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Get Your Weird on in Portland

- Cristina

If Portland, Oregon was a person, it would be someone’s artsy, bohemian, eco-friendly, liberal older sister telling everyone else to just get along. It is a hub of everything organic, grass-fed, and one-of-a-kind. There’s no doubt about it—Portland is a unique city, and it can be downright weird, but that is what makes it such a memorable and exciting place to visit.

During my brief stay in Portland a few summers ago, I was mostly confined to either my hotel room or a local (air-conditioned) mall on account of the intense heat; however, I did get a chance to check out Portland’s Saturday Market in Old Town Portland. The location is more than appropriate for this 38-year-old tradition of Portland, as there is a large sign on an Old town building that says “Keep Portland Weird”—and that is exactly what the Saturday Market aims to do. It is a place where jewelry-makers, painters, sculptors, bakers and everyone in between come together to share their talents with the city, but more important, it is the heart of Portland itself. The words “handcrafted” and “organic” are visible at every turn. You can buy (handcrafted, organic) lavender lip balm or soap at one booth, Pad Thai at another, and jewelry made of old silverware at the next. Street performers ranging from the old singer-songwriter to belly dancers occupy whatever free space they can find. Oh yes, the Saturday Market is certainly Portland at its finest and its weirdest.

Stilt walkers are just a small part of what helps keep Portland weird.

While Portland is not only for the weird and the hippie-like, a day at Portland’s Saturday Market just might bring out some weirdness in you. Don’t worry, though—you’ll be in good company.

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