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Portland

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Hawthorne Bridge

Hawthorne Bridge

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Downtown Portland

Downtown Portland

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Aybala Mediterranean Grill

Aybala Mediterranean Grill 

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What distinguishes Portland, Oregon, from the rest of America's cityscapes? Or from the rest of the world's urban destinations for that matter? In a Northwest nutshell: everything. For some, it's the wealth of cultural offerings and never-ending culinary choices; for others, it's Portland's proximity to the ocean and mountains, or simply the beauty of having all these attributes in one place.Strolling through downtown or within one of Portland's numerous neighborhoods, there's an unmistakable vibrancy to this city—one that is encouraged by clean air, infinite trees, and a blend of historic and modern architecture. Portland's various nicknames—Rose City, Bridgetown, Beervana, Brewtopia—tell its story in a nutshell.Rich cultural offerings, prime historic and modern architecture, endless recreational activities, and a friendly feel make Portland alluring for just about everyone. But it seems that Portland's food scene is one of its biggest attractions these days. It's true that Portland's filled with amazing restaurants—though it's not necessarily the recipes that are causing all the commotion. Rather, it's the "locavore" movement—using ingredients that are raised, grown, or foraged within a reasonable distance—that's got diners and chefs excited. Often, diners experience savory fish, fowl, or pasta dishes made with seasonal fruit and vegetable accompaniments that have just been plucked from the vine or ground.After you're done with a delicious meal, you may find yourself at one of the many unique coffeehouses or local breweries sipping on something satisfying. Dozens of options blanket the city. Stumptown Coffee Roasters is a local favorite for a cup of joe; for microbrew possibilities, check out a McMenamins, BridgePort, or Widmer brewery. These sites are frequented by locals, too, and make great hangouts to people-watch or as a pit stop for determining the day's or evening's activities.Portland has a thriving cultural community, with ballet, opera, symphonies, theater, and art exhibitions both minor and major in scope. Whatever you choose, you can count on several things: relatively affordable ticket prices and crowds dressed in everything from tennis shoes to tuxedos. Portlanders are sometimes accused by outsiders of being "too casual" when it comes to showing up for performances. But it might be this "lower-brow" approach to arts and culture that is why many events are well-attended.One arts attraction that pulls in locals as well as tourists is the Portland Art Museum. Its two large buildings house paintings by old-world masters, an impressive collection of Native American art (much of it from the Northwest)—and an expanding collection of modern and contemporary art. Across the street from the art museum is the Oregon Historical Society, which has more than 85,000 artifacts, including ancient objects from the earliest settlements. Exhibitions bring to life what their mission statement proclaims is, "preserving and interpreting Oregon's past in thoughtful, illuminating, and provocative ways."If smaller galleries are more of your thing, Portland has plenty. Lots of galleries and studios are in the swanky Pearl District, on the fringe of downtown. Print art, fiber art, contemporary art, and photography as well as glass, video art, and 3-D art, are all represented here.

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Shopping and Nightlife in the Pearl District
Shopping and Nightlife in the Pearl District

Restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and popular parks make this former industrial area near downtown one of Portland’s major entertainment centers.

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Image Credit

Craig Tuttle/Design Pics/Corbis

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An Amazing Array of Street Food
An Amazing Array of Street Food

Portland’s more than 600 food carts ensure you’re never far from street eats. Try the famed selection at SW Alder Street and 10th Avenue downtown.

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Image Credit

Anthony Pidgeon / Alamy

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8 Beautiful Waterfalls NOT Named Niagara
8 Beautiful Waterfalls NOT Named Niagara

Did you know there are beautiful waterfalls in America? Multnomah Falls, Amicalola Falls, Turner Falls, and others are right in your backyard and worth a visit.

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A Magnificent Mansion With a Stunning View
A Magnificent Mansion With a Stunning View

Located high in Portland’s West Hills area, the 1914 Pittock Mansion has 23 rooms of fine art and furnishings and an unparalleled vista of the city.

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Image Credit

age fotostock / Alamy

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Just Say No to ...
Just Say No to ...

Beans, garlic and other things that can cause 'jet bloating.'

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10 Popular Tourist Attractions in America
10 Popular Tourist Attractions in America

Texas Hill Country and Napa Valley Vineyards made our list of top tourist attractions in America. See our other favorite getaways in the United States.

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It’s One of the Nation’s Great Urban Parks
Samantha's Pick It’s One of the Nation’s Great Urban Parks

The 5,100 acres of Washington Park encompass the Oregon Zoo, a fabulous rose garden, an arboretum, a lovely Japanese garden and 12 miles of trails.

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Image Credit

Alamy

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Take a Beer-cation!
Take a Beer-cation!

Love beer? Forget the vineyard and take a beer vacation. From Portland brewery tours to Philly Beer Week, you have plenty of beer tasting options.

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Powell’s City of Books Is a Reader’s Dream
Powell’s City of Books Is a Reader’s Dream

Covering an entire city block, this literary wonderland has more than 1.5 million books, making it the world’s largest private used and new bookstore.

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Image Credit

Bloomberg via Getty Images

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The 811 East Burnside Building
Samantha's Pick The 811 East Burnside Building

Remember when things were handmade and unique? Hundreds of artists showcase goods that make everyday items for your home much more special.

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Image Credit

Getty Images

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A Little Bird Told Me
Samantha's Pick A Little Bird Told Me

The Little Bird Bistro offers excellent “early and late” specials on food, wine and cocktails from 3 to 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight.

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Image Credit

David Reamer

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