Friday, July 8, 2011

Summer Side of Life: Portland, Ore.

 I originally published this post as part of The Mustard Ceiling's Summer Side of Life Series.

Its such a nice break to think about fun in the sun today. I live in Portland. Rain dominates the weather, so its only three short months out of the year we get to see this.

So when the sun shines, we know how to take advantage! I think the rain makes Portlanders unique in that we really, REALLY appreciate the summertime. I wanted to share a few fun things that help Portland come alive in the summer.

1. Fountains
On any clear sunny day, fountains around downtown Portland are filled with happy people relaxing and cooling off.

People frolic in the Ira Keller Fountain on a very hot Monday afternoon 7/27/09. More heat is in store for the rest of the week.  Fredrick D. Joe/The Oregonian

2. Festivals

From the Portland Blue Festival to The Bite of Oregon, many festivals take place in the summer at our Waterfront Park downtown. While each festival is celebrating something different, they all have three key ingredients: music, food, and beer.

portland blues festival

3. Breweries

Portland is famous for its microbrews, and with the most breweries per capita in the US, there are plenty of great places to check out. Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoor seating and taste test all of the wonderful seasonal brews.

One favorite local chain is McMenamins. The McMenamins locations all brew their own beer on site and often have unique venues for visitors. One place is an old elementary school turned hotel. There is a great outdoor seating area and to cool off, you can head to the auditorium (now a movie theater) to lounge on a couch, have a beer and catch a movie. My grandfather went to school there (his name is on the wall) and now I go to happy hour there :)

4. Hiking

Portland has great trails within the city and the country’s largest urban park, called Forest Park. Forest Park is huge! There are about 80 miles of trails and its within walking distance of mass transit so everyone in the city can enjoy it. So convenient. Its about a 15 minute drive for me and it feels like I’ve been transported into an enchanted forest.

My husband and I have been running and biking there for a few months. Our goal is to finish all 80 miles by the end of the summer. I think we’re almost at 50!

Aside from all the great hikes within the city, we’re two hours away from both the beach and the mountains, which provide more majestic settings for hiking.

5. Markets

The Portland Saturday Market is open each weekend during the summer through Christmas. Its a great place to buy unique products from local merchants, try all different kinds of food, and people watch. Farmers Markets are also super popular this time of year.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the food carts.
Oh, the food carts! Though technically not a market, they get so busy it practically counts! Many blocks in Portland are parking lots that are lined with food carts serving all sorts of authentic food from Thai to Polish to Vegan to Hawaiian Ice for dessert. In the winter I pack my lunch but lately I start thinking about the carts the minute I sit down at work. I can’t wait to head outside to get a little vitamin D and enjoy a meal from a food cart! The only draw back is the food coma I get afterward… muuuch less productive at work :)

There are so many other great things about Portland in the summer, I could go on and on. I didn’t even mention the International Rose Test Gardens.

If you ever want to visit and need recommendations please let me know!
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know my city a little! Pin It


  1. Beautiful post on Portland! I live in a suburb outside of Seattle. It's true what you said about our sun. We PNW people appreciate the sun more than anyone else on this planet!!

  2. We have a wedding to attend in Portland later this year! We have always heard great things about it! It seems like there is a lot of activity! This is a great tour!

  3. Thanks for the tour. I'd like to visit Portland someday. It's on my list of places "I think I'd like to live even though I've never ever been there before". I live in Phx AZ and am SO tired of the heat!

    It's funny how you say all the rain makes NorthWesterner's appreciate the sun - it's the opposite for those of us here - when it rains here, many of us like to stand out on our porches and watch, listen & smell the rain, because it is so infrequent for us.

  4. For all these reasons and more, we bought a little place off of Hawthorne so we could come down from Seattle on the weekends.

    We just saw people at that second fountain, and thought "That cannot be safe." Seriously? That is insane! One of the more crazier things we love about Portland.

    PS The D-Street Noshery is our fave pod b/c we can walk there, and it has beer. :)


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