I've lived in Portland (also referred to as PDX) for several months and want to share some of what I've learned for those of you who are planning to visit, live here, or are just plain curious. All of the below is written based off of my experiences so... take what you will. :)

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Things I Like:

  • how friendly the people are
  • all the live music and restaurants and bars to go to (soo many!)
  • how green it is and close to nature it feels + all the available outdoor activities
  • how absolutely beautiful and perfect the summers are
  • no sales tax :)

Things I Don't Like:

  • how cold, wet and overcast it is when it's not summer (I'm a Cali girl lol)
  • the lack of a good clubbing scene because I love to go out and dance
  • lack of diversity; it's almost all white people up here (I'm black)
  • terrible traffic (not LA terrible though) and the speed limits; ok, mini rant, the speed limits on one of the three lane highways I drive (I-5) is 50 mph! for several miles! and then it goes up to.... 55!! Like, why. And most of the cars drive either just above or at the speed limit. Coming from California where the lowest highway speed limit is 65, it is highly aggravating to me.
  • widespread questionable driving
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Neighborhoods:

If you've lived in Portland, you know that it can be broken down by cardinal direction and each area has a pretty different vibe. I won't get into every neighborhood that technically makes up these sections, I'll just stick to generals.

First is the East Side (hipster side)

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  • SE: South East is where I live now. It's home to a few really cool streets like Hawthorne and Division where there are a ton of bars and restaurants and places to listen to live music. There is also Mt. Tabor which is a huge hilly park and a really beautiful place to hike or relax. There are a lot of food carts in SE too, though I haven't been to many of them.
  • NE: I'm not as familiar with North East as the other areas, but the most widely popular places there are Mississippi and the Alberta Arts District. Mississippi Ave. has, surprise, surprise, some great bars and food places, but the also have some pretty cool shops and boutiques as well. Alberta St. has a ton of street art along with cool bars and restaurants and in the summer hosts several street fairs and festivals.

Next is the West Side.

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  • NW: North West is home to the Pearl District and Downtown. It's where all of the large corporations are located as well as the more "bougee" stores and restaurants. It pretty much represents gentrification and everything some Portlanders, who were to here to see things get way more expensive over the last few years, are against. It's also home to the not that great Portland club scene.
  • SW: South West doesn't feel as populated as the other parts of Portland, it's pretty wooded and doesn't have as much going on, but it's very beautiful and a nice place to live. Lewis and Clark College is down there as well as Multnomah Village (this is nowhere near Multnomah Falls). Whenever my boyfriend and I would walk up to the village we noticed that there were many couples that looked around retirement age so I assume that makes up a lot of the SW demographic.

Portland Life Day-to-Day:

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Biking: Biking is a viable and semi-common means of transportation here. Despite the cold and wet (thats a no for me) a lot people still bike to get to where they need to go. Bike lanes are everywhere and cars for the most part are super aware/respectful of bikers so that makes it very safe.

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Live Shows: This was the biggest surprise when I moved here from Sacramento. There are live shows happening all the time all over the city for very affordable prices. Both local talent and big name bands perform every week somewhere, so if you're into music this is a great place to be. The place I've gone to see shows most often is the Doug Fir Lounge.

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Bars/Beer: It's not just a stereotype, Portlanders are very into their beer. I'm not super into beer myself so I can't appreciate it fully, but there are bars everywhere serving beers on tap from a bunch of different local breweries.

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Eating: My favorite part of Portland! There are so many restaurants here with different types of food that I know I will never be able to try them all. There are also a ton of food carts that I'm excited to explore more in warmer weather. Portlanders are definitely into their food and, though the city is lacking in some areas (i.e. sushi :/ ), it's more than made up for by what is available. In fact, I'm so into this part of Portland I've listed some recommendations next.

Best Restaurants

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If you visit Portland PLEASE go to these places. I promise you will not be disappointed to put their foods in your mouth.

Apizza Scholls, SE: They serve the best pizza I've had in my life. Pro Tip: get a meat topping. I don't even like meat but their meat toppings are what make the pizza. They add an unbelievable amount of flavor. Ugh, soo good.

Screen Door, NE: If you've researched Portland you've probably heard of this place. Once again, I don't generally like meat, but their chicken and waffles are one of the most amazing things I've ever eaten, ever. I would only come here during brunch because that's the only time it's served. Their other food is pretty good but has nothing on the chicken and waffles :). Long lines, but worth the wait.

Luc Lac, NW: This place is trendy and modern (which I like) but, most importantly, has great pho. I didn't have much pho before moving to Portland, but Luc Lac definitely serves the best pho I've had here, and I've been to quite a few places. It's also open till 4am on weekends and 12am weekdays, which is super awesome because most places here close around 9 or 10pm.

Thai Herb, SW: Me and my boyfriend went here an unhealthy amount when we lived in Multnomah. It's a small restaurant in Multnomah Village and the food quality is soo good. I feel like it's sort of a hidden gem. We've been to several Thai places closer to where we live now (SE) but none can quite match Thai Herbs level. Oh, except a thai food cart right by Multnomah Village. I've never eaten there but my boyfriend swears it's just as good.

Once again this information is just based on what I've learned about Portland during the short time I've lived here. I'm sure there are a ton of other great restaurants/streets/things to do I didn't mention but I hope some of you found this information interesting and/or helpful. I love you all and wish each of you a wonderful day!
xoxo Maddz131
P.S. Here's a short get to know me article if you want to know more about me: