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A Perfect Saturday Afternoon in Downtown Portland

- Hye Sung

First off, let it be known that I am talking about Portland, Oregon and not Portland, Maine. The former was actually named after the latter in 1845. Portland, Oregon, though, seems to be getting a tad bit more airtime than his Maine namesake. Young adults are flooding in to Portland attracted to its, dare I say, “hipster” culture, made hyper-popular by the IFC show “Portlandia”. This city has been enthusiastically, but perhaps a little more quietly, brewing Portlandian culture for quite awhile now, and has been growing steadily the past 15-20 years. That being said, Portland is in. And since it is in, plenty of folks are vacationing here, eating their life savings away, going from show to show, shopping away at Portland’s many vintage shops, and hoping to spot Carrie and Fred from Portlandia. After all, Portland is where the young go to retire.

Now, when visiting Portland, there is a lot to do. So let’s cover just cover the basics for now and talk about something sweet and simple: a sweet Saturday afternoon downtown. Classic, right? And classic isn’t bad. These are some must-do’s and need to be accomplished. Plus, it’s fun. A lot of fun.

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First things first, you need to find your way at the Portland Saturday Market. There is everything you need and much, much more. It’s like an artisan fair and a food cart pod and a music festival brought together in a beautiful marriage. And the fruit of this marriage are pleased palates, entertained citizens, happy customers and even happier families. From December to March, the market is closed, but as soon as spring peaks in, things are back to business.

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I’ve heard of Powell’s Books for years, and I always thought, “Big deal, I’ve been to big bookstores.” But this is different. This… has… everything. They even had a Quaker section, which is beyond rare, and I say that as somebody who has been to Strand and John K. King, etc., and I have looked for a Quaker section. There is never such a thing. It was remarkable. And they also have a pretty killer cafe. (Portland knows how to do coffee.)

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Stumptown Coffee Roasters, though it exists in other cities now, is a Portland classic. For serious coffee drinkers, Stumptown is perfect. The French Roast will forever be my favorite. Everybody who visits Portland will encounter Stumptown at some point, whether it be at brunch, church, or a dinner party, but I recommend going straight to the source and see Stumptown for all that it is. Also, Duane Sorenson, Stumptown’s founder, also found a nonprofit whose mission is to provide cargo bicycles for coffee farmers, as well as granting other services.

Now, I think you can do a whole lot more during a day in Portland, but for an afternoon, this is perfect in every sense of the word. Stay tuned for more posts on Portland.

Check out: My Favorite Places To Eat In Southeast Portland

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