Thursday, March 13, 2008

Wanderlust: PDX Redux

Ah, Portland -- I love you.

What was a promising (but still-new) infatuation on my last visit has blossomed into a full-blown love affair.

I just can't get enough of this wonderful city, and I adore the fact that Portland has so much to offer -- including gorgeous scenery, incredible food, way more than its fair share of great shops, and thriving art and music scenes -- and yet still seems utterly without pretense. It's a city that embraces its funk, that relishes creativity, that truly seems to value its citizens and its place in the global community, and that's populated by amazingly nice people. (Fair warning, Mom -- I'm that much closer to packing up the moving van. I just need to convince Nick and the kids.)

I saw so much great stuff during this visit that I can't possibly cram it all into one post. So I'm planning separate entries to tackle a couple of Portland's best hotels, several of its dining and drinking options, and as much art , shopping, and craft-fairing as I could pack into my whirlwind six-day stay.

To whet your appetite, though, here are a few snaps from my most recent PDX foray:

Portland's circa-1891 armory now houses a performing arts center -- and is one of the only platinum-certified LEED buildings in the nation.

A "green roof" in the Pearl District.

Bronze statues in Grant Park depict children's author Beverly Cleary's beloved Ramona, Ribsy, and Henry characters. Several of Cleary's novels are set in northeast Portland, where the author grew up, and you can get a walking map of the books' locales at the Hollywood branch library. (My fellow blogger Elaine, of the hilariously raunchy I Could Kill Her, and her adorable Baby G joined me for the walk. It's always a little surreal to meet someone you only "know" via their online persona, but Elaine is every bit as feisty and funny in the flesh as she is on her blog.)

The circa-1920s Hollywood Theater, currently undergoing a major restoration, hosts many of Portland's homegrown film festivals.

The view of Fremont Bridge from the award-winning Tanner Springs Park, designed by the renowned Atelier Dreiseitl.

Did you even know that Portland has a Chinatown? I had no idea.

I do -- it's true.

Stay tuned for lots more on Portland!


JanelleGrace said...

Ah man, now I just want to move there even sooner!

kelly said...

I love Portland and your posts about it make me want to run up there for a visit!

Two reasons I don't think I'd want to move there:

1. The grey skies and rain. I can barely take our Bay Area "winters" -- I'd be lost in Portland.

2. I think I'll get more out of it as a visitor/tourist. Once I live in a place, I tend to take everything for granted.

Of course, I cannot imagine ever taking Powell's for granted and wish that we had that locally just about once a week. ;)

Thanks for the photos!

Leah said...

Hi Kelly,

I *so* hear you on the weather -- though I have to say that both times I've been there (in Nov. and March) it rained for all of five minutes and was gorgeous the rest of the time.

I also understand that the job market is a bit tough in Portland. As a freelance writer, that doesn't affect me as much -- but it is a factor.

Oh well, good thing it's just an hour plane ride away!


Mrs.French said...

You were in my neighborhood! So cool! My son's favorite park is Grant Park. In the summer the Beverly Cleary statues turn into an amazing fountain that the kidlets love to play in! and we have thrown a zillion rocks in the water at Tanner Springs Park. Enjoy your time here.

coolhntr said...

I love your assessment of Portland. I travel there monthly for work and have fallen in love with the city. Portland embodies all of the things that I love about living in Seattle but more so. As you mentioned, the creative spirit of this city, the beauty, it remains truly authentic and true to its weirdness. Next time you are in town, check out "Clark and Lewis" a wonderful restaurant for lunch. I am glad you had a great trip! Maybe, you will visit Seattle sometime soon!

Leah said...

Hey Mrs. French,

Stay tuned for more on the Hollywood area (though not on this blog -- more details on that later).

And Jen,

I really, *really* like Seattle, too, though it's been a few years since my last visit. I need to get back up there. And Vancouver, too!

Go, Pacific NW!


Anonymous said...

I love Portland too, and can't wait for you to post more about what you found there since I'll be visiting in a few weeks!

I love living in Oakland, but I think PDX is where I will end up some day. :)


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