city in the history of hipster cities had me smitten. I had the best coffee of my life in Portland, stayed at the cutest and most quaint Air bnb, and had the privilege of roaming the streets daily, stumbling upon some of the best eateries I've ever experienced. Portland is an experience, take it or leave it.
There were times I wondered if it was possible for a city to be “this good.” Was it normal for these strangers to wait for me to cross this really wide road? Even in one instance smiling and patiently gesturing at me to cross? I mean in Syracuse I was nearly ran over a few times. Could there really be no such thing as a “bad restaurant” in Portland? This stranger just gave me his day pass bus ticket because I asked for directions. How is it possibly “this good”? Chances are, it's not. That upon living there, some of this charm would fade. However, based on the comments of many happy Portland natives, it's still a pretty easy city to love.
Murals on Stark
Mount Tabor (60th)
Art Museum (Downtown)
PDX Contemporary Art (Pearl District)
Pacific Pie Company
50 Licks / Salt & Straw
Fat Heads Brewery
Pine Street Market
Coava Coffee (Honey. Latte.) on RPT.
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