Ariel Bloomer was born and raised in Portland but took a hiatus from Stumptown to go college and teach English in Bulgaria. “The travel bug comes as a bit of a curse,” she says. “I’m privileged and doomed to travel around the world knowing the best place I can imagine lies in my wake.” There are certainly worse problems to have. Now Ariel’s happily back in her old stomping grounds, and celebrating her homecoming with a tribute to all things Portland.
Portland (Oregon) is My City
When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is Portland Saturday Market, where Portland’s signature quirkiness is on full display among the artists’ booths and food carts.
Late summer is the best time to visit my city, because the sun is shining and the west shore of the Willamette River is buzzing with annual festivals, like the Waterfront Blues Festival, Oregon Brewers Festival, and the Bite of Oregon food festival.
You can see my city best from the serpentine Terwilliger Parkway.
Locals know to skip McDonald’s and check out the seasonal offerings at Burgerville instead.
If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s to watch out for bicyclists. Whether you are opening your car door when parked on the street or making a right turn across a bike lane, take a second to look and make sure you don’t accidentally collide with one of the city’s many cyclists.
The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is Forest Park, where 70 miles of trails can make you forget you’re within city limits. Runners-up include Tryon Creek State Natural Area in Southwest Portland and Mount Tabor Park in Southeast Portland.
My city really knows how to celebrate beer. In addition to the aforementioned Oregon Brewers Festival, other celebrations of intemperance include the Holiday Ale Festival and Portland International Beerfest. We also do a pretty good job at celebrating wine and spirits. Check out the Portland Seafood & Wine Festival and the Great American Distillers Festival.
You can tell if someone is from my city if they show contempt for umbrellas (locals never use them).
My city is known for being rain-soaked, but it’s really just mildly damp all of the time.
The best outdoor market in my city is the Portland Farmers Market, which has multiple locations around town.
When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I wait for “discount days.” On the first Sunday of every month, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is only $2; on second Tuesday, the Oregon Zoo is only $4.
To escape the crowds, I take a walk in one of the historic pioneer cemeteries, like Lone Fir Cemetery, which doubles as a botanic garden.
If my city were a celebrity it’d be the actor Matthew Gray Gubler because he’s creative, multi-talented, endearingly hipster, and easily burned by the sun.
The dish that represents my city best is VooDoo Doughnut’s Bacon Maple Bar, and home-brewed beer is my city’s signature drink.
The most random thing about my city is the Shanghai Tunnels, so named because unwary, over-intoxicated saloon patrons were occasionally “disappeared” through trapdoors to the tunnels below, where they were taken to the docks and put aboard ships bound for the Pacific that needed extra crew.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
Bridge Pedal, a thousands-strong community bike ride that traverses many of Portland’s bridges could only happen in my city.
In the winter you should head to Mount Hood (which lies about 70 miles east of Portland) for skiing or snowboarding.
If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the wooden roller skating rink at Oaks Amusement Park.
The best book about my city is Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon by Chuck Palahniuk.
In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because what we lack in sales tax, we make up for in character.