Portland, Oregon is known for being a weird and quirky place, thanks to its diverse communities. The city has more than 90 neighborhoods spread across six quadrants which are all distinct and vibrant. Each neighborhood is begging to explore, and when you answer the call, it’s not hard to bump into unique and creative individuals in the city.

Another thing that’s plentiful in Portland are bridges. In fact, there are a dozen bridges within the city limits. Many more connect the city to Vancouver, Washington. You could say it deserves the “Bridgetown” nickname. 

These are just a couple of the stuff that make the city famous. Here are more things that Portland, Oregon is known for. 

Powell’s City of Books

One of the world’s largest independent bookstores and a haven for bibliophiles everywhere, Powell’s City of Books offers both new and used books. Their Pearl District location (W. Burnside St.) – one of five in the city – houses about 1 million books in a four-story building that spans an entire block. In fact, it’s so huge that you’ll need a map to navigate the store. 

The books, including out-of-print, hard-to-find and rare titles, are divided into more than 3,500 different sections spread across nine color-coded rooms. In particular, its Rare Book Room holds autographed first editions and other impressive collectible volumes. 

But, it’s not just the books that draw crowds here. Powell’s host events on an almost-daily basis. For instance, more than 500 authors come to visit and conduct readings in the Basil Hallward Gallery. You’ll find their signatures scrawled on a pillar inside. In addition, the bookstore also hosts writing workshops, panel discussions and book clubs.  

Portland Farmers Market

Every Saturday all year round, the grounds of Portland State University’s downtown campus come alive with a popular farmers market that attracts thousands of people daily. About a hundred vendors set up shop here to sell their wares, which might vary depending on the season. 

You’ll find grass-fed meat, dairy products, craft chocolate, artisan cheese and freshly baked goods. There are also fresh herbs in spring; heirloom tomatoes, Hood River cherries and Charentais melons in summer; and gourds and Oregon heirloom varietals in autumn. 

You can also find handcrafted items here, such as organic soap, illustrations, jewelry, home decor and various souvenirs, all made by local artisans. Plus, food booths selling a wide array of international cuisine, such as Mexican, Polish and Nepalese dishes. 

The market also features live music on the weekend, but you’ll also find busking musicians. Portland Farmers Market is free and open to the public. 

Best Brewed Beer

If you’ve ever wanted to experience beer heaven, then you’ve come to the right place. Nicknamed “Beervana,” Portland, Oregon has more than 50 breweries and counting. In fact, the ratio of breweries to people currently stands at 9:50,000, according to a recent study. Looks like the combination of Pacific Northwest water and Oregon-grown hops is a brewing winner. 

Let’s look at Distillery Row for a snapshot for what beer brewing is like in the city. The name is a bit of a misnomer, as the 12 independent distilleries are not actually in a row but dotted across Portland. Together, they offer beer lovers more than 80 unique spirits. Get the special passport to be stamped at each distillery you visit. 

Or, you could join a guided brewery tour to sample different kinds of beer in about 2.5 hours or so. If you prefer, you could also hop on a van or ride a trolley to do your beer tasting with City Brew Tours or BrewCycle, respectively. For a beer tasting experience with a spooky spin, join the BeerQuest Walking Tours’ Haunted Pub Tour, where brewery hopping comes with creepy stories.

International Rose Test Garden

Portland has a lot of nicknames, and among those is “City of Roses.” You’ll see why when you visit the International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park. 

The combination of Portland’s fertile soil and mild climate provide these flowers with an excellent environment in which to thrive. And, thrive they did! This 5-acre garden is now the home of more than 10,000 rose bushes of more 550 varieties. 

The garden was founded in 1917 amidst fears that European hybrid roses would become extinct due to World War I. The International Rose Test Garden is the oldest continuously operated public rose test garden in the country. 

Free tours are conducted daily. Be sure to stop by the Shakespeare Garden, where roses are named after his play. There’s also the Gold Medal Garden, where you’ll see the award-winning roses. 

The roses bloom from April to October, but the best time to visit is in June when the roses are in full bloom. 

“While the rose gardens are best known for their June blooms, as a Portland native, I know it is worth a visit no matter the time of year,” wedding photographer Cambrae told Redfin, a residential real estate brokerage and mortgage origination service provider. “Besides roses, you will find a variety of other flowers, plants, and trees here.”

Forest Park

Just north of Washington Park, you’ll find Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the country. With more than 5,000 acres and about 80 miles of trails, the park provides plenty of opportunity and space to walk, run, hike or bike. 

Find Wildwood Trail on a map and follow the pathway of the longest forested urban trail in the U.S. Powell’s and New Seasons Market sell a water-resistant version, but you can always just download an online map from Forest Park Conservancy. 

In addition to these outdoor activities, you can also go bird watching or wildlife spotting here. With 112 bird species and 62 mammalian species, that’s not very hard to do. 

Its deep, dense Pacific Northwest forest stands in stark contrast to the high-rise buildings of the city. It isn’t too far from the city center, but you’ll totally forget that you are in the heart of downtown with the peace and quiet you’ll experience at the park.

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